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Old August 16th, 2012, 11:26 AM   #1
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Zoom H1 and XLR

Hi,

I film a few weddings and some DJs have XLR out and some have 3.5mm Line out whilst others have phono out.

if I were to buy 3 sets a of cables, a phono to 3.5, XLR to 3.5 and 3.5 to 3.5 would I be able to connect to any DJs sound board?

I am not sure if its possible for an XLR out to go into my zoom H1.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

Yes, with the proper adapters and/or cables, you should be able to connect to any DJ/s output.

There is nothing magic about XLR connectors which preclude them from connection to your H1.

It is very nice that the 3.5mm input connector on the H1 is switchable between mic-level and line-level.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 12:49 PM   #3
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

I am 50/50 about buying the h4n. If the DJs have an xlr out and I connect via xlr to the h4n would the sound be significantly better?
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Old August 16th, 2012, 02:12 PM   #4
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tariq Peter View Post
I am 50/50 about buying the h4n. If the DJs have an xlr out and I connect via xlr to the h4n would the sound be significantly better?
No. If you use the proper cables, there will be virtually no difference in the sound. If you want to decide between H1 and H4n, the XLR connectors have nothing to do with it. They are merely a convenience. They have no influence on recording quality in your example. Repeating: there is nothing magic about XLR connectors.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 02:38 PM   #5
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

I read a post a while ago which said,

XLR all the way. Pay the extra, whatever it is, if your end product matters to you.
3.5mm jacks are "unbalanced" This means in laymans terms that they are MUCH more likely to have interference / mains hum picked up on them.

which is a little confusing to me. If the output is XLR and I have a XLR to 3.5mm Cable going into my Zoom is the audio still balanced?
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Old August 16th, 2012, 03:44 PM   #6
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

Your stated application was recording the output from the DJ's equipment. Presumably, that is only a few feet away. Balanced vs. unbalanced will make no significant difference when the source and destination are close together. And especially when one of the ends (your H1) is battery operated and not connected to power mains.

Balanced (i.e. XLR or 1/4-inch phone) makes a difference if you are going over long distances where the cable length is susceptible to picking up ambient interference along the way. Now if you had said that you wanted to use your recorder with distant microphones, that would be a different situation. That is why I said: "in your example". Certainly, if you have other "use cases" that would influence your decision on H1 vs. H4n.

That 3.5mm input connector on the H1 is NOT balanced. For either line-level or mic-level. That is one of the significant differences between the H1 and the H4n. If I were needing something small and inexpensive dedicated to recording sound out of the venue system, I would probably choose the H1.

Your quote is without context, so we don't know what the whole picture was. I assume that they were talking about long microphone connections, not short line-level connections (as in your original scenario).
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Old August 16th, 2012, 04:42 PM   #7
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

Also remember that the H4n XLR connectors are for MIC-level signals only, so it would depend on what level of signal is coming from the DJ mixer's XLR output. It might require a balanced attenuator to bring down a line-level signal to mic-level.

The H4n 1/4-inch TS connectors that are built into the combo jacks with the XLR's are unbalanced and are nominally for an instrument-level signal although they will work with a typical consumer -10db signal, as long as it's not screaming hot.

So to handle all situations and some extra distance of cabling if necessary, you'd still need a few more pieces. Given the number of different mixers available and how people use and misuse them, making a "complete" list of adapters would take some time.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 06:16 PM   #8
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

A true +4dBu (ref.) output can have peaks around +20, so if the H4n line in is designed for -10dB operation, high peaks could overdrive the Zoom's input stage (reducing the recording level won't help) The Tascam DR-40 and 100 are better in this respect.
One should have some 1/4" TRS cables or adapters as well, many mixers do not have XLR line outs, only 1/4" TRS.
If taking a +4 line output from a house mixer into an unbalanced 1/8" -10dB line level in, 12 or 15dB of attenuation may very well be needed in that scenario.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 06:28 PM   #9
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

My fault for not being clear enough.

The basic idea is that I go to a lot of different weddings and I meet different DJs, Some have no clue about the outputs on the deck. What I really want is the audio that they play through the event recorded onto my Zoom H1 or Zoom H4N (if I were to buy one). The DJs also supply the guests with a microphone for the speaches and I am guessing that will also go through the DJs sound board.

They are all quite happy for me to attach any device I need to so I just want to be sure that whatever I take will leave me with good audio at the end of the event.

I can place my recorder right beside the soundboard and just leave it on record throughout the entire event.
I was thinking about purchasing a variety Male XLR to 3.5mm, Female XLR to 3.5mm and Phono to 3.5mm and taking them to each event along with the H1.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 07:19 PM   #10
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

The Rolls DB-25B (Direct Interface, aka, DI) may be useful as it has variable attenuation and can even handle speaker level. The output is mic level via an XLR. Rolls Corporation - Real Sound - Products DB25b
You want a variety of adapters, Definitely some 1/4 inch. Without a DI, you would likely need a few attenuators, Line to Mic (about 40dB) and +4 to -10 (about 15dB) I think the DB-25B could simplify your set-up.
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Old August 17th, 2012, 04:54 AM   #11
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

Can anybody recommend a store where I can buy a balanced attenuator in the UK?
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Old August 17th, 2012, 05:15 AM   #12
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

It is not apparent why you need a balanced attenuator here? Did we miss something?

Given the great variation you are likely to encounter, the variable attenuation in the Rolls DB25 (or a similar product) would appear to be ideal. I have four of the previous version of this product which I keep in my kit just for connecting to venue systems.
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Old August 17th, 2012, 05:30 AM   #13
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

Yes I was looking into the rolls but finding UK stock is quite a challenge. Both the rolls and attenuators would be ideal.
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Old August 17th, 2012, 10:00 AM   #14
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

The Rolls should be easy to get. You have package delivery in the UK, what's the problem?
Another option is the Hosa ATT-448 a 3-way switchable pad with 20, 30 and 40dB of attenuation. However 20dB may be too much for a +4 to -10dB situation.
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Old August 18th, 2012, 04:04 AM   #15
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Re: Zoom H1 and XLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tariq Peter View Post
The basic idea is that I go to a lot of different weddings and I meet different DJs, Some have no clue about the outputs on the deck. What I really want is the audio that they play through the event recorded onto my Zoom H1 or Zoom H4N (if I were to buy one). The DJs also supply the guests with a microphone for the speaches and I am guessing that will also go through the DJs sound board.
I have exactly the same issue, I use my first gen zoom h4 for this, as I don't have much experience in audio I have to rely a lot on the DJ knowledge and it's only the professional DJ that are able to supply me with a xlr line immediately and they even look after the levels so the audio doesn't clip. I do know how to set the audio levels for the incoming sound on my zoom which is tested when I arrive at the venue but it can happen that when the DJ announces the couple the signal is much higher, since I"m out filming at that moment I can't check the levels on my zoom and correct if necessary. I have had DJ's that check my zoom h4 levels and adjust the outgoing signal from their mixer board but those guys are as rare as rain in a dessert.

I often have DJ's that only seem to know where the play button for the music is. The good DJ's also have all kind of cables I might need to connect my zoom h4 to their table but if I"m out of luck I"ll just strap my yamaha c24 onto the wireless microphones handle or just clip it nearby a speaker in the worst case.

Next week a second shooter will join me at a wedding and he has a lot of knowledge in the audio department, I"ll sure will pick his brain that day to get to know more about hooking up my audio recorders the right way. :)
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