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2-track (Zoom H1) portable recorder for interviews

Discussion in 'Digital Recorders' started by Unregistered, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    I have a Zoom H1 and want to conduct oral history interviews by setting up two external mics..... (I'm brand new at all of this)

    1. Can I do this? I assume two tracks means the X and Y onboard mics are both recording, how do I hook up two external mics? Am I right that each mic would then record in mono?

    2. Am I right in assuming that the only thing that matters is the quality of the mic I use? In other words the sound from my Zoom H1 with external mics is no different from the sound of a more expensive player with the same external mic?

    3. Why is is so hard to find out what mics would work for something like this and how to set them up? Where can I go to find out what mics would work best for this?

    Thank you!!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Yes, this is possible, but not usually without a bit of technical effort.

    Firstly, the Zoom H1 is designed to domestic standards and not professional. That means that you cannot plug most professional microphones directly into the H1's external microphone 1/8" stereo jack socket. The socket provides a few volts of "plug-in power" for energising the voltage follower in the mic, but does not provide the 48V supply that most professional condenser mics expect to use.

    There are a few professional stereo mics that can be directly connected to the H1, particularly those that were designed to be used with video cameras. However, these are generally single-body stereo mics, not really any different from the pair of mics attached to the top of the H1, and I guess what you would like to use is two single microphones that can be independently positioned.

    There are a number of approaches you take take to this:

    (1) a pair of professional mono microphones connected to an amplifier/converter box for attachment to the H1 mic or line input. The type of box is dependent on the chosen type of microphone. We can advise further on this if you decide you want to take this route.

    (2) a semi-pro type of stereo mic that can be set up for use with a video-camera but one whose microphone elements can be detatched from the body and be angled directly at the sources. I have an old one of these made by Panasonic somewhere in my attic.

    (3) A specialist mic supplier. Here's an example from Ebay.

    (4) Make your own. Example

    Good luck, and let us know how it works out!
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    There is an excellent website : transom.org
    Check it out, it is designed for people just like you...specifically radio/broadcast interviews and documentaries. You will find the answers to your questions and recommendations for portable recorders, interview mics, software, production tips, etc. It is awesome and "right up your alley". Highly recommended!
  4. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    XLR i/o vs. 3.5mm i/o

    thanks boswell and moonbaby (I'm aware of Transom, but a lot of details not available there)

    quick question:

    For external mics, does it matter if there is an XLR input or 3.5 mm input?

    Might decide to go with Zoom H2n or Tascam DR-40 instead of Zoom H1......
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Inputs on the recorder? You want to go with XLR's. The 3.5mm don't carry phantom power, they are not an industry standard (some plugs fit them more snugly than others), mics and cables made with XLR connectors are, as a general rule, more robust than those with the 3.5mm connectors.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I might also ask how you plan on miking this? Types of microphones? Tie tack or on microphone stands? Handheld? These are important questions you also have to contend with. The best sounding, most reliable and professional units will have XLR connectors and generally require 48 V phantom power supplied from the microphone jack if they are condenser microphones. Plus your XLR connectors lock into place and cannot be accidentally pulled out nor manipulated so as to cause intermittent static and loud explosions.

    Another suggestion might be to purchase 2 of the lower end units, hit the record button's and place them in each one of your shirt pockets. Because of their stereo XY microphones, this gives you redundant track recording so that if there is some noise picked up by one capsule, it may not be picked up by the other as loudly. A lot of this is done for television today which negates the use of wireless microphones. The conversation then can be downloaded into a computer and the tracks synchronized since everything today is generally under Crystal control clocking. This gives you greater freedom of movement and no wires to contend with. Just make sure like wireless microphones, they don't walk away with them.

    Old NBC-TV guy
    Mx. Remy Ann David
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