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Old May 28th, 2014, 06:03 PM   #1
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H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

When recording using the internal microphones only, one channel is ...well listen for yourself - distortion thats right off the scale. If I replace or remove the batteries and allow the capacitors to discharge completely then power back on, many times it works but once or maybe twice then ##!$!!

I was going to have a factory out of warranty repair or if I knew what part (board maybe) to replace, Id see about getting a part and do it myself.

http://cloud.videossc.com/users/cmoore/STE-010.wav

Any advice or suggestions?
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Old May 28th, 2014, 06:24 PM   #2
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

What are the meters reading when this is recording? Is one channel pegged and the other one normal? Are both normal?
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Old May 28th, 2014, 06:48 PM   #3
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

The left channel reads normal, the right channel is pegged.
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Old May 28th, 2014, 09:19 PM   #4
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Well - here is what I found out ----------

When Zoom was under Samson and your Zoom H4n, as an example, needed a repair you had two choices ship it to them, or use an Zoom authorized place in southern California.

Now Zoom is no longer Samson, now its Zoom Co. Japan. Now as long as your unit has a need for service while in warranty your covered. But service parts are no longer being offered for out of warranty repairs at authorized repair centers. If your unit is outside the warranty period, or if you damage it, your solution is break out your credit card and buy a new one.

Im still waiting for an official response from Zoom Japan on this.
Just keep this in mind when you choose which recorder to buy.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 07:24 AM   #5
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Sorry for your pain, but welcome to disposable audio hardware. :)

People kept screaming for "cheap" and the companies figured out how to do cheap.

I just sent my 1980 vintage Neumann U 89 i in for service here in the US. $550 for a new capsule, but hey, I traded it for a RCA ribbon mic 15 years ago and it's a great mic.

Here's how Sennheiser/Neumann handles repairs these days.

Ty Ford Audio and Video: Getting US Service on a Neumann U 89 i

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old May 29th, 2014, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

I think the notion that a $200 recorder of that overall quality (once you know how to use it properly) should be instantly and cheaply repairable when out of warranty is somewhat unrealistic.

Plus we don't know what your settings are so we don't really know where the fault lies.

I've learned through years of being on this board that 99% of the time when someone screams about how shitty something is, it's operator error (usually when someone thinks they are smarter than the device and mucks around with manual settings they don't fully understand).

Everyone wants cheap hardware but no one is willing to accept the risks that come with it.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 12:15 PM   #7
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

ZOOM North America got back to me. From now on out of warranty products have a flat fee replacement program instead of repair.

A ZOOM H4n could be replaced for $145.00 (with the proper RMA)
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Old May 29th, 2014, 12:24 PM   #8
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
welcome to disposable audio hardware.
I got the zoom h4 when it first was introduced and it slowly started to malfunction right after the warranty period, the issue I had with it was quite serious as it would say recording on the unit and when I came home nothing was on the card, this only happened now and then but I didn't even bother to have it checked but got me a tascam dr40 instead, These type of malfunctions don't worry me though as I have several cheap backup recorders to cover me when one decides to fail on me.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 08:37 PM   #9
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Mr. Moore, it would help you better communicate with the audio community to use proper terminology.
Your example was gross component/circuit NOISE.
Since there was NO SIGNAL, there was no opportunity for ANY "distortion".
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Old May 29th, 2014, 11:43 PM   #10
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Ah great thanks. Probably a soundboard failure then.

C
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Old May 30th, 2014, 11:46 PM   #11
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Mr. Moore,

If you have a stereo mic with unbalanced output and a 3.5mm plug, I suggest you try connecting that to the 3.5mm unbalanced mic jack located between the internal mics, on the underside of the recorder.

If you get a recording similar to the file you posted (one channel good, one extremely noisy) then the problem probably lies in the electronics inside the unit.

If you get a good 2-channel recording, then I'd suspect the problem is one of the internal mic capsules. (Is there any chance that they are actually rotating the capsule, and not just the baffle, when you change from the 90 position to the 120 position? Could there be a dirty contact in there? Have you tried rotating that baffle back and forth a few times, to see whether that fixes the problem?)

Also, if you do get a good recording with the external unbalanced mic, you might try gently inserting and removing the plug several times. Perhaps even but a small amount of contact cleaner on the plug, the insert, rotate, and remove it a few times. There is a very slim possibility that the entire problem is a bit of dirt in that 3.5mm mic jack, which seems to be electrically in the same circuit as the internal mics.

Please report back, and good luck!
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Old May 31st, 2014, 12:12 AM   #12
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Thank you sir. Its the left mic capsule for sure Ill try and fidgit with it a bit and see how it goes thanks.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 10:59 AM   #13
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

If you tried those tests, and it's definitely the capsule, then presumably you still have a good recorder, just without the use of the integral mics. You still have a 3.5mm unbalanced mic input, plus the 1/4" and XLR inputs. (Of course you'll want to test all of those, just to be 100% sure.) Unless you wanted it only as a one-piece handheld recorder, things could be a lot worse. The H4n is a pretty versatile gadget (almost too versatile IMHO ... too much room for confusion.)
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 05:48 AM   #14
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Greg, By chance you wouldn't have the H4n set to MS? (page 73 in the manual)
That would explain the level difference between L & R.
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 09:22 AM   #15
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Re: H4N Horrid distortion (audio sample)

Brian:

Thanks, but I'm not the person with the H4n. I was replying to the original poster, Mr. Moore.

Have you listened to the audio sample he posted? The problem is not a level difference, it's full-scale noise on one of the two channels.
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