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Distorted Audio with zoom h1 recorder even though the levels were low.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi, i have zoom h1 field recorder. The other day i took it to a live event and got line out from the mixer from the dj guy there. The music was very very loud.

So I had set the levels low (at around -12db) and everything was looking fine - the meter on the zoom h1 never showed that the sound clipped.

But, when i got back home , the audio was distorted.

The mixer guy had given me line out from the tape out ports i think.

I also did another experiment where the audio from the mixer was fed to the laptop and from the laptop's headphone out port , i fed the audio to zoom h1 and set the levels low - the result was still the same, the audio was distorted.

I am really disappointed with the results. Is there something i m doing wrong or is the line out signal from the mixer too hot for zoom h1 ?

I don't mind buying a new recorder if that solves the issue. I really want the recorder to record clean audio from the line inputs. I dont use the onboard mics or any other feature for that matter. Just need it to record line in without any distortion.

Thank you!
post #2 of 7
I have a Zoom H2, but I imagine your problem / solution is the same. This is from my notes I made when I had the same issue:

I did some test recordings through the Line Input with the H2's internal record level control at various settings. As I suspected, the H2's +/- internal level control is after the input stages. So when it was set low at 60, the recording clipped at -10 when fed a loud input signal. Setting the H2's level to 100 allows full volume recording with no distortion. The manual is typically unclear about using the Line Input, but the sample screen shows the volume set to 100 and says to use the source's output volume control to set the level. So 100 is the magic number, then set the record level by adjusting the output level of whatever source device you're recording from.

--Ethan
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you ethan. That makes sense.

It is not always possible for me to set the input gain level at 100 as the sound starts clipping. I will do a couple of tests to see if i can adjust the output on the mixer and keep the level of h1 at 100.

Is there any other recorder in the market that does pure line-in and can handle such hot signals. I don mind buying a new one as long as it is under $300.

Thanks!
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by techspark View Post

Thank you ethan. That makes sense.

It is not always possible for me to set the input gain level at 100 as the sound starts clipping. I will do a couple of tests to see if i can adjust the output on the mixer and keep the level of h1 at 100.

Is there any other recorder in the market that does pure line-in and can handle such hot signals. I don mind buying a new one as long as it is under $300.

Thanks!

Common problem with portable digital recorders.

I carry around passive attenuators to match up high voltage sources with my recorder.

I own both a pair of Audio Technica AT8202

http://www.markertek.com/Audio-Equipment/Audio-Interface/Attenuation-Devices/Audio-Technica/AT8202.xhtml



and a NHT Pro PVC

http://www.nhthifi.com/PVC_Pro_XLR_professional_passive_volume_control



and also carry the necessary cables and adapters required to make them work with the real world sources I run into
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
^^ Thank you...I will research more on these attenuators and see if they will work well for me.

I just did some more searching on field recorders and found this one : http://tascam.com/product/dr-2d/specifications/

It has a seperate port for line in and mic in - does that mean it will be able to work well with hot line signal and not distort the sound unlike the zoom h1 ??

Or will the performance be the same like zoom h1.
post #6 of 7
This is cheap and will probably solve the problem by letting you keep the Zoom's input level at 100:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=13007616

It's meant for earphones, but I bet it will work for line level signals too. If not you can return it.

--Ethan
post #7 of 7
My experience with h1 and line signal is that you set it very low on input adjust - for me it was only 15 out of 100. This gives very low noise. Then adjust output to 20 percent below clipping point which ended up being 40% volume on my mixer output.

I had extremely good results with this setting even tweaking mixers' base to max the recording was perfect. Impressive.
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