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Thread started 28 Oct 2012 (Sunday) 20:58
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Recording Interview Audio With Zoom H4N

 
DaveN007
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Oct 28, 2012 20:58 |  #1

Warning: This is one of those questions that can be answered very easily by someone who knows the answer. If you don't enjoy sharing your expertise with people who don't know as much about a subject as you do, please stop reading. I don't need to be admonished with "RTFM". ;)

I am switching over to my 60D for doing interviews and I need a solution for recording audio from two sources simultaneously. Interviewer and interviewee.

Does an H4N support two lav mics attached simultaneously? I have RTFM and it looks like it does.

Considering that I am thinking of the H4N at around $250, what should I be thinking of for lav mics? What does $50 versus $100 versus $500 each get me?

I do IFOTC work professionally and I am always stunned by the cost of crew's toys.

Thanks in advance for any advice. :)


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Kento
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Oct 29, 2012 03:52 |  #2

Yes, H4n will take two lavs. It can also record with the built in mic in 4CH, that gives you three sources of audio at once.

As for lav microphones. Wired lavs are cheap because they don't have any wireless RF technology incorporated. Wireless lavs use RF (radio freq) technology to transmit the signal from a transmitter to a receiver over a distance. Cheap ones have cheap RF isolation so they won't sound too great, expensive ones often have more expensive parts with better isolation. Isolation is needed to prevent the transmitter radio waves from bouncing around inside the transmitter and corrupting the recorded audio with RF noise. Features, size, range and branding will also effect price.


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Channel ­ One
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Oct 29, 2012 05:53 |  #3

DaveN007 wrote in post #15180369 (external link)
Does an H4N support two lav mics attached simultaneously? I have RTFM and it looks like it does.

Yes, however to simplify life those lav's need to be supplied with standard XLR connectors in order to properly utilize the H4N's phantom power.

What does $50 versus $100 versus $500 each get me?

The difference in price gets you two things better audio and a more durable microphone. Personally I have a preference for the Shure SM-93’s they produce great audio and are quite rugged for the price and they are phantom powered meaning no additional batteries to replace and or fail.

Wayne


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Channel ­ One
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Oct 29, 2012 05:58 |  #4

Kento wrote in post #15181308 (external link)
As for lav microphones. Wired lavs are cheap because they don't have any wireless RF technology incorporated. Wireless lavs use RF (radio freq) technology to transmit the signal from a transmitter to a receiver over a distance.

That is incorrect as wired lavs come in all price ranges and levels of quality, for example one can drop $575 on a Sennheiser wired lav or $20 for a Pearstone wired lav.

Isolation is needed to prevent the transmitter radio waves from bouncing around inside the transmitter and corrupting the recorded audio with RF noise.

Thats really not true at all.

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Kento
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Oct 29, 2012 06:37 |  #5

Channel One wrote in post #15181500 (external link)
That is incorrect as wired lavs come in all price ranges and levels of quality, for example one can drop $575 on a Sennheiser wired lav or $20 for a Pearstone wired lav.

Yeah I meant to say "cheaper". Although whether or not something is "cheap" is completely subjective :)

Channel One wrote in post #15181500 (external link)
Thats really not true at all.

Wayne

Really? Explain to me how Electromagnetic Interference, specifically Radio Frequency Interference or RFI doesn't have an effect on the S/N ratio (signal to noise) of the digital components inside the transmitter and receiver of a wireless system... :rolleyes:


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DaveN007
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Oct 29, 2012 15:12 |  #6

This is awesome info. Thanks to you both.

The Shure SM-93 sounds like a good fit for me considering price and I watched a couple of demo videos that seem to achieve the desired result.

I want to confirm my understanding of "phantom power", though. The H4N manual is seems to imply that the H4N is providing power to the mic since it talks about battery life being significantly lower while mics requiring phantom power are connected. Am I correct that the Shure SM-93 "pre-amplifier" is drawing power from the H4N and requires no batteries?

I know that Channel One said this, but the "pre-amplifier" looks like it might contain a battery. Just confirming. (Also, another lav I looked at has a battery pack and it says it can run on phantom power.)

So... 2 Shure SM-93 plus 2 XLR cables plus the H4N would create a complete package to mic up and record two subjects seated near each other?

Thanks again.


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Oct 29, 2012 15:17 |  #7

DaveN007 wrote in post #15183397 (external link)
I know that Channel One said this, but the "pre-amplifier" looks like it might contain a battery. Just confirming. (Also, another lav I looked at has a battery pack and it says it can run on phantom power.) Thanks again.

