Tutorials/Audio recording/Zoom H2 with EW112P

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This page uses 'shared sections', i.e. sections that are shared across several tutorials. These are indicated by a box like this. Typically the 'edit' link above such a section will let you edit that shared section. When editing a shared section, you need to bear in mind that the section is used across different tutorials, and e.g. you should not include anything device specific.

1 Zoom H2 Audio Recording Tutorial[edit]

1.1 Before You Start:[edit]

Make sure that you have all the equipment you need. The kit includes:

  • Zoom H2 Audio Recorder (including 512Mb memory card, power cable and adaptor).
  • Headphones
  • Set of Radio Microphones (receiver and transmitter, with clip mic, windshield, clip and cable).
  • Table stand
  • Interviewing handle
  • Audio recorder cover.
  • USB cable

The Zoom H2 audio recorder has mains power however, can be powered with 2 x AA batteries. The radio mics are battery powered as well and need 2 x AA batteries for each the receiver and transmitter. Remaining battery life is displayed on the main screen in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. The radio mics also display the remaining battery life on the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

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2 Setting Up[edit]

2.1 Audio Recorder[edit]

Firstly lay the recorder on a flat surface in front of you and near to a mains socket if you are not using batteries.

On the bottom of the Zoom H2 is where the memory card slot is situated. Slide the flap down to insert the memory card in the slot. The batteries are inserted in the back of the recorder and the + and - signs above the batteries show you in which direction to place the batteries.

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When connecting to mains power connect the power adaptor into the "DC" connector on the left side panel of the recorder.

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With a new memory card you will need to format the "SD memory card". To do this either a screen will automatically come up asking you to format the memory card if not and you see 'NO CARD' on the screen, you need to go into the menu by pressing the "MENU" button. Scroll down the options using the "REW/FF" buttons until you reach 'SD Card'. To select this option push "REC", then select Format > Yes. This will automatically start formatting the memory card.

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When using the radio mics with the Zoom H2, connect the mini jack > mini jack cable into both the receiver and the top of the Zoom H2 into the "EXT MIC IN" slot. When an external input is connected it automatically turns the internal mic off. If you are recording from the internal mic you should see the "MIC ACTIVE" light come on at the top of the recorder.

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2.2 Transmitter[edit]

If the mic is not connected to transmitter: Connect to the cable with the little clip microphone on the end of it. Push in cable and then screw tight.


Attaching the mic

If the mic is not already attached, attach the clip microphone to the transmitter: The mic plugs in at the top, and there is a screw to secure it. Turn both the transmitter and receiver on by pressing the on/off button, which is situated underneath the flap for the battery compartment. The flap lifts by squeezing either side to release it.

EW100 controls

Have a look at the picture above, and do this check:

  • On both transmitter and receiver: Has the display lit up, and are both powerlights showing?
  • On the receiver the RF light (green) should be on and and the upper black bar on the screen should be on full (indicating full radio reception).
  • When you talk into the mic do the level indicators (on both the transmitter and receiver) flicker?
  • Now mute the transmitter and look at the receiver: Has the "radio reception bar" fallen to zero? If not, change frequency (see the trouble shooting below).

There are usually several stages that control audio levels and two of those stages are on the radio mic set.

  • The mic/transmitter has a sensitivity setting. Locate the sensitiy setting in the menu, and explore different settings. With the sensitivity set to say -6dB, you will find it quite easy to distort mic signal (the yellow led on the front will flash). A good, conservative setting is -20dB.
  • The receiver has the 'AF out' setting, which determines the power delivered to the recorder. This can range from -12dB (mic level) to +12dB (line level). Again you should explore this and see how it affects the input stage of the recorder (see below). Many recording devices expect a mic level, so it is safer to set the 'AF out' level to -12dB (mic level).

2.3 Switching it on and testing sound quality[edit]

Do test well in advance of the lecture: You can use the recorder, and a colleague wears the microphone.

Switch on the audio recorder by pressing the "power on/off" button on the left side of the recorder.

Depending on how long you will be recording for determines which recording setting you should use either MP3 of wav format. Wav format is the better quality and where ever possible you should be recording in 44.1kHz > 16 bit Wav format. However this will only allow you approx. 88 mins of recording time. Alternatively you can record in mp3 format. Either in mp3 48 kbps through to 320 kbps. The higher the kbps the better quality the sound recording will be but the less amount of recording time available on the memory card. 128kbps allows you 980 mins of recording time and 320kbps allows you 392 mins. This is for a 1GB Memory card. The timings will vary on the size of the memory card, the bigger the card the longer amount of recording time.

