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Old January 11th, 2013, 08:21 PM   #1
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zoom h4n...external mic and usage question

pretty much decided to get a zoom h4n to add to my expanding arsenal of equipment. ill be filming a mardi gras ball and would like to connect it directly to the mixer used by the crew and direct capture their audio.

ive filmed their galas in the past and just used the audio that recorded on my cams. i have a rode ntg-2 on my canon xha1 that gets pretty good recordings. that will stay the same but they have an audio guy that has a mixer with 3-4 mics and his laptop connected to it that plays through the locations in-house speakers.

i want to hook up my h4n to the mixer to line level capture the people speaking into the mics as well as his audio that he plays from laptop. im guessing that i shouldnt have a problem doing that with the h4n out of the box?


but also im filming some documentary shorts and im looking to get better voiceover audio. i was reading that the rode ntg-2 and the h4n dont play very well together.

can someone recommend a good mic and pop filter that i could add to the h4n for recording voiceovers/looping/etc....


TIA
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Old January 12th, 2013, 12:15 AM   #2
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Re: zoom h4n...external mic and usage question

I use the ntg-2 with my h4n all the time and they work perfectly together. Have never heard that they don't.

But then, there is much that I haven't heard....
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Old January 12th, 2013, 12:40 AM   #3
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Re: zoom h4n...external mic and usage question

The Zoom H4n is pretty versatile, but you'll want to be prepared for a variety of mixers you'll encounter. At the least, I would recommend a set of xlr to xlr, xlr to trs, and trs to trs cables. Or get adapters from xlr to trs as well as gender changers.
I also recommend some in-line xlr attenuators. I prefer the variable ones (10,20,30 dB switchable). A few dollars worth of prep gear will ensure that you can connect to most any mixer (or PA).
Give yourself plenty of extra time to connect and test the signal. I've often had to hover around the sound engineer for many long minutes while they futz with the knobs. I've run into some DJ's who don't know their inputs from their outputs. Sound engineers are another story, but you should be prepared for anything.
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Old January 12th, 2013, 10:09 AM   #4
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Re: zoom h4n...external mic and usage question

The H4n's 1/4" inputs are -10dB. (unbalanced) Most mixer's outputs are +4dB and many are via 1/4" connectors. As Oren stated, attenuation would be necessary in that configuration. Many mixers also have RCA -10dB outputs, but there are usually only two, may be in use and not available to you. A DI would also work for feeding mic level to the H4n's XLR . Allocate time for a sound check.
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Old January 12th, 2013, 10:23 AM   #5
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Re: zoom h4n...external mic and usage question

Be aware the H4n "line" inputs are actually designed for unbalanced instrument-level signals. I don't have any problems using tape-level unbalanced outputs from my Mix-Pre Tape Out or Mackie Tape Out going into the H4n with an input setting of around 2 or 3, but anything hotter coming in will overdrive the Zoom inputs. If you find you must set the Zoom line input levels down to .9 or .8, then you're sending in too much signal.
You may want to get a pair of good passive DI boxes like the Rolls DB25b for $25 each. These will allow you to convert hot unbalanced aux output line-level signals from the house mixer to balanced mic level. Then use XLR cables into the H4n mic inputs with the input level set accordingly, like 20 to 50.
The Rolls DB25b has a variable attenuation control which is good to set your levels exactly as needed.
They will also allow you a longer balanced cable run with standard XLR cables, in case you want the Zoom some distance from the mixer.

The Zoom mic inputs do better with a strong signal, so perhaps some people aren't getting enough sensitivity from their Rode NTG-2's, which are good but moderate sensitivity mics.
Perhaps a Rode NT1a or NT1000 would do well for your VO needs if you have a nice space to record them but expect to run the Zoom with its AC adapter to provide longer phantom power run time than the internal AA batteries can provide.
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Old January 14th, 2013, 03:49 PM   #6
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Re: zoom h4n...external mic and usage question

thanks for the info/advice. ordered the h4n and 2 of the Rolls DB25b di boxes. im actually meeting up with the sound guy this week sometime and gonna do a soundcheck with everything hooked up and see how it goes.

gonna research the mic situation a little more before picking one out. i see the rode nt1a or nt1000 as possibilities but i havent read up on them quite yet. i want to get something fairly universal (probably a horrible word to use there) that plays well with the h4n that i can hook up and get really great sound out of.
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Old January 14th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #7
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Re: zoom h4n...external mic and usage question

Mark I don't know if you followed this thread, but there is some good advice and some timely warnings if you want to interface with another crew.

Surviving your experience with an audio guy
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