Tapping a mixing desk for a pure Soundboard using H5... help, please

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abyssquick
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Tapping a mixing desk for a pure Soundboard using H5... help, please

Post by abyssquick » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:30 pm

Please forgive me if these questions have been addressed before. Kindly, point me to the responses already on this site for my education, if you will.

I am seeking advice on using an H5 to record the output of a nightclub soundboard. I am not a novice to live recording, having successfully captured over 200 Grateful Dead shows and a combined total of nearly 1000 concerts, both in stealth and permitted recording. However, all those were “Audience” recordings, made with DAT decks and, mostly, Nuemann mics during the 90’s.

As a recording dinosaur, I find myself in the unique position of being granted a patch from a nightclub soundboard, for the first time in life, on October 20. My wife, being an enormous fan of the band, enthusiastically purchased an H5 for me in order to document the show. I suddenly realized that I have absolutely NO previous experience tapping a mixing desk and have researched the basic process, accumulating the necessary cords and adapters potentially required. The advice I am specifically asking is: What is the BEST recording mode on the H5 to use for this? The sound man says he mixes for stereo and the position of the board is FOH which will not allow for good use of the X/Y mics for matrix mix. Thus, I plan to use inputs 1/2 as a direct XLR connection, padded, to the mixer with the provided mics removed (only to get them out of the way) for a pure soundboard recording. I have read the manual, but I am a bit confused about the options and methods on the H5. I do plan to practice this week, using the PRO O/P’s of 2 Panasonic 3800 DAT machines still in my rig. I will to edit and process with Adobe Audition, has I have always done, and post my recording on archive.org, as the band permits. 48khz/24 is my preferred sampling rate. So…. My questions:

1) Is it advisable to capture in STEREO mode or 2 track L/R mono and mix on Audition?

2) If I record L/R 2 track, is it superior to mix with on-board “mix down” option or use editing software?

3) If I am understanding correctly, I cannot make a BU recording simultaneously in STEREO 1/2 input mode?

4) In the case of a largely MONO desk mix, does one incorporate artificial stereo during processing or keep the recording as-is for prosperity?

5) How would you, as an H5 user, handle my situation for the finest quality recording possible to be disseminated on Live Music Taper sites?

My H5 arrives tomorrow, 10/11 and I have a couple of days before we fly out to the venue to become familiar with the device. In advance, please know I appreciate any tips, links, instructions and method any of you experienced taping brethren can provide. Anyone may contact me directly or privately with input.

THANK YOU!
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Re: Tapping a mixing desk for a pure Soundboard using H5... help, please

Post by still_fiddlin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:49 pm

I would say you have it pretty well under control.

Either 44.1 or 48 (the latter if you think you'll add the mix to video, generally) and 24-bit should be fine (lots of opinions on this but I generally set up for 48/24 anymore).

If the house mix is stereo then record both outputs from the board as separate tracks would be my vote, and then plan to mix/balance in Audition. I don't see any advantage to recording stereo, except remember to enable the channels separately and push the big record button, i.e., one more item to check off.

I don't use Audition, but in Logic you can create "Alternatives" of the project and keep the original project with just the raw tracks as-is. The FX, EQs, balance actions taken in the DAW generally are non-destructive and the original media files should always be intact, regardless. That's how I would experiment with the stereo spread FX on the master bus. (Again, speaking from Logic Pro experience.)

If you have time to get the EXH-6 expander you could go into those inputs, which use LR, and then be able to use the backup feature.

Make some test runs and create a checklist. The most important is to have extra SD cards and to absolutely make sure the recording is happening - watch for the advancing clock/counter. Don't walk away until you see the level meters moving and the track counter. (Sounds stupid, but in the excitement, you can push a button twice - BTDT.)

Watch the levels during soundcheck if you are able. Do not get close to 0, and if you're in an output that's post-master-fader, err on the side of caution. Check occasionally if you can to make sure you didn't start clipping. I'd set the limiter on both channels on the H5 (assuming it has one like my H6), just in case.

Keep notes, and stop/restart if there's a break and you can get back to the board.

