Peak distortion problems on the H2

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BobRowen
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Peak distortion problems on the H2

Post by BobRowen » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:55 pm

I’ve been recording lectures for podcasting for over two years with the H2.

Recently, we’ve added a public address system (the Behringer EPA 150) and have taken a line out from this 5-channel mixer, at first with good results and the advantages of using XLR-class and phantom-powered mics.

However, after thinking we’d mastered it all, we’re starting to get very frequent unfixable PEAK DISTORTION problems – in recording into the H2’s LINE input from the PA/Mixer’s LINE output. This is from an ordinary single speaker’s voice.

The peaks when recording on the H2 are always around the middle (-24dB) and while I’ve tried to bring down the H2’s REC LEVEL, as the excellent How to get the best from the Zoom H2 paper on this site says, “Lowering the level in the H2 below 100 will not prevent analog overloads” and it doesn’t.

Any and all suggestions, guidance and advice appreciated….
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emmrecs
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Re: Peak distortion problems on the H2

Post by emmrecs » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:37 am

BobRowen wrote:I’ve been recording lectures for podcasting for over two years with the H2.

Recently, we’ve added a public address system (the Behringer EPA 150) and have taken a line out from this 5-channel mixer, at first with good results and the advantages of using XLR-class and phantom-powered mics.

However, after thinking we’d mastered it all, we’re starting to get very frequent unfixable PEAK DISTORTION problems – in recording into the H2’s LINE input from the PA/Mixer’s LINE output. This is from an ordinary single speaker’s voice.

The peaks when recording on the H2 are always around the middle (-24dB) and while I’ve tried to bring down the H2’s REC LEVEL, as the excellent How to get the best from the Zoom H2 paper on this site says, “Lowering the level in the H2 below 100 will not prevent analog overloads” and it doesn’t.

Any and all suggestions, guidance and advice appreciated….
Hi Bob.

You have here met what to me is the single biggest drawback of the H2: the line input is much TOO sensitive and is, basically, uncontrollable at the H2 end! The only way to solve this is to reduce the level being output by your mixer; as you've found the "Rec Level" setting on the H2 is of no use.

If you cannot reduce the output level of the mixer (and I record in a similar "situation", in my case sermons preached in church for uploading as mp3s to the web; the sound is fed from the Rec outputs of a mixer, which has no output "level" control) you need an alternative solution.

My solution was to invest in a pair of in-line attenuators which sit between the output of the mixer and the input of the H2. Do a search on this forum and you will find a number of posts which discuss this approach.

BTW, have you seen this series of posts which very comprehensively discuss record level setting on the H2? http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic. ... 45&start=0

HTH.

Jeff
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gtaus
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Re: Peak distortion problems on the H2

Post by gtaus » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:28 pm

BobRowen wrote:...The peaks when recording on the H2 are always around the middle (-24dB) and while I’ve tried to bring down the H2’s REC LEVEL, as the excellent How to get the best from the Zoom H2 paper on this site says, “Lowering the level in the H2 below 100 will not prevent analog overloads” and it doesn’t. ...
I had my heart set on the H2 for a number of reasons, but my primary recording use was to set up the recorder to capture some live bar bands. The H2 is noted for clipping out at high SPL's. Some of the guys here on the forum recommend that I get the Tascam DR-07, which has both an analogue and a digital limiter. I dial down the analogue control so the mics don't clip out recording the high SPL's, and use the digital limiter to ensure that the digital end does not clip. Bottom line, it's the analogue control on the mics that make all the difference in the world.

You can buy line attenuators and that will probably solve your line in recording problem. Given the recent price drops on the small recorders, you might think of other options. From what I have read, the H1 has the same clipping problems as the H2. Zoom could learn from Tascam on this one clipping issue, at least.
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BillClarke
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Re: Peak distortion problems on the H2

Post by BillClarke » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:44 pm

My main use of the H2 is very similiar to emmrecs - recording church services (spoken word and music) for later conversion to MP3 and uploading to the web.

My solution to this problem was to buy an inexpensive Y-adapter - 1/4" male to 2x1/8" female and use it to pull the signal off of the mixer's headphone jack rather than the line-out. That way I have control of the output volume and can still monitor via headphone.

Works for my purposes, anyway.
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gtaus
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Re: Peak distortion problems on the H2

Post by gtaus » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:39 pm

BillClarke wrote:My main use of the H2 is very similiar to emmrecs - recording church services (spoken word and music) for later conversion to MP3 and uploading to the web.

My solution to this problem was to buy an inexpensive Y-adapter - 1/4" male to 2x1/8" female and use it to pull the signal off of the mixer's headphone jack rather than the line-out. That way I have control of the output volume and can still monitor via headphone.

Works for my purposes, anyway.
That's a great solution! Sometimes those line outputs are just too strong and will overload the recording device. Your approach using the headphone output with a Y-adapter is both inexpensive and easy.
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BobRowen
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Re: Peak distortion problems on the H2

Post by BobRowen » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:06 am

Thanks everybody for the precise feedback and sharing your own vivid experiences.

So line-in-putters, beware! :evil:

Actually, had I read a little further in the excellent How to get the best from the Zoom H2 paper on this site at , I would have seen:

Using line level sources
The sensitivity of the line input socket seems slightly (!) higher than it should be. You cannot control it from the H2 in analogue domain. If the device you have connected to the H2 has no means of controlling the level it outputs from socket, see if the level from any headphone socket it may have can be controlled, and connect that to the H2 line (and) probably get perfectly good results that way.

Happily, our Behringer EPA150 mixer has a gain pot on the headphone output and I always monitor at the H2 so don't have to split it. It'll be interesting to see how low the headphone pot's "sweet spot" is......

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lembic
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Re: Peak distortion problems on the H2

Post by lembic » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:48 am

I too have had this experience, though it seems to only happen with powered mixers. On those mixers using the "tape out" results in severe distortion no matter what the input level on the H2. On gigs with our normal unpowered mixer, I get great sounding recordings off the "tape out" jacks. I never thought to use the headphone out, I'll try that the next time.
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gtaus
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Re: Peak distortion problems on the H2

Post by gtaus » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:35 pm

lembic wrote:I too have had this experience, though it seems to only happen with powered mixers. On those mixers using the "tape out" results in severe distortion no matter what the input level on the H2. On gigs with our normal unpowered mixer, I get great sounding recordings off the "tape out" jacks. I never thought to use the headphone out, I'll try that the next time.
I had an interesting experience using my HD16 while recording from my live mixer's Insert I/O (direct outs). I thought "Line Level" was a standard, but there are two distinct standards in the signal strength, as I now understand it. My mixer sends out a hot ("professional") line level that is different than most of my "consumer" grade line level gear. There is a difference in the specs if you really look at the signal strength. I had to turn my HD16 input gain knobs all the way counterclockwise (which I mistakenly thought was "off" or zero) to "Line" which is the setting for the professional grade line level recording. Now it records perfectly. I know that if the HD16 was not set up to record the hotter "professional" line level signal, I'd be clipping out the recording every time. I imagine that the H2 line level set up is probably not set up for the "professional" line level strength, and maybe only designed to handle the "weaker" consumer line level standard. Just my guess based on my previous experience with recording differences between "professional" line level signals as compared to "consumer" line level signals.

Which is why I thought the idea of using the adjustable headphone output from the mixer is probably a great solution for recording on the H2. You should be able to dial in a good headphone signal that the H2 is able to record without clipping. It sounds like the H2 cannot handle pro line level recording strength.
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