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Zoom H4n into Panasonic GH2

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David Bartz
Zoom H4n into Panasonic GH2
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:44:11 pm

Gentlepeople -

My interview audio setup was this: Sony ECM-55B condenser mic into channel 1 of the h4n. Phantom power was supplied by the h4n. I had no audio connection to my GH2. I used a clapboard to sync them. Everything worked great, but on one interview, I neglected to hit the record button a second time on the h4n, and had to use the audio from the stereo mic onboard the GH2. A friend who has the same camera, pointed me to this cable ( http://tinyurl.com/6o3mvj3 ) and this adapter ( http://tinyurl.com/nexwutz ). I got those and hooked them up. Unfortunately, the GH2 didn't recognize the input (no mic symbol on the gh2 screen) unless I pulled the jack out slightly from the camera, and even then, it only registered one channel.

After searching these wonderful forums, I learned that not all (3.5mm->2.5mm) adapters are alike (very odd!). I also discovered this cable ( http://tinyurl.com/l8tc7u7 ) from another member here. Rather than try and waste time trying to find the appropriate adapter, I went for this new cable that already had the 2.5mm soldered onto it.

I again plugged in the Sony mic into channel 1 of the h4n. I adjusted the input level on the h4n to 80. On the h4n I have the (INPUT/COMP LIMITER / INPUT) set to COMP1. Testing input sources from soft to loud, this was the best setting. I had the output setting set to 80. This was an appropriate level for me to monitor with my headphones. Everything was great.

Next, I pulled out the headphones out of the h4n headphone jack, and inserted the new Sescom cable to the headphone output of the h4n and inserted the 2.5mm end into the GH2. I then plugged my headphones into the monitor jack on the Sescom cable. I turned on the audio input meters on the GH2 and the audio was pegging into the red, even with just the faintest of whispers into the mic. With just room tone in the mic, it registered 3 bars on the meter. I checked the Mic Level Adj on the GH2 and it was at level 1 (lowest).

I started lowering the output on the h4n. For the meters on the GH2 to match the meters on the h4n, I had to reduce the level on h4n output to 45 (from 80). This was great for recording, but I could hear nothing on the headphones.

What could be wrong? Is the -25db pad not working? I've been studying the Sescom site and found a couple of solutions. Put an attenuator ( http://www.sescom.com/product.asp?item=SES-MKP-27 ) between the h4n and the gh2, or put an amplifier ( http://www.sescom.com/product.asp?item=SES-HDPHNA ) between the Sescom cable monitor jack and the headphones. While this might solve my problem, it's kind of kludgy, and I'll have to get 3.5->2.5mm adapters again (if going with the pad solution rather than the headphone amplifier solution.)

Please let the solution be that there's a switch I'm missing on either the h4n or the gh2. ;)

I'm going to cross-post this on the Audio Professionals forum. I hope that's OK, and forgive me if that's where this post should have gone originally.

Thank you so much for any and all advice you can give me.

David Bartz
La Honda, CA


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Steve Crow
Re: Zoom H4n into Panasonic GH2
on Jul 2, 2014 at 12:08:09 am

Yes, I have my H4N recording levels set to around 50 and I don't run into issues with lavalier mics. Headphone levels could be of course whatever you want.

Steve Crow


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David Bartz
Re: Zoom H4n into Panasonic GH2
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:18:34 pm

Thanks for your reply, Steve. I have no problem with the lavs into the h4n. That works perfectly. My problem is the output of the h4n into the GH2. An adequate level on the headphones out of the h4n, is way too hot for the input of the GH2. I can dial down the output of the h4n to match the incoming metering on the GH2, but that makes the headphone fork out of the Sescom cable too soft to be of any use monitoring. I could get the amp I mentioned in my original post above to jack up the output of the h4n into the headphones, but that seems like an odd solution when Sescom offers the cable alone as the solution, rather than cable, plus a headphone amp. What am I missing here?

David Bartz
La Honda, CA


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Bill Bruner
Re: Zoom H4n into Panasonic GH2
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:10:39 pm
Last Edited By Bill Bruner on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:12:07 pm

Hi David - before I started buying cameras with headphone jacks, I shot with a GH2 that I sometimes paired with a Zoom H1, the Sescom LN2MIC- ZOOMH4N cable (the no-headphone version) and a Hosa GMP467 right angle 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter.

I used an inexpensive 3.5mm stereo splitter to plug my headphones into the contraption.

Here's a pic:



I found that I had to adjust the input level on the GH2, the input level on the H1 and the volume control on the H1 while I had the headphones plugged into the splitter in order to insure that the recorder was getting what it needed, the camera was getting what it needed and my ears were getting what they needed. With the camera mic input level at 1, the H1's mic input and volume output levels generally ended up between 50 and 60

I started from scratch with the mic plugged into my Zoom, the Zoom plugged into the camera and the headphones plugged into the splitter. Using the meters on the recorder, and not my ears, I set the mic input level on the Zoom where I wanted it. Only then did I start adjusting the volume output to the camera & headphones. Listening for the noise floor, I cranked the volume up until the camera was metering normal speech at 3 to 4 bars. At that point, I could usually hear what was being recorded pretty clearly through the headphones.

I screwed it up a couple of times, but in general, I was happy with the results.

Hope this is helpful!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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David Bartz
Re: Zoom H4n into Panasonic GH2
on Jul 4, 2014 at 5:32:13 am

Thanks so much for your reply. I'm doing what you suggest, and not getting the same results. So dang frustrating. I think the solution is going to be me taping a postit on the camera to remember to press the rec button on the Zoom a second time. ;)

David Bartz
La Honda, CA


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Bill Bruner
Re: Zoom H4n into Panasonic GH2
on Jul 4, 2014 at 12:15:37 pm

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. Perhaps there are a couple of other possibilities before you resort to the post-it note :)

Have you tried another set of headphones? Maybe earbuds from your phone? There may be some sort of gain or impedance mismatch with your phones.

If it's not the headphones, I wonder if you have a bad Sescom cable? Is it still new enough to return it and get the straight LN2MIC cable and a splitter?

Best of luck - I feel your pain,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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