how do I set up for voice recording without instruments

Good morning/evening everyone… please let me know how to set it all up for straightforward voice recording without instruments and for a podcast. I am using a Windows-based laptop with a Zoom H4 Handy Recorder and a Presonus Audiobox USB. (What mike should I choose in the H4 settings ? 24 volt etecetera ? Stereo/Mono ? Record in MP3 format etcetera ? Do I really need a mixer or is the Audiobox USB enough in itself etcetera ?) Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanx !

Why not record into the Zoom H4 as a stand-alone device using its in-built mics? You can then connect it to the PC as a card-reader via its USB cable. That will allow you to copy the sound file over to your PC. Then you can launch Audacity and File…Import the sound file into Audacity. Your computer was never designed to be a sound recorder, the Zoom was. The Zoom was never designed to edit digital sound files, your PC just loves those 0s and 1s. I do all my voice-over recordings this way. I do not know what the Audiobox does but you do not need it to get first class voice recordings using a Zoom H4.

Set the Zoom to use its own mics and to record as 44.1kHz WAV. Use its cradle to attach it to a tripod. Set the mics about 9-12 inches away from your mouth and positioned off to one side a little and either above or below your mouth. Imagine a clock face in front of your face: put the Zoom at 8, 10, 2 or 4. You speak PAST the mics and NOT INTO them (speak into the centre of the clock face). Try the Medium gain setting for the MICs first. Do not worry about getting a low level of recording. The Zoom is so noiseless that you can lift the Gain after you get the recording into Audacity and you should still be OK noise-wise. If this is your first attempt at using the Zoom for voice work I suggest you actually try all three MIC levels in order to learn what they give and which you prefer. You’ve got a great little gizmo there; it should give you hours of happy sound recording. I’ve used mine to record birdsong at 30ft, a brass band ensemble at 15ft and a steam locomotive doing 70mph at 50ft. Every time I give mine a challenge, it rises to the occasion magnificently!

The other note about where to place the microphone is in a quiet room. Nothing kills a voice recording faster than recording a metrobus or TV in the background or sounding like it was recorded in a bathroom. One of the production people at work has a closet lined with quilts to get his voice away from the rest of the noisy house. I’ve been known to build a “sound booth” out of furniture moving quilts.

My third bedroom is sound proofed because the kid in the house before me played drums.

Our Executive Conference Room is dead quiet and I’ve been known to record in there.

You can do this without the quilts and padding, but you need a much more expensive microphone to do it – and even then you could have trouble with a live room.



I don’t disagree with any of that. However, I would just add that I have found the Zoom H4’s mics to be very directional. They pick up well from the front hemisphere and get virtually nothing at from from behind. I was recording a voice-over one day when a delivery truck reversed down my road (with its audibale alarm sounding); that started next door’s boxer dog barking its head off. I swore into the Zoom, which was pointing into the room. and took a comfort break whilst the neighborhood quietened down again. When I finally got the file into Audacity and played it back the only extraneous sound material was the blue language that I let rip! I find it an amazing piece of equipment.

I have the feeling we are lacking some data.
How many voices? Is it just you or do you have guests too?
Do you use external microphones? The AudioBox suggests that you do. If so, what kind of mics? Dynamic or condenser? Brands and model numbers?

I own a Zoom too (a H4n) and a Presonus Audiobox, but I’m having a hard time imagining a situation where I would want to use both at the same time or use them together in any way.
For those of you that are not familiar with it, the AudioBox is a two-channel USB audio interface. It has two combo XLR/quarter-inch inputs with phantom power for mics or instruments, balanced quarter-inch outputs for monitor speakers and a headphone output as well as MIDI pass-through jacks.

But if I were to connect a Zoom H4 to my PC in audio-interface mode, it could do just about everything that the AudioBox does. The H4 too has two combo XLR/quarter inch inputs and line and headphone outputs. Plus it has its own built-in mics. Using the H4 as an audio interface makes the AudioBox pretty much redundant.

I use my Zoom much the same as PGA does, as a stand-alone field recorder when I’m out and about doing interviews or recording seminars and such. Here it is recording a seminar, using both its internal mics and a pair of external mics.

When I get home I connect it to the PC in card-reader mode and drag the files over to the PC’s hard disk for import into Audacity.

On rare occasions I do use my Zoom as an audio interface, recording directly into Audacity using the Zoom’s internal mics.
When I do, I follow the sage advice of PGA to mount it on a stand, in my case the stand is a shock mount on a boom arm:

When I use the Zoom as an audio interface, I record in mono, as it’s just one voice - mine - I’m recording.

The mono setting in Audacity means that only the left channel of the Zoom gets recorded, so I position the Zoom accordingly, as if it only had its left mic.

This is what normally occupies the boom arm, a Røde Procaster:

The other end of the mic cable is connected to my AudioBox. This is the setup I normally use when sitting in front of the computer doing narration.
I included this picture just to show what I feel is one of the most important accessories for any recording situation, the pop shield.
It is invaluable for keeping breathing-into-the mic noises away, and the pops and thumps that occur mainly on what are known as “plosive” sounds, prime examples being words that start with the letter “B” or “P”.

I always record in WAV and so should you. MP3 is a compressed, final delivery format. The compression MP3 uses is destructive, it throws away data to keep file sizes down.
Converting to MP3 from your pristine WAV-show is the very last thing you do. Always use a non-destructive file format such as WAV when recording and editing.

It depends. :slight_smile: Do you connect any external mics to the H4?

That depends too. :slight_smile: If you are connecting external condenser mics, then yes, 48 or 24 volt phantom power should probably be switched on. Most condensers need 48 volt and a few can survive on 24. If you dont connect external condensers then phantom power should be off. Also, some condenser mics have their own internal battery and don’t need phantom power to function.

If only one voice, mono. If more than voice, it depends. :slight_smile: How many mics, how are they positioned?

Never, ever, ever record in MP3.

Here we really need some more info on what you are trying to accomplish. As said above, if it’s only one voice you’re recording you could use either the H4 or the AudioBox.
I’m a little bit confused over a situation that involves both a Zoom H4 and an AudioBox… :question: