Tutorial  

Zoom H2n Audio Recorder

This tutorial will introduce users to the H2n Audio Recorder.

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The Zoom H2 Kit includes: A desktop mic stand and a mic clip adapter for attaching the unit to a mic stand. It also comes with a SD card, headphones, a windscreen, a USB cable with AC adapter, AAs and a remote control. The Zoom H2N uses SDHC memory cards to store digital files. It preferred to leave the SDHC card inside the H2N recorder and use the USB cable to transfer to a computer and delete files after transfer.

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Turn on the H2N by turning on the power switch on the right hand side at the bottom of the recorder. The LCD display screen should turn on and the red light on top of the recorder should light up. Switch the arrow selector on top of the recorder to MS or Mid-Side function. This function not only captures perfect directional mono sound for interviews but also allows you to increase or decrease the width of the background ambience from the side. Using the toggle/play switch on the right you will be able to open up the recording width from 30° to 150°. The Mid-Side function is ideal for precise recording of one or more individuals without having to record an entire room.

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Settings:

Press Menu. Select Input. If not already set use the toggle/play switch to select and enter the following settings:

  • LO CUT ON (designed to suppress low frequencies in the recording. This can reduce unwanted vocal sounds or background noise.)
  • REC – REC FORMAT WAV44.1/16 (this is an uncompressed wav format)
  • COMP/LIMITER COMP2(VOCAL) (This function will increase or decrease the input level of a voice keeping it consistent throughout the interview while reducing unwanted background noise at other frequencies.)

Hit the menu button to save the settings and get back to the display area. All other settings are not as important. Leave them as they are.

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Your recording format is set to WAV because WAV files can better perceive and capture frequency information into a digital format then MP3s. They also have the advantage of being recognized more frequently by digital sound playback devices and editing software programs then any other digital audio format. Use the playback reverse and fast-forward buttons to adjust the sampling rate and bit rate to 44.1 khz and 16 bit.

The Sample Rate is the number of samples of a sound that are taken per second to represent sound digitally. The more samples taken per second, the better the reproduction of the sound. The Bit Depth describes the range of numbers used to represent each amplitude measurement of a sampled sound wave. The more bits that are available, the more accurate the resulting output from the data being processed. 

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At the top of the display it will show you the elapsed time of the recording. Next to it is the battery power gauge. Bellow that is the microphone setting. At the bottom of the display you will see your file name, format and how much time is remaining in the recording. Insert fresh AA batteries as a backup in case of power failure during an interview. During an interview, always use the AC adapter for a power supply. The cord is small so it’s recommended to bring an extension cord.

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Attach the mic stand to the recorder. Place the recorder on a soft durable surface (mouse pad, small towel) with the back of the recorder pointing at the interviewee. You will be looking at the display.

Set up your recorder so that the interview subject can talk normally, without craning forward or backing away from the mic. Ideally the subject should be sitting in a natural position that can be maintained throughout the interview without shifting around too much. The interviewee and you should not be sitting farther away from the recorder than 3 feet. If you sit further away, you will have to speak up when you ask your questions, especially if you have a soft voice. Always place the recorder as close to the interviewee as possible. Ideally you should have it about a foot away.

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Interview Space

When it comes to recording interviews location is everything. It’s always important to record and interview in a quiet, controlled and comfortable environment. Before doing any recording listen to a space and observe it’s features.Is the room quiet? Is it free from any background noise (open window, air-conditioner, radiator, humming refrigerator, ticking clock, computer, traffic, ect.)? Does the floor around you creak? Is your interviewee’s chair squeaky? If the recorder is to be placed on a table or desk is the surface stable? Does the room have access to a power supply? Pay attention to the room size, the bigger the room and the harder the walls, the more the sound bounces around, producing an unwanted echo which can muffle words. It’s also helpful to place a sign outside the room asking people to please remain quiet during the recording. 

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Monitor:

Always use headphones to monitor the quality of the sound. Plug the headphones into the headphone jack (LINE OUT) at the bottom of the left hand side. Make sure not to plug into the microphone jack (LINE IN) at the top of the left hand side. The volume control on the left side of the recorder will control your headphone volume.With your headphones on listen carefully to the surround sound. Monitor the sound quality. When the recorder is on, two bars will go up and down. The interviewee’s voice should be around -6 (it should not go over 0 too often and it should not go below -12 too often). In order to adjust the recording level, use the Mic Gain Wheel on the right hand side of the recorder. If you find that the voice is not recorded well enough, find a quieter space and move the microphone closer to the interviewee.Moving or handling the recorder will cause an excessive amount of audible artifacts on the recording. Make sure the recorder stays completely still during the recording.

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Record:

Hit the red record button in the front of the recorder or on the remote to record. The display will show it recording and counting time. It is showing you the recording levels. The remote also has Pause buttons to pause and resume the recording and a Mark button to keep track of places of interest. These marks can be seen using Sound Forge sound editing software if recorded in WAV format.

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File Data

Be sure to rename your files using a consistent pattern. For example:

YYYYMMDD_LastName-FirstInitial

20151201_SMITH-F.WAV

Creat a Back-Up Copy

Leave one copy on two hard drives, or flash drives, or make two data CDs/DVDs with copies. Erase the files on the SD card only after you have made two copies.