How Much Difference Does a Mic Make?

Friday, July 25th, 2014

While the folks on the high end forum at Gearslutz may debate the relative merits of multi-thousand dollar a/d converters, I suspect that most of us home recordists feel that consumer level a/d and d/a does the job. We’re a lot more likely to ascribe big differences to microphones, though, looking to different mics for different sources, different tonal flavors, different styles of music. But really, how much difference will we hear if we choose between two very different mics? (more…)

 


Zoom H6 Metronome and Overdub Issues

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

I had a lot of fun the other day shooting a self-duet video but I ran into a couple of snags trying to use the Zoom H6 metronome and overdub functions. Perhaps my experiences can help you out. (more…)

 


Zoom H6 Overdub Mixer

Friday, February 21st, 2014

I don’t overdub, or at least I do it only very rarely. And I’ve never done a project using the overdub capability of the Zoom H6. But I do know that the capability exists and I’ve tested it briefly.

When an H6 user from the UK posted on the Sound on Sound Forum that he was having a problem overdubbing because phantom power was not available, I did a quick test and learned that my unit exhibits the same issue. (more…)

 


Zoom Q4 vs Lumix GH3

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Talk about an unfair fight, this seems to be just that, based on price alone. The GH3 currently costs around $850 (Ooops, today it’s $1000 – camera prices have become highly variable it seems) for the body only, the original price was about $1300 with a kit zoom lens. The Q4 at $299 is a lot easier to fit into most budgets. And we’re talking about a very specific niche here, the “music camera,” in this category the audio quality is right up there in importance with the video. (more…)

 


First Look at the Zoom Q4

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

I started shooting video with a low end SD tape camcorder and the results were mediocre at best. I spent a lot of energy trying to get better quality with that system, but my videos were still pretty homely until I got my hands on a Flip Mino, which brought HD video to a camera that fit in the shirt pocket and cost about $100. But with the pace of technology the Flip and similar products were soon overwhelmed by the smart phone revolution and it seemed like nearly everyone had an HD video camera in their pocket. The market for dedicated pocket HD video cameras dried up overnight.

The folks at Zoom figured out a niche product, though, that let them charge a premium for a little plastic lens camera – they put good microphones and clean audio processing in the package and marketed it to their existing customers, musicians. (more…)

 


Lumix GH3 Audio vs Zoom H6

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

I’ve been using my Panasonic Lumix GH3 as my main video cam for the last year or so and it’s a terrific tool. The articulated display, live HDMI out, high bitrate codecs, WIFI connectivity, and luscious image quality have made it my favorite shooter. But I’ve avoided using camera audio even though the GH3 does have some intriguing audio features. (more…)

 


Zoom H6 vs RME UFX – Ribbon Mic Samples

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

I added some ribbon mic samples to the H6 vs UFX shootout in my last post, but I created the samples using a very low level test tone and what passes for silence in a suburban bedroom. I’ve gotten some requests for samples using voice and guitar, so here they are. (more…)

 


Zoom H6 vs RME UFX

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The H6 has four XLR inputs built-in to the body with individual phantom power options. I noticed in an earlier comparison that the preamps behind these XLRs seemed very high in quality, basically indistinguishable from those in my RME UFX interface in a quick and dirty comparison. I set out to do a more careful comparison to see if my initial impression was correct. (more…)

 





About the Blog

    Howdy, my name is Fran Guidry and this is my Homebrewed Music blog.

    I play Hawaiian slack key guitar and recorded my solo acoustic CD at home. Most of the recording information I find on the internet seems focused on bands, drums, multitracking, and so on but my main focus is recording solo acoustic guitar. Lately I’ve been enjoying video recording along with audio, so that shows up in the blog as well.

    I’m also a guitar nut. I love big ones and little ones, handmades and factory guitars, cheap ones and expensive ones. So I’ll be sharing the fun of exploring guitars as well, along with the challenges of amplifying acoustic guitars for live performance.

    Welcome!

Philosophy

    My recording philosophy is pragmatic, skeptical, not super critical. After all, the performance is by far the most important component of a track, and every aspect of any recording is a matter of taste.

    But I do like to know “about stuff.” Back in hifi days I learned about double blind testing. I learned that we humans can easily hear differences that don’t really exist. The more I’ve learned about our human auditory system, the more I’m skeptical of what people say they hear, especially if they claim that a particular microphone or preamp or cable has some magical property.

    I’ve only been recording since 2001, and when I started I found the usual places on the internet. I sought advice and accepted it, thought I would improve my recordings by using more expensive equipment. It didn’t work.

    Two things that did seem to lead to better recordings were experience and room treatment. Getting an appealing sound is the combination of many small details, and learning those details only comes from experience. Amd the sound of the recording space is obviously a big factor.

    I’ve only recorded seriously using digital technology, but I remember trying to record rehearsals and gigs back in analog days. I don’t have any nostalgia for analog recording and playback systems at all. I think even low end digital systems can capture marvelous recordings. So when I look at gear, I look for good specs: low noise, broad flat frequency response, wide dynamic range, low distortion. I’m not interested in colorful components, mics and preamps with a sound, I want the sound to be the sound of my guitar.

    But the last word is that I’m just learning and I hope you find something useful in my posts.