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Old June 30th, 2011, 04:25 AM   #1
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feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

I have been doing tons of research and there's a general consensus that the best option for audio is a separate audio recorder

most people go with the Zoom h4n, which seems to have a few advantages like the ability to screw a hot shoe adaptor, and the XLR inputs.

the problem with the H4n (and others) is that the line out signal from headphones is a line signal and its too hot for the 5D mic in to handle.

now, most people then simply sync the audio to the video with the clap board or other plug-ins, but I have seen (and I am sure most of you know) that they sell a special cable from Sescom that incorporates an attenuator, making it possible to feed the Zoom signal right into the 5d (Sescom LN2MIC-ZOOMH4N 3.5mm Line to Mic 25dB Att. 9 Inch DSLR Cable for Zoom H4N and Zoom H1)
they also do a version that allows for a headphone to be plugged for real time monitoring.

has anyone had experiences of that? does it work well?
and finally, is the H4n better than the Sony PCM M-10? they are almost the same price

apparently the Zoom is bigger and with shorter battery life BUT does have XLR inputs and phantom power, and does surround-sound recording, not just stereo.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:32 PM   #2
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

Hi,

I've been using a simple 'Y' 3,5mm male to female splitter out of the linout/headphone jack on the H4N. The rec level on the 5Dmk2 is at 3 clicks above zero. The recording levels on the H4N are adjusted to the -12 to -6 on the H4N and then I adjust the line out signal to -12 to -6 on the 5D before filming. This has worked fine for recording live music, outdoor events, etc. The problem, of course, being that the line out volume has to be lowered considerably (typically to "40 to 50" on their readout) therefore the headphone volume is low. However, if you have well-insulated monitoring headphones, I find it possible to monitor the sound for major snafus (cutouts, static, distortion). I have ordered the attenuator cable that you've referred to in order to have higher headphone volume.

Peet
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Old June 30th, 2011, 02:40 PM   #3
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

I went the attenuator route and it worked well enough but have since just gone to all recording to the H4n and also record using a hot shoe mounted RODE SVM mic and then use DualEyes to sync my wav and mov.
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 11:14 AM   #4
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Federico Perale View Post
I have been doing tons of research and there's a general consensus that the best option for audio is a separate audio recorder

most people go with the Zoom h4n, which seems to have a few advantages like the ability to screw a hot shoe adaptor, and the XLR inputs.

the problem with the H4n (and others) is that the line out signal from headphones is a line signal and its too hot for the 5D mic in to handle.

now, most people then simply sync the audio to the video with the clap board or other plug-ins, but I have seen (and I am sure most of you know) that they sell a special cable from Sescom that incorporates an attenuator, making it possible to feed the Zoom signal right into the 5d (Sescom LN2MIC-ZOOMH4N 3.5mm Line to Mic 25dB Att. 9 Inch DSLR Cable for Zoom H4N and Zoom H1)
they also do a version that allows for a headphone to be plugged for real time monitoring.

has anyone had experiences of that? does it work well?
and finally, is the H4n better than the Sony PCM M-10? they are almost the same price

apparently the Zoom is bigger and with shorter battery life BUT does have XLR inputs and phantom power, and does surround-sound recording, not just stereo.
It sounds like you don't really want to sync up the sounds in post, I don't blame you, I don't do it either. I am 100% happy with using my JuicedLink CX211 Mic pre amp pluged directly into the camera. I set the camera audio in to about 4 clicks up from 0 (less than 1/4) and I turn the CX211 volume all the way up. I use a rode NTG2 mic.

For some reason my 5D will not accept Magic Lantern, so the one thing that sucks for me is that I cant monitor the sound as it's being recorded, I can only replay each clip after shooting to check the audio from my headphones out of my hdmi monitor. It hasn't really been a problem though, I'd rather do this than sync up later. Here's some samples below of this method.

