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Topic Options
#989888 - 12/01/07 02:28 AM Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
bigcake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/07
Posts: 48
Loc: Oregon
Just got a zoom h4 for myself. Got it going in 5 minutes. I am really impressed. I even updated the firmware to version 2.10.

Going thourhg posts on related issues, I understand that most pepole use Audacity to normalize the file. But is there a reason NOT to use the zoom's built-in normalization function (under Menu / File / Normalize)? Thanks.

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#989889 - 12/01/07 03:07 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1916
Loc: Netherlands
There are two reasons why you shouldn't use the normalize function from the Zoom:

1) It eats up your batteries.

2) It changes the WAV file. So you won't have a backup of the not-normalized recording.

If neither is a problem for you, then I see no reason why you shouldn't do it on the Zoom. (I don't have one, so this is a theoretical answer. \:\) )
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#989890 - 12/01/07 05:36 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
bruceee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 317
Loc: Wellington, New Zealand
I both normalized and converted to .mp3 on the Zoom on my recording for the last ABF recital. Very happy with the result. I was also using the manual gain settings for the line input, and suspect I had those set a little too high.

Next time, now that I know better, I'll try the auto-gain function.

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#989891 - 12/03/07 11:22 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by bigcake:
Just got a zoom h4 for myself. Got it going in 5 minutes. I am really impressed. I even updated the firmware to version 2.10.

Going thourhg posts on related issues, I understand that most pepole use Audacity to normalize the file. But is there a reason NOT to use the zoom's built-in normalization function (under Menu / File / Normalize)? Thanks. [/b]
The reason I don't use the Zoom for that is that I find the controls on the Zoom not at all easy or intuitive to work with. Also, I usually need audacity to edit out the dead space at the beginning and end of the recording, so I figure I might as well normalize there while I'm at it.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#989892 - 12/03/07 11:55 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
PianoN00b Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/15/07
Posts: 262
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Omg I finally did some research on the Zoom H4, which I used to think was a program that lets you record on the computer. Wow, how much is that thing?..
_________________________
I am piano noob today; I will be piano pro tomorrow.

Started Piano 7-2007.

By the way, call me Yang. \:\)

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#989893 - 12/04/07 04:19 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
SideShow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Belgium
about 300+$ I think
_________________________
Notes are easy, music is hard
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

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#989894 - 12/04/07 09:43 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
...and worth every penny, imo. \:D The H2 is $200, PianoN00b. There's a couple of threads/recordings out there about it you might want to check out.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#989895 - 12/04/07 09:56 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
bigcake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/07
Posts: 48
Loc: Oregon
Most of the sites listed it as $299.99 + shipping. But during the holiday season, do a bit search on the Internet, with promotion/coupon/cashback, you may find the price as low as $215 (the lowest I could find two weeks ago.) I got mine for around $220. Keep in mind that there is also ZOOM H2 that is about $100.00 less expensive than ZOOM H4. As suggested by Monica, please check out the treads/recordings on the forum.

Thanks to all of you who presonded to my original question on using the built-in normalization function. I will be downloading the Audacity program and give it a try.

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#989896 - 12/04/07 10:03 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Mike A Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 521
Loc: So.Cal.USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by bruceee:
I both normalized and converted to .mp3 on the Zoom on my recording for the last ABF recital. Very happy with the result. I was also using the manual gain settings for the line input, and suspect I had those set a little too high.

Next time, now that I know better, I'll try the auto-gain function. [/b]
Might be better not to use the manual or automatic gain settings at all ... see this thread

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#989897 - 12/04/07 08:21 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
bruceee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 317
Loc: Wellington, New Zealand
Thanks Mike,
I was confused about the various gain settings but it's becoming a little clearer now.

On my recording from the Line Inputs, I had the analog Level set to L -- the lowest setting. By fiddling with the digital levels, I was manually doing something close to a normalize, but not as good. (I think!)

After I normalized I did not notice any difference in the recording -- so that tends to confirm that.

It now seems to me that if you correctly set the Auto Gain for the loudest passage of your piece, that is the same as a normalize.

Your advice: don't record with Auto gain, but instead rely on normalizing afterwards, should give the same quality of recording. (Again, I think!)

I will certainly experiment further with the Zoom H4 normalize and subsequent conversion to MP3 -- if I can cut Audacity out of the loop, I will do so.

I should add, I record on a digital piano so there is no dead space to cut off. When I start recording acoustic piano, I too will have dead space, so will have to use Audacity.

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#989898 - 12/04/07 09:06 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
rustyfingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 788
Loc: Massachusetts
Mike, or anybody,

After 11 takes of various permutations, I think you're right not to use the recording levels (auto gain or manual).

Does anyone know how to reset the manual recording level back to the default? I think I messed my recorder up in my experiments. The manual seems to be pretty cryptic about this.

Thanks.
_________________________
If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.