While it looks large all it contains is a nice low noise pre-amp within a rugged housing and yes the device the SM-93 connects to is what provides the power to operate the microphone and pre-amp. Also the SM-93 can run on 24 volts of power allowing you to set the H4N to the lower voltage setting (24/48) extending battery life.

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ben_r_
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Oct 29, 2012 16:12 |  #8

Got to this thread late but I was going to suggest two Shure SM-93's as well and yes you could use the both at the same time into the Zoom H4n. You may want to pick up a couple XLR extension cables as well just in case you need the extra reach between the speaking subjects.


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Oct 29, 2012 17:41 |  #9

Kento wrote in post #15181550 (external link)
Really? Explain to me how Electromagnetic Interference, specifically Radio Frequency Interference or RFI doesn't have an effect on the S/N ratio (signal to noise) of the digital components inside the transmitter and receiver of a wireless system... :rolleyes:

The reason is RF in of itself will not increase the noise floor which would contribute to lowering the signal to noise ratio (S/N), you see in order for RF to cause that type of interference three things must happen, first the RF level needs to be high enough to enter the circuit, second it must be picked up by a component of the circuit that is to say a wire lead or printed circuit (PC) board land which acts as an antenna and third the RF must be demodulated to a frequency or frequencies within the audio spectrum.

Now with an amplitude modulated signal where the signal strength varies with the level of modulation that demodulation process can be a relatively easy process as any non-linear junction (diode transistor etc.) will do the demodulation, but with a frequency modulated signal the RF level remains constant and is not subject to being so easily demodulated down to the audio level.

That stated we have the following factors which make it tough for the RF of a body pack wireless transmitter to raise havoc with itself, to begin with the internal transmitter only puts out 100 to 200 milliwatts of power which is a very low power level and the modulation for the majority of the transmitters on the market is FM, as such two of the needed components to cause interference with an audio signal are already not present, then add to that the fact almost all modern body pack transmitters utilize surface mount components and extremely short lands which do not provide long enough conductive lengths to become an effective antenna to induce any stray RF into the circuit.

Why does length matter well for example lets take a “D” block transmitter which has a center frequency of 660mHz which has a wavelength of .454 meters or 17.87 inches, now at unity gain which would be a quarter wave that works out to be about 4.46 inches which is longer than the longest dimension of a typical body pack transmitter nor less the tenths of an inch lands on the PC board.

Now should you have any doubts about the inability of 100 to 200 milliwatts of power to cause RF interference consider this.

IMAGE: http://www.channel1images.com/Assets/amharris.jpg


What is pictured above is a Harris 5Kw (5000) watts output AM transmitter (and remember what I stated about AM) and just to the left of the transmitter is the “audio” rack which holds the studio to transmitter link receiver, an audio processor known as an Optimod and some remote control equipment, then note the temp'ed in audio cables run between the rack and the transmitter and add to that this transmitter hut is located within the antenna farm in a concrete building without a Faraday shield, which in other words is a relatively hot RF area and yet there is no interference induced into the audio chain.

Need more?

IMAGE: http://www.channel1images.com/Assets/UHF15Kw.jpg

What you see above is the rear of a 15Kw output UHF TV transmitter which is installed at the base of the tower supporting gain UHF antenna array giving the station an effective radiated power (ERP) of around 45Kw, note the audio cabling from the rack to the transmitter, yet nary a bit of RF interference, and as if that wasn’t enough RF, consider this, there are three other high power UHF transmitters within the same building also feeding gain arrays, can you say RF city. ;-)a

Wayne

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DaveN007
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Oct 29, 2012 18:27 |  #10

ben_r_ wrote in post #15183586 (external link)
Got to this thread late but I was going to suggest two Shure SM-93's as well and yes you could use the both at the same time into the Zoom H4n. You may want to pick up a couple XLR extension cables as well just in case you need the extra reach between the speaking subjects.

Thanks!

And it looks like I won't have to wrap anything in tin foil to protect from gamma rays and stuff. ;)

Two Shures on order. I may drop by the local music shop to find xlr cables.


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Channel ­ One
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Oct 29, 2012 19:01 |  #11

DaveN007 wrote in post #15183986 (external link)
Two Shures on order. I may drop by the local music shop to find xlr cables.

This is what you should receive.

IMAGE: http://www.channel1images.com/Assets/sm93a.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.channel1images.com/Assets/sm93b.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.channel1images.com/Assets/sm93c.jpg

Wayne

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Recording Interview Audio With Zoom H4N
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