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Old Nov 26, 2009, 10:52 PM   #31
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oh yea if its good enough with an external mic plugged in, i may be interested too
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 10:39 AM   #32
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Well, about the level of the signal. Do you have software on your computer like soundforge? Something that will allow you to "normalize" the sound. Normalize is basically raising the volume to a certain point. The s/n ratio of the mega536 is 90 dbs. That's pretty good. Let's say you are using 2 dynamic xlr mics hooked up to a cable that has a stereo mini on one end and 2 xlrs on the other. let's say that the dynamic mics aren't loud enough, maybe they peak out at -30db. That -30 is plenty quiet. But if you normalize the signal, you're making the quiet part loud and the loud part as loud as can be. The s/n of the mega536 is plenty low, though. So, the -30db is raised to -1db and the -90db is raised to -61db. Good enough for $25. Electret condenser mics are typically louder than dynamic mics. If you don't want to play around with normalizing the file on the computer, you could try them.

You're a drummer, right? Part of what you want to do is to audio record your drums, video record your drums, and combine them on the computer, yes? You might want to get mics that drummers use. That way you'll have them in case you need them.

About the reviews. Yeah, it's not the most stable piece of hardware. They do work ok. The ones you'll be getting these days will have recent firmware, and I think it's fairly easy to get the absolutely most recent firmware.

The core thing about this recorder that is good is that it's $25 w/ free shipping. Not $125 or $225. And it records wavs, uncompressed pcm 16/48. Yes, there are slight headaches involved. (no way to set input levels, for one).

If you're going to compare the audio quality of this and the video camera, this is better. the audio section of the video is always an mp3 (or aac, either way it's compressed)


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Originally Posted by ecb View Post
Interesting. I would have thought a mic would generate too low of a signal for a line input. Anything mic in particular you'd recommend for recording live music with this? Also reviews seem to indicate it's not the most stable piece of hardware. Have they worked OK for you?

I actually have something similar to this already; an iAudio U2 MP3 player with a line in, but the audio quality for inputs is quite bad. It does native MP3 encoding and it's a terrible encoder, so it's more or less doomed.
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 11:13 AM   #33
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I just did a test. It's 16/48 stereo.

short clips - 7 seconds. the point was to show the combination of the externals and the mega536.
I played a couple chords, then I turned the guitar down, then up and a couple other chords.
It's basically a signal to noise ratio test and a mic sensitivity test

clip 1 - not normalized - http://parocks.com/testnotnormalized.wav

clip 2 - normalized - http://parocks.com/testnormalized.wav

the only difference between the 2 is that clip 2 is a normalized version of clip 1. clip 1 goes from -30db to -80db
clip 2 goes from -1db to -51db.

Here are some specs on the microphones

Nady sp-1 sensitivity (@1khz 74db spl) -73db +/- 3db
Nady sp-4c sensitivity (@1khz 74db spl) -76db +/- 3db

Here are specs on other random microphones

hong kong sony Sensitivity -38dBV, ?.5dB

http://cgi.ebay.com/New-MIC-MICROPHO...item3a54e46bb5
Sensitivity: -53.5 dB + 3 dB (O dB=1V / Pa @ 1 kHz)

The nady's do not have high sensitivity. If you were to take microphones with maybe 20dbs more sensitivity, you'd get -10db as opposed to -30db.


I was close micing my guitar cabinet. 2 cheap xlr mics (cheap nady's under $20 a piece) into a cord with 2 xlrs on one end and a stereo mini on the other. Unnormalized, the range goes from -30db to -80db. Normalized, it goes from -1db to -51db.

Point being, if you know the mic sensitivity (-73 db and -76db) and what you get from the mega536 when you do a certain thing (close micing a 1 watt tube amp) - -30db - you'll have a good idea what kind of sensitivity of mic you'll need to work with the mega 536.