Good luck, and take extra batteries, unless you have a USB power charger pack it will run from.
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Re: Tapping a mixing desk for a pure Soundboard using H5... help, please

Post by greenA2 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:24 pm

still_fiddlin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:49 pm

If you have time to get the EXH-6 expander you could go into those inputs, which use LR, and then be able to use the backup feature.
You can bypass the mics using the line in minijack (if you have the cables to go from the TRS jack outs of the mixer to a stereo minijack. Not entirely sure if the backup recording mode would still work if you do this, I only used it with the mics.

When recording from the board I go a bit crazy and use the multifile mode and get individual instruments in individual channels (small band!). If that is not an option, see if at least you could get the lead instrument or vocal on its own mono channel as well as the stereo mix, it might be useful if things sound a bit muffled, for remixing.

Is everything miked and going through the board (including drums, bass and guitar amps etc.)? If not, you might need to have room mics somehow.
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Re: Tapping a mixing desk for a pure Soundboard using H5... help, please

Post by Wulfraed » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:10 am

From the description, it sounded to me as if the available feed was the already mixed stereo signal.

If so, recording individual track mode probably won't gain much if any advantage -- post recording adjustment of the levels is going to affect the stereo placement of the recording in strange ways, and you can not perform independent panning adjustments as the performers are not isolated (they are already in both channels).

I'd probably record in stereo (you can always split a stereo file if really needing to work the left and right separately, but using stereo should simplify making settings).

Be ready to activate the attenuator (page 98 of the manual), as that mixing deck is likely using professional level line-outs, not the consumer line level that is the default for Zoom. (Note that this is only available for the two XLR inputs -- using any other module will likely result in overload clipping).

The house mixer may already have applied a compression stage (you should ask) -- if so, avoid using a Zoom compressor setting (I'd probably avoid it anyway -- record 24-bit to gain some headroom, and if needed, apply a compressor later on the computer just before converting down to 16-bit [if you intend to burn a CD, you'll need 16-bit/44.1kHz stereo])
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Re: Tapping a mixing desk for a pure Soundboard using H5... help, please

Post by still_fiddlin » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:20 am

Wulfraed wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:10 am
...
Be ready to activate the attenuator (page 98 of the manual), as that mixing deck is likely using professional level line-outs, not the consumer line level that is the default for Zoom. (Note that this is only available for the two XLR inputs -- using any other module will likely result in overload clipping).
...
I agree the 1/8" stereo jack likely will not handle a commercial level line-out (seen it with Tascam units trying to handle a Mackie's Tape Out, for instance); but, except for the lack of phantom power, the EXH-6's combo jacks and pad sliders behave the same as the built-in ones on my H6. Or, do you have a different experience?
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Re: Tapping a mixing desk for a pure Soundboard using H5... help, please

Post by Wulfraed » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:08 am

still_fiddlin wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:20 am
Wulfraed wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:10 am
...
Be ready to activate the attenuator (page 98 of the manual), as that mixing deck is likely using professional level line-outs, not the consumer line level that is the default for Zoom. (Note that this is only available for the two XLR inputs -- using any other module will likely result in overload clipping).
...
I agree the 1/8" stereo jack likely will not handle a commercial level line-out (seen it with Tascam units trying to handle a Mackie's Tape Out, for instance); but, except for the lack of phantom power, the EXH-6's combo jacks and pad sliders behave the same as the built-in ones on my H6. Or, do you have a different experience?
Hadn't realized the EXH-6 had hardware attenuation switches -- the OP's H5 used menu entry for the attenuation (while the H6 has switches for each of its inputs)
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Re: Tapping a mixing desk for a pure Soundboard using H5... help, please

Post by greenA2 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:58 am

Wulfraed wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:10 am
If so, recording individual track mode probably won't gain much if any advantage -- post recording adjustment of the levels is going to affect the stereo placement of the recording in strange ways, and you can not perform independent panning adjustments as the performers are not isolated (they are already in both channels).
True but a lot of live music is basically mono, everything is centre panned. And mixing to mono is always an option if it would work better than the stereo.
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