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Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)

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Kevin Eugene
Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 25, 2014 at 4:45:40 am

I have a Rode NTG-3 running direct via XLR into channel 1 of the Zoom H4n. The recording shows up on both channels (which is what I want). The Zoom is set to use 48+ phantom power. I am using the AC Adapter on the Zoom.

I have no problems with the quality. I was seeing if I could record decent sound at a higher input level to something like -3DB without distortion.

As I increased the Zoom input level, 30, 40, 50, 60, I noticed at one point around 60 on up that the input level meter on the front of the Zoom was pegged at-6DB. I brought this into Audition and sure enough, the sound is pegged to -6db on these higher input levels. I checked the H4n settings and everything obvious on the Zoom is off - limiters off, compression off, etc, etc.

Is this normal behavior for the Zoom H4n?

I feel like I am missing something obvious here.

Thank you in advance for your answer.

My Best,

Kevin - not a sound guy. :)


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Eric Toline
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 25, 2014 at 4:45:02 pm

The real question is why would you need anything hotter than -6dbfs? If you really want/need the tracks to be hotter then boost them in post.

Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Kevin Eugene
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 27, 2014 at 12:55:54 am

Well, thanks Eric, I appreciate the response, but that is not the real question. I know I can do that.

My statement was I am testing (to better understand the Zoom H4n) and I'd like to know if the Zoom H4n is limited to -6b input no matter what, or if I am doing something wrong here, as that is the result I am getting.

If you (or anyone else) can shed some light on this, I would really appreciate the answer.

Thanks!

Kevin - not a sound guy. :)


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Eric Toline
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 27, 2014 at 11:47:20 am

I would suggest that you try other sources both mic and line level to see if you get the same results. Also try the Rode mic into another mixer/recorder just to eliminate any problem with it.

Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Kevin Eugene
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 27, 2014 at 5:23:38 pm

Perfect Eric!

I stupidly didn't think of this.

I'll check it out and report my findings.

Thanks!

Kevin


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Bill Davis
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 30, 2014 at 6:20:56 pm

[Kevin Eugene] "My statement was I am testing (to better understand the Zoom H4n) and I'd like to know if the Zoom H4n is limited to -6b input no matter what, or if I am doing something wrong here, as that is the result I am getting.
"


Just to address the obvious, you checked the Menu > Input >Comp/Limit to make sure that you don't have the limiter engaged?

Also, make sure you're not in Mono Mix mode, which duplicates a mono input to both channels but records the second one at a reduced input level to avoid clipping when presented with transient spikes.

If none of that proves fruitful, I'd re-boot the unit and attach it to the Zoom site to make sure your software is fully up to date.

Stuff happens to any computer (and these are just small audio recording computers) and it just might need to be re-booted.

Good luck.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Kevin Eugene
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jul 2, 2014 at 3:21:44 pm

Hey Bill! Thanks for the response.

"Just to address the obvious, you checked the Menu > Input >Comp/Limit to make sure that you don't have the limiter engaged?"

Correct. That is why I was stumped.

"Also, make sure you're not in Mono Mix mode, which duplicates a mono input to both channels but records the second one at a reduced input level to avoid clipping when presented with transient spikes."

Yes, I AM in mono mix mode to get one channel onto both. I'll try turning off mono mix mode and see what happens.

I do boot the H4n every time I use it, and always format the card before recording.

I'll let you know my results, and thanks very much for taking the time to respond.

Mt Best,

Kevin


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Kevin Eugene
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jul 11, 2014 at 2:29:26 am

Tah dah!!!

Sure enough - you pegged it Bill.

On my Zoom H4n, if you are using mono mix mode, the levels are limited at -6db whether you have a limiter on or not.

Turning off mono mix allows me to spike the thing out the top (not that I would want to do that).

I sincerely appreciate all the help and answers.

Thank you!

Best,

Kevin


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Ty Ford
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:23:41 am

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for coming back to let us know. I'm sure our efforts will be appreciated by others.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Ty Ford
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 27, 2014 at 12:52:35 pm

Hello Kevin and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I don't know the menu structure of the recorder, but it does seem as though you have a limiter on somewhere.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Peter Groom
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 27, 2014 at 2:57:37 pm

I find that the input stage electronics often maxx out and the level appears to go no higer no matter what you do.
i bought some 15db pads to pull the inputs of the input limts and have much happier times since then.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Kevin Eugene
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 27, 2014 at 5:26:30 pm

Thanks Peter.

No offense, but not being a sound person at all, I have no idea what you just said. :)

Time to head over to Google.

Thanks you!

Kevin


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Kevin Eugene
Re: Zoom H4n Limiting Problem (?)
on Jun 27, 2014 at 5:25:28 pm

Thanks Ty.

Yeah, I had the same thought, yet I can't find anything that would limit the sound on the H4n. Everything is off.

Although you give me an idea...I'll try running mono (instead of the mono to 2 channel) and see if that makes a difference.

Also, I'm going to try Eric's suggestion and run to H4n into another recorder and also another mic into the H4n to see what's happening.

Thank you!

Kevin


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