Needing advice on what hardware to get for my needs. H5 or h6?

Discuss the Zoom H6, H5, H4, H4n, H2, H2n, and H1. Please don't "post and run". Participate in the discussion. Thanks.
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Beacon
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Needing advice on what hardware to get for my needs. H5 or h6?

Post by Beacon » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:24 pm

Hi everyone. I'm new to the recording world and would love to get some input. I am interested in the h5 or h6 but I'm just wondering about some things.
I plan on doing 1 on 1 interviews with people and want to make sure the audio will be picked up properly. I will be about 15 to 20 away from the camera with a full body shot out in nature. I am wanting to pick up voice without having the recorder in the shot. I could place it on the ground just out of shot maybe 5 to 8 feet from me or my subject. I think a shotgun would probably have to be used but I don't know. Would it pic up audio good enough without a bunch of distortion? I don't mind some nature sounds being picked up at all but I don't want them to be louder than our voice. For some shots I guess a wireless lavalier mic could work but I will have some shots with me or my subject moving their arms a bunch (juggling) so I think that mic might get noisy. Is there any videos out there of someone talking while backing up from a shotgun mic to show how far back it pics up?

Also I plan on doing podcasts. What onboard mic would you suggest I use to pic up 2 people sitting across from each other with the recorder on the table? I'm wondering if I should get the h5 and get a shotgun mic or spend a bit extra to get the h6 with the side mic if that would work better for podcasts. If neither works then maybe the I would just get Lavalier mics for that. If that was the case does anyone recommend a good 2 mic wireless setup?

I'm hoping to get this soon, like cyber monday if I find a deal.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Wulfraed
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Re: Needing advice on what hardware to get for my needs. H5 or h6?

Post by Wulfraed » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:03 pm

Beacon wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:24 pm

I plan on doing 1 on 1 interviews with people and want to make sure the audio will be picked up properly. I will be about 15 to 20 away from the camera with a full body shot out in nature. I am wanting to pick up voice without having the
"15 to 20" WHAT? Inches, Feet, Meters/Yards?
recorder in the shot. I could place it on the ground just out of shot maybe 5 to 8 feet from me or my subject. I think a shotgun would probably have to be used but I don't know. Would it pic up audio good enough without a bunch of
Shotguns are highly directional (and normally mono -- though many mid/side stereo configurations use a shotgun for the mid, with a figure-8 behind it for the side). Using a fixed shotgun located some feet away means both you and the subject will need to stand at roughly equal aspects to the microphone, to have equal pickup. Even stepping back a pace could result in one person dropping out.

If you already have a cameraman, you may want to consider adding a boom operator -- shotgun on the end of a 15-20 foot pole, which is held above (out of view) between the speakers, and which the operator turns to aim the shotgun at the current (or dominant) speaker.
distortion? I don't mind some nature sounds being picked up at all but I don't want them to be louder than our
A rough way to estimate (very rough as I don't know if a log scale or linear scale is more representative) is to take the polar plot of the microphone, and scale it over a map of the environment -- the center of the plot is the location of the microphone, and with the (typically thick/black) line crossing the desired sound source... Any sound source on the line will be received equally; outside the line will be attenuated while inside will be stronger.
voice. For some shots I guess a wireless lavalier mic could work but I will have some shots with me or my subject moving their arms a bunch (juggling) so I think that mic might get noisy. Is there any videos out there of someone talking while backing up from a shotgun mic to show how far back it pics up?
"how far back" is the wrong question... It depends upon how much input gain is used, along with what noise sources exist between the microphone and speaker (refer back to my polar plot visualization). And you could always make a parabolic reflector while aiming the shotgun into the reflector focus point https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabolic_microphone
Also I plan on doing podcasts. What onboard mic would you suggest I use to pic up 2 people sitting across from each other with the recorder on the table? I'm wondering if I should get the h5 and get a shotgun mic or spend a bit extra to get the h6 with the side mic if that would work better for podcasts. If neither works then maybe the I would just get Lavalier mics for that. If that was the case does anyone recommend a good 2 mic wireless setup?
Positioning the unit, with an X/Y microphone head, on the table so that it forms a triangle with the two people, would allow for a somewhat natural stereo effect.

Note that as soon as you end up with dual mono microphones (via the XLR inputs) you run into the problem of unnatural stereo -- one speaker is only in the left, the other is only in the right... requires setting up panning in a multi-track mode to get a more pleasing mix.

