Mobile podcast audio recording

When we’re out and about, we use a Zoom H4N Recorder. This hand-held recorder fits comfortably in a bag and can be pointed at any willing to be interviewed in seconds. The fact that we can be ready to go for an interview in seconds is a great benefit. If I’ve not got my big headphones with me, I plug in my tiny Sennheiser CX 500 headphones instead and we’re ready to go. The H4n also functions as an external sound card which is handy for editing and mixing audio on the road. For a cheaper and simpler option, the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder looks a good bet. It’s relatively new but is smaller than the H4n and uses the same high quality microphones.

At OggCamp, our other live shows and any time we want a greater degree of control for post-production, we use a Zoom R16 Digital Recorder. I reviewed the R16 when it first came out and since then it’s been the backbone of our live recordings. By recording each microphone to a separate WAV file, it means we can mix and edit the audio afterwards with a degree of flexibility not afforded by a stereo recording. It’s much easier to hide edits and remove fluffs using multi-track recordings. Because the Soundcraft M12 has direct outputs for each microphone channel, we can easily connect each microphone to a separate channel on the the R16 using an 8-way mono jack to mono jack cable loom. An even simpler set up is to connect the microphones directly to the R16 and take the stereo output from that into the PA system, as long as you don’t need phantom power on more than two microphones.

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    3 Responses to Mobile podcast audio recording

    1. Horne Fisher says:

      Hi Tony,

      A lot of water has passed under the bridge since this post but I hope you won’t mind me posing this query.

      Have you ever tried patching direct outputs from your M12 to the H4N? I’ve spent an hour Googling the subject and found no convincing info as to whether an H4N can handle the level without distortion.

      I’ve an R16, which works very well with the direct outs as you say, but need to record two extra tracks on a live recording this week. I can borrow an H4N for this but will not have time to test it beforehand.

      Thanks for reading.

    2. Tony says:

      Hi, I haven’t tried that set up, sorry. I would suggest looking at attenuators if it doesn’t work without distortion.

    3. Horne Fisher says:

      Thanks for your reply Tony. I’ll just have to suck it and see.

      FYI, here are some plans for making an attenuator suitable for feeding line levels into the 1/4″ inputs of an H4n:

      http://www.martin-doppelbauer.de/audio/fieldrecorder/pad/index.html

      The same author also has some interesting findings on the recorder:

      http://www.martin-doppelbauer.de/audio/fieldrecorder/part2/index.html

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