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Old November 15th, 2012, 11:49 AM   #1
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H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Hi All,

Just had a Zoom H4n arrive. Tried out the internal mics, and I'm very impressed. I've tried plugging an NTG2 in via XLR input 1, and used the 4 channel recorder option to record my brother playing guitar and singing. The internal mic sound is brilliant, really impressed.

However, the NTG2 recording is very 'lifeless' and muffled, with what seems like a fair amount of bottom end but no 'sparkle' like I'm used to when using the NTG 2 through my EX1r. Is this a known problem? Is it a bad combination? Would an NTG 3 sound better using it? I've read a couple of stories of people having issues with the NTG2 and Zoom with muffled recordings, however I've watched videos with the combination being used and they sound great...

Any suggestions?!

Thanks
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

The NTG-2 is a relatively low output mic while the Zoom's external mic inputs have a relatively low sensitivity. The upshot is the two are not very well matched to each other without interposing a mixer between them and going to the Zoom with a line level signal.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 04:43 PM   #3
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
The NTG-2 is a relatively low output mic while the Zoom's external mic inputs have a relatively low sensitivity. The upshot is the two are not very well matched to each other without interposing a mixer between them and going to the Zoom with a line level signal.
Hi Steve, thanks for your reply. Would a mixer solve the issue of the 'muffled' sound then? As I do seem to get a very good level from the NTG-2 into the Zoom, without having to go anywhere near the 100 vol mark...
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:07 PM   #4
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

The NTG2 is a very 'mellow' mic compared to the Sennheiser 416 the top end rise of the 416 is more suited to human voice as it rises from about 3k upward where as the NTG2 it rises at about 5k+.
And the NTG2 is about 5-6db lower in gain than a 416, yes a mixer between the mic and H4n recorder would help some what because of better gain in the mixer.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 07:06 PM   #5
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Here's a review we did of the NTG-2. Starting at around the 1:00 minute mark we show some comparisons of using the mic:

- Plugged into the camera
- Plugged into a JuicedLink and then into the Camera.
- Plugged into a H4n.
- Plugged into a JuicedLink and then into a H4n.

You hear the effects every component produces on the sound.

(Click "CC" for English subtitles)

Hope this helps :)
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Old November 16th, 2012, 04:26 AM   #6
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iker Riera View Post
Here's a review we did of the NTG-2. Starting at around the 1:00 minute mark we show some comparisons of using the mic:

- Plugged into the camera
- Plugged into a JuicedLink and then into the Camera.
- Plugged into a H4n.
- Plugged into a JuicedLink and then into a H4n.

You hear the effects every component produces on the sound.

(Click "CC" for English subtitles)
Yardbless Pro Shooter - RODE NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone Review - YouTube

Hope this helps :)
Hi Iker,

Thanks so much for your post - really does show the difference in the sound chain with and without the higher quality preamp.

Looks like a higher quality preamp would be a good starting point then, and literally just use the H4N for the capturing part of it?

Many Thanks
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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:20 AM   #7
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

I had a rode mic but got rid of it as it sounded lifeless compared to the stock mic on my sony camera, the AT 875r is a better option and I now use them as my stock small shotguns.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:29 AM   #8
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iker Riera View Post
Here's a review we did of the NTG-2. Starting at around the 1:00 minute mark we show some comparisons of using the mic:

- Plugged into the camera
- Plugged into a JuicedLink and then into the Camera.
- Plugged into a H4n.
- Plugged into a JuicedLink and then into a H4n.

You hear the effects every component produces on the sound.

(Click "CC" for English subtitles)
Yardbless Pro Shooter - RODE NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone Review - YouTube

Hope this helps :)
Something to note about the test video when the XLR direct to camera cable was used there was a phase cancelation and the mic will not be heard if you listen in mono.
This is caused by an incorrectly wired cable ....... My opinion on the test was it was a waste of time as 2 out the 3 set ups were technically correct and one wasn't correct at all. Its such a shame that the people that made this video actually have very little knowledge on the subject.....

To use an XLR cable like the one in the video into a STEREO input of a DSLR or handycam it must be wired correctly.... The connections should be,
Tip of 3.5mm plug must go to pin 2 of the XLR
Ring of the 3.5mm plug must go to pin 2 of the XLR
The sleeve of the 3.5mm plug must go to pin 3 of the XLR
In the XLR plug it is optional to connect pin 3 and pin 1.
Note that this will be an unbalanced connection to the input of the camera making it susceptible to external buzz and noise from electrical interference so only use the shortest cable possible.

Last edited by Brian P. Reynolds; November 16th, 2012 at 04:03 PM.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 04:54 AM   #9
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Just thought I'd update this....

I've got a JuicedLink RA333 on the way for one of our projects. I'll be using the RA333 to provide higher quality preamps, and purely use the H4N for it's recording capabilities.