Also, if going the route of individual microphones, for something taking place around a table top, why spend for wireless... Just get a few desktop microphone stands and a pair of decent microphones (you could start with a pair of cheap dynamics -- a PG58 with a floor stand is advertised for $60, SM58/stand for $100; side-address MXL 990 studio condenser with shock mount [but no stand] is around $80, so call it $200 for a pair with stands and cables; 990 with 993 condenser instrument [end-address] kit is $130)

Individual microphones, located relatively close to the speaker, means you can cut down the input gain, and that will cut down the area of influence for sporadic noise (again, map the environment and scale the polar plots to get an idea of influence).
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Lanikai S-C, SMC-E; GoldTone Banjo-Uke; Flatiron 1C, A5; Big Muddy M1-W; Ovation MM68AX, CSE-44; Orpheus Valley Fiesta FS; Taylor NS-72ce, T5-S1; Musima (4st, 20 fret, tenor-tuned) banjo; bongos, dumbeks, bodhrans, hand drum, tambourine; recorder: soprano, alto, tenor; Cedar Flute (5 sizes); Pennywhistle (3 keys); Casio keyboards

Beacon
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Re: Needing advice on what hardware to get for my needs. H5 or h6?

Post by Beacon » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:48 pm

Sorry I meant to put in there that it would be 15 to 20 foot away from the camera.
I don't have a camera man so someone holding a boom mic would not work.
I realize more gain would be needed the further back the subject would go so I was hoping to find a video of someone backing up and adjusting gain.
If the xy mic would work for a podcast setup do you think the H6 mic would be better than the h5 because of the rotating mics? I guess I could get a couple sm58s to do interviews with but I was hoping to cut down on the need for extra gear to backpack into the location (hoping to do podcasts in nature on mountains or elsewhere). As I said I am new and fairly clueless when it comes to recording audio. I was hoping to find a recorder with a onboard mic to be able to do everything I need. It seams that won't be possible huh?
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Wulfraed
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Re: Needing advice on what hardware to get for my needs. H5 or h6?

Post by Wulfraed » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:00 pm

The H6 head gives 90 and 120 deg fields... The H5 is head is just 90 degree. Again, visualize the polar plots over the environment: With a 90deg width, each channel peaks at 45 degrees to left/right of the head. A 120deg width moves the peaks to 60deg left/right. Note that these are the PEAK channel angles -- but the capsules are still responsive in a 180deg spread (the dead zone for the right channel, in a 90 width, is at 135 deg left from center, and that is direct side input on the other channel).

Presuming you and subject are only a few feet apart, a 90deg is probably sufficient, since anything less than a few feet from the microphones is going to be mostly in the center of the two. Visualize an isosceles triangle where the base is you-subject, and the "height" is from baseline to microphone. Now consider what the height would have to be to maximize channel peak (while not going outside it -- most configurations will end up with both of you inside the triangle).

Even with the 90deg, if you-subject is 4ft, and you split it so that each side gets half the width (45deg) and 45deg at each person, it means the unit is only two feet to the side (and sqrt(8) from each speaker).

Any further distance and you may want a narrow pick-up pattern, not a wider one.

A Mid/Side stereo shotgun with the mixing set to a narrow field might be of use (essentially, you reduce the side element to only provide enough to hint that the speakers on on opposite sides, while also reducing the noise from the side element). OTOH -- a mid/side WILL pick up more environment sound as the side element is peaked directly to each side, and minimum directly toward the mid/shotgun (and behind the mid too). A pure shotgun, as pointed out, will be mono -- any recording mode that produces a stereo file will have one channel being just line noise (and "mono mix" will be worse -- as it will average the shotgun with "no connection" line noise, and save the result in both channels). Mono means no separation of speakers in the audio, they will be "one mouth" when played back.
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IISS Elusive Unicorn (detached)

Superscope PSD-300; BOSS BR-600, Zoom HD16cd, Zoom R16, BOSS BR-800, Zoom H2n
Now to (re)learn to play an instrument

Lanikai S-C, SMC-E; GoldTone Banjo-Uke; Flatiron 1C, A5; Big Muddy M1-W; Ovation MM68AX, CSE-44; Orpheus Valley Fiesta FS; Taylor NS-72ce, T5-S1; Musima (4st, 20 fret, tenor-tuned) banjo; bongos, dumbeks, bodhrans, hand drum, tambourine; recorder: soprano, alto, tenor; Cedar Flute (5 sizes); Pennywhistle (3 keys); Casio keyboards

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