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Olympus LS-P4 Settings - For Use With ME66 (1 Viewer)

NorthernHarrier

Active member
I've received m LS-P4, and here are the settings I'm thinking of using with the ME66/K6 mic I'm going to receive this week:

Recording Level: manual
Noise Limiter: off
Recording Mode: PCM (WAV) 44.1 kHz 24 bit
Zoom Mic: off
Low Cut Filter: on
Middle Microphone: off

Are these settings OK, as a starting configuration in using the LS-P4 with the ME66/K6? I could set the recording level on high, but why introduce noise I don't necessarily need - why not see what the external mic can do on its own?

I don't know if it's a good idea to leave the low-cut filter on. Could possibly eliminate some noise I want to keep, but I believe most bird vocalizations are above the level that would be cut.

Thanks for the help,
Jeff
 

iveljay

Well-known member
Just had another glance at your threads on this.

When you insert a microphone cable into the LS-P4 it automatically switches off the internal mics so the Zoom Mic and Mid Mic will be taken care of. No problem with what you have done, other than remember to switch them back when not using the shotgun. Many recorders require you to do the switch manually in a menu or physical switch, the LS-P4 does it for you.

I think that there is a setting for plug in power in the menu, ideally this should be off for your current set-up but shouldn't be a problem if left on.

From your other thread, the biggest problems people have with xlr to 3.5 jacks is that some end up with balanced connectors which means that the l & r inputs are out of phase with each other which effectively means they end up with little birdsong but amplified noise. The second most common problem is that they just get a lh channel recorded, but this is easily fixed in Audacity.

With any luck you shouldn't have any real problems from what you have said so far.

I suggest strongly that you should take along some cheap headphones or ear buds to get the best possible aim as these devices are very directional and will also warn you that you are unintentionally recording private conversations, a definite problem if testing in your back garden/yard and a good way of falling out with neighbours.

As you will see from past threads the Olympus LS series have been used with your type microphone over many years with excellent results, other than when there has been a cabling problem, so hopefully you should soon be getting some useful recordings.

Good luck
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
Thank You

Just had another glance at your threads on this.

When you insert a microphone cable into the LS-P4 it automatically switches off the internal mics so the Zoom Mic and Mid Mic will be taken care of. No problem with what you have done, other than remember to switch them back when not using the shotgun. Many recorders require you to do the switch manually in a menu or physical switch, the LS-P4 does it for you.

I think that there is a setting for plug in power in the menu, ideally this should be off for your current set-up but shouldn't be a problem if left on.

From your other thread, the biggest problems people have with xlr to 3.5 jacks is that some end up with balanced connectors which means that the l & r inputs are out of phase with each other which effectively means they end up with little birdsong but amplified noise. The second most common problem is that they just get a lh channel recorded, but this is easily fixed in Audacity.

With any luck you shouldn't have any real problems from what you have said so far.

I suggest strongly that you should take along some cheap headphones or ear buds to get the best possible aim as these devices are very directional and will also warn you that you are unintentionally recording private conversations, a definite problem if testing in your back garden/yard and a good way of falling out with neighbours.

As you will see from past threads the Olympus LS series have been used with your type microphone over many years with excellent results, other than when there has been a cabling problem, so hopefully you should soon be getting some useful recordings.

Good luck

Now I'm confused. I bought the cables with unbalanced connectors, due to the recommendations of people posting in this forum. However, now I've learned that the K6 power module has a xlr connection that is balanced. That means these unbalanced cables might not work. I guess I really need a cable that has a balanced xlr connector on one end, and an unbalanced 3.5mm plug on the other end?

Yes, I will take earbuds with me.

I appreciate your suggestion to make sure the plug-in power selection is "off" when using the ME66 and recorder. I do not remember seeing that in the menus - I will take a look at it again and follow your suggestion.

In reading through the manual, it gradually occurred to me that the mic settings are turned off when an external mic is plugged in. It doesn't say that explicitly, so I was not entirely sure, but I believe you are correct.

