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Q3 HD - two sources into line-in?

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:31 am
by Merlin5
Hello everyone, I'm new here. :) Hope this is the right sub forum for my question.

I've owned my Q3 HD for a number of years. Awesome bit of kit that I use regularly.

Recently I've been recording electric drums playing along to mp3 songs. I do this by feeding the mp3 (on a USB stick slotted into the electric drum brain) and the drum sounds directly into the line-in of the Q3 HD. No need to use the Q3 HD mics. Sound of both drums and mp3 comes out perfect, like studio quality. I then export from the Q3 HD to my phone using the short Q3 HD usb connector. I have a USB to mini firewire adapter for this.

But now I want to record video and audio of acoustic drums playing along to an mp3 song. This is more difficult and means making use of external mics. I currently don't have a computer so I can't use software to sync video and sound. So I need my recording to be on one file only recorded by the Q3 HD, with AV already synced up.

I wanted to record the drums using the Q3 HD built in mics and have the mp3 feeding into the line-in of the Q3, but of course the line-in disables the mics. Pity as this would have been ideal and I wouldn't have needed to sync anything. So I have an alternative idea.

I saw a youtube video of an acoustic guitar player who recorded himself using the mics on an H2 and video from the Q3. He used the headphone out of the H2 into the line-in of his Q3 HD and recorded successfully. I think he did this so that he didn't need to put his Q3 so close to his guitar to get a good sound and could have the video from further away.

So I was thinking about buying an H2 to use its mics while the Q3 HD shoots the video. I'd also buy a splitter cable. I'd feed a jack from the H2 headphone out and a jack from the mp3 source both into the splitter cable, with the other end of the cable (minijack) into the line-in of the Q3 HD. Would this work? Would the line-in be able to take both sources? I personally can't see why it shouldn't work as long as the mic level and mp3 level are sensible and not too high.


EDIT: Actually I've just noticed a possible better purchase, the Zoom Q8. This might be my ideal solution of all in one video, mics and mp3 because of the two XLR sockets. Can I run my mp3 into one of the XLRs which I believe also acts like a line-in, and record with the X/Y capsule mics? I'm assuming the mics won't be disabled by using the XLR. So I presume the mp3 will get recorded along with the drums and video?

Re: Q3 HD - two sources into line-in?

Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:23 pm
by greenA2
Yes, the Q8 is advertised as four channel audio, so it will record all audio inputs, it is like an H5 with added video. You must then be able to mix and export to stereo.

You might want to look into buying a mixer and some mics, maybe even a drum mic kit, rather than another zoom product.

Re: Q3 HD - two sources into line-in?

Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:30 pm
by Merlin5
Thanks greenA2. I've got quite a few questions if you don't mind.

Yeah I've got a mixer and drum mics. Thing is, I don't currently have a computer and can't do any mixing. So I really want something that can record drums, mp3 and video all at the same time straight onto an SD card, already synced up and ready to transfer to my phone, and the Q8 seems to be a machine that could do that.

You mention I must be able to mix and export to stereo. But I presume I can simply adjust the levels of all mics (x/y mics and a bass drum mic into XLR) and the XLR for the mp3 with Q8 gain settings before recording so I know the balance will be right?

Can I assume the mp3 song into the XLR input will get recorded in stereo? On my Q3 HD an mp3 into the line-in records in stereo, so I guess it should work the same on the Q8?

I just remembered I own a Zoom UAC-2 USB 3.0 audio interface that I've never used. It has 2 XLR inputs. But I don't think it's going to help me here if I wanted to hook it up to my Q3 HD line-in and use the Q3 x/y mics, as the mics will get disabled again. Would I be able to connect a USB cable from the UAC-2 to.the USB connector on my Q3 HD, and if so, would the Q3 USB hear and record the same as the line-in and not disable the x/y mics?

Otherwise, I'll sell the UAC-2 and put the money towards the Q8.

Re: Q3 HD - two sources into line-in?

Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:33 pm
by greenA2
Ok so I am familiar with the H5, not with the Q8. The Q8 looks like H5 with video, and they advertise four track functionality, so my answer is based on my knowledge of H5, I'd advise you to read through the Q8 manual to figure out if it applies to that.