To alter your settings select "MENU > REC MODE" You then have the options to change the sample rate and record mode. To alter the settings use the "REW" and "FF" controls to scroll through the options and to select an option press "REC".

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With the Zoom H2 you can also decide in which direction you would like to record at. The internal microphone can record from 2 or 4 channels and can record from the back side of the mic, the front side or surround mode. This allows you to only record in the direction of your subject, or likewise the surround setting allows you to pick up the area surrounding the recorder.

To change the direction of the microphone simply press the < and > buttons and the light will be showing depending on which direction you have the recorder set to.

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HOWEVER, be aware the strip across the internal microphone creates a "dead zone" where the sound will not be picked up from.

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Switch on both radio mics by the little on/off buttons. (These are under the battery-compartment flaps; you have to squeeze side of mic to release them.) Check that there are 2 lights on the receiver and that the upper black bar on the screen is full (for radio reception)

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Now test whether sound is coming through. The scale on the radio mic transmitter screen should be showing some activity. The scale on the radio mic receiver screen should be showing some activity. Press "REC" once to put recorder on stand-by. The light below the screen will be flashing and when recording the light will become constant. The scales on the screen of the recorder should be showing some activity.

The Zoom H2 recorder has its own mic too, and (despite the settings above) you need to double check that you're recording from the radio mic. To do this, tap or scratch the radio mic gently. You should hear this sound in the headphones. Then tap or scratch the H2's mic gently: You should not hear anything in the headphones. The H2 mics are on the top of the recorder on each side.

If you can hear things in the audio that shouldn't be there (e.g. somebody else talking) or a lot of interference (crackling on zinging noises), you may need to change the channel on which the audio is transmitted. Do this test: Earlier you checked that there are 2 lights on the receiver and that the upper black bar on the screen is full. Now turn off the transmitter. Is the green light on the receiver still on? The upper black bar should not be full, but it might show some activity. If so, then you have somebody else using a similar frequency, and you call Bjoern to ask how to change the frequency.

2.4 Giving the speaker the microphone:[edit]

Attaching the mic

Ideally you want to do this at least 15 minutes before the lecture starts. Connect the clip microphone to the speaker in a way so that the mic "comes cleanly off the clothes", i.e. such that the mic does not rub against the clothing. Make sure that there is not a name tag, long hair, or jewelry that "clunks" against the mic.

When putting the mic on the speaker the best place is on the tie. Otherwise on the lapel of a jacket, or onto the shirt. A third of the way down the shirt is a good position. Make sure that the mic clip is firmly attached but that the mic itself comes away from the clothing: sometimes (with movement) it can fall back against the clothing.

The transmitter that should be placed safely out of the way. Either the trouser pocket or belt are both good positions. If your speaker is well animated make sure the transmitter will not come loose. Make sure the antenna can hang freely, and is not about to be snapped off.

Ask your speaker to carry on talking, bearing in mind that they may speak more loudly during the talk. This allows you to listen through the headphones and watch the levels on both the receiver and recorder. Monitor the audio carefully and pay attention to any peaks in the sound. Be aware that if the speaker is going to be giving a lecture but they are speaking at a normal level before, they will adjust their own personal voice levels when it comes to the lecture.


2.5 Checking quality and adjusting audio level[edit]

Listen to speaker’s voice through headphones to assess the quality. Listen attentively, and listen 'around' what is being said. Does the voice sound nice and close to your ear, or is it a big roomy sound? Is there scratching from something? Are there noises from something banging against the mic?

You will have to adjust the audio level: To do this simply press the "REC LEVEL L and R" buttons. These are the "REW" and "FF" buttons but alter the record levels in the standby mode. Adjust the levels accordingly to whether you need to lower or raise the recording level. You will need to be in "REC" standby mode to see the levels and you need the levels to be set at 12 on the level indicator. This allows you 'head room' with the recording so that if there is an unexpected sound or raise in a person's voice the sound will not distort.

As the subject speaks or sound is being received you will need to make sure that on the screen the levels are set correctly and also you do not want the levels to peak too high and are reaching the end on the level indicator.

