Zoom H1n Audio Recorder
This tutorial will introduce users to the H1n Audio recorder.
The Zoom H1 Kit includes a microSD memory card, a windscreen, a mic stand clip adapter, an adjustable desktop tripod, a soft case, headphones and an AC adapter (USB type) and a USB cable.
Using the USB/AC adapter plug the H1 recorder into a power outlet and turn it on (push button the lower right hand side down). Set your Input Settings located on the back of the recorder.
Make sure the following settings are in place:
- Lo Cut: On/Off
- Auto Level: Off
- Rec Format: WAV
Use the playback reverse and fast-forward buttons to adjust the sampling rate and bit rate to 44.1 khz and 16 bit. Hit the record button once to save the settings.
A Lo Cut filter is designed to remove low frequencies in the recording. It should only be used if it can adequately reduce unwanted sounds or background noise. The Automatic Level switch is designed to automatically set the input level using the loudest source. This function will often set your input level way to high resulting in unwanted background noise, room echo and distortion.
WAV files are uncompressed audio files that can better capture frequency information into a digital format then MP3, which is a compressed format. WAValso has the advantage of being recognized more frequently by digital sound playback devices and editing software then any other digital audio format.
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.
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.
Always use headphones to monitor the quality of the sound. Plug the headphones into the headphone jack (LINE OUT) on the left hand side. Make sure not to plug into the microphone jack (LINE IN) on the right hand side. Listen carefully to the surround sound.
Monitor the sound quality with the help of the sound meter on the left hand side of the display. When the recorder is on, two bars will go up and down. When recording the interviewee, his or 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 INPUT LEVEL buttons on the right hand side of the recorder. The higher the level, the more background noise you will capture, so the lower the level the better as long as the interviewee’s voice is around -6. 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.
Attach the recorder to the tripod. Place the recorder, mounted on the tripod, on a soft mat on a table, microphone pointing directly at the interviewee. 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, ideally, the interviewee should be about one foot away. Always place the recorder as close to the interviewee as possible.
To record, push the record button (the silver button with the red dot on top of the recorder). The red light above REC/PEAK will turn on and the counter will begin to count. The display will only show time elapsing during the recording so make sure you take note of how much recording time is remaining before starting the recording process.
Sit close enough to the recorder that you can routinely and easily monitor the time and input levels throughout the interview. If you sit further away from your interviewee make sure to speak up when you ask your questions, especially if you have a soft voice.
Although you may want to monitor the recording once it’s started make sure your focus is on the interviewee and not the equipment. The less aware the interviewee is of the equipment the better the interview will be.
At the end of the interview, hit the record button again to stop the recording. The red light will go off. Leave the recorder on until it has processed and saved the file. Only then turn it off (leave it on for a couple of minutes to be on the safe side). Remember a digital recorder works like a computer: the recording, i.e. the file, can be lost if it is not saved.
As soon as possible after the interview, transfer the files to a computer. The Zoom H1 uses SDHC memory cards to store digital files. They’re very small and can break very easily. It preferable to leave the SDHC card inside the H1 recorder and use the USB cable to transfer and clear files to a computer.
Connect the Zoom to your computer with the USB cable. The Zoom should be turned off. The computer will create a connection and you will see your files, whose files names all begin with ZOOM0001.WAV FOLDER 1.
Be sure to rename your files using a consistent pattern. For example: