Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 17th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 101
Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

Hey guys,

I've been researching different options for a decent audio set up for indoor interviews. I initially thought I wanted a Hyper to use on a boom, since 2 wireless lavs were too expensive. I've since, thanks to this forum, decided that I should go with a set of wired lavs. The 2 interview subjects aren't moving around, so it will be a great cost effective way to get good audio.

A quick background on my gear set up, I'm recording the interviews 2 camera with a T2i and 7D. I've got a Zoom H4n and a Rode NTG-2 in my audio kit (I'd been using the Rode, but wanted to start going lavalier for interviews). So I need 2 lav mics that I can plug into my Zoom. I checked out some wired XLR options, such as:

Audio-Technica AT899 - Condenser Lavalier Microphone AT899 B&H

Looks like a great mic for the price, but I'd need to buy 2 of those, which would come to around $400. This option would give me a nice balanced signal, and I can run the XLR cables comfortably from the interview subjects, to the Zoom unit which I usually keep back behind the camera with me.

The cheaper option would be a pair of non XLR lavs, such as:
ATR3350 Audio-Technica ATR3350 Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone

I know that thing is ridiculously cheap, but it actually has great reviews, for the type of use I'll need them for. Here are some reviews:

Lavalier mic for H2

So, assuming I go with the cheap options, I want to make sure I have a good set up down before I order them. Since they are 1/8 inch connectors, I'd need to connect to the H4n using 1/8 to 1/4 adapters. (As a side note, I do realize you shouldn't run 1/8 inch cable more than 10 feet, because of possible interference, so in this case I'd just hide the Zoom closer to the interview subjects, set it recording, and monitor it with headphones using an extension.) My question is, should the Zoom work using 1/8 lavs, using a 1/4 inch step up adapter? I assumed it would, as the Zoom has a 1/4 inch input, but I tried this using an old Radioshack Adapter and Rode VideoMic (which is 1/8 inch), and the Zoom wasn't picking up any signal from it. I know the VideoMic works, because I tested it on my HV30 first, so my hope is that my old adapter has just gone bad. If I go forth with this set up, I'd get a nicer adapter than just a Radio Shack brand. But assuming all equipment works, will the Zoom be able to record a signal from a 1/8 lav with 1/4 inch adapter?

And finally, aside from the cheap route being more inconvenient (with having to hide the Zoom in front of the camera), are there any other major warnings against this set up?

Scott
Scott Hamilton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2011, 04:24 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 101
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

Update:

I've been doing some more testing, trying to figure out how to record 2 1/8 inch jack lavs with an H4n. I'm puzzled.

Since I don't have the lavs yet, I've been doing my testing with a working Rode VideoMic, which has the same size jack. When I plug the VideoMic into a 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch adapter, then plug the adapter into the 1/4 jack on the Zoom (track 1), I get nothing. When I plug a guitar into the same track on the Zoom using an ordinary 1/4 inch cable, I get a signal.

You'd think the problem would be my old 1/8 to 1/4 inch adapter, and I hoped it was. But I tested this piece by plugging my headphones (which are 1/8 inch) into the adapter, and then plugged the adapter into the 1/4 inch headphone jack on a Line 6 guitar Pod. It worked.

I did plug the VideoMic into that 1/8 inch jack on the back of the Zoom (labeled "Ext" mic) and was able to get a signal. This jack replaces the 2 onboard mics, and is used for the "Mic" input, as opposed to the "1 & 2" input. Good to know I have that option, but I need to be able to record 2 1/8 mics, not just one.

Essentially, I know that all 3 pieces work (the mic, the 1/4 inch adapter, and the 1/4 inch input on the Zoom). I just can't figure out why they aren't working together. Can anyone make any sense out of this?

Scott
Scott Hamilton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2011, 08:16 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 463
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

The 1/4" inputs into the zoom H4n are line level ONLY... a mic will not work into this input.
To get the mic into the H4n you will need to go the XLR input.
Brian P. Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2011, 09:04 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 101
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

Man, that's the answer I was afraid of. Thanks for the info. Another thought, would it be feasible to get a splitter for taking 2 1/8 inch lavs, and record into one track? (The 1/8 inch ext mic jack on the back of the Zoom)

Or is that just asking for trouble...
Scott Hamilton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2011, 09:14 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 463
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

If you Y mix the mics how will you adjust the levels for each mic?
It probably about time that you need a mixer.
Brian P. Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2011, 09:41 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 101
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

You are probably right. Most of what I'm needing this for is more on the run and gun, one man shoot kind of set up. I do have a Behringer 12 track mixer that sounds pretty nice, I'm just trying to avoid having a bulky set up when trying to get in and out.

I know there are smaller recorder/mixer units there are meant for video and film sound recording. I suppose it's inevitable, sooner or later. I just hoped the Zoom I already have would have been the answer. Thanks for your help.
Scott Hamilton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 463
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

The H4n is good value for the price but people are now trying to push it beyond what it can do easily, there are limits and to overcome those limits $$$ need to be spent.
Brian P. Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18th, 2011, 01:37 AM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

Consider the AT803b as an inexpensive, XLR-only lav. The AT899 is smaller and is available with many connectors for wireless transmitters. The AT803b is only available in XLR flavor, is a bit bigger than the AT899, and is cheaper too. Frankly, I think it sounds a tad better than the AT899 out of the box. It's easier to make a larger package sound good.

