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Audio recorded to Zoom H4N from sound board at venue is distorted, but not peaking on recording device

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Joe Bressler
Audio recorded to Zoom H4N from sound board at venue is distorted, but not peaking on recording device
on Jan 17, 2016 at 6:07:29 am

Hello,

I attempted to record audio of a loud musical performance tonight from the venue's sound board, and came across an issue where the levels were maxing at -24db and the audio was very distorted. The waveform looks like it's clipped, but it clips/flattens out at -24db.

Would this be a case of the output level of the board being too high, and regardless of the levels on my Zoom still getting distorted audio?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Audio recorded to Zoom H4N from sound board at venue is distorted, but not peaking on recording device
on Jan 17, 2016 at 9:02:03 am

Firstly did you go into the H4n at mic level or line level?
Did you use XLR cables or 6.5mm phono plugs into the H4n?
Did you use any 'in line' pads in the connection between the mixer and H4n?
Were you / some one monitoring with headphones in setup / testing and the recording of the H4n?

Answering these questions will help us to identify where the problem may have occurred and better answering your original problem.


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Joe Bressler
Re: Audio recorded to Zoom H4N from sound board at venue is distorted, but not peaking on recording device
on Jan 17, 2016 at 2:36:04 pm

Thank you for your response Brian.

We used an XLR cable with nothing extra in between the mixer and the recorder.

During set up we did monitor but there was not a proper sound check. Meaning we set levels based on pre recorded music that was being played prior to the performance. This audio was below -24db so even if the output doubled once the performance started it would still be well below 0db.

Thanks again for your input!


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Audio recorded to Zoom H4N from sound board at venue is distorted, but not peaking on recording device
on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:05:16 pm

You have put a 'Line' level signal into a 'Mic' input and the clipping is caused by the pre-amp (before the level controls) being overdriven. They will be little you can do to recover the recording.

If you want to feed a mixer @ line level into the H4n mic inputs you will need some in line pads of 40-50db.

If you wanted to feed a mixer into the 'Line' inputs on the H4n which are the 6.5mm sockets, BUT they are NOT a +4 input that matches 'Pro' level gear, the inputs are designed as instrument inputs for music recording.

If you want to use a +4 'Pro' level into the H4n 'Line' inputs may I suggest some 15db pads to drop the level just a bit.

The key for audio recording is monitoring on a good set of headphones, recording audio without monitoring is like using a video camera without a view finder.


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Peter Groom
Re: Audio recorded to Zoom H4N from sound board at venue is distorted, but not peaking on recording device
on Jan 18, 2016 at 8:49:14 am

I always run line level through -40db pads before hitting the inputs of my zoom h4n. Then calibrate with some 1k tone for input gain controls and life is good.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Buddy Rock
Re: Audio recorded to Zoom H4N from sound board at venue is distorted, but not peaking on recording device
on Jul 31, 2016 at 7:07:59 am

Hey Joe,
This video will help:





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