I am going to test the recorder using the internal mics this weekend, as I do not have the ME66 yet and will not until Monday. This is a good opportunity to see what the zoom mic feature can do on its own, so I will have a valid comparison in performance when I plug in and begin to use the Sennheiser mic.

Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough response to my questions.
Jeff
 
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marcsantacurz

Well-known member
I tested my cable with an ohmmeter. It does the right thing. The + goes to tip & ring, the - and gnd go to sleeve. It is mono to the L&R from a single phase. There is no "out of phase" thing happening.

Some XLR to TRS cables preserve the balanced signal to the TRS plug. These are usually 1/4" plugs (like the old large headphone plug) and were used in broadcast. Consumer 3.5mm stuff is not this.

Marc
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
I'm Going With the KA 600

I tested my cable with an ohmmeter. It does the right thing. The + goes to tip & ring, the - and gnd go to sleeve. It is mono to the L&R from a single phase. There is no "out of phase" thing happening.

Some XLR to TRS cables preserve the balanced signal to the TRS plug. These are usually 1/4" plugs (like the old large headphone plug) and were used in broadcast. Consumer 3.5mm stuff is not this.

Marc

Marc: I ordered a KA 600 last night, based on your post and the reviews I've found on the web indicating that other people are also using the KA 600 with the K6 and ME 66. I think the cables I had bought earlier have unbalanced XLR connectors, which might not work correctly with the K6. Thanks again,

Jeff
 

Borjam

Registered User
Supporter
That's the reason why I always recommend proper XLR balanced connections.

A stereo jack can be unbalanced stereo or it can be a balanced mono input.

Some sources might work better by floating one of the balanced live signals, others by shorting one of them to ground. Too many unknowns beginning with completely unspecified interconnections in most consumer and even prosumer equipment.

https://www.ranecommercial.com/kb_article.php?article=2107
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
Received the Sennheiser KA 600 balanced XLR to unbalanced 3.5mm jack today. After a morning session in the woods using the LS-P4's internal microphones, I came home to find the SA 600 had been delivered. I was then able to test the ME 66/K6 I bought on ebay.

The results of comparing the recordings using the internal mics versus the recordings using the Sennheiser mic are described in the other thread - but the summary is that I believe I should keep the Sennheiser mic. I didn't pay a huge fortune for it, and I think it is more sensitive than the internal mics on the recorder. I think this is particularly relevant because I realized by listening to the recordings using the Sennheiser mic in my apartment that keeping the recording level setting on the LS-P4 on "high" produces a constant background noise, presumably from the pre-amp. My non-expert opinion (guess) is that using the Sennheiser mic will allow me to keep the recording level on medium, while having better recordings than I could get with the internal mics on the recorder at that level.
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
If you could one day save up for a Zoom H4n ($180) or H5 ($270) with a true XLR input you'd take a big step up. First off, you will get 2x the signal from the microphone from the differential low-noise amp. It likely also has better amps than the Olympus too. I've never used one, but I've heard good things about them. If I were to buy one, I'd get the H5 -- it's been on my list for a while, but I just don't do that much video.

Anyway, enjoy the rig you have! I think the ME66 does just fine direct to DSLR for what I do.
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
If you could one day save up for a Zoom H4n ($180) or H5 ($270) with a true XLR input you'd take a big step up. First off, you will get 2x the signal from the microphone from the differential low-noise amp. It likely also has better amps than the Olympus too. I've never used one, but I've heard good things about them. If I were to buy one, I'd get the H5 -- it's been on my list for a while, but I just don't do that much video.

Anyway, enjoy the rig you have! I think the ME66 does just fine direct to DSLR for what I do.

Thank you. I'll definitely consider the Zoom products for the future. I bought the LS-P4 because I need to start with something very portable and light in weight, so I can bring it with me without an external mic, and carry it to work in my briefcase. It is also easy to use in the hand to record radio broadcasts.