That said, the AT803b ain't no Sanken COS-11D. The output levels are modest and the sound isn't anything special. But if you need something on a budget, it's something to consider. If you don't mind the larger size and XLR-only configuration, I recommend it over the AT899.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18th, 2011, 02:24 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 463
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Hamilton View Post
You are probably right. Most of what I'm needing this for is more on the run and gun, one man shoot kind of set up. I do have a Behringer 12 track mixer that sounds pretty nice, I'm just trying to avoid having a bulky set up when trying to get in and out.

I know there are smaller recorder/mixer units there are meant for video and film sound recording. I suppose it's inevitable, sooner or later. I just hoped the Zoom I already have would have been the answer. Thanks for your help.
If your wanting to run and gun stuff this is where a "Proper" video camera wins over a component type setup. Yes there are downfalls with the split DSLR and audio recorder... Lots of people are starting to work it out.
Yes its high quality.... but is the quality worth all the extra effort?
Brian P. Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18th, 2011, 07:05 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Reading Berkshire UK
Posts: 827
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

You can use these devices to connect lavs to the Zoom H4n's XLR sockets:

http://www.canford.co.uk/ProductResources/ig/3748.pdf

The CANFORD ELECTRET MICROPHONE ADAPTER 3.5mm jack

I use the one reference 20-769, 2 wire.

http://www.canford.co.uk/Products/20...PTER-35mm-jack

I bought it to fit with my Senny G3 kit so it has the screw in cable to adapter socket but it works fine with both the kit G3 lavs and some cheap Giant Squid lavs that I have. You'd only need one as the other lav could go into the rear socket on the H4.

You need to enable Phantom power and 4 Channel on the H4n and of course Plug-In power to use its rear socket.

I haven't had any battery problems with the Zoom but you may want to use its mains adapter if the circumstances allow just to be on the safe side.

Alternatively just get a couple of Zoom H1's. They are great value, they work fine with lavs, and they are small enough to drop in a pocket, clamp to nearby furniture etc. Sync in post using Pluraleyes

Pete
Peter Riding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18th, 2011, 08:12 AM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 101
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

Peter, those look pretty cool. However, for the price I think I'd be better off going with a pair of AT803b's or even the AT899's. The adapters are over $70 USD each. I appreciate you pointing them out though, as an option, I haven't been able to find any other good low to hi-z impedance adapters to make the $25 lavs work.

Jon, I spent some time checking out the 2 Audio Technica mics you mentioned. I'm really tempted. I'm needing to decide relatively quickly, and it's hard to picture going from $50 for a pair to $300-$400... Maybe I'll negotiate an early Christmas present! Long run, I know it'll be a better investment. So you can really run the AT899 as a wireless mic, if need be? Interesting to know it's an option with the right adapter.

Brian, it's a good question. I'd say it is worth it for the superior picture quality. Shooting quick run and gun type stuff could be better done on an HVX, or even XH-A1, but since I've started going with the Zoom for my sound, I've really liked it. I like having more flexibility on where you want to put your mic(s). Probably just the filmmaker side of me talking though.

Scott
Scott Hamilton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18th, 2011, 09:07 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 101
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

I thought it over, and I'm going to go with a pair of AT803's. I figure if I ever need to go wireless, I will need a nicer mic anyway, to help compensate for the signal degradation that comes with wireless systems in general. And the only time I've ever REALLY needed to go wireless is capturing vocal audio at weddings. I'm able to get decent sound with my current set up though, and can just keeping doing that.

I know the 803's aren't in the same ballpark as the Sanken COS-11D, which I hear discussed a lot. But for the price, it will be a hell of a lot better than a single NTG 2 shotgun in a huge reflective room, especially when the shot won't allow for me to get the boom in super close.

Thanks for the tips! 2 weeks ago I didn't know where to begin with lavalier mics.
Scott Hamilton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 21st, 2011, 09:21 AM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Burlington
Posts: 1,961
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

Don't forget to order good quality XLR cables to go with the XLR versions of the AT803b mics. Those mics have a power box with an XLR jack, you can't plug them directly into an XLR input, you have to use a cable.
While generally, due to the distance involved, you need XLR cables with any wired lav, the AT899 has a long installed cable and a cylindrical power adapter that can be plugged directly into most XLR inputs if you had no cable handy.
Jay Massengill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2011, 10:39 AM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 101
Re: Options for wired lav into Zoom H4n

Definitely. I might try to hop over to Guitar Center and see if they have any good sales this weekend.

I do have a question, perhaps a silly one. Does anyone have any experience mixing an AT803 and an AT3350? I still haven't pulled the trigger on buying the 803 pair yet, but was wondering if I could get by with an 803 and 3350 mix for a quick fix, and buy another 803 after another pay day. I can record the 3350 using the 1/8 inch on the back of the Zoom and 803 with the XLR. Thoughts?

Scott
Scott Hamilton is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:03 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network