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H4n & CS5 audio level problem

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Dave Felder
H4n & CS5 audio level problem
on Apr 22, 2011 at 3:05:00 am

I'm getting very low levels from my H4n. I've had this problem using the H4n both in stereo and mono.

Here's my work flow:

I'm shooting double system with an H4n & Eos5DM2. For a mic, I've tried both an AT803 lavalier and an AT 8035 shotgun. Using the phantom power from the H4n, running XLR directly from the mikes to the H4n (no mixer). It seems that I have to have the H4n input level up to 100%, and I typically get it to peak around -3 to 0dB on the H4n meters.

I copy the H4n files to my edit system (Premiere CS5) and use Plural eyes to sync up the camera footage.

In Premiere, the audio levels are extremely low, sometimes I can barely even see the waveform on the clip. When playing a clip, the audio typically hits about -18 on the CS5 VU meters. I tried Normalizing in Premiere but don't usually get an appreciable increase. At least nowhere where I want it to be. I've been exporting audio to Sound Forge to normalize and seem to get a higher level that way.

I still have to boost the gain on the audio tracks in Premiere, sometimes as high as +6dB (which is as high as it goes) and have to keyframe the peaks where it gets too hot.

I've heard that software VU meters are unreliable, but I must have something set wrong somewhere.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Ryan Video Productions Inc. Rockaway, NJ


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Steve Crow
Re: H4n & CS5 audio level problem
on Apr 22, 2011 at 12:48:09 pm

My gut reaction is that your mics need to be powered independently of the Zoom H4N. For instance, my wireless mics are AA battery powered as is my shotgun mic.


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Dave Felder
Re: H4n & CS5 audio level problem
on Apr 22, 2011 at 1:49:16 pm

That's simple enough to test, but I thought that if the Hn4 said the level was peaking just under 0dB, that I had it right. But I will definitely give it a try.



Thanks,
Dave

Ryan Video Productions Inc. Rockaway, NJ


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Brent Dunn
Re: H4n & CS5 audio level problem
on Apr 22, 2011 at 4:00:04 pm

It sounds like you had your attenuator / gain switch on the Zoom set to Low. I have been caught before with this. You can set it to low / med / or high. So if you have a low audio input, you should set it to high.

I don't think it has anything to do with premier.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Dave Felder
Re: H4n & CS5 audio level problem
on Apr 22, 2011 at 4:46:11 pm

I don't think I have a lo/med/hi switch on my Hn4. I couldn't find it in the manual either. Would it be called something else?

Brent, on a completely different subject, I see in your signature that you have an HP i7 Quad laptop with CS5. I'm looking to buy a new laptop and was just looking at that model this morning. Are you happy with it?

Dave

Ryan Video Productions Inc. Rockaway, NJ


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Brent Dunn
Re: H4n & CS5 audio level problem
on Apr 22, 2011 at 5:38:55 pm

Yes, I'm extremely happy with it. I only paid $899 and I've even done some After Effects projects on it. Now you could get a bigger version and it would make editing much easier.

Certainly you could get a higher end graphics card, etc., but for the price, I'm a happy camper. I'm a Mac guy, but I couldn't justify spending over 2 grand for the same computer.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Dave Felder
Re: H4n & CS5 audio level problem
on Apr 22, 2011 at 5:47:16 pm

Just looking to get the laptop so I can take work home in the evenings or weekend. Not sure if I should go for a 17" screen or use a smaller laptop with an external monitor.

Can you even read the screen when you run after effects?

Ryan Video Productions Inc. Rockaway, NJ


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Dave Felder
Just found out something about CS5
on Apr 22, 2011 at 5:50:53 pm

Found this in a thread on Adobe's website. When you select the clip in your Premiere timeline, right click, send to Soundtrack, Render and Replace, as soon as Soundtrack loads the clip, the waveform in Premiere is expanded tremendously. That's without doing anything to the audio clip in Soundtrack, except loading it.

Strange feature, huh? I'll have to ask about it on the Adobe forum.

Ryan Video Productions Inc. Rockaway, NJ


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