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3 Trouble Shooting[edit]

  • No sound. Make sure both the transmitter and the receiver are on the same wave length in order for them to be able to pick each other up. Check the 'sound chain':
    • Is the level meter on the transmitter flickering when you speak into the mic? If not, check that it is turned on and not on mute and that the mic is properly connected.
    • Is the level meter on the receiver flickering? If not, check radio reception.
    • Is the level meter on the recorder flickering? If not, check the cables are connected properly.
    • All of these are working, but you do not hear anything? Check the volume control for the headphones.
  • Strange sounds / other people speaking.
    • Do this test: try turning the transmitter off, if the green light on the receiver stays on and the black bar showing the radio reception is still full, someone nearby may be using the same frequency.
    • If the wave length is already used (e.g. if you can hear other sounds, or the "radio reception bar" does not fall to zero when you turn of the transmitter), you need to change the frequency (on both transmitter and receiver). You must never have two microphones transmitting on the same frequency. (Two receivers receiving signals from the same microphone is, however, fine.)

Mobile phones on the person connected to the mic must be turned off otherwise they will interfere.

4 Recording generals[edit]

You should now be ready to record the event. You have plenty of space on the memory card, so there is no harm in starting the recording 10 minutes early. From experience: It is a common problem to miss the start of the event and people may suddenly start to talk while you were not watching. So just start recording in good time.

If there is somebody introducing the speaker, record this as well (even if you you do not have a mic on them). You can always cut it later. (Imagine the disappointment: Did you catch the introduction by [famous person]? - Ah sorry, the recorder was not running.) Of course without a second mic the sound may not be usable but at least you have it.

As mentioned above: Give enough pre-record time before the activity happens as you want enough pre-roll for the edit and if you do a test recording previously you will also be confident that either the recorder is working fine or you have enough time to sort the problem out!

Remember: What you hear in the headphones is what you hear on the recording so continously check the audio for any outside sound, buzzing or feedback. If you are recording on location and have the ability to start recording again listen out for unwanted sounds that are out of your control, such as trains going past, dogs barking etc.

During the Recording: Whilst recording it is advisable to do some checks to make sure the recording is working properly:

  • Is the record light on display of the recorder solid?
  • Is the time display ticking forward?
  • Are the level meters still running and showing activity?
  • Does it sound good? Is it clean sound?
  • Is there enough space on the memory card?

5 Recording[edit]

Press "REC" once to put the recorder onto stand-by.

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When you are ready to begin, press ‘Record’. (If you look at screen of recorder, the timer will be running.) Make you press record in good time.

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Remember: What you hear through the headphones is what you will hear on the tape, so check for buzzing, feedback etc.

Is better to have sensitivity of mic set to too low rather than too high.

Volume control for the headphones is on the Left side panel of the recorder (headphones only, not tape) next to the headphones input.

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During the recording: Once the rush of getting the recording and the lecture started is out the way, do some simple checks:

  • Is the record light on display of the recorder solid?
  • Is the time shown on the display ticking forward?
  • Are the level meters flickering on the front of the recorder?
  • Does it sound good? (You'll need to listen attentively.)
  • For long recordings (e.g. when recording all day): Is there enough space on the memory card?

5.1 Stopping the recording:[edit]

Press either "REC" or "PLAY/PAUSE" when you have finished to stop the recording.

6 Playback[edit]

To hear your recording select the correct track from the "FINDER" menu. Within the main menu scroll down and select "FILE", scroll down the tracks using the "REW/FF" buttons then select using the "REC" > Select > "REC" Then you can press "PLAY" and your selected track will start to play.

7 When you’ve finished recording…[edit]

Switch off the digital recorder and the 2 radio mics, and disconnect everything.

Check through the equipment sheet included with the kit: Make sure you have everything you started with (including the mic windshield - a little metal cup on the clip-on mike.)

Putting away the microphone: Wrap up the wires loosely. Even if you received the mic like this: don’t tie up the microphone wire with the mic clip itself, or try to secure the mic with the metal bracket on the back of this mic: This will damage the cable.

8 When you're back home:[edit]

As soon as you can, copy memory stick onto computer, and burn to a CD/DVD for safe keeping.

To convert your recordings onto a computer using the USB cable, you need to connect a USB cable to both the recorder and your computer while the recorder is switched off, the recorder will then automatically go into USB mode. Alternatively with the recorder switched on already, select "MENU > USB > STORAGE." You will then find the recorder mounted in either 'my computer' for a PC or in Finder for a MAC. You can then copy the tracks to your computer onto a file selected. Unmount the recorder by 'ejecting' the drive. You can then disconnect the recorder and turn it off.

9 License[edit]

This document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/Creative. Please acknowledge Björn Haßler (http://www.sciencemedianetwork.org), Gail Pearson, and Andrew Taylor, as well as any additional authors on the ICT4E wiki. Original document written 29th November 2007.