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Old May 10th, 2011, 01:11 PM   #1
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Stereo Lav, Non-Stereo Extension Cord?

I have a wired stereo lav with an extension cord. When I plug the lav into the extension cord and then plug that into my Zoom H4N, it only records in mono. When I plug the lav directly into the H4N, I get stereo. Likewise, if I plug my headphones into the extension cord and then plug that in, I can only hear audio in mono. When I plug my headphones in directly to the H4N, perfect stereo.

Is there such a thing as a stereo extension cord that I can plug this lav or headphones into? Thanks!
Steve Bartlett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2011, 02:04 PM   #2
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Re: Stereo Lav, Non-Stereo Extension Cord?

Look at the plug end of the extension cord and compare that to the plug end of the mic cable.

A typical balanced stereo mic connection will typically have 5 conductors. ground, right positive, right negative, left positive and left negative. This arrangement keeps the phase information intact to allow for a true balanced audio system.

Any fewer connections on BOTH the pins and the sockets and you can't get an actual stereo balanced signal out of that type of mic. (There actually are other connection schemes that multiplex a stereo signal into fewer conductors, but they're a lot less common.)

If you see, for example, 5 conductor rings on the male plug of the mic, but only 3 on the male plug of the extension cable, that's your issue right there. If there ARE an exact equal number of conductors, then something's not passing the signal properly.

Good luck.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 02:25 PM   #3
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Re: Stereo Lav, Non-Stereo Extension Cord?

Thank you, Bill! I'm thinking you're spot on! The lav end has two rings and the extension has only one. I'm going to be looking for a two ring extension cord and I'll just bet it works. Thanks for your help!
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Old May 10th, 2011, 04:36 PM   #4
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Re: Stereo Lav, Non-Stereo Extension Cord?

Steve, it sounds as if you have a typical 3.5mm "mini plug" cable. I would think most of them are being made for stereo lately, but apparently yours is not. You mic has "tip, ring, sleeve" but the cable has only "tip, sleeve." The left channel will pass through OK, but the right channel will not.

When shopping for a new cable, be sure it's intended for use with mics... in that case it will be made with shielded wire. If you buy a really cheap cable that is made only for headphones, it might have unshielded cable, and if you use that with a mic you will likely get hum, buzz, and other electrical noise. Mics always require shielded wiring.
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