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Old May 28, 2008, 11:15 AM   #1
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Zoom H2 with MacSpeech Dictate, video recording?

If the Zoom H2 is not an option, what do you recommend, from your own personal experience, for MacSpeech.

It seems this mic would be useful as well, for limited recording of sound effects, music, and to record the sound tracks for video.

In another article in this forum suggests that the Zoomís preamps are inadequate. How would that pertain to its actual recording ability?

Last edited by czardonic; May 28, 2008 at 11:16 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old May 30, 2008, 08:42 AM   #2
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How uncompromising?

I'm guessing it depends on where you are coming from. I have an H2 and find it useful for the kinds of uses you describe (video, sound effects, spoken-word, soundscapes). In low cost items, the built-in pre-amps and the ADC are the key points of potential compromise, just as the DAC and the little amp in an iPod explain why an iPod isn't an audiophile device. I compared a similar recording from my H2 with one I made with a large diaphragm entry-level Rodes mic pre-amped by my edirol FA-66 (which some have described as sounding "clean but digital"). The H2 image was not as full and life-like as the Rodes, but it was still pretty good. Perhaps spending 4 x as much on a Marantz and plugging in an external mic would surpass my Rodes set-up, but I suspect not by much if any. My point is that at a certain point the diminishing-returns-on-expenditure graph has to make you think twice. The H2 is inexpensive and sounds very good. If spending four times as much gives you results comparable to my home-studio kit, the benefits are at the margins. If that kind of marginal difference; that slightly "thinner" more "brittle" or "digital" sound makes your ears bleed, an H2 may not be for you! Otherwise, an inexpensive compromise.
ps I know nothing of MacSpeech (if it's voice recognition, you'd need something noise-cancelling. Condensers pick up everything)
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Old May 31, 2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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Voice recognition is most important to me at the moment. Iím hoping that the wind buffer, or whatever itís called, might be enough to enable MacSpeech to distinguish my voice well enough to enable recognition. The new version is using the Dragon engine, which is supposed to be vastly superior to anything previous on the Mac.
If it doesnít work for that, from the sound samples Iíve heard, it should work plenty well enough to record public meetings, business meetings, editorial interviews, and the like. Granted, itís not good enough for professional music recording, but should be OK for my neighbors acoustic guitar and another friendís church choir. Weíll see. I ordered it from Beach Camera, Thursday night. The guitar player has already offered to go in halvies with me, so that should recoup enough to pay for an adequate noise canceling mic.
As for the ďbrittleĒ sound, well, it is a sad compromise of this digital age. Iíve heard nothing digital to compare to my old Zappa vinyls, ancient Marantz turntable, Fischer 500 tuner, and Wharfdale ďsand filledĒ speakers.
For decades, Iíd wanted a Nagra field recorder, to record attitude and inflection where a merely written script seemed lacking, to pass on to professional actors. Back then, I made do with a TEAC reel-to-reel tape deck, and a who-knows-what mic, but it was always a hassle to set up and get going. So, at any rate, this H2 should serve that purpose quite well, at the mere push of a button.

Realizing the necessity for great preamps must be obvious most everybody here, itís not to me. Iíd taken for granted that amps and preamps were only critical to playback, not to the recording itself.
Whereís a good source for an ignoramus to get a handle on this?
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 04:05 PM   #4
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I think that you are in the right place, though there is quite a bit of posturing that goes on. There are a few people on this forum who really know what they are talking about, and quite a few people with no more knowledge or talent than me, but who have spent lots more money. If you have spent $3000 on a valve front-end preamp you are not going to concede that many people can't hear the difference, and that the quality-limiting step is the operator! I'd be interested in your thoughts on the sound of the H2 once you've put it through its paces.

In terms of pro-production, talented people can make do with severe limitations. There is plenty of 80s music that utilised the original Fairlight CMI with 8 whole bits of resolution! Music taste aside, the producers and musicians worked with the limitations to deliver a polished product. I think I've read an article where an electronic musician was using "found sounds" recorded with an H4 on commercially released material. Some musicians can even make the ugly artefacts of pitch/time-shifted mp3 samples sit nicely in a mix.

This forum needs more people who love sound who are able to admit the limitations of their knowledge.
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