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Zoom H4N + Rode Videomic
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Zoom H4N + Rode Videomic

Hi

I am trying to reach the following setup using my current gear. I don't want to buy extra mics/recorders:

- I want to use the Zoom H4N 4 CH mode to record both ambient and dialogue (no matter it's considered bad or good practice, this is how it should go)
- The Rode Videomic has a 3.5 male jack
- The H4N has an external mic input (3.5) which replaces the two mics included in the device when used
- The H4N has 2 extra XLR/TRS inputs

If I plug the Rode into the 3.5 ext. mic connector, it will cancel the device's mics, thus I won't be able to capture ambience properly.
If I plug the Rode into one of the TRS/XLR inputs using a 3.5 -> 1.4" adapter, the signal is too low. Doesn't work.

I wonder if buying a 3.5 -> XLR adapter will work providing phantom power using H4N's built-in feature. Will this work https://www.rode.com/accessories/vxlrplus ?

Please advise,
Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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MarkF48's Avatar
From the specs the Rode VideoMic operates from a 9v battery. It is not intended to use 48v phantom power directly and trying to do so would more than likely damage/destroy the mic. The Rode adapter you linked converts 48v phantom down to a low voltage 'plugin power' bias voltage for certain mics which your mic doesn't use, but I don't believe it would hurt the VideoMic as many cameras and camcorder have plugin power on their input jacks.

The other problem trying to use the XLR connection is that is a 'balanced' connection which the RodeVideoMic is not. It might be done with an adapter, but doing so loses some of the gain of that input. Both the XLR and the 1/4" inputs appear to be capable of the same gain, so I don't think trying to use the XLR would be any better than the 1/4".

Not sure there is an easy solution. I do have an H4n and if I get a chance today I'll see if I can figure out some work around.

Update..........
I just tried a short shotgun mic with my H4n that has a similar sensitivity to your VideoMic. I used an adapter to go from 3.5mm to 1/4" as well as XLR. Both ways did not yield decent gain for recording. The H4n does not have good gain on those inputs to start with and even one of my XLR connected shotgun mics needs more gain than what the H4n can do. I'm actually looking at a Tascam recorder as a replacement because of this.
I'm not sure what the solution might be other than buying a cheap used condenser mic for the ambient sound that can work with the XLR with phantom and used the VideoMic plugged into the 3.5mm jack.

Last edited by MarkF48; 4 weeks ago at 05:25 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF48 View Post
From the specs the Rode VideoMic operates from a 9v battery. It is not intended to use 48v phantom power directly and trying to do so would more than likely damage/destroy the mic. The Rode adapter you linked converts 48v phantom down to a low voltage 'plugin power' bias voltage for certain mics which your mic doesn't use, but I don't believe it would hurt the VideoMic as many cameras and camcorder have plugin power on their input jacks.

The other problem trying to use the XLR connection is that is a 'balanced' connection which the RodeVideoMic is not. It might be done with an adapter, but doing so loses some of the gain of that input. Both the XLR and the 1/4" inputs appear to be capable of the same gain, so I don't think trying to use the XLR would be any better than the 1/4".

Not sure there is an easy solution. I do have an H4n and if I get a chance today I'll see if I can figure out some work around.

Update..........
I just tried a short shotgun mic with my H4n that has a similar sensitivity to your VideoMic. I used an adapter to go from 3.5mm to 1/4" as well as XLR. Both ways did not yield decent gain for recording. The H4n does not have good gain on those inputs to start with and even one of my XLR connected shotgun mics needs more gain than what the H4n can do. I'm actually looking at a Tascam recorder as a replacement because of this.
I'm not sure what the solution might be other than buying a cheap used condenser mic for the ambient sound that can work with the XLR with phantom and used the VideoMic plugged into the 3.5mm jack.
Thanks Mark for your feedback, it's useful.

I have decided to record dialogue using the Videomic plugged into my camera's 3.5 input, using a large extension cable and a boom, while at the same time the H4N captures the ambience and also the dialogue. Both H4N's mics point to the target at 90º. Then, I add some gain/normalization to the Videomic track and mix it together with H4N output (doing some synchronization with my clap sound). The voice sounds solid, so I don't find any issue with this approach so far. With a bit more masterization using Ozone 8's built-in presets, it ends up in a decent recording that works pretty well for movie production.
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