I'll update when I've had a play with it!
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Old January 18th, 2013, 05:14 AM   #10
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Sorry - but all that proves is that the camera audio is rubbish, and that working with a microphone too far away is bad practice. The zoom preamps are not good when the gain is ramped up, but that applies to many camera preamps too. The Juicedlink is a decent product, but even it suffers when the mic is simply too far away, or badly aimed, as in some of the end clips. Buying a decent preamp removes the difference between the good and bad preamp noise, but the sound quality is more annoying than the hiss. I get the feeling people believe that you can use a shotgun at a great distance, and the only downside is hiss, which a great preamp solves? It doesn't! The Rode mic, direct into the zoom at a sensible distance would sound fine. It's not magic, it's physics!
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Old January 18th, 2013, 07:08 AM   #11
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
The Rode mic, direct into the zoom at a sensible distance would sound fine. It's not magic, it's physics!
It doesn't. I have both, and have used both together.

No matter how close the mic is to the source, the recorded file is not clear, and does have a muffled sound - almost like the microphone/zoom combination does not provide enough power for the clarity (however accurate that is, or isn't - I know what I mean).

From watching videos, and listening to sound clips online, the difference between NTG2 > Zoom, and NTG2 > JuicedLink > Zoom is noticeable, and looks like it's the solution to the issue I've been having.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 07:43 AM   #12
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Have you tried the NTG2 with internal AA battery or are you using phantom power from the H4n? It's possible the Zoom can't supply enough current at 48v to run the mic properly.
I haven't tested phantom on the H4n with an NTG2, I don't have that mic. The comparable mics I have can all run on much lower phantom voltages than full 48v.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 08:06 AM   #13
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Maybe it's the word 'muffled'? To me that means lacking in clarity and without much response at HF. In those examples, there was plenty of HF, just mixed in with the hiss in some clips. Condensers on lower voltages often run out of headroom, and start to sound rough, and on some, especially those that need a polarising voltage from an external source, very odd results are produced - but none I'd ever describe as muffled. Could you give us an example of a problem clip? The 1.5v battery powered AT I have sounds identical to when it's on phantom, unless the sound source is really loud, when it seems to overload a little easier.

I'm stuck as to why your Rode sounds muffled. What is it like plugged into something else - mixing desk or even a camera with a decent audio channel? I've only used other people's Rodes, and they were a bit bright for my ears, hence why I'm surprised at the muffled description? Can we have a listen?
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Old January 18th, 2013, 08:30 AM   #14
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
Have you tried the NTG2 with internal AA battery or are you using phantom power from the H4n? It's possible the Zoom can't supply enough current at 48v to run the mic properly.
I haven't tested phantom on the H4n with an NTG2, I don't have that mic. The comparable mics I have can all run on much lower phantom voltages than full 48v.
I've tried both internal battery and phantom power from the Zoom, both had the same outcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Maybe it's the word 'muffled'? To me that means lacking in clarity and without much response at HF. In those examples, there was plenty of HF, just mixed in with the hiss in some clips. Condensers on lower voltages often run out of headroom, and start to sound rough, and on some, especially those that need a polarising voltage from an external source, very odd results are produced - but none I'd ever describe as muffled. Could you give us an example of a problem clip? The 1.5v battery powered AT I have sounds identical to when it's on phantom, unless the sound source is really loud, when it seems to overload a little easier.

I'm stuck as to why your Rode sounds muffled. What is it like plugged into something else - mixing desk or even a camera with a decent audio channel? I've only used other people's Rodes, and they were a bit bright for my ears, hence why I'm surprised at the muffled description? Can we have a listen?
I'll attempt to get a variety of different recordings with the NTG2 this afternoon.

When the NTG2 is plugged into my Soundcraft mixing board (used for rough edit voiceovers) it is clear, and sounds 'normal' for an NTG2. When it is plugged directly into my EX1r, it also sounds 'normal'.

As soon as the NTG2 is plugged into the Zoom H4n, it lacks high frequency definition - hence what I described as a muffled sound. Almost like the top end has been rolled off with an EQ.

I did several Google searches, and found that a number of people using the NTG2 and H4n have suffered similar problems, and the solution they had was to use a better quality preamp before the H4n.

I'll try and get some recordings done later on this afternoon, and I'll post back as soon as I've done them.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 08:28 PM   #15
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Re: H4N + NTG2 = Muffled Recordings?

The H4n does have a variety of menu settings that will certainly affect the recorded sound. I would go through those carefully, I don't have mine handy to list them. I would definitely make sure the mix-to-mono is off if you're working in stereo mode. You don't want anything, including an empty mic input connector mixing in with the signal you're trying to test.
And don't laugh, but it is possible to be recording the on-board mics instead of the plugged in mics. It's just a push of a button on the front face of the recorder (and not noticing the indicator lights)...
Also in 4-track mode people have reported the on-board mics bleeding into the plugged-in mic channels if settings aren't done correctly. I've never used 4-track mode though so I can't say in more detail.
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