H4n Pro and a 3 Person Podcast Scenario

Discuss the Zoom H6, H5, H4, H4n, H2, H2n, and H1. Please don't "post and run". Participate in the discussion. Thanks.
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aldrichb
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H4n Pro and a 3 Person Podcast Scenario

Post by aldrichb » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:39 am

I bought the H4n Pro for podcasting purposes. My main goal is to be able to use all 3 inputs (built in mic and 2 xlr mics) to record a 3 person podcast. I understand I can do this in 4CH mode (recording all inputs at once).

The built in mic gives me stereo. However, both of the XLR inputs come over as mono (one on the Left Ear and one on the Right Ear). Which is tough for when I have headphones plugged in trying to monitor things.

My question is in 2 parts

1) In 4CH mode. Is there a way to have the 2 inputs come over together on one mono channel (both left and right ears) like you can with Mono Mixing in Stereo Mode?

2) If not, is there a sound quality loss with bringing the 2 wav files you get from a recording into Audacity and mixing them down to one mono file? This is a podcast with no music, so Mono is what I am looking to achieve.

Any tips would be great and I would be happyu to try to explain my question further if it was confusing.

Loving the H4 so far!
Brian

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Re: H4n Pro and a 3 Person Podcast Scenario

Post by Wulfraed » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:55 pm

I believe the intended usage of 4-channel mode was to provide the base for a surround sound recording, wherein the built-ins are used as front left/right, and the XLRs are used for either a single stereo microphone or a pair set-up in X/Y configuration as rear left/right.

Unfortunately, based upon the manual, the MTR mode maxes out a just two tracks at a time -- either built-in or two XLRs.

An H2n might have been a more usable choice -- no XLR inputs, but by standing up it up in the middle of the scene, set to its 4ch mode, with the M/S pair aimed at you, and the X/Y pair aimed toward the other two... That would create two stereo files for front/back, but reflecting the actual placement of all involved.

Beyond that... A Zoom R-16 in "8-input mode" (even though only three inputs will be armed; set the others to -inf); or (sorry, the R-8 is only two inputs at a time) BOSS BR-800 in "Input 1-4 & 4Track Rec"" (again, -inf the unused). These devices would let you adjust the panning of each input to produce a stereo placement -- without the all-in-one-ear effect you are currently experiencing (you could place yourself in center, and the other two just to each side of center).
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aldrichb
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Re: H4n Pro and a 3 Person Podcast Scenario

Post by aldrichb » Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:02 am

Wulfraed wrote:
Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:55 pm
I believe the intended usage of 4-channel mode was to provide the base for a surround sound recording, wherein the built-ins are used as front left/right, and the XLRs are used for either a single stereo microphone or a pair set-up in X/Y configuration as rear left/right.

Unfortunately, based upon the manual, the MTR mode maxes out a just two tracks at a time -- either built-in or two XLRs.

An H2n might have been a more usable choice -- no XLR inputs, but by standing up it up in the middle of the scene, set to its 4ch mode, with the M/S pair aimed at you, and the X/Y pair aimed toward the other two... That would create two stereo files for front/back, but reflecting the actual placement of all involved.

Beyond that... A Zoom R-16 in "8-input mode" (even though only three inputs will be armed; set the others to -inf); or (sorry, the R-8 is only two inputs at a time) BOSS BR-800 in "Input 1-4 & 4Track Rec"" (again, -inf the unused). These devices would let you adjust the panning of each input to produce a stereo placement -- without the all-in-one-ear effect you are currently experiencing (you could place yourself in center, and the other two just to each side of center).
Thank you very much for this response! I will stick with the H4n and just mix everything down to Mono in post production. I am a fan of the XLR inputs and its flexibility. Thanks again.

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Re: H4n Pro and a 3 Person Podcast Scenario

Post by greenA2 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:14 am

aldrichb wrote:
Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:39 am

The built in mic gives me stereo. However, both of the XLR inputs come over as mono (one on the Left Ear and one on the Right Ear). Which is tough for when I have headphones plugged in trying to monitor things.

1) In 4CH mode. Is there a way to have the 2 inputs come over together on one mono channel (both left and right ears) like you can with Mono Mixing in Stereo Mode?
That sounds like a design flaw. In the H5 they allow you to define the pan position of the 2 XLR inputs, so you could pan them hard left and right if they are mixing board input of the gig that you are also recording from the mics, or you could pan them however you want if the scenario is different.
aldrichb wrote:
Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:39 am

2) If not, is there a sound quality loss with bringing the 2 wav files you get from a recording into Audacity and mixing them down to one mono file? This is a podcast with no music, so Mono is what I am looking to achieve.
There's a tiny sound quality loss involved in any such mixing if you look at the mathematics, but if you do it right, it won't be anything that the average human ear can detect. People used to get away with doing this on tape that was introducing a lot more inaccuracy than digital recording, just do it and trust your ears.
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Re: H4n Pro and a 3 Person Podcast Scenario

Post by Wulfraed » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:40 pm

The H5 "Multi-File" mode is a hybrid between the H4n(Pro) 4-channel and Multi-Track.

If you were to link input 1/2 on the H5, the result would be what the H4n 4-channel mode produces: stereo file for the built-in X/Y, and a stereo file input 1/2. (And you'd likely lose any panning control as it assumes a linked pair IS properly placed for stereo effect)

On the H4n, the option that allows for panning changes is the Multi-Track mode -- but that mode can only record two tracks at a time... Either the X/Y OR input 1/2.


Since the goal is for vocal (interview) it might be justifiable to pick up a cheap microphone mixer:

https://www.amazon.com/rolls-MX310-Morm ... B004GK7NOG is a 3-in, mono-out mixer. Forget about using the built-in X/Y and supply each person with a separate microphone, record to input-1 only.

I own one of: https://www.amazon.com/Rolls-MX54s-Plus ... B00102XVJ4 Which takes three XLR inputs, allows mixing levels and panning to produce dual XLR (stereo) outputs. Again, supply each person with a microphone, adjust panning so two of them aren't dead center (otherwise it sounds like one speaker with three voices), and record using input 1&2 as a linked pair. No need for 4-channel or MTR mode, just simple stereo.
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Superscope PSD-300; BOSS BR-600, Zoom HD16cd, Zoom R16, BOSS BR-800, Zoom H2n
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Denis247
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Re: H4n Pro and a 3 Person Podcast Scenario

Post by Denis247 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:01 am

Or just get an H6.

aldrichb
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Re: H4n Pro and a 3 Person Podcast Scenario

Post by aldrichb » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:20 am

Thanks for all the responses. I am going with post rendering both tracks to one mono track and it works well for podcasting. I also found a couple adapters to allow both L and R channels in 4CH mode to come over in both ears for monitoring, so it's a good workaround.

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