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Old September 25th, 2012, 03:24 PM   #1
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ZOOM H4N low output

I usually always pull sound off the soundboard and mix with my RODE mic audio for some ambient. Welp this time the greedy soundboard folks wanted $250 for me to plug in one XLR connector. So I was recording with the ZOOM h4n on a stand about 20 feet from the speakers on stage. I kept having to dial down the recording levels cause it'd peak past -12db and sometimes would hit 0. Well I dialed down the recording level till it was in single digits and now when I listen the the audio wav file it's low volume. Hopefully I can bump it out in Vegas Pro.

What was I doing wrong here?

It was electric pop but not really banging rock n roll at all.....

Harry
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Old September 26th, 2012, 07:48 AM   #2
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Re: ZOOM H4N low output

Quote:
What was I doing wrong here?
From your description, I'd suggest "not monitoring the audio as you recorded". :-)

We're you just using the internal mics on the Zoom, and if so, are you 100% certain that you had the correct input selected? (After all, you were expecting to use an external input from the board).

There have been reports of noticeable crosstalk between the inputs on some of the Zooms so it is possible you might have recorded a very low level signal from the internal mics even with the external inputs selected.
Wouldn't explain the high meter readings though.

I seem to remember reading some advice that with the H4N, it was advisable to switch to the unused inputs and turn the recording level fully down before switching back to the desired input and adjusting the recording level. Can't remember where I saw that, unfortunately.

Last edited by Colin McDonald; September 26th, 2012 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Wrong model quoted
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Old September 26th, 2012, 09:11 AM   #3
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Re: ZOOM H4N low output

I usually use 4 channel and turn all the other levels down but the channel I'm getting the feed from.

This time I set the mode to Stereo which should be only the stereo mics and setting recording levels with them.

I'll find out what the situation is this afternoon later and see what I can salvage. Isn't low audio easier to bust than bringing down high?

Harry
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Old September 26th, 2012, 05:07 PM   #4
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Re: ZOOM H4N low output

It depends just how low the audio was recorded. The Zooms are not noted for having quiet preamps, so it is likely that some noise will appear when you apply an effect in an editor to boost the signal level.

However, you are right that it is generally preferable to record under rather than over, because there isn't much you can do to save the recording if it clips frequently. You have to make and defend your own headroom in a digital recording environment; once it reaches 0dB there is no reserve, no Scotty to persuade the engines of the Enterprise to endure a load far beyond the design tolerance (unlike some of the best analogue audio recording systems of yesteryear whose warp drives were usually good for a few extra dB).
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