If it was me, and I was buying mics to match with the mega 536 - I would buy more sensitive mics. I didn't buy these mics to go with the mega 536 - I used them with an older camcorder in conjunction with a "headphone volume control" and got good results.

I typically use the mega 536 with a soundboard.

Here's a signal to noise test that I put online over a year ago. I don't remember all the details, but it was the mega 536 taking a feed from the soundboard. I don't remember if I modified the file at all.

http://parocks.com/sntest.wav



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Originally Posted by subc View Post
I'm also interested on this. I finished reading through the manual..
http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=do...124&prod_no=71
.. and could not find references to the device being able to record LPCM @ 16 bits 48,000 (mono?)

Would you mind posting a sample WAV recorded with this device (and external line-in or mic) for reference? I'm so tempted to buy this low-ratings player from 2005.

Last edited by parocks; Nov 27, 2009 at 12:51 PM. Reason: adding links to test - other info
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 12:32 PM   #34
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hello parocks,

could you upload an uncompressed sample (wav) to mediafire.com?
Of course, if you recorded on mp3 format, the upload the mp3.. but if the highest quality the device can record is uncompressed wav, then please upload that one.

thanks
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 2:51 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parocks View Post
I just did a test. It's 16/48 stereo.

short clips - 7 seconds. the point was to show the combination of the externals and the mega536.
I played a couple chords, then I turned the guitar down, then up and a couple other chords.
It's basically a signal to noise ratio test and a mic sensitivity test

clip 1 - not normalized - http://parocks.com/testnotnormalized.wav

clip 2 - normalized - http://parocks.com/testnormalized.wav

the only difference between the 2 is that clip 2 is a normalized version of clip 1. clip 1 goes from -30db to -80db
clip 2 goes from -1db to -51db.

Here are some specs on the microphones

Nady sp-1 sensitivity (@1khz 74db spl) -73db +/- 3db
Nady sp-4c sensitivity (@1khz 74db spl) -76db +/- 3db

Here are specs on other random microphones

hong kong sony Sensitivity -38dBV, ?.5dB

http://cgi.ebay.com/New-MIC-MICROPHO...item3a54e46bb5
Sensitivity: -53.5 dB + 3 dB (O dB=1V / Pa @ 1 kHz)

The nady's do not have high sensitivity. If you were to take microphones with maybe 20dbs more sensitivity, you'd get -10db as opposed to -30db.


I was close micing my guitar cabinet. 2 cheap xlr mics (cheap nady's under $20 a piece) into a cord with 2 xlrs on one end and a stereo mini on the other. Unnormalized, the range goes from -30db to -80db. Normalized, it goes from -1db to -51db.

Point being, if you know the mic sensitivity (-73 db and -76db) and what you get from the mega536 when you do a certain thing (close micing a 1 watt tube amp) - -30db - you'll have a good idea what kind of sensitivity of mic you'll need to work with the mega 536.

If it was me, and I was buying mics to match with the mega 536 - I would buy more sensitive mics. I didn't buy these mics to go with the mega 536 - I used them with an older camcorder in conjunction with a "headphone volume control" and got good results.

I typically use the mega 536 with a soundboard.

Here's a signal to noise test that I put online over a year ago. I don't remember all the details, but it was the mega 536 taking a feed from the soundboard. I don't remember if I modified the file at all.

http://parocks.com/sntest.wav
Hey thanks for posting all of this. Definitely some useful info in here. I know audio pretty well so I understand your point on normalization. Unfortunately by using the mics you recorded with you're raising the noise by 30 dB, but it seems like the audio is at least usable if not pristine.

Lots to think about. Who knew my question about video cameras would take such an interesting turn!
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 3:14 PM   #36
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Right, well, I've never used those mics with the mega536 for anything but testing. I use the mega536 at concerts hooked into the soundboard. I just looked at the sntest.wav file. That's the one I did last year hooked to the soundboard. That shows a range of -4 to -70. The mega536 quotes a s/n of somewhere in the range of 80 to 90. People who record at concerts usually find the problem is distortion of loud sounds. This won't have that problem. If I was to use the mega 536 at concerts with an external mic, I'd use external mics with a sensitivity better than -73 or -76. Preferably one with High SPL handling capability. Not all that hard to find. A sensitivity of -60 would get you, what, peaks at -15 under the same conditions?

