Static on Voice of Phone Interview

I’m brand new to recording sound and Audacity. Have just started recording phone interviews for my podcast on a Zoom H5. I call the guest (who is on their cell usually) via google voice (mono cable from headphone jack on laptop into Zoom) and my voice is another track into the zoom via a mic.

The guests voices always have a static sound, sometimes worse than others. I’ve attached a sample of the worst so far (the male voice). Can someone tell me what I’m doing wrong and how to improve? Again, total beginner here. Thanks in advance.

Something is overloading on the male voice side, causing “clipping” distortion.

A low-pass filter with a cut-off of about 4kHz-5kHz only on the guest helps …

I don’t think that’s plain overload although you could try the “Pad” setting on the H5. That’s intended to reduce recording volume as a protection measure when you apply high volume to the H5.

You should be able to boost the volume back up with the H5 volume controls for that channel.

This is not a contradiction. Microphone connections have a booster before the volume control. Once you overload the booster, you’re dead. It doesn’t matter what the volume control is set to. It’s going to sound crunchy.

You said that happened on more than one person, right?


You’re using my favorite technique. Not using the computer to record your show. You still have to pay attention to your connections.



I use the Movo MV-RC100 Attenuator cable to record audio from my laptop to a Zoom H5. I connect from the laptop headset port to the H5 L/R input port. You can set the laptop headphone output level to about 50% and the H5 L/R input level to about 7.

Amazon have a number of clones of this cable but not all have an attenuation of 35dB which the genuine Movo product has. I like this product because you can record stereo and downmix to mono in Audacity if you choose.

Removed. We’re not fond of posting product purchase info.


I like this product because you can record stereo and downmix to mono in Audacity if you choose.

You could always do that just by choosing the right cable. That has nothing to do with the overload problem. Did you try the Pad H5 option? That may take care of it in a simple setting instead of purchasing special-purpose hardware. Looking.


@Koz: I’m not the original poster. I was offering a flexible option for recording audio from a computer to the H