Your comments have been very helpful in getting me set up for my first recordings. The first cables I bought turned out to be unbalanced at both ends, and I didn't even try using them. They're going back to the vendor. The KA 600 works, so I'll stick with it.

I'm definitely grateful I found the ME66/K6 for a reasonable price in good shape. I will try them outside for the first time recording birds this weekend with the LS-P4. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do with the setup. Of course that will make me want to upgrade my recorder - an inevitable hazard for a person like me who is always going to be wanting to improve on my recordings, as I did when I was able to haul heavy camera equipment into the field. There's no end to it. |;|
 

iveljay

Well-known member
I have both the latest Zoom H4N Pro and the H5 if you need tips in the future (they are more fun to use, but definitely nowhere near as lightweight and portable). If you buy an H4N second hand make sure that it is the latest Pro version, as the pre-amps in this version were upgraded to the same as those used in the H5. The most significant difference from a birders perspective is that the H4N series are very slow starting up with bigger memory cards but has XLR cable locks to prevent the XLR cables being accidentally pulled out, The H5 is fast starting up, but lacks the cable locks which isn't a problem for some people, depending on how you use the recorder. It also has rotary input volume level controls rather than push buttons.

The H5 will also take an accessory shotgun that replaces its standard mics it has its uses, but you are better off with your ME66.

Both are easy enough to use, the H4 being a bit more intuitive for the casual user. The big advantage of both is that the screen and the controls are far less fiddly than the LS-P4, however the LS-P4 is far more portable and I take a pair everywhere as I can use lightweight clamps to attach them to tree branches, pipes or whatever is to hand and just leave them without the risk of handling noise. Clearly a big shotgun negates some of the foregoing.

Some suppliers are very good at ensuring that you will get the right wiring between the xlr balanced output mic into the 3.5 mm tsr others - not so and some cables are simply wrongly connected despite the sellers claims.

Whilst the ME66 has a stronger output signal than many of the competitors, the shotgun mics are not designed to amplify the sound so much as cut out extraneous sound from either side, the fact that the ME66 does to some extent is a definite and worthwhile bonus. For strong directional recording you have to move into the realms of parabolic reflectors, which are not portable or cheap.

If you have a working microphone always keep it - recorders come and go, but a good microphone will always be useful no matter which recorder you are using.
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
You Read My Mind

I have both the latest Zoom H4N Pro and the H5 if you need tips in the future (they are more fun to use, but definitely nowhere near as lightweight and portable). If you buy an H4N second hand make sure that it is the latest Pro version, as the pre-amps in this version were upgraded to the same as those used in the H5. The most significant difference from a birders perspective is that the H4N series are very slow starting up with bigger memory cards but has XLR cable locks to prevent the XLR cables being accidentally pulled out, The H5 is fast starting up, but lacks the cable locks which isn't a problem for some people, depending on how you use the recorder. It also has rotary input volume level controls rather than push buttons.

The H5 will also take an accessory shotgun that replaces its standard mics it has its uses, but you are better off with your ME66.

Both are easy enough to use, the H4 being a bit more intuitive for the casual user. The big advantage of both is that the screen and the controls are far less fiddly than the LS-P4, however the LS-P4 is far more portable and I take a pair everywhere as I can use lightweight clamps to attach them to tree branches, pipes or whatever is to hand and just leave them without the risk of handling noise. Clearly a big shotgun negates some of the foregoing.

Some suppliers are very good at ensuring that you will get the right wiring between the xlr balanced output mic into the 3.5 mm tsr others - not so and some cables are simply wrongly connected despite the sellers claims.

Whilst the ME66 has a stronger output signal than many of the competitors, the shotgun mics are not designed to amplify the sound so much as cut out extraneous sound from either side, the fact that the ME66 does to some extent is a definite and worthwhile bonus. For strong directional recording you have to move into the realms of parabolic reflectors, which are not portable or cheap.

If you have a working microphone always keep it - recorders come and go, but a good microphone will always be useful no matter which recorder you are using.