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#989899 - 12/04/07 09:14 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Mike A Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 521
Loc: So.Cal.USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by bruceee:
Thanks Mike,
I was confused about the various gain settings but it's becoming a little clearer now.

On my recording from the Line Inputs, I had the analog Level set to L -- the lowest setting. By fiddling with the digital levels, I was manually doing something close to a normalize, but not as good. (I think!)[/b]
Yes, definitely not as good, because normalizing takes the file as actually recorded and raises the gain so as to bring the highest peak up to 0dB (or whatever level you're normalizing at). If you're planning to normalize, there's no benefit to changing the digital recording levels, only a potential detriment.

 Quote:
Originally posted by bruceee:
After I normalized I did not notice any difference in the recording -- so that tends to confirm that.

It now seems to me that if you correctly set the Auto Gain for the loudest passage of your piece, that is the same as a normalize.[/b]
Well, it's the same only if, when you actually play the piece, your loudest peak winds up being the same as the loudest when you calibrated the auto gain. (The auto gain calibrates itself before you start recording; it does not make changes while you are recording.) Again, you're better off just leaving the digital gain alone and normalizing afterwards, which takes the file as you actually recorded it and adjusts the level.

 Quote:
Originally posted by bruceee:
Your advice: don't record with Auto gain, but instead rely on normalizing afterwards, should give the same quality of recording. (Again, I think!) [/b]
Yes. The analog level, which is affected only by the L-M-H slider switch on the side of the unit, is the only thing that matters from a recording quality standpoint (I assume you're referring to the ratio of signal to noise). Anything you do to raise levels in the digital domain -- i.e., whether you normalize, use auto gain, or use manual recording level -- will raise the level of both the signal and the noise, proportionately. But if you're planning to normalize, neither of the other two options offers any benefits.

To get the best signal-to-noise ratio, you want to use the highest L-M-H setting you can without clipping.

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#989900 - 12/04/07 09:27 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Rosanna Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 1360
Loc: San Francisco Bay area
Pian00b/Yang,
I think you have a digital piano, right? If that's the case, you don't need to spend the $200-300 to buy a Zoom. Just connect line-out or phone-out of your DP to line-in of your computer sound card with a stereo cable. Use Audacity or some similar software to record/digitize your playing.
_________________________

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#989901 - 12/04/07 09:45 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Mike A Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 521
Loc: So.Cal.USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by rustyfingers:
Mike, or anybody,

After 11 takes of various permutations, I think you're right not to use the recording levels (auto gain or manual).

Does anyone know how to reset the manual recording level back to the default? I think I messed my recorder up in my experiments. The manual seems to be pretty cryptic about this.

Thanks. [/b]
Just go to INPUT MENU, LEVEL, set the level to 100, then press the jog dial. (See page 32-33.)

Also be sure auto gain is off (INPUT MENU, AUTO GAIN). (See page 33.)

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#989902 - 12/04/07 09:52 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Mike A Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 521
Loc: So.Cal.USA
By the way, if normalizing a recording doesn't seem to do anything, it's because there's already a peak somewhere in the recording that is at 0dB (or whatever level you're normalizing at). So, for example, if you play a piece very quietly, but with even one crashing chord, normalizing may not change the levels much if at all because that one chord is already at or near 0dB.

Here's an example:


Notice the big spike.

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#989903 - 12/04/07 10:25 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
rustyfingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 788
Loc: Massachusetts
Thanks.
_________________________
If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.

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#989904 - 12/04/07 11:24 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Rosanna Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 1360
Loc: San Francisco Bay area
I believe in the example that Mike A cited, if you use Audacity's "Amplify" function, you can amplify by a specific amount - even if it ends up forcing that one crashing cord to go over the red line. Pros and cons of course. If your recording is way too soft, then you get one bad clip but get to have your recording more audible overall.
_________________________

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#989905 - 12/05/07 11:16 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
I don't have audacity but you can use Compressor function(if Audacity has it), it will raise the low level and compress the high level.

Serge
_________________________

“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards


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#989906 - 12/05/07 11:56 AM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1916
Loc: Netherlands
I'd advise against using a "compressor" on piano music. It will destroy the dynamics of the instrument, making the music less interesting to listen to.
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#989907 - 12/05/07 02:23 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Rosanna Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 1360
Loc: San Francisco Bay area
Serge, Audacity is free for downloading if you ever want some kind of software like that. My husband also found another free one called MP3 Wave Editor (google for free download link.) I recorded something using that - works just fine, although I haven't used it for anything else to say how it compares to Audacity.
_________________________

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#989908 - 12/06/07 09:01 PM Re: Zoom H4 Built-In Normalization Function
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
Mahlzeit, only ignorance can destroy a piano recording not compressor,limiter, reverb, EQ or anything else.

Rosanna, I have Sonar and Powertrack Pro Audio, the first one is free and the second is not really expensive.

Serge
_________________________

“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards


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