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Old July 15th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #5
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

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Originally Posted by Peet Simard View Post
Hi,

I've been using a simple 'Y' 3,5mm male to female splitter out of the linout/headphone jack on the H4N. The rec level on the 5Dmk2 is at 3 clicks above zero. The recording levels on the H4N are adjusted to the -12 to -6 on the H4N and then I adjust the line out signal to -12 to -6 on the 5D before filming.
Peet
, is it true that recording the h4n into the 5d, it means it will still be 48 KHz 16 bit, no matter if you set the H4n to 24 bit?
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Old July 15th, 2011, 10:14 PM   #6
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

I double record, to the Zoom H4N and to the 5D. I put a -12 db tone in the Zoom, play it via the pad cable and adjust the camera meters to match. However, it is not wise to depend only on camera audio for a couple of reasons--first, you can't monitor while recording, and second, it's easy on the Zoom to change the headphone output accidentally, which then changes audio going to the camera.

Also, since the headphone jack is the line out, you have to get a Y-adapter to monitor sound from the Zoom. This changes the level going to the camera, so you have to be sure to plug in the Y adapter first before you set camera gain levels.

And assuming you do all that right and assuming the camera records properly with no mini plug malfunction from the Zoom (mine malfunctioned once, but I double recorded, so no problem), the quality of the camera sound is not nearly as good as the Zoom. It is good enough for quick and dirty stuff, and as long as you're not intercutting camera audio with Zoom audio, you can get by with it. Overall, though, I've found that syncing is no problem.
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Old July 17th, 2011, 01:10 PM   #7
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

I now use the longer Sescom cable with extra headphone monitor connection. It works very well and I used it quite a lot on recent filming trips to Italy, Holland and France. I will also be using this cable with the 5D & Zoom H4 on another major filming expedition to Gran Canaria over the next few weeks (fly out tomorrow).

Here is the Sescom cable with headphone monitoring jack:

http://www.bayviewtech.com.au/news-s...ICZMH4MON.html

I have yet to find ANY system that does not produce some 'hiss' into the audio recording inside a 5D, and this includes the Secom cable. Yes, you can turn down the manual audio on the 5D and Zoom to low levels, but then it needs to be increased again when you edit the video to bring it back to decent volume.

The great advantage of using the Sescom cable is that the Zoom will automatically record direct into the 5D without the red button on the Zoom needing to be pressed to 'record'. This means that when I'm in a rush with run-n-gun situations I can simply press 'video' on the 5D and know that I'm getting decent full stereo via the onboard Zoom mic (or dual L/R mono via two Sony wireless mics connected to the Zoom).

I can also do dual-system at the same time if I want to, by letting the Zoom onboard mic record directly into the DSLR body, and also press the Zoom record button at the same time, so that I get a second seperate 'cleaner' recording directly onto the SD card within the Zoom H4.

The recording directly into the Zoom H4 does not have any 'hiss' at all. However, I've also been able to tune the Zoom & 5D at levels where the sound recordiing is nice and clear and loud, with only a very slight background hiss; and because this low level hiss is constant it can be removed in post, or covered by adding a low level natural ambience to the audio track.
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Old July 17th, 2011, 01:50 PM   #8
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

I think the hiss in the camera recording is within acceptability. It's the difference in sound quality that makes it not so good, compared with a decent recorder. It's not horrible, it's just not as good. If you double record and then compare the same clip from both sources, the 5D sounds "tinny" compared to the Zoom, almost like a different mic was used.
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Old July 17th, 2011, 06:16 PM   #9
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
I think the hiss in the camera recording is within acceptability. It's the difference in sound quality that makes it not so good, compared with a decent recorder. It's not horrible, it's just not as good. If you double record and then compare the same clip from both sources, the 5D sounds "tinny" compared to the Zoom, almost like a different mic was used.
are you referring to the difference between recording with the zoom "stand-alone" and via the Zoom into the 5D?
I quite agree - I compared the sound using the zoom into the 5D with the internal mic from the 5D and although it's better I am not fully convinced.
when I hear back what I record onto the zoom, it sounds a lot better....

what level do you guys normally set the record level on the zoom? I keep mine around 80-85
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Old July 20th, 2011, 07:48 PM   #10
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

What I do is run the mic cable to the Zoom, then the cable from the Zoom to the camera. So I'm double recording from the same mic. I have tried to intercut the sound from the camera and it's not nearly as good as sound from the Zoom.

