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Old October 27th, 2010, 09:13 AM   #1
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ZOOM H4N Headphone split?

I've searched and can't find a specific answer. I've got everything initially figured out but this:

I'll have 5 lav mics coming into the Zoom H4n nad can plug in the headphones and monitor and adjust each of the four recording levels on the ZOOM realtime. Which is fine. But if I wanted to output to the Canon 5D mk2, now I'd have to unplug the headphones and plug in the connector w/ attenuator inline to connect to the camera from the ZOOM.

Is there ANY way I can split the headphone out signal into two signals - one for headphones and one for the out to the camera's mic in port?
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Old October 27th, 2010, 10:18 AM   #2
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Stereo splitter
Belkin Speaker and Headphone Splitter F8V234 - B&H Photo Video
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Old October 27th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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You can definitely make the physical split and the connections, but the key will be how the two widely different devices you're splitting out to will react to this signal.
You'd need to make some tests ahead of time with the exact gear you plan to use for the real recording.
I haven't tried this yet even though I've had my H4n about a year.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #4
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Thankyou!! I'll try that - Will still need the attenuator for the mic level feed or you think the split lowers the level some?

Are you actually using this splitter? for this?
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:43 PM   #5
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You can probably get that splitter at Radio Shack. But if you are depending on getting a clean signal to the camera, that is another issue. Is the camera recording just going to be a reference track for what you record on the H4n ?

There is a potential for noise being introduced from the headphone arrangement, and you just don't know what the actual recorded sound is like cause you are not monitoring what the camera actually is doing with the sound in the camera itself. I actually have a 7" LCD4Video composite monitor that accepts a feed in SD from the output of the camera, and that monitor also has an audio input and phones plug, and that could be an anwer for you. That little monitor kit ran around $200. the problem with it is I sometime notice some feed back to the sound track when it was plugged in.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 09:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
You can probably get that splitter at Radio Shack. But if you are depending on getting a clean signal to the camera, that is another issue. Is the camera recording just going to be a reference track for what you record on the H4n ?

There is a potential for noise being introduced from the headphone arrangement, and you just don't know what the actual recorded sound is like cause you are not monitoring what the camera actually is doing with the sound in the camera itself. I actually have a 7" LCD4Video composite monitor that accepts a feed in SD from the output of the camera, and that monitor also has an audio input and phones plug, and that could be an anwer for you. That little monitor kit ran around $200. the problem with it is I sometime notice some feed back to the sound track when it was plugged in.
I've got the 7" Lilliput monitor and I figured that by the time it got to the camera via the mic jack it was what it was. I suppose I could run some tests with that setup in various non-critical conditions and playback the audio in post and just see what the difference is.

Only reason I'm doing all of this is to be able to monitor and adjust audio if needed realtime not just pre. I guess if i turn off AGC I'd still need to adjust my input levels on the camera too for what I'm getting from the input.

Testing!!
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Old October 28th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #7
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Not to be negative but does the word "kludge" ring a bell? Seems like it wouldn't be any more trouble to do it all the right way and not too much more expensive when push comes to shove.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 12:30 PM   #8
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I have a master's degree in "kludge" but I'm still hunting for the last piece of wood to cut for the frame so I can hang the diploma on my wall...

Seriously though, a kludge of connectors, adapters and cables can be a useful guide to test and see what method will be worthy of getting a custom cable made up that neatly accomplishes the task. You may find the camera audio quality and the hoops to jump through for monitoring (especially with an H4n), make the effort not worthwhile.

Certainly these new dSLR's for video represent a true challenge where audio is concerned.
You may be better off just using your Rode SVM on the 5D MkII all the time as a sync reference or ambient sound only, and concentrate on the H4n for the main audio without trying to pass along the signal to the camera.

I still think a mixer and all XLR mics is the best choice. It will allow you to send independent audio to both the camera and H4n (both main and rear connectors with attenuation for 4-track recording when needed), as well as improve your monitoring and control.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 05:14 PM   #9
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Oh, I don't mean using adapters and such to test a particular setup as being a kludge, But IMHO, using the headphone output as a pseudo-lline level feed to a subsequent device certainly is. Let's say one is monitoring wearing the phones and the volume is either too high or too low for comfort. So you adjust the level control. But that ALSO affects the levels going into the camera. Not good.

