H2n, R24 and DAW

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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sciurius
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H2n, R24 and DAW

Post by sciurius » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:23 am

When recording with my R24 I often use the H2n as a microphone. So the flow is: H2n line-out to R24 input, record with the R24, and move the WAV files from the R24 to the PC for further processing with the DAW (Ardour).

Just wondering: Would the recording be of better quality when done on the H2n and move the WAV files from the H2n to the PC?
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Wulfraed
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Re: H2n, R24 and DAW

Post by Wulfraed » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:15 am

I would think that would be an easy experiment to perform... And since you would have to be the final arbiter, having someone else say yea or nay

Start both units in record mode, provide some synchronization sound (fast single hand-clap, say) at the start and at the end of a session. Copy the files from both units, and compare them in the DAW.

Since the H2n doesn't have a true line-out, you'd avoid the annoyance of having to match up the H2n output volume against the R24 input gain (is it better to turn up the H2n and reduce the R24 gain, or turn down the H2n and increase the gain). A true line-out is a fixed level and would always be the same regardless of signal.

I'd expect the direct to be a touch better quality as you don't add any electrical noise from the headphone jack and R24 pre-amps. After all, your signal path is going:

Analog -> H2n microphone -> ADC -> H2n internals -> DAC -> H2n headphone -> analog -> R24 input -> ADC -> R24 internals...

I suggested a hand clap at the start and end for a reason. Many years (and three computers ago) I performed a small test with an H2, HD16, R16, BOSS BR-600, Superscope CD-recorder, Canon XH-A1, and a Canon consumer video camera. At the end of a 30-minute (approximately) recording session the two video cameras came in practically identical in run time, the Superscope was next in accuracy, being off by about 5 video frames. The BR-600 and the Zoom gear varied further -- the worst device was off by about 15 video frames (half a second over 30 minutes); the BR-600 was on one side, and the Zoom gear was on the other side.

High end video cameras need precise internal clocks to keep the video in sync. The Superscope recorder is licensed to duplicate copy-protected audio CDs and you could buy three H2n for what I paid for it. Lower-cost audio gear doesn't have as precise a clock, so some devices may be sampling faster than the nominal 44.1kHz, others sampling slower. When you compare these, aligning the start clap, a device sampling fast will have more samples, and the recording will be longer than a device sampling slow.

If you are only using recordings from one device, the clock speed won't be a concern -- no one will notice the subtle pitch shift. If you were to use recordings from multiple devices, you might have to perform a time-stretch/compress operation in order to align both devices. This does ignore an irregularities if the devices have unstable clocks (changing speed with temperature, for instance), since those timing errors could be anywhere in the recording, and different areas between devices.
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sciurius
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Re: H2n, R24 and DAW

Post by sciurius » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:01 am

Thanks for your exstensive reply (may I add "as usual"?).

The main point is that the line-out of the H2n comes from the ADC-DAC route. So it will allways be better to have the H2n record directly to WAV.
Whether that will be actually audible is something I won't even try to investigate.

The time skew is an interesting topic, though.
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Re: H2n, R24 and DAW

Post by sciurius » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:24 am

I made a recording of a music source connected to H2n line-in, and line-out to the R24.
Of the 304 seconds recording, the H2n was 16 ms shorter. An accuracy of 99.995%. That's less than 0.2 seconds per hour.
Good enough for me :) .

And as expected, I could not hear any difference between the recordings.
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