H4n - Record Stereo pair with built in mics + 2 Mic inputs

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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Construc
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H4n - Record Stereo pair with built in mics + 2 Mic inputs

Post by Construc » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:24 pm

I have no idea how to do this or if it's even possible, but here is my question/dilema. I have not found a solution online or in the manual for any recording mode that the H4n offers. I will give you the setup I am going for (essentially 3 tracks at once). I need 3 separate files, 4ch mode doesn't do this (it records stereo pairs), and I can't seem to setup MTR mode to work for what I want.

I am in a live hip hop band with 2 rappers. I want to record the band rehearsals in this manner;

The live band/all instruments recorded into the built in mics (stereo linked pair, 1/2),
1 vocal track with XLR mic into input 3 (mono),
2nd vocal track with XLR mic into input 4 (mono).

I want the band recorded on 1 track and the 2 rappers recorded on their own separate tracks!! Please help!!?

Can MTR mode do this? Can I arm a linked pair on 1/2 (built in mics) and arm 3/4 (2 separate XLR's) to record all at the same time with different input sources?

I even tried the USB Audio I/F mode and Ableton only sees the stereo mics, you think they would have let you use the combo jacks in USB mode. Can you do that?
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chipgallo
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Re: H4n - Record Stereo pair with built in mics + 2 Mic inputs

Post by chipgallo » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:47 pm

I was planning to do a similar setup with a band on stage. Use the built-in mikes for the overall sound and two spot mikes into the XLR inputs. After that I dump it onto computer and mix the 4 tracks as needed.

How is 4-track mode not capturing what you need for the final product?
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Construc
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Re: H4n - Record Stereo pair with built in mics + 2 Mic inputs

Post by Construc » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:48 pm

Seems in MTR (multi-track) mode you can only select one input source for the armed track/s. I can't seem to figure out how to arm all 4 at the same time when I arm stereo pair 1/2, if I switch to arm on track 3 or 4 it de-arms 1/2. I can't find anywhere that says/shows I can assign different inputs to each track in MTR mode either. I don't think it's possible.
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Construc
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Re: H4n - Record Stereo pair with built in mics + 2 Mic inputs

Post by Construc » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:25 pm

chipgallo wrote:I was planning to do a similar setup with a band on stage. Use the built-in mikes for the overall sound and two spot mikes into the XLR inputs. After that I dump it onto computer and mix the 4 tracks as needed.

How is 4-track mode not capturing what you need for the final product?
4-track mode is not capturing it because it only lets you arm and record on one track or pair at a time (1-4 individually or 1/2, 3/4 paired). I have yet to figure out how to arm all 4 at once individually, let alone arm a 1/2 stereo pair and 3 and 4 mono on separate tracks.
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Re: H4n - Record Stereo pair with built in mics + 2 Mic inputs

Post by johnsantic » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:47 pm

In MTR mode, you can record on a maximum of two tracks at once (either one stereo linked pair or two mono). The two tracks can be either the built-in mics or the two external inputs, you can't pick one channel of the stereo mic and one external input. Therefore, you can't record three or four tracks simultaneously in MTR mode.

In four-channel mode, the H4n records the audio of all four inputs in two stereo .wav files. The file that has an "M" in the file name is for the built-in mics, the file that has an "I" is for the external inputs. You can use an audio editing program on your PC to split the stereo .wav file for the external inputs into two mono .wav files, each containing the audio for one external input. Then you would have your three files.

You can do this using Audacity, a free audio editing program that you can download from here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

- First, hook up the H4n to your PC using USB Storage mode, see page 35 in the manual. Then drag-and-drop the "I" file to your PC.

- Run Audacity, then use the File->Open menu command to read the "I" file into Audacity. You will see the waveform of the file dispayed as a stereo track.

- At the top of the track header (at the left end of the waveform), click on the small "down arrow" then click on the menu item "Split Stereo Track". Now the single track is displayed as two tracks.

- Click somewhere in the first track header (but not on any button) to select that track. Then click on the small "down arrow" in the track header and click on the menu item "Mono". Then use the top menu item File->Export Selection As WAV. This opens a dialog box prompting you for a file name for the first mono track.

- Do the same thing for the second track to save the second mono track.

- Be sure to set up your Audacity preferences (Edit->Preferences) so you use the desired sample rate and output file format.

Regarding USB Audio Interface mode, this sends exactly two tracks of audio to the PC. You can select built-in mics or external inputs by pressing the proper Input button on the H4n, which lights up red.

- John Santic
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Construc
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Re: H4n - Record Stereo pair with built in mics + 2 Mic inputs

Post by Construc » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:09 pm

Thanks so much John. I actually just came to the same conclusion about 5 mins ago in my research. I've used Audacity before, but never for that. I pretty much use Ableton exclusively and will stick with that, turns out Ableton has a "Utility" racks under their "Audio Effects" that essentially do the same thing your speaking of, isolation of the L or R channel into one Mono track.

So, in conclusion....

Dear Zoom,
Release an update that lets me use the two combo jacks in Audio I/F USB mode in conjunction with the built in Mic (like a real sound card!). In that update I would also like to be able to have inputs 1 and 2 splittable to 2 separate Mono files while recording in 4ch mode. Last but not least, let me arm multiple tracks, if not all of them for recording in MTR mode. Just have them all save as separate mono wav files.

Sincerely,
Construc
:D
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