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low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder

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paolo zunigalow levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 23, 2012 at 9:41:04 pm

Hi, quick question about getting good levels when using my AT shotgun mic and my h4n recorder. The issue is this: I plug in the mic xlr cable to h4n and have to crank the recording levels to 100 in order to have a reading just barely hitting -24bd. It's only when I have a mic about a foot or two from subject that I get a reading of about -6.

I read an article about someone having the same issue and they solved it by using a Rode Power Plug that serves as a preamp to give those db's an extra kick without additional noise.

Problem is, I can't seem to find that plug online. Also, is this the best option? Any other suggestions that would work better, still at a reasonable cost?

thanks


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Brian ReynoldsRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 24, 2012 at 3:25:13 am

Is that mic also low level on other gear?
Is the mic battery powered if so is it a fresh battery?
Have you tried another mic on that cable into the H4n?
Is that mic cable faulty?
Are the settings on the H4n correct for that mic setup?
You are going into the XLR input of the H4n and NOT the 6.5mm jack input?

The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom is... Knowledge is the knowing of facts.... Wisdom is the sensible application of good quality knowledge...


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paolo zunigaRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 24, 2012 at 4:45:20 pm

yeah all batteries/cables are new. I hooked up the mic to a friend's studio preamp and the mic works great. It's only when I hook it up with the h4n that I get low audio levels. I was hoping someone would have a suggestions as to whether there was a preamp adapter, or a specific shotgun mic that works well with the h4n.

any insight/suggestions would be appreciated!


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Bob KesslerRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 24, 2012 at 3:46:04 pm

Which Rode Shotgun? The NTG-2 is notorious for low output levels. (BTW, the AT897 has the same issue.)

The H4n is also noted for low input levels.

Combine the NTG-2 and the H4n no wonder you are having problems.

The Rode D-Power has been discontinued. Sanken makes something similar, but it is really meant for dynamic mics (the D-power was as well) and, anecdotally, they add lots of noise.

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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paolo zunigaRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 24, 2012 at 4:48:44 pm

no it's an Audio-Technica AT8015 shotgun. Yes, I know that they both have low input issues when paired up. And yes, I also know that the Rode D-power is discontinued. What I'm trying to do is find a solution.

thanks


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Shane VansenRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 28, 2012 at 10:51:39 pm

have you tried turning off the mic power and using the zoom h4n phantom power ?
Are you able to try another mic to test the h4n isn't faulty, it's a great recorder, sounds like an issue with the mic.


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Michael GriggsRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 29, 2012 at 6:00:45 pm

I'm having the same issue with the super low levels....

Mic is fine (sounds GREAT with everything else I use)
Cables are fine....the only thing that has changed in my set up is using the H4N as the recording device instead of going directly into my HMC 150's XLR input.... (using more DSLR stuff these days...)

I've tried raising the recording level (set at 100!)...even used the internal "mixer" to add an ungodly amount of gain.... It sounded PERFECT in my monitoring headphones, but after grabbing the WAV's from the card and looking at em in FCP (or STP), they're STILL absurdly low (especially compared with how good they sounded via the monitoring headphones during the shoot)


So, are low audio levels just a part of using the Zoom? Do we really need a friggin Pre-Amp just to record decently-usable-levels to the thing??


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paolo zunigaRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 29, 2012 at 7:38:47 pm

Hi Michael, I'm glad I'm not the only one with this issue. I've been reading up on it and it seems that it has to do with the combination of the H4N and certain microphones. Apparently the H4N's built-in preamp doesn't have enough power for some of the newer mics and therefore can only produce so much gain. The best recommendations that I have read have suggested that I use a pre-amp to add some gain to my audio. So essentially the chain would be: mic > preamp > h4n.

There are field sound mixers such as the MixPre-D Compact Field Mixer that already some with a greater pre-amp capability to not need additional boost. But it's a little pricey for what I need at this moment.

Here's a link to the one I'm thinking about getting: http://www.cascademicrophones.com/Cascade_Cloud_Microphones_CL-1_CL-2.html

Let me know if you come up with anything better. Otherwise, this is probably what I'll be using.


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Michael GriggsRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on May 29, 2012 at 8:13:05 pm

But see, that's the thing....The zoom absolutely SHOULD be able to handle any condenser mic...It has phantom power- that's all that's really necessary....

What I really don't understand is why do I get Great levels out of the monitoring headphones (set at around 70% volume) and see good levels on the unit's internal meters....why are they still SO low when recorded???

It seems to me like it's got to be some sort of inner setting that I need to change, rather than an issue with a mic that I've never before had a problem using to record to any other device....


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Malcolm MatuskyRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on Jul 4, 2012 at 4:26:38 am

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/615405-REG/ART_USBDUALPREPS_USB_Dual_...

I have the H4, not (n) model, the recorder does not have high gain on the inputs, if your signal is too low you have to use a preamp.

If you use a preamp, don't leave the gain levels at 100%, 50~75 is enough, use the preamp for the rest, on the zoom products, unlike the Tascam, adjusting audio on the fly is a pain, the preamp gives you a rotary pot which is very convenient.

Cheers,

Malcolm

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


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paolo zunigaRe: low levels with shotgun mic + h4n recorder
by on Jul 4, 2012 at 4:35:44 am

Cool, this sound like something worth checking out. thanks!


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