Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

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phobos
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Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by phobos » Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:42 pm

Hello, I've read that getting some distortion while using the line-in jack can happen and to solve this problem use an attenuator or a simple headphone volume control. I have two questions about this, first, would this work (link below) and how far back should I dial the volume to stop the distortion?

https://www.thesource.ca/en-ca/cables-- ... /108069758

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by Jim_Fogle » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:13 pm

It depends on why you're getting distortion.

The H2 input expects the input port to be connected to a device with an amplified output like a mixer or keyboard. The mixer and keyboard built-in amplifier delivers the signal at a standard impedance called line level. Microphones and electric guitar or bass output a signal that has not been amplified so the impedance is different than line level so the signal distorts.

The "volume control" built into the patch cord you linked to will change the volume level of the signal. Changing the signal volume level can change the signal enough that it might be usable to the H2 input.

Without knowing what H2 input source I can't promise you the patch cable will work.

I can say that I have a patch cable with a built in volume control that I've used to reduce a line level signal too strong for an input to another device. It's a good tool to have in your music stuff toolbox.
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by phobos » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:15 pm

The input source are a pair of mics that run through a battery box that have a roll off at 150 Hz.
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by phobos » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:33 pm

Sorry I just realized I use the External Mic In port. I do get some distortion using the mics.
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by Wulfraed » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:39 pm

phobos wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:15 pm
The input source are a pair of mics that run through a battery box that have a roll off at 150 Hz.
The roll-off probably doesn't matter (though that does seem rather high to me. It's about 1.5 octaves below concert 440A [2 octaves would be 110Hz] -- it's actually the D below middle-C).

However, the mention of a "battery box" could mean the /output/ is not microphone level, but line level. On the H2, the Line-In jack is configured for consumer line-level at -10dBm. The Ext. Mic input is configured for -20dBm (when the GAIN is on L). That is 10dB /weaker/ input. GAIN at H is for -40dBm inputs. Hopefully, the box is not providing professional line level (which +4dB using a different basis of measurement).
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by Fran Guidry » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:04 am

phobos wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:42 pm
Hello, I've read that getting some distortion while using the line-in jack can happen and to solve this problem use an attenuator or a simple headphone volume control. I have two questions about this, first, would this work (link below) and how far back should I dial the volume to stop the distortion?

https://www.thesource.ca/en-ca/cables-- ... /108069758

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I might be the source of the recommendation for an external attenuator. The first generation of Zoom recorders (H4 and H2) had "line" inputs that would barely handle a consumer line level, and they would clip badly when faced with the higher pro line level out of mixers and mic preamps. And the Zoom input level control was after the first active stage so it had no effect on the incoming signal until it was too late.

Later generations have improved the situation, at least in the case of the H6 I've been using.

Fran
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by phobos » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:06 pm

Some of what you guys are saying is beyond my knowledge of how things work. So when using external mics with a battery box, which jack should I use, line in or ext mic? and should I use the volume control to act as a attenuator?
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by Jim_Fogle » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:04 pm

Using the volume control to attenuate the incoming signal will not hurt anything so it's worth a try to test. Even if it doesn't work out in this case you will find other times when it will be useful to have an inline volume control.

The H2n input specifications are: Line/mic stereo mini jack with plug-in power 2 kΩ impedance at input levels of 0 to –39 dBm

The plug-in power worries me. Nothing states what power is provided or the pin out to wire an external mic. That tells me Zoom's expectation is you will use their external mic. I don't know if Zoom has an external mic accessory.
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by Wulfraed » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:31 pm

phobos wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:06 pm
Some of what you guys are saying is beyond my knowledge of how things work. So when using external mics with a battery box, which jack should I use, line in or ext mic? and should I use the volume control to act as a attenuator?
What are the output specifications of said battery box?

If the box output says line level, you should be using the line-in. Microphone level is designed for much weaker signals and mic-in would be amplifying it.
Jim_Fogle wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:04 pm
The plug-in power worries me. Nothing states what power is provided or the pin out to wire an external mic. That tells me Zoom's expectation is you will use their external mic. I don't know if Zoom has an external mic accessory.
Plug-in power tends to be a consumer product standard, meant for small condenser (electret) mics that have their own pre-amp circuit (vs 48V phantom power where there is no pre-amp).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_p ... techniques
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by phobos » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:39 pm

Wulfraed wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:31 pm
phobos wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:06 pm
Some of what you guys are saying is beyond my knowledge of how things work. So when using external mics with a battery box, which jack should I use, line in or ext mic? and should I use the volume control to act as a attenuator?
What are the output specifications of said battery box?

If the box output says line level, you should be using the line-in. Microphone level is designed for much weaker signals and mic-in would be amplifying it.
Jim_Fogle wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:04 pm
The plug-in power worries me. Nothing states what power is provided or the pin out to wire an external mic. That tells me Zoom's expectation is you will use their external mic. I don't know if Zoom has an external mic accessory.
Plug-in power tends to be a consumer product standard, meant for small condenser (electret) mics that have their own pre-amp circuit (vs 48V phantom power where there is no pre-amp).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_p ... techniques
I'll have to find that info, I think I understand what you guys are saying now. I'm plugging in what is likely an amplified mic into a jack that is meant for a mic that isn't amplified.
Last edited by phobos on Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by Jim_Fogle » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:46 pm

I didn't know there is a standard for plug-in power. That's nice to know. Thanks for the link and sharing your knowledge Wulfraed!
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by phobos » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:29 pm

This is sort of on topic, it appears the H2 has it's own power supply for external mics.

https://youtu.be/B1igndQS5BM?t=95
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by Jim_Fogle » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:51 pm

phobos wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:29 pm
This is sort of on topic, it appears the H2 has it's own power supply for external mics.

https://youtu.be/B1igndQS5BM?t=95
Yep, but the Zoom manual does not tell what the voltage is or what part of the jack provides the unknown voltage.
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by sciurius » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:30 am

I measured on my H2n: It is just under 3V, tip + and sleeve -.

Assuming Zoom makes external microphones for this, I'd expect all devices to produce about the same voltage.
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Re: Zoom H2 Line-in distortion question

Post by Wulfraed » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:47 am

sciurius wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:30 am
I measured on my H2n: It is just under 3V, tip + and sleeve -.
Which appears to match the (low-end) specifications given in the Wikipedia link I provided: 3-5V, with "return" (ground) on the sleeve. It is not a Zoom specific feature.
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