Using an XLR Adaptor with Zoom H2 at

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Old July 17th, 2010, 04:37 PM   #1
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Using an XLR Adaptor with Zoom H2

A brief introduction- I just recently purchased a Canon 7D and I'm trying to determine my best options for recording audio. I have a Beachtek DXA-4P XLR adaptor that I used with a Canon GL2 and Sony VX2000 years ago that I plan to use with the 7D and a future Zoom H2 or H1 purchase. Can anyone speak from experience how the audio quality will be with this type of adaptor on the Zoom recorders? I figured since I already have an XLR adaptor I would save the money of having to purchase the H4N if I could. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated and if this topic has already been covered, I apologize as I did a pretty extensive search and found nothing.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that my primary use will be for dialog and interviews with maybe some podcasting thrown in for good measure. If there is a better option for this, especially since I already have all the microphones and such, I'm all ears.

Last edited by Dustin Svehlak; July 17th, 2010 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Adding information.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 05:04 AM   #2
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What microphones will you be using? The answer to this will be different for powered or unpowered mics unless your Beachtek has phantom power.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 06:19 AM   #3
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Two different ones- an Azden SGM 1x shotgun mic (powered by an AAA battery) and a set of Samson T32 wireless lavs (powered by 9-volt batteries). No phantom power needed as far as I know.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 02:48 PM   #4
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I think this will be a bad idea. I have the Zoom H2 and whilst it's in 4 built microphones are surprisingly good for something so cheap, whenever I've plugged a Rode shotgun into the mic in socket (e.g. VM or SVM) the quality is very poor, very noisy - much, much worse, relatively, than when those mics were plugged into various cameras I've tried with these 3.5mm plug/unbalanced lead type mics (e.g. on a HC1, 7D, EX3, PD150 & V1 via XLR adapter plug etc.).

Zoom H2 is best used as a stand alone audio capture device - and is pretty good for it's (entry) price point at that - but forget about trying to plug ANY mic into it. That would be my advice. If you want that capability, spend more on a better Digital Audio Recorder - definitely don't buy the H2 for this intended type of use. You won't regret it in the long run. Trust me, audio is tricky to get right, more so if inadequate tools/workflow are used.

Others may have had better experiences or a different solution....
Andy K Wilkinson -
Cambridge (UK) Corporate Video Production
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Old July 18th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #5
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Thanks, Andy. That's what I'm starting to read on the internets as well. It appears one severe drawback of the H2, and assuming the H1 since it will use the same SPL handling as the H2, is using external microphones.

I made my decision to purchase the Tascam DR-07 since it reportedly does fine in this regard. I appreciate the comments on this!
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Old July 21st, 2010, 08:57 PM   #6
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As a new owner of a Zoom H2, I was interested in your thread, particularly as I make my own mics & naturally wish to use the ext. mic inputs. I believe that there is an answer to most problems and very often wrong assumptions are made. I also feel that a product, even a cheap one, in this competitive market should not be THAT bad, yet I guess anything is possible.

So, I decided to measure the mic input overload levels for the various sensitivities (which I like), on this recorder and which, sadly, most manufacturers never quote yet I'm damned if I know why. The reason you have this selection is basically to minimise noise where you can have extremely wide differences in acoustic levels due to source level - footsteps at twenty feet versus a rock band at 20 inches plus high and low output mics.

Here is what I measured using half charged batteries :

Lo - (for high O/P mics pro condensers etc. - & recording loud levels) - 300mV.
Med - (for lower output mics etc.) - 53 mV.
Hi - (for recording very soft sounds and low output mics) - 14mV.
NB. These figures are maximum input levels from the source before clipping occurs.

Now I assume that all who have used the H2 (& other recorders), were mindful of these important sensitivity settings as they can really wreck your sound regardless of how you set the level (gain).
Just to explain in a little more detail, these figures relate to the point at which the very first stage of the mic input is overloaded (clipped), before it goes anywhere further up the chain of amplification and you have no control over it. It is a manufacturers decision, so no amount of reducing the level control will prevent this, if the level from your mic exceeds these figures you have very bad sound.

I am however, also a little concerned about the lowest sensitivity overload margin here, as my professional AKG condensers can exceed 1 Volt (yes 1000mV), output with a loud singer at close range, so I would not be happy even recording a chamber group with only a 300mV. O'load margin. - I used to design RIAA preamps and always had at least a 100mV overload figure for a nominal 2mV. sensitivity. So if you are using an H2 with a high output condenser mic and loud acoustic sound, you could be in trouble.

The solution is easy though, just fit a 6 or 10 dB pad (attenuator), at the end of the mic cable before it goes into the recorder.

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