You must have read my mind, because immediately after seeing the recommendation from marcsantacurz about the H4n and H5, I went online and looked at their features and prices. I was immediately wondering about what the H4n Pro had that the previous version did not, and the web descriptions I found were not terribly helpful in answering that question. The information you provided about the pre-amp differences is very important for me to know.

One consideration for me in choosing between the H4n Pro and H5 is their size and weight, given my ridiculous pain issues. There is a significant difference, with the H5 being smaller and lighter. Given that, and the relatively modest price difference between them, I'd probably go for the H5, given the choice. I've seen some good deals on ebay for open box items, but I'm a bit afraid to buy one without the manufacturers warranty and a good return policy from the vendor. I'll probably buy a new item for that reason.

Interesting to read of your methods for using the LS-P4 in a set location. I would not have thought of that...very creative. I'm a bit leery of doing that anywhere near where I live, where I don't think the local co-habitants would leave such a set up undisturbed upon finding it. I suspect I'd lose my recorder(s).

I do feel fortunate that I found the ME66/K6 combo at an affordable price. I think it helped that the auction ended at a time when most people in this country are busy eating or getting home from work. It also might have helped that the auction was mislabeled as being an auction for a ME66 and K6P, rather than a K6. I looked at the photos and description, and the 100% approval rating of the seller, and I decided it was a K6 and that I should bid on it. If I could only get as good of a deal on the H5...but I know that's not going to happen for a new item.

I'm looking forward to trying out the Sennheiser mic this weekend, and learning more about making good recordings. I'm grateful for all the help provided by various members of BirdForum. I've learned a lot from you, so far, and I know I have a lot more to learn.
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
I also got my ME66/K6 at auction for a great price from a documentary filmer who barely used it.

You can find various ideas on the web for mounting the ME66 (or the shorter ME64/65) in all sorts of things to get parabolic amplification, such as Dish satellite antennas (heavy, not very portable) to other more-or-less parabolic contraptions. There are some collapsable ones. I think it's Audubon that has a page dedicated to parabolics, or maybe it was a Macaulay. They have a few videos about different parabolics that were fun to watch.

Marc
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
I also got my ME66/K6 at auction for a great price from a documentary filmer who barely used it.

You can find various ideas on the web for mounting the ME66 (or the shorter ME64/65) in all sorts of things to get parabolic amplification, such as Dish satellite antennas (heavy, not very portable) to other more-or-less parabolic contraptions. There are some collapsable ones. I think it's Audubon that has a page dedicated to parabolics, or maybe it was a Macaulay. They have a few videos about different parabolics that were fun to watch.

Marc

I'll look for that information on the web, thanks.

I can only hope that the ME66/K6 work as they should. My indoor test on a low-volume radio broadcast seemed to show the mic certainly is more sensitive than the internal mics on the LS-P4, so I think it is in good shape.

While there had clearly been some battery acid leakage in the K6 battery compartment, only traces remained when I received the items. I cleaned that residue out with a cotton swab, so I think it's fine.

I'm reading about the Zoom products, and why field recording buffs are using them rather than the equivalent products from other manufacturers. It appears that the noise floor of H4n Pro and H5 is low compared to similarly-priced products from other competitors.

Although the H5 definitely has some irritating peculiarities mentioned by some reviewers, it seems like a good step up from the LS-P4 in pre-amp power and XLR connections for the external mic. I think it is a bit easier to hold than the H4n, due to its shape. Some people are reporting a "zipper" noise when adjusting recording levels, but I suspect that doesn't appear in the recordings. In addition, I suspect it won't matter much, even if it does, given that those are probably not sections of the recordings I'd want to use much. A few people complain about the noise floor in these models, but most reviews seem very positive about the internal noise from the pre-amps. I think one of them is in my future, but maybe if I wait several months, there will be an update to the H5? In the meantime, I'll learn about basic recording and Audacity adjustments, so I'm prepared to use a more capable recorder.

Now, if only I could find a way to entice the birds to be more cooperative....

Cheers,
Jeff
 

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