On the H5, you can pair the XLRs into a stereo pair, or use them as two mono tracks/channels . If you have a mixer and drum mics, you could just mix everything to stereo on the mixer and feed the XLR (assuming you have enough channels on the mixer for the drum mics and the mp3). Alternatively, if it works like the H5, you put the mp3 into the XLR stereo pair, and record the drums with the built in mics. This gives two stereo pair files in the same 'project'. The project has a mixer/overdub menu, where you can select to 'downmix', having first adjusted the relative volumes of the two stereo pairs (or the pan positions if you went with stereo from built in and monos from the two XLRs). If like the H5 you can bypass the built in mics with a stereo minijack, use your drum mics and the mixer and then feed into the minijack line in bypassing the zoom's mics.

Re: Q3 HD - two sources into line-in?

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:33 pm
by Merlin5
Very late reply! Thanks for that info greenA2.

About the Q8, a friend pointed a couple of things out to me. He said "on some inexpensive devices, where the same input can be either mic or line, it may switch globally or by the pair instead of individually. If you want one mic and one line - make sure it can do that". Do you know if I can use one XLR for mic and the other for line-in simultaneously?

He also said "A few people I know have the Zoom H6, and if you obey the file structure, you can pre-load an audio clip onto the memory card, and hear it in your headphones and overdub to it. I don't know if the Q8 has something like that."

Do you know if the Q8 can do that? If so, I presume it would free up an input that I could use for another mic instead of feeding an mp3 into it.

By the way, I experimented with my mixer. I recorded a single drum with a close mic and overhead mic and backing track together and fed a cable from the mixer into the line-in of the Q3. Came out ok, though I had to bring the output level down on the mixer because the snare was causing clipping. I probably need to mess around more with setting the level for the mic but I also wonder if the Q3 line-in is too sensitive.

Re: Q3 HD - two sources into line-in?

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:16 am
by greenA2
So, again talking from my H5 experience, you have independent gain knobs for inputs 1 and 2, so you can plug a jack and have low gain for line in on input 1 and you can plug an XLR and adjust the gain quite high for input 2.

File structure: the H5 has multifile mode, a new recording in multifile sits within a 'project' folder. So if you create a new recording to create a new project, then you can add a wav file into this folder from your computer (doesn't work with mp3 I think), then you might have to rebuild the project, you go into the mixer-overdub menu, you select pair channels 1 and 2 and then select them, select file, and chose your stereo wav upload, or don't pair them, just select one and chose file-> your mono wav upload, then select the built in mic stereo channel, select file - > none. Then you go back into mixer overdub and enable the channel 1 for your mono file playback (green LED) or the 1-2 pair for stereo file playback, arm the rest of the channels for record (red LED) and you are good to go.

Please check the Q8 manual to see if the above, based on my knowledge of the H5, also applies to the Q8.

Re: Q3 HD - two sources into line-in?

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:50 pm
by Merlin5
Thanks very much green, great information! That all sounds promising. I'll take a look at the Q8 manual.

Re: Q3 HD - two sources into line-in?

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:08 pm
by Merlin5
OK, I'm buying a Zoom Q8 tomorrow for a very good price. It's listed as used but is actually brand new and unused. The box is slightly torn and he can't get a refund. I'm going to use it in conjunction with my mixer just so I can use one extra mic and audio track into the line-in.

Wanted to ask about transferring saved files to my Samsung S7 phone since I'm not using a computer. With my Q3 HD, I connect the USB cable into the charging port of my phone with a micro USB adapter, and the phone instantly acknowledges the Zoom. I can then see all my Q3.mov files on the phone and copy them to a folder. I'm hoping the Q8 does the same. Looking at the manual, it mentions selecting PC, Mac and Ipad and then connecting the USB cable. But nothing about Android. I just wonder if anyone thinks my phone will automatically see the Q8 if I just connect the cable?

EDIT: I have the Q8 now and had nothing to fear. Did a test recording, connected Q8 to my phone, turned Q8 on, selected card reader on the touchscreen, and my test file appeared (and played) on the phone. :)