All I've got is a Zoom H4n and I'm trying to get into the habit of recording and creating sounds myself, although everything I record usually sounds very weak I've tried using LFE's, EQing, pitch layering and stuff but it hardly does much I'm guessing I'm doing it all wrong, could you guys help me out with this? I also want to try using sweeteners and things but I don't know what kind of sounds to use and how to use them in way that it enhances the sound. Sorry if this question is overly noobie or whatever but any help will be appreciated thanks in advance.

  • What kind of sounds are you trying to create in the first place? A bit more background info might make it easier to help you with specific things ;)
    – Andy Lewis
    Commented Jan 16, 2011 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


not a noob question at all?

A way to get more dynamics when recording: get closer.

When tracklaying sometimes one can get a bit too conservative with edit and processing. I've seen a few instances of sounds being chopped and layered in a pretty bold manner, to great effect..

Automate volume and EQ, things can quickly become drastic :)

There are also tricks to the ear which increase perceived dynamics without altering levels drastically. Andy Farnell uses chirp impulses: AK47 sound effect. Walter Murch talks about this too (excerpt, find "wrench" in text).

  • Thanks for the Walter Murch link - some interesting stuff Commented Jan 18, 2011 at 8:53

From the review I've heard of the H4N from some people, it doesn't really do well with quieter sources. In fact, someone I spoke with at AES, who's used a ton of different handheld/pocket recorders, said that the only one that doesn't seem like it was designed exclusively to record concert audio is the Sony PCM-D50 (or the D1). It's the only one he's found that has a somewhat significant gain range to capture those quieter sounds. Then there's the question if you're using the onboard mics, or are pluggin into it.

So, you might just be out of luck with the H4N as far as recording sounds pristinely.

In general, to get more dynamic range out of your recordings, record at 24-bit. You can record at a slightly lower gain setting and still have a quiet recording, and then have room to capture louder events without distorting.

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