Level you use for the Zoom would depend on the mic you're using, distance from talent, level of speaking voice, etc. There's no set gain to use. My normal mic for shooting talent is the Oktava MK 012, and it's not a very hot mic. The Zoom generally wants to be at around 85-90%. Because my Zoom's headphone jack died and I've been having trouble getting it repaired, I recently got a Marantz 661 (twice the price of the Zoom). It is quite a bit cleaner, and with the same mic it comes in nicely at just over 6 (60%) under similar conditions where I've used the Zoom.

The 5D sound quality is not bad. It is useable for many things, but when you compare it to a decent recorder, it is not so good
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Old June 19th, 2012, 03:31 PM   #11
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

I wondering if anyone has tried to use the H4Next with the Canon 5D Mark III. In my setup, I go out of the Zoom with a 1/4" cable into the 1/8" microphone jack that is on the camera. As I am righting this reply and thinking about some of what I've read, I'm thinking that maybe I do need this Sescam cable to allow me to go through the headphone jack like some of you so that I can then record through both the Zoom and the Mark III. Does anyone have any experience that can help me with setup?
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Old June 23rd, 2012, 09:59 AM   #12
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

Can I just slightly off-track from the main topic?

I have delved into DSLR videography just lately (after many, many years of using proper camcorders). I was considering buying a Beachteck pre-amp in order to be able to connect any decent mic to my 5D Mk2 (probably the new DXA-SLR Pro). However after reading this thread it occurred to me that for the same price, if not cheaper, I can buy the Zoom H4 and I can still attach any mic to it and either output the audio to the 5D or else I can have the added facility of recording on the Zoom as well as outputting to the Canon. Hence the Zoom is a much better option than the Beachtek. Or is it?

Am I right or am I missing something?

Thanks.
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Old June 26th, 2012, 11:24 PM   #13
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

Brian, FWIW, JuicedLink preamps generally outperform the Beachtecks. Double sound will always give a cleaner signal, since you can record 24bit/up to 96mHz signals. Cameras are relegated to 16 bit/48kHz. Some people don't like to slate and sync, so they'll go the preamp route, and that's fine for many things. Most cams don't have headphone jacks or level meters, so MAKE SURE you're getting a signal and not the "hiss of death" when it's too late to do anything about it.

Everyone always talks about the Zoom, but Tascam and Marantz also make recorders that are worthy of consideration. I've had the DR-100 for over two years and love it.

There's tons and tons of info and opinions out there if you research it.

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Old January 30th, 2013, 03:30 PM   #14
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

Instead of using the H4n, could we use the smaller zoom h1 and work without XLRs?
My plan : connecting a senheiser evolution g3 to a mounted h1, which feeds into the 5d (or 6d in my case...) Does that make any sense?
(I work alone and to me : small is beautiful - I believe the h4n is just too big/complicated)
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Old February 1st, 2013, 12:05 PM   #15
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Re: feeding zoom h4n into the 5D (attenuator)

I fly solo a lot myself for interviews etc... using the 5DM3, I get audio that is good enough. There is a little hiss but it is easy to get rid of and a little EQ makes it sound nice and full. To me it's worth it to save time and complexity on set to record just to camera. I also have a Zoom, but haven't even turned it on in about a year.

Simple adapter cable to go from XLR to 1/4" and I'm good to go. I usually edit my own projects, but I have even sent raw footage to clients recorded this way and they seem fine with it too.

Might not work for every situation, but the less complex setup works great for me. Plus no syncing in post.
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