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Moving on from Zoom H1

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Old Wednesday 5th June 2019, 06:48   #1
GMS
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Moving on from Zoom H1

Hi, I had started using the Zoom H1 a few years back mainly for the purpose of recording bird calls during vismig. Success was patchy to say the least and Ive stopped using it. With only the internal mics, the recordings were either very quiet or not picked up at all.
Id like to get going again (also for possible nocmig recording) and still would favour a handheld, portable device over a combination of recorder/external mic or parabol. Preferably Id like to clip the recorder onto my bins or coat and have it running while Im out.
Ive read through a lot of threads and a number of options are mentioned. I think the zoom H4n pro looks too big for me, whilst Olympus ls-p4 or Tascam dr-05 look easier to handle.
My question is would any of those options actually be any better than the original zoom h1, given similar build and internal mic only. Im not looking for the highest quality recordings but for the ability to record that fly-over pipit etc.

Do all of these have the option for pre-record, i.e. a few seconds record prior pushing the recording button?

Any other options? Many thanks.
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Old Wednesday 5th June 2019, 18:53   #2
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I know nothing about this (but am looking to start out). I was asking for recorder advice and there is some info / comparison stuff between the Olympus, Tascam and Zoom model you mention in the helpful replies I've received.

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=377341
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Old Wednesday 5th June 2019, 21:47   #3
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Thank you, I’ve followed this discussion with interest. I would go for the Tascam DR-05 ‘budget’ option if I knew it was a significant upgrade to the Zoom H1.
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 12:43   #4
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I bought a Sony PCM D50 and used it with good results. I found the noise floor to be low, but as it's now discontinued, that may be quite difficult for you to check. It does have the pre-record feature which I used all the time, both for recording recitals and wild-life. (To my surprise, the current eBay prices for a "used" D50 are similar to what I paid for mine when "New" many years ago - possibly says something about its quality and scarcity on the used market. Its current replacement is much more expensive.)
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Old Saturday 6th July 2019, 20:06   #5
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For attaching to a pair of binoculars the LS-P4 is by far the smallest and lightest. Despite its tiny battery, it seems to keep recording for ages. I have regularly run mine recording for well over 3 hrs without any battery problems and removing the need for pre-rec which it doesn't have. Olympus claim a normal worst case of up to 9 hrs with its rechargeable.

It does have a zoom mic capability for its built in mics, but this reduces battery life, but should help with your bird calls.

Whether this will be adequate for your migrating birds I have no idea.

If I wanted to go for a bin mounted option this would be how I would go.

Whatever you use do not rely on auto rec level - this will always be too low - crank it up to max manually and monitor on phones, its the only way to aim for maximum performance.

The downside is that the LS=P4 is so small it isn't my choice for any kind of expandability - it is no worse than most small recorders technically, but it feels like putting the dog on the flea.

Most small recorders will give you similar performance - however the newer the design the better the pre-amps in several cases.

The following is a comparison of the Zoom H1 and the Tascam DR05

https://arxmusica.com/zoom-h1-vs-tascam-dr05/

The DR05 is 'better' in some ways than the H1, but will not give you a significant impovement in recording quality. for what you are doing. So no significant upgrade.

Most small recorders are pretty good with basic quality, Sony were a bit better.

You can of course download Audacity for improving your recordings and if you have left your recorder on Auto - clearly you havn't yet got the best out of what you already have.,

Quantum leaps in recording performance tend to come with upgrading microphones - which goes against portability.

I'm not sure if the built in Olympus Zoom mic feature will be enough for what you want- without trying it out in your environment I wouldn't want to say.

Last edited by iveljay : Saturday 6th July 2019 at 20:09.
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Old Monday 8th July 2019, 11:44   #6
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Anyone have any experience of using the Audiomoth? seems to be increasingly used in nocmig quite successfully, I've ordered a couple to try out for coastal nocmig and some woodland night recording/nocmig but they dont arrive till beginning September.
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Old Wednesday 10th July 2019, 11:54   #7
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Waiting for my Audiomoth device also for set-up in the garden.
In the meantime, I've started using the Tascam DR-05 in the last week, which I've bought for constant recording during vismig.

Seems to work ok but I've learned a few things over the last few days:
Going through hours of audio files takes quite a bit of time.
I'm generally ok with bird calls/songs but it is surprisingly hard with audio only.
Learning how to process efficiently with audacity will take some time.
I've got until about 3am where I live. Then the gulls start going and it is very difficult to extract single calls/short sequence of calls from other species.

All in all very exciting though with a few Whimbrel, Oystercatcher and some mystery calls which I'm still working on ID'ing.
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Old Wednesday 10th July 2019, 12:12   #8
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As well as raising and reducing audio levels in general, Audacity is very good at removing audio of a particular pattern, if you "teach it" what that pattern is. I'm totally self-taught and have only used a small fraction of its capabilities, but I'm impressed.
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