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Old October 30th, 2012, 08:33 AM   #1
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Hooking up ZOOM H1 to live band mixer

Hey guys! I have an upcoming wedding this weekend which will have a live band performing, and since I want to do a professional job, I'd like to connect my H1 to their mixer to capture clean sound. However, the last time I did this, I got home and realized that the sound was at times a bit distorted, especially when the singer really used his lungs.

I would like to add that I was closely monitoring the sound levels and it did NOT reach peak level. However, I was told that the problem might be solved by increasing the resistance (ohms?) by using some sort of cables, before feeding the sound to the H1. The idea here is that the signal is too powerful for this little recorder and it needs to be damped down a bit. I guess that sort of makes sense, considering I had to set the input level at around 15 in order to avoid setting off the red peak light.

Any ideas regarding those cables or adapters? I'd really appreciate your help. Thank you very much!
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Old October 30th, 2012, 02:54 PM   #2
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Re: Hooking up ZOOM H1 to live band mixer

Hard to know just what you need to do without knowing what brand of mixer the band is using and what its output options might be. Your Zoom recorder's line input is going to expect a consumer line level signal of -10dBv nominal. Most PA mixers line outputs are the much higher pro line level of +4dBu nominal. If that's where you are taking your feed to the recorder, you need to lower that down to match the recorder's input requirements by inserting a pad into the cable. Simpler than the pad, many mixers also have a "Tape Out" terminal on a pair of phono pin jack that is actually the right consumer line level signal for the recorder. If you can connect there you don't need to worry about the pad. The cable you need would be a phono plug x2 to 3.5mm stereo TRS Y cable
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Old October 30th, 2012, 06:58 PM   #3
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Re: Hooking up ZOOM H1 to live band mixer

It may be that the distortion is happening within the mixer so you need to check that first for overloading.

Secondly an interface box such as this: ART Pro Audio

or this: ART Pro Audio

Will help give you control over levels and isolate your kit from the PA mixer.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 11:20 AM   #4
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Re: Hooking up ZOOM H1 to live band mixer

Thanks for your help guys. I just talked to the singer of the live band, he said he's recording everything in WAV format on his laptop as the show goes on, so apparently I'm all set for this one. I will use the H1 anyway, just to see if I get distorted sound again and will let you know :)
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Old October 31st, 2012, 12:12 PM   #5
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Re: Hooking up ZOOM H1 to live band mixer

Its always worth having a pad cable available as the output is frequently too hot. Get one like this one from Pinknoise Systems:

Pinknoise -25db Curly Straight to Right-Angled 3.5mm Cable | Pinknoise Systems | Location Sound & DSLR Equipment

The WAV file recorded direct to the singers laptop looks very promising. I've had that before and received the file via Dropbox a few days later. He will probably use 44.1kHz rather than 48kHz so allow for that. And record with the Zoom as well just in case the singer screws up any part of the recording.

Pete
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Old October 31st, 2012, 07:10 PM   #6
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Re: Hooking up ZOOM H1 to live band mixer

Thanks Peter, I didn't realize it could be as simple as a modified 3.5mm cable. I can probably find that pretty easily around here.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 08:33 PM   #7
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Re: Hooking up ZOOM H1 to live band mixer

Yeah Steve is right, the Zoom can't handle pro level line level, you better have a pad or use their rca jack out.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:20 AM   #8
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Re: Hooking up ZOOM H1 to live band mixer

I apologize taking so long to share the outcome of this. The conclusion is this: I plugged the H1 into the headphones out using an adapter (from the standard 3.5mm stereo jack to the thicker one, so no RCA), and the sound is actually good! I lowered the headphones volume from the mixer to about 25%, and the H1 was set at around 15-20 input volume from what I can remember. Important thing is the sound is clean!
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