H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Discuss the Zoom H6, H5, H4, H4n, H2, H2n, and H1. Please don't "post and run". Participate in the discussion. Thanks.

Ozpeter
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby Ozpeter » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:01 am

H2 in the second line of the blog should read H2N.

Next, having picked at the text, I'll view the vid and hear the samples! :)
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wipeman
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby wipeman » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:49 am

Thanks for this review. Clearly the NT4 combination has the lowest noise, followed by the Sony then the Zoom recorders. But none of them are what I would call "bad". I can only hear the noise when I turn it right up anyway, which I'm hardly likely to do TBH.

I was surprised at how good the original H2 sounded. Mine never sounded like that - I always got the impression that I was eavesdropping when listening to a recording from mine!
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Ozpeter
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby Ozpeter » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:37 am

The differences in noise between the portable recorders is pretty slight - under real-world conditions it would be negligible in my view. The NT4 is obviously significantly quieter.

In terms of frequency response and stereo image, again, it's perhaps a matter of what you like. The differences are subtle. I keep getting the feeling that the H2N is bass light but that could be an illusion. I've been listening to these samples lined up in Reaper each on its own track and soloing between them while playing back, including short looped sections, till I never want to hear a guitar again! (Even as well played as in the samples!!). I suspect that if you made a compilation of the four, or even better just the three portables, nobody would be able to say which bits came from which recorder. I also did some analysis in Adobe Audition but nothing in particular of note emerged from that.

I may have the chance next week to try the H2, H2N and Sony M10 and perhaps a Suplux S502 mic all together during an orchestral rehearsal in a church. That would highlight the stereo imaging quality of these devices perhaps.

Fantastic work on the video. Very nicely done and a great help to others.
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Fran Guidry
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby Fran Guidry » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:59 am

Ozpeter wrote:H2 in the second line of the blog should read H2N.

Next, having picked at the text, I'll view the vid and hear the samples! :)


Thanks, Peter.

Fran
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Fran Guidry
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby Fran Guidry » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:07 am

Ozpeter wrote:The differences in noise between the portable recorders is pretty slight - under real-world conditions it would be negligible in my view. The NT4 is obviously significantly quieter.

In terms of frequency response and stereo image, again, it's perhaps a matter of what you like. The differences are subtle. I keep getting the feeling that the H2N is bass light but that could be an illusion. I've been listening to these samples lined up in Reaper each on its own track and soloing between them while playing back, including short looped sections, till I never want to hear a guitar again! (Even as well played as in the samples!!). I suspect that if you made a compilation of the four, or even better just the three portables, nobody would be able to say which bits came from which recorder. I also did some analysis in Adobe Audition but nothing in particular of note emerged from that.

I may have the chance next week to try the H2, H2N and Sony M10 and perhaps a Suplux S502 mic all together during an orchestral rehearsal in a church. That would highlight the stereo imaging quality of these devices perhaps.

Fantastic work on the video. Very nicely done and a great help to others.


Thanks again, sir.

The M10 is the joker in the group you mention - the mics are omni which means there is basically no stereo image as such with the two mics so close together. The Zoom recorders don't get much credit in the reviews I've read for their cardioid mics and stereo image, but the standard config for these small recorders seems to be a pair of omnis less than 2" apart - a recipe for two channels of mono.

On the other hand, if the capsules are decent and the electronics allow it, the bass from the M10 should be noticeably different and more natural. The same engineering that makes mics directional makes their bass response problematic compared to omnis.

Fran
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Fran Guidry
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby Fran Guidry » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:15 am

wipeman wrote:Thanks for this review. Clearly the NT4 combination has the lowest noise, followed by the Sony then the Zoom recorders. But none of them are what I would call "bad". I can only hear the noise when I turn it right up anyway, which I'm hardly likely to do TBH.

I was surprised at how good the original H2 sounded. Mine never sounded like that - I always got the impression that I was eavesdropping when listening to a recording from mine!


I wonder if you were reacting to the level of the recording. I've been trying to learn about recording going on 10 years now and some of the simplest things have been the hardest to grasp. Levels are hugely important in evaluating recordings, but we naturally and naively believe that we can "adjust" our evaluation to compensate for level differences. We believe it but it just ain't so.

So one of my biggest breakthroughs in recording was learning to set levels conservatively then adjust them boldly in post production. In these comparisons I had to add around 16 dB of gain to get the H2 to match the others and without that adjustment the H2 track would sound like the recorder was in the next room.

Fran
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wipeman
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby wipeman » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:16 pm

Hi there, no it wasn't level adjustment. I think it was a lack of clarity in the high frequencies so the recording felt 'muddy'. I hear something of that in these recordings but not as much as I remember. Perhaps I got a 'Friday afternoon' zoom h2!
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby Wulfraed » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:15 am

wipeman wrote:Hi there, no it wasn't level adjustment. I think it was a lack of clarity in the high frequencies so the recording felt 'muddy'. I hear something of that in these recordings but not as much as I remember. Perhaps I got a 'Friday afternoon' zoom h2!


WAV or MP3 recordings? The H2 MP3 encoder is infamous for killing frequencies >15 or 16kHz.
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wipeman
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby wipeman » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:09 am

I never used the mp3 encoder on the zoom, always recorded in wav and then used LAME on my PC.
I remember I always had to use the L gain setting as M was too sensitive for what I was recording. Perhaps that had an effect?
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Fran Guidry
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Re: H2n vs Sony PCM-D50

Postby Fran Guidry » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:11 am

I put the 9v battery in my my Rode NT4 and hooked it up to a passive splitter, took three outputs from the splitter and fed them into the D50, H2n, and H2.

Here's the blog post, it contains volume matched clips, the tails from those clips with an extra 12 dB of gain applied, and also the original clips from the recorders, complete with test tones and mumbling and stumbling from me: http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2011/09/ ... -with-nt4/

The accompanying video focuses on the process of level matching in REAPER, the technique should be applicable to any well equipped DAW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3b4qBkOXxM

Fran
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