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Connecting to a mixing desk (newbie question) ZMX122FX

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:26 am
by Mystery57
Hi all, I'm a total newbie to recording music and have purchased a H4n Pro to help with my videos of my friends local band

They use a ZMX122FX mixing desk and I am wondering if anyone could give me guidance on connecting the two together

thanks in hope

Re: Connecting to a mixing desk (newbie question) ZMX122FX

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:42 am
by Wulfraed
The H4n series uses the same jack for headphone as for line-out -- which does complicate things (proper line-out is a fixed level signal referenced to some standard; headphone is variable level... which means having to tweak the H4n output level against the mixer input gain).

According to https://www.altoproaudio.com/products/zmx122fx the mixer has a two stereo pair inputs. However, they are balanced TRS (ie; each is a MONO jack -- most gear will work with an unbalanced TS plugged in).

You will need an 1/8" unbalanced TRS connector for the H4n stereo output. You then need a TRS->2x TS splitter to separate Left and Right. You will also need 1 or 2 1/8" -> 1/4" adapters (one if you convert the H4n 1/8" TRS to 1/4" TRS, and use 1/4" splitter; two if you have a 1/8" splitter and have to convert both TS end to 1/4")

No size adapters needed for this cable: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id= ... gJKTPD_BwE

Re: Connecting to a mixing desk (newbie question) ZMX122FX

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:24 pm
by Fran Guidry
Mystery57 wrote:
Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:26 am
Hi all, I'm a total newbie to recording music and have purchased a H4n Pro to help with my videos of my friends local band

They use a ZMX122FX mixing desk and I am wondering if anyone could give me guidance on connecting the two together

thanks in hope
I'm assuming you're planning to use the H4n to record from the mixing board rather than feeding output of the Zoom into the mixing board.

In that case you'll need to manage the level of the board output. I'm not sure about the H4nPro but earlier versions of the H4 series had issues with true line level being too hot and overdriving the inputs. This required either using the headphone out of the mixer (which has a level control) or using an external attenuator to reduce line level. Note that the Zoom spec sheet mentions that "+4dBu line-level is not supported."

This particular mixer has a "Control Room 1/4" out" which might allow you to create two separate mixes, one for front of house and one for recording.

In any case you'll probably need adapters or custom cables to get from the board to the recorder. I would start well in advance of the actual project, doing some testing and practice to learn the ins and outs of the both devices.

Fran

Re: Connecting to a mixing desk (newbie question) ZMX122FX

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:11 pm
by Wulfraed
Fran Guidry wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:24 pm
I'm assuming you're planning to use the H4n to record from the mixing board rather than feeding output of the Zoom into the mixing board.
Ooops -- obviously my response presumed the H4n would be another /input/ to the mixer; I didn't think of recording from the mixer... :hammer:

Based upon the manual, the "control room" outputs are a pair of 1/4" TS (mono; one each for left/right) whereas the headphone would be common 1/4" TRS (stereo). A pair of regular 1/4" TS<>TS (instrument) cables feeding from the "control room" outputs to the XLR/combo jacks of the H4n should suffice for wiring.

However, this will mean giving up the use of the mixer headphone for monitoring, since you'll have to use the level control to set the control room outputs to a line-level suited to the H4n {experimental: find some stereo system with a true /consumer/ line-level output -- one that does NOT have level adjustments -- and feed some source from it to the H4n combo jacks; set the H4n record level for the peaks... Now feed that source to the mixer 2-track inputs, adjust input level so the main mix isn't overloading, route 2-track inputs to 2-track outputs, connect the outputs to H4n, and adjust the output level so that the H4n shows the same levels as direct; do not change H4n recording level... This experiment is just to get the mixer control room levels near consumer line-out}

Re: Connecting to a mixing desk (newbie question) ZMX122FX

Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:57 pm
by Mystery57
I took a photo of the mixing desk with the bands various cables connected.

For now I only had a cable that I could connect from the 2 outputs on the top right side of the image below into the headphone socket on the H4n Pro.

This meant I had no volume control from the mixer desk side (I don't really understand why - but the guys told me that).

I had the volume set at 20 on the Zoom, but it was constantly peaking and the sound being distorted, so I progressively turned the volume down, and from memory I was literally at a volume level of 0.5 appx, and this gave me a reasonable audio quality - I'm repairing my PC at the moment so cannot fully comment on this. It seemed mighty low to me though.....

What the guys said is that if I came out of their headphone socket, the volumes can be controlled from the desk also - they don't need it as they use monitors to listen to the sound on stage, so perhaps headphone to 3.5 might be the next consideration.

Another scenario suggested would be to actually connect a small mixing unit to theirs but I don't know enough to comment back on this

All help appreciated thanks

Re: Connecting to a mixing desk (newbie question) ZMX122FX

Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:51 pm
by Wulfraed
Mystery57 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:57 pm
For now I only had a cable that I could connect from the 2 outputs on the top right side of the image below into the headphone socket on the H4n Pro.
Pardon? The "headphone socket on the H4n" is an OUTPUT, not an input!

There is a stereo utility microphone input on the bottom side of the built-ins -- meant for use with cheap consumer microphones...

The /unbalanced/ inputs (using a 1/4" TS in the combo jacks) is rated for a maximum of +2dBu -- professional line level peaks at +4dBu. Balanced inputs (XLR) have a maximum of -6dBu which allows for something a touch hotter than consumer line-level.

The external microphone and XLR inputs can only cut a signal by 16dB (minimum gain).