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Old 12-06-2017, 10:46 AM
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SprintBob SprintBob is offline
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Default Simple Home Recording Setup with ZOOM H5 - Can I Improve It?

I primarily record at home for self critique of my playing and also to be able to share a recording with friends or post on Soundcloud. For self critique, sometimes just recording with the mic on an iPad or iPhone can work but I do like something cleaner that is fairly accurate without background noise.

My room acoustics are pretty poor and for my purpose I record via the guitar pickup as follows:

Step 1 - Guitar with pickup (currently either K&K Pure or Taylor ES2) to Fishman Loudbox Mini amp via 1/4" TRS cable. EQ and gain/volume either by amp only (guitars with K&K pickups) or combination amp and onboard EQ (Taylor guitars with ES2).

Step 2 - Amp XLR output to ZOOM H5 XLR input (using only 1 of 2 XLR inputs on the H5)

Step 3 - Input on the ZOOM H5 configured to convert single XLR input to dual (L/R) mono signal for recording.

I've been pretty happy with the results so far but wonder if I continue to record in mono as above, would an EQ/preamp box between the guitar and amp offer improvement.

Thanks for any feedback or suggestions.
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Last edited by SprintBob; 12-07-2017 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 12-30-2017, 12:00 PM
MikeMcKee MikeMcKee is offline
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Not sure what you are trying to achieve. But, if you want the most natural acoustic sound I would think you'd want to use either the onboard XY mic setup on the H5, or use a pair of external mics in the 1 and 2 inputs. I have an H5 and am really pleased with it. I had an H4n for years, and recently upgraded to the H5. It is better. I think you can actually get quite nice recordings just using the onboard mics. I have a pair of Oktava condenser mics that I use when I record. They are superb, and provide a better recording than the onboard mics. All I do after I've recorded is drop into Garageband and just do some final touches. Easy as can be, and don't have to deal with any pickup or amped issues. Mike
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:04 PM
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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I think you'd get a better sound with mics than with any pickup, even with "poor" room acoustics. There are ways to get a decent sound out of pickups (ToneDexter, for example), but I've yet to hear any pickup that rivals even a dirt cheap mic, and the Zoom, even with just the internal mics, can sound quite good.

What makes your room sound poor? And how poor?

And of course, it depends on what you want to do. Recording thru an amp is going to sound like you're playing thru an amp. Not what most people would probably call a good acoustic sound. Good enough for live, but not the expected sound for a recording, unless, of course, you want that pickup thru an amp sound.

There are things you can do in post-processing to somewhat improve a direct pickup recording - like the ones you say you record as "dual mono". EQ, stereo simulation, and reverb can go a long way, tho not far enough to fool anyone if they're expecting a natural acoustic sound. (If that's what you're going for)

I've posted Zoom/internal mic recordings done in an intreated room (just my living room), that are probably here somewhere, and that I think sound ok. If yours don't sound good, I'd investigate why - it should be possible, and pretty easy, unless we're talking about room acoustics that are truly horrible, like an all-concrete bunker or something. The key is to use close micing to minimize the room sound. If you're in a "normal" living room, bedroom, etc, you should be able to get very nice results that way.

It might help to post some examples, people might be able to suggest ways to get it better.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:54 AM
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Here are three recordings (Fishin Blues, Windy and Warm, Key to the Kingdom) using the technique I described above:







Fishin Blues and Key to the Kingdom were done with Taylor K22 and 714ce respectively with Taylor ES-2 onboard EQ going to amp to H5. Windy and Warm done on Robinson 12 fret dread with K&K Pure going through amp to H5. Thanks for the interest and feedback gents.
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Larivee D03-SO
Rainsong P-12
Pono 0020 12 fret
Cordoba GK Pro Negra

Last edited by SprintBob; 12-31-2017 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 12-31-2017, 02:06 PM
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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I think all of these sound fine for how they were done. As pickup sounds go, very reasonable. For self-critique, sharing with friends, etc, they seem more than good enough. If you want to get a better sound, post-processing could do a fair bit (make one of these downloadable, and I can show you some options and what they would do). The mics should sound better still, tho.
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Last edited by Doug Young; 12-31-2017 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 12-31-2017, 02:28 PM
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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BTW, here's a thread from a while back where I experimented with the Zoom H6 in non-optimal rooms, including just sitting on the dryer in the laundry room. The acoustics there are pretty unfriendly. If you're not getting results somewhere in this ballpark, it might be worth exploring what's going on:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=476512
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:29 PM
harpspitfire harpspitfire is offline
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i dont try to do anything special or with equipment- i use a simple acoustic/electric plugged in with a mike, recorded with a cheap usb mike on audacity, then ill go back and add a track of bass or whatever, sounds ok and good enough for me not spending any money
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