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Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?

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Tazeen Bari
Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Jan 15, 2013 at 11:58:03 am

I recently became the owner of a Tascam Dr-100MkII.

I have been using the the unidirectional mics for some indoor voice recordings. The levels are at 9 and the gain is set to low. The recorder is held by the person and kept pretty close to their mouth. The output of the recorder is very low - i can barely hear it. So i have been increasing the gain in post.

The result is clear but not as clean as i would like it to be considered the controlled environment and the faint background shahh shahh (hope this makes sense) noise increases. When i increase the gain on the recorder the shnah shah noise increases as well.

So what is best practice in this case. To increase gain on the recorder or in post?

Secondly, when hooking up a shotgun mic (AT897) to the recorder i am getting the same low levels and it sounds really noisy when i increase the gain on the recorder. The voice also has a metallic ring to it.

Help please! I am new to this and would really appreciate some feedback as i am eventually aiming for voice recordings that sound clean and professional.

Thanks!


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Peter Groom
Re: Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Jan 15, 2013 at 2:02:54 pm

are these unidirectional mics the on board fixed mics?

What do the meters say on the unit. Low / med / high?
How are you getting it into the computer. Digital audio, file or analogue?
What are the mic line switches set to.
does the AT mic have power internally?

peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Tazeen Bari
Re: Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Jan 15, 2013 at 3:11:26 pm

Hi Peter

Thanks for your response!

The unidirectional mics are onboard.

The mic gain is on the back of the unit and it gives options for low/med/high.

I am getting the audio into the computer through a USB cable, they are WAVE files. I am editing the audio in FCP7 which i know is a bit ridiculous but as i normally do video editing i was comfortable using it. In FCP in the audio filters there is the gain filter which i have been applying to the WAVE files to boost the levels.

This portable tascam gives four mic options and there is a control in the front to set it to the mic you are using. It can be set to uni(onboard) or omni (onboard) or XLR or Line 2. On the botttom of the audio recorder near the XLR inputs there is the option to set it to mic or line 1. I didnt think the mic or line setting had anything to do with the unidirectional onboard recordings? Does it? When using the unidirectional mics it has been set to mic. When recording with the XLR option and using the shotgun it has also been set to mic as i connect the shotgun directly to the recorder with an XLR cable.

Yes, you can put a battery in the AT. The recorder also has phantom power but when i used it on phantom power the battery of the audio recorder drained really quickly.

Hope this answers your questions :)


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Peter Groom
Re: Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Jan 15, 2013 at 4:19:00 pm

I wouldnt have thought that the mic line setting would have anything to do with the onboard mics but ive never seen or touched this unit before.

getting it into the pc via usb as wavs is god, and theres nothing wrong with using FCP or avid or anything else.

Id be looking at what your meters on the tascam are doing. Is there a sensitivity control anywhere in a menu IN ADDITION to the hardware pots on the unit?

yes phantom will drain the batteries quickly. It does on my Zoom H4n.

You just need to get to the bottom of the levels. You should be making a recording with a healthy level, hence creating a real difference between your audio and the ever present noise floor. Boosting in edit machine will boost the hiss / bg noise equally so its best to get the recording correct 1st and boost only a little in the mix.

You really need someone who has the unit. have you spoken to tascam?
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Bob Kessler
Re: Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Jan 15, 2013 at 4:41:16 pm

FYI -

Yes, when the DR-100mkII supplies phantom power to the mic(s) the batteries are drained fairly quickly, but mics that use a battery (AT897, NTG-2, etc.) have a quite noticeably lower volume output levels. This means you will have to increase the input gain on the DR-100 and therefor will have increased pre-amp noise.

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Tazeen Bari
Re: Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Jan 18, 2013 at 8:17:06 pm

Thanks for the advice and input!

Peter - I will definitely check out sensitivity in the menu. So far i have only used the level control on the unit. I dont know anyone here who has this unit or has used it. Contacting Tascam is a good idea and i will go ahead and do that. However it seems like Bob has one or is familiar with it. The wonder of the internet :)

Bob - Your response makes me feel like im stuck between a rock and a hard place :) Low levels or pre amp noise. But obviously technology is not perfect, especially that of the cheaper variety, but i want to get the best use out of my mic and this unit. I generally use it for documentaries - natural sounds, outdoor, indoor and on the go interviews. I dont have a boom pole so i normally use a hand grip mount for the mic. As you seem to be familiar with the unit i would really appreciate it if you could briefly walk me through the best settings for using it. Is it possible to use the mic with both phantom power and the battery? Is that even possible?

Peter and Bob - As i am learning more about sound i have a question - you both used different words for what i described as shanh shanh and just to remind you this was the noise in a completely controlled quiet room which only became apparent when i increased the gain in post. Hiss, bg noise and pre amp noise. Could you explain the difference? However i can image it might be hard as i probably have to hear it identify it.

Thanks a million.


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Peter Groom
Re: Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:16:37 pm

Ok.
All mics, pre amps , electronics, etc generate a certain level of inherent noise. This is called the noise floor, and is one of the main differences in engineering between a £100 mic and a £3000 mic etc. This noise floor is always there, but thats not the issue, The issue is creating a recording that is sufficiently well above the noise floor to create as much separation. If the difference between the recorded audio and the noise floow is massive, then increasing levels in post will increase both but the RELATIONSHIP betwqeen them remains the same.

Even the quietest room has a bg noise level, its just a matter of how quiet or noisy this is. But its the relationship between the nose floor and the audio average youre trying to maximise. There go the £££.

Equipment has in its tech specs this "signal to noise ratio".

re
Is it possible to use the mic with both phantom power and the battery? Is that even possible?

NO. The mic will take its power from the onboard battery OR the external power. Not both. I dont know which it will favour 1st. THAT is a good question that Im ashamed to say I dont know the answer to.
Were all learning every day. When I stop learning, Ill get a job in a bank.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Tazeen Bari
Re: Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Jan 19, 2013 at 1:44:17 pm

Thanks! You explained that really well. No need to get a job in a bank!


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Brandon Fenty
Re: Tascam Dr-100MkII - Gain in recording or post?
on Nov 19, 2013 at 10:48:38 pm

I know I'm resurrecting an old thread here, but with my recorder, when I hit record, I can then and ONLY then adjust the record level. Mine defaulted to 1, got much better results around 40-50. Hope this might help someone else looking for answers.

http://www.orangeslicevideo.com


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