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H4n Hooked to Lav Left Me with Very Low Volume

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Mike Wrobel, May 20, 2013.

  1. Mike Wrobel

    Mike Wrobel Active Member

    I am new, and I probably am not searching with the right terms to find my issue, so I am asking...

    I have a Zoom H4n. I hooked up a Shure lav mic. I decided I wanted the internal mics to record too, so I went to 4CH. I set the setting for my mono lav mic to record on both left and right channels. I had the record level turned up to 100 for the 1 slot (left mic input on the bottom). I am connected to the lav with a 25ft XLR cable.

    RODE mic on camera had a bunch of surrounding noise (room full of people with a bunch of people talking) and loud. The internal mics had a bunch of surrounding noise and was loud. The Lav on input 1 was very quiet (not what I wanted) and didn't pick up all the external noise (what I wanted). I have used this lav plugged into one of those $500 palm size video cameras with no problem. I put it into the H4n and I can barely hear. I increased the volume as much as Premiere would let me and it is marginal, at best.

    Did I set something wrong? the lav was hanging at about nipple level on the speaker.

    Thoughts?

    -Mike
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    What is the model number of the Shure lavalier mic? Is it a dynamic type like the SM11 (which is inherently low output) or an electret condenser type that has its own battery pack with an XLR connector? The H4N is an excellent recorder, but it does not have a lot of gain and sometimes struggles to get full level recordings from low-output microphones. If this is the case, you may need to consider a fixed-gain signal-level booster inline with the microphone.
     
  3. Mike Wrobel

    Mike Wrobel Active Member

    Yes, it is an SM11. I had great success straight into a $500 palm sized Sony video cam. Do you have a recommendation on a specific mic? I would be out here guessing like when I bought the SM11.
     
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Well, you could get an electret lavalier mic, as these in general have a higher output than the dynamics. The alternative is to use your SM11 with something like a Cloudlifter, which will give you 20+dB of extra gain. It can be run off phantom power from the H4N, but doing that would increase battery drain if you are conducting your recording sesssions away from mains power.
     
  5. Mike Wrobel

    Mike Wrobel Active Member

    The link doesn't say, so I assume I can't put a battery in the Cloudlifter. Phantom power only? 24v or 48v... is this part of the design of the Cloudlifter or do I experiment for my situation? For my current application, I can plug in the H4n, but I would definitely want to know its power draw for the first time I can't plug in.

    I assume the position must be off the end of the lav and not 25 ft away next to the H4n.

    Thank you for holding my hand. I am going to a 1 week class in a few weeks and I want to record the class (my current priority), but I also want to be successful with my Videography. I am experienced with photography, but new to video/audio. As for the class, I will be sitting at tables with 20 other people listening to a speaker all week. I probably won't be able to talk him into a lav. I have a RODE VideoMic Pro and the SM11 (x2). All I want is to record the presentation so I can go back and listen for myself and pick up notes that I missed. Is there a non-obtrusive way to do this? The internal mics on the H4n? The RODE VidoMic Pro? The SM11 with a Cloudlifter but it would be many feet from the speaker (can a lav do this)? Something else?
     
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Perhaps you should have told us this from the outset!

    An omni-directional lavalier mic is not the right tool for this job, as it relies on being close to the sound source to give you enough output of what you want and correspondingly little of the background noise. As an aside, the Cloudlifter would work at either end of the XLR cable in this case.

    As soon as you have a situation where you are not able to plant a mic on the acoustic source (the lecturer), you either go for a highly-directional (shotgun) microphone at a distance of several feet or you take a chance on something like a directional boundary mic placed on a table close to the speaker.

    The Rode Videomic would give you a better result than the omni lavalier, but the Videomic has a surprisingly broad front pattern and there are other shotgun mics that are tighter (the NTG series, for example).

    You also imply that you will be recording all day, so battery life is going to be a major concern, whether or not you are powering a condenser mic and/or a signal booster.
     
  7. Mike Wrobel

    Mike Wrobel Active Member

    Thank you for the continuing hand holding. I think I "get it" for this thread.

    The original question was a lav on the lecturer. The secondary question was a class in few weeks where I have to assume I will not have a lav on the lecturer. Both questions were answered with info to get me in the right direction.

    As for an all day lecture and battery life, I plan to plug the H4n into wall power for the day (and I have a bunch of rechargeable AA batteries, just in case).
     

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