Recording from mixer on Zoom H4N Pro

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Bharat123
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Recording from mixer on Zoom H4N Pro

Post by Bharat123 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:39 am

I intend to record audio from a concert. I will take output from the mixer and use Line 1 & 2 inputs on my H4N Pro to record. The output from the mixer as line level with XLR connectors. If my understanding is correct, I can consider 2 options of connecting the mixer to the recorder

1. XLR connectors on the mixer as well as the H4N Pro. As XLR inputs on the zoom are designed for mic level input, I guess I need to pass the signal thru an inline attenuator.

Or

2. Use a cable with XLR on the mixer and 1/4in TRS connector at the zoom input. Since the trs input on zoom is line level, I guess I don't need any attenuator in this case. Is my understanding correct?

Are both these options workable and will there be any difference in the quality of recording between the two?

Also, if I go for option 1, what level of attenuation will be required (-20db? or greater?)

Appreciate any feedback and advice. Thanks.
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Wulfraed
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Re: Recording from mixer on Zoom H4N Pro

Post by Wulfraed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:12 am

First question: are the mixer outputs consumer or professional level?

The -6dBU max for the BALANCED inputs (XLR or TRS) might be capable of handling consumer line level (which is considered -10dBm, though the specs show the H4nPro's line out as -10dBU).

The +2dBU max for UNBALANCED (which means TS, not TRS) is NOT sufficient for professional line level (considered +4dBU).

Note that the H4nPro spec page does NOT differentiate by XLR/phone, but by Balanced vs Unbalanced! XLR to TRS is still a balanced connection.

You would need XLR to TS. Probably a cheap version, that grounds the S- lead of the XLR leaving only the S+. The rarer design would use a transformer to convert the 3-lead XLR to a 2-lead TS retaining the full signal, and that would overload; grounding S- means losing half the signal: 3dB, knocking +4dBU down to +1dBU -- very little margin.

As for quality? How long are the cable runs going to be? Balanced lines are designed to cancel electrical noises that might be induced upon them (from crossing/runing near power leads for example).
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Baron Wulfraed
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Bharat123
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Re: Recording from mixer on Zoom H4N Pro

Post by Bharat123 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:26 am

@Wulfraid, thanks for your quick reply. I will be recording from the mixer that is the auditorium's permanent equipment so I guess it's a professional quality. The recorder will be just besides the mixer so the cable length should not be more than 3 or 4 feet.

Any reason you recommend XLR to TS cable rather than XLR to TRS? Is TRS not better than TS? (I guess TRS is balanced cable while TS is unbalanced. Is that right?

If XLR to TRS (or TS?) can give good quality recording, I might as well but XLR to TRS cable.

Thanks again.
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Wulfraed
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Re: Recording from mixer on Zoom H4N Pro

Post by Wulfraed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:54 pm

TRS<>XLR will be balanced -- and the inputs of the H4nPro can't handle professional line level. It can take a hotter signal via unbalanced TS, and an XLR<>TS cable that shorts the XLR S- lead to ground should result in cutting the signal in half (3dB). That MIGHT be enough to bring it into the range the unbalanced input can handle.

If you really want to be safe -- in-line attenuation of 10dB to 15dB (ignoring the dBm<>dBU difference, there is a 14dB difference between consumer -10dBm and pro +4dBU levels) with XLR<>XLR would be the recommendation.
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Baron Wulfraed
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Superscope PSD-300; BOSS BR-600, Zoom HD16cd, Zoom R16, BOSS BR-800, Zoom H2n
Now to (re)learn to play an instrument

Lanikai S-C, SMC-E; GoldTone Banjo-Uke; Flatiron 1C, A5; Big Muddy M1-W; Ovation MM68AX, CSE-44; Orpheus Valley Fiesta FS; Taylor NS-72ce, T5-S1; Musima (4st, 20 fret, tenor-tuned) banjo; bongos, dumbeks, bodhrans, hand drum, tambourine; recorder: soprano, alto, tenor; Cedar Flute (5 sizes); Pennywhistle (3 keys); Casio keyboards

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