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Old April 8th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #1
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Lav + H4N + Magic Lantern doubts

Hi guys,

Ive been doing some sound tests for a project I have coming up and I keep finding the sound too be too low. I have very little experience with sound but let me explain how Im setting things up:
The audio-technica lavalier with the phantom power adapter goes into the Zoom H4N and then the split cable (attenuator + monitor cable) goes into the MarkIIs mic input. Ive set the mic level on the Zoom to 100, Ive upped the compressor and the and the low cut filters to diminish the possibility of picking up unwanted sounds (its an indoors shot but I have sound coming from a kids playground), then on the MarkII Ive upped the gain on ML a little. When Ive listened to the sound on my computer it was pretty clean but it was very very low. I have to confess that this was the first sound test I did with ML so I was not sure about where the soundmeter bar should be (I was GUESSING that when it changed color it meant it was peaking).
Anyway, any thoughts and/or suggestions are welcome.

thanks in advance.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 09:57 AM   #2
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Re: Lav + H4N + Magic Lantern doubts

Low volume (available gain) is a common issue with low budget recorders. It can be raised in post but that will also raise the noise from the noisy preamps as well as other extraneous sounds.. Many use high quality external preamps or a mixer, but it's not a cheap fix and another piece of gear.
Compression and filters will not generally reduce unwanted sounds, In fact compression will usually make it worse. An expander or noise gate can be used, but they are not with out audible compromises which may be worse than the sound one wishes to attenuate. A noise reduction suite of tools can also help, but they are not cheap and may not be effective on some material.. A low cut filter (aka, HPF) can reduce low frequency rumble and low level/frequency wind noise.
Anyone with a budget recorder should read the "The-$300-Recorder-Question" sticky over at the DVX audio forum:

Last edited by Rick Reineke; April 8th, 2013 at 10:37 AM. Reason: addendum
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Old April 8th, 2013, 10:03 AM   #3
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Re: Lav + H4N + Magic Lantern doubts

I think its something to do with the MarkII or/and Magic Lantern because Ive tried this before with the NEX7 and the sound was loud and clear.
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Old April 9th, 2013, 11:18 AM   #4
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Re: Lav + H4N + Magic Lantern doubts

I'm having this same issue with my setup which includes a Sony 44b lav mic going into a Tascam DR-40 recorder. I also tried the 44B into a H4N with the same results.

So far the problem seems to be what Rick said it is - the lav condenser mics have a low output signal. The H4N (and Tascam DR-40), don't have very powerful pre amps so the noise floor is closer to the level of mic's signal.

The way you describe your setup, it sound like Magic Lantern or not, MarkII or NEX or some other camera, it makes no difference, you are recording the audio from the mic directly into the recorder, so where the signal goes from there, shouldn't matter.

In the chance you are in fact also recording to the camera as well, then just use the cam audio as a scratch track to synch up with the audio that it captured in the recorder in post. There is no way that if the audio is good in the recorder, it would get better once it's passed to the NEX, or the Mark II, or anywhere else.

...that's just my 2 cents. I'm not an audio guy, I'm just dealing with a similar issue.
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