The thing that's interesting about these newish video camcorders with AVCHD is that the audio is worse than DV camcorders. The DV spec was 16/48 uncompressed. The AVCHD spec does not include 16/48 uncompressed or any uncompressed - they're all flavors of MP3, AAC, or whatever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecb View Post
Hey thanks for posting all of this. Definitely some useful info in here. I know audio pretty well so I understand your point on normalization. Unfortunately by using the mics you recorded with you're raising the noise by 30 dB, but it seems like the audio is at least usable if not pristine.

Lots to think about. Who knew my question about video cameras would take such an interesting turn!
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 8:44 PM   #37
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I added the links to the earlier post. sntest.wav is the better of the clips. That's a soundboard recording with s/n ranging from -4 to -71. The other is the external mic test. Mics with a higher sensitivity than -73(or-53) to -76(or -53)db should be used. Dynamics with -49db are available. You might want a condenser with a battery box. Often for taping concerts, people use stealth binaurals. They're tiny electret capsules on wires, often attached to eyeglasses, leading then to a battery box to provide power to the capsules, and then to the recording device. Capsules often have extremely flat frequency responses - 20-20,000 is often quoted, and have higher sensitivity, but need power and have lower max SPL. Electret capsules are used in video cameras. Good capsules and sufficient power lead to good results. Core Sounds are known for their stealth binaurals / battery box combination. http://www.core-sound.com/mics/1.php
They're not the only people that do that.



Quote:
Originally Posted by subc View Post
hello parocks,

could you upload an uncompressed sample (wav) to mediafire.com?
Of course, if you recorded on mp3 format, the upload the mp3.. but if the highest quality the device can record is uncompressed wav, then please upload that one.

thanks
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Old Nov 28, 2009, 12:24 AM   #38
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Thanks for the samples parocks. I did not find the recording levels too pleasing to my ears.. and although as you say, one can normalize it, the noise also gets amplified.
I guess I'll stick with my Olympus DS40 for now. Much thanks!!
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Old Nov 28, 2009, 2:04 AM   #39
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That was my guitar amp which was fully cranked and noisy. And the external microphone. The only thing being tested on the unit itself is the signal to noise ratio. And to verify that it was recording in 16/48 stereo.
Did you look at the waveform to see the variation between the guitar at the beginning (which was irrelevant), the quiet part in the middle, and the guitar at the end (irrelevant)? Now, I personally don't know know if a 50 db s/n ratio within the context of a live music recording at 16/48 uncompressed is considered good. What did you think of the longer clip http://parocks.com/sntest.wav - with the 70db s/n? I recommend Sound Forge for looking at the wavforms, (it has nice meters that go from 0 - 90 db) but I'm sure that other software programs will let you look at wav files and see what's going on with them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by subc View Post
Thanks for the samples parocks. I did not find the recording levels too pleasing to my ears.. and although as you say, one can normalize it, the noise also gets amplified.
I guess I'll stick with my Olympus DS40 for now. Much thanks!!
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 9:23 AM   #40
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FYI, just to provide some closure on the whole discussion, I've decided to get a Zoom H2 recorder for now and hold off on the video camera. The basic thought process was that the H2 isn't a tradeoff (it's really nice and flexible) while both the cameras had significant downsides, so I'd rather hold off on buying something until it's closer to what I want. I'm sure that at some point in the not too distant future I'll find a camera that fits my needs in the right form factor and a reasonable price. If only the Sanyo had stereo mic in that would have made this so much easier!

Thanks again for the thoughtful discussion everyone!
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