You can shoot movies with a $100 point-and-shoot. For that matter you can shoot video on a cell phone or Blackberry. Why not use one of them for the interviews instead of that heavy, bulky. expensive Canon - sell the Canon and use the money you get for something else fun - after all, movies are movies and the cell phone's output should be almost as good, just as long as we can see an image and hear the words that's good enough, right? Well, what Harry is doing with the audio - using the recorder as a substitute for a mixer, splitting the phones output, getting by with a single consumer mic in a fixed position, etc - seems to me to be almost as absurd, trying to make do and get by on the cheap instead of biting the bullet and doing whatever it takes to do the job right. No offense intended, Harry.
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Last edited by Steve House; October 29th, 2010 at 01:36 AM.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 06:45 PM   #10
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I have had good success with a similar application of this little jewel:
Rolls PM55 Personal Monitor Amp PM55 - B&H Photo Video

Battery operated (ac adapter available) it is made for, for example, monitoring a boom mike while passing the clean signal on to the recorder or camea....should do the job, I think....
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Old October 29th, 2010, 01:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Simpson View Post
I've searched and can't find a specific answer. I've got everything initially figured out but this:

I'll have 5 lav mics coming into the Zoom H4n and can plug in the headphones and monitor and adjust each of the four recording levels on the ZOOM realtime. Which is fine. But if I wanted to output to the Canon 5D mk2, now I'd have to unplug the headphones and plug in the connector w/ attenuator inline to connect to the camera from the ZOOM.

Is there ANY way I can split the headphone out signal into two signals - one for headphones and one for the out to the camera's mic in port?
How are the 5 lapel mics getting into the Zoom H4n? I was under the assumption that the H4n in 4 track mode uses the 2 XLR/ phono inputs AND the 2 internal mics on top of it. [I don't own one but thought it was more like a 2+2 recorder.]

Last edited by Brian P. Reynolds; October 29th, 2010 at 02:37 AM.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 01:15 PM   #12
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Hey Brian,
The two xlr inputs and then I am getting a splitter for the two more lavs coming into a Y female that is the input that overrides the two speakers on the ZOOM. So in that I can control the four channel's rec level indepently.

Steve,
I used to be a lot less Kludgy - I simply said charge it and got the Land Rover gear. I now am trying to pay off those credit cards and only pay cash for anything anymore. That said I must endure the tiring effect of kludgedom daily. I guess instead of saying to myself you don't have the money to play, I try to play anyway and get labeled a kludger......In fact I'm exhausted. Bottom line I want what works and have had some folks give me bad advice (the Zoom) and trying to make do with what I have.
I actually turned down a paying gig today because I did feel kludgey and realized I'd be scrambling to get and test the right equipment.

Jay
Your probably correct - I was just trying to mix it all in the Zoom without adding another piece of equipment (mixer) Appreciate your help. See if I can find a good flipcam.....;-)
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Old October 30th, 2010, 07:23 AM   #13
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Don't get me wrong ... there's nothing wrong with trying to save every nickle possible, as long as it doesn't compromise your ability to deliver the results you need. I try to look for the least expensive solution that does the job properly. But those last few words - doing job properly - are crucial ... $5 spent on a so-so solution that doesn't yield top results is $5 completely thrown away, might have well just torn it up and flushed it down the dumper. $10 spent on doing the job right is $10 for which you get value in return..you have invested your $10 rather than just spent it. IMHO, the former is more expensive than the latter when you look to the long run benefits.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 08:51 AM   #14
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This info is slightly related to this thread, so I thought I'd add it.
Yesterday in the studio I recorded a program that will be primarily audio and PowerPoint slides, with only the intro, exit and some other sections scattered throughout the program shot on both video and audio (talking head).
This speeds up the production and editing considerably versus shooting a lot of unneeded video material.
I recorded all audio on my H4n and for those sections also recorded with the camera (Canon HF11), I used the Headphone/Line Out from the Zoom to get good sync audio. I didn't have a proper attenuating cable, so I did kludge together the following which worked just fine:
H4n Line Out with a mini-TRS to two TS 1/4-inch phone cable,
Connected one TS to a passive direct box,
Connected an XLR to unbalanced dual mono mini-TRS adapter cable from the direct box's XLR output into the camera's mini-mic jack,
Set the direct box's attenuation and grounding properly,
Set camera's recording level manually.
Clapper slate just to be sure. I'll use the H4n's audio for all sections so it will be totally uniform throughout.
The signal was very clean and just the right level, but of course this was a non-moving studio situation. I wouldn't suggest using such a combination in the field, but at least I know the signal path is clean.
I monitored from the camera headphone jack for the video sections, which were shot after all the audio-only segments were recorded just on the Zoom.
When I go back over today I'll hook a small headphone amp to the other TS cable end and listen to how that sounds.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; November 4th, 2010 at 11:33 AM. Reason: Clarification of connection between DI and XLR Cable
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Old November 4th, 2010, 11:11 AM   #15
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What was the purpose of the direct box in your setup?

Problem I see with our OP is the plan to plug headphones into the splitter in the absence of a headphone output on the camera. That puts the cans in parallel with the camera mic input and it's anyone's guess how they might interact. Another issue is changing the headphone level for comfort during monitoring is also going to change the level being sent to the camera input ... with no way to set it and lock it off the levels being fed to the camera will go all over the place.
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