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Problem using Zoom H4n as an interface

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by NKBassman, Mar 14, 2010.


  1. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I got a Zoom H4n a few months ago and absolutely love it for recording jams.

    However, I recently tried using it as a recording interface, and ran into a problem. Plugging straight in, like you're supposed to be able to do, peaks the circuit to the point of slightly distorting the signal. I tried adjusting the input gain as you would during a live recording, but as far as I can tell, you cannot do this while using it as an audio interface.

    I've tried with a passive strat guitar, passive Yamaha Attitude and active EBMM Sub 5 string. In ever case it seems to have this problem.

    Anybody know what I'm doing wrong?
     
  2. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Nobody has any comment what-so-ever?
    Please, even feel free to make fun if I'm just doing something stupid...
     
  3. Jim Roseberry

    Jim Roseberry

    May 24, 2007
    If you're clipping the A/D, you just need to turn down the device you're recording.

    If there's a -10 or -12dB PAD switch... use that.
     
  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator

    Aug 22, 2008
    Oregon
    I have that issue, too. Even direct recording with the gain turned all the way down, there just isn't very much headroom.

    On the active bass, I turned the volume down. With a passive bass, I eased up with my playing technique.

    If I were going to do more tracking at home, I think I'd invest in a couple of things:

    1. a compressor
    2. a more serious, robust audio interface
     
  5. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Thanks guys. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

    Jefenator, I came to the same conclusion.
    I even tried plugging in to my sansamp rpm with all the different pad switches engaged, only to find out the rear padded input on the preamp is messed too :p

    I think if I have any tax return money left I'll just buy a different interface and use the H4n for live recording like it was designed for.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Jefenator

    Jefenator

    Aug 22, 2008
    Oregon
    Yeah, it's a great as a gig recorder.

    As a guitar tuner / amp modeler / metronome / mixer / editor / USB interface? ... maybe not quite so great. I appreciate the effort, though (and did once use the tuner function in a pinch). ;)
     
  7. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    i tried using mine and counent get it to behave with garageband (couldent get any connection.)

    gave up after an hour, decided to do tracking on the recorder and import tracks to garageband afterwards.
     
  8. ezrs

    ezrs

    Sep 24, 2008
    yeah i would go with an apogee duet and the h4n. or if you want a serious field recorder, go for the Marantz pmd 661.
     
  9. MetroDetBass

    MetroDetBass

    Jan 7, 2011
    Sorry to resurrect this old thread but I just wanted to say that you have to use the record level buttons on the side of the device to adjust the input level. You can do this for each input individually. This is just in case someone was thinking about whether to get it or not. It really is a great device and can do a ton of stuff.
     
  10. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I tried, but they only worked when recording direct into the H4n, NOT while using it as a recording interface for recording direct into the computer.

    Eventually I gave up and bought a Tascam interface for my basement recordings. Still love the Zoom for recording gigs and jams though.
     
  11. CjZoom

    CjZoom

    Feb 26, 2020
    ----THE ANSWER---
    And here I am 10 years later....it only took 10 years. I discovered that you CAN do this. When the H4n is hooked up as an interface, you can go into the menu and select one of the preset effects. Zoom have also left several empty patches. Select one of these and choose "Edit" this will allow you to adjust things like a preamp, THE LEVEL and various other things. You can test back and forth to find a nice dry level to record straight into Garageband. I use a Jazzbass and I put the level to anything from 2 (lowest possible) to 10/15 depending on my playing style.

    Just to really frustrate me the top end of one of the pots on the bass was fuzzing...making the task EVEN more troublesome.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Haroldo and NKBassman like this.
  12. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    lol! Thanks for the reply to this ancient thread!
    As you may have expected, this is not really an issue for me anymore... I have a Universal Audio interface now, and can't see myself going back to the Zoom mobile recorder after that. :):p

    I do still have the Zoom though. Comes in handy every now and then.
     
    CjZoom likes this.
  13. CjZoom

    CjZoom

    Feb 26, 2020
    Haha! And I'm sure you're not using Garageband either! I've just started trying to record things here and was about to buy an interface tomorrow and I thought I would check if the h4n would work and I found this thread!

    Looking forward to exploring more of this forum to see any beginner recording tips. Anything in particular that helped you out, let me know!
     
    NKBassman likes this.
  14. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Not Garageband, but I am using Logic. Prior to that was Reaper.

    I've learned a bit over the last 10 years, but still have a long way to go. If you run into any specific problems or questions, feel free to ask. Folks on this forum are usually pretty helpful.
     
    CjZoom likes this.
  15. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    I have good experience with H4n (a very powerful active bass). set the gain right on it and this should be it. yes, H4n has a gain control that's effective while recording (but sadly one for both inputs).

    this said, converters are meh and the sound after recording needs equalization.
     
    NKBassman likes this.
  16. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Glad you were able to make it work for you. I never did.
     
  17. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    maybe that was the old firmware? I recorded through mine in 2014, I believe.

    that 'rec level' on the side buttons did it for me.
     
    CjZoom and NKBassman like this.
  18. BigDrum

    BigDrum

    Sep 4, 2020
    Hope everyone here has been doing well this year. Saw this thread, and thought I'd throw my hat in.

    I have an H4n, and when using it as an interface with GarageBand on an old Mid '09 MacBook Pro, any recorded audio tracks will skip during playback. Also, I have a latency problem when I monitor instruments during recording. With my headhopnes pluged into my MacBook, I get a slight delay for any sounds coming through my mics. Any thoughts?
     
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    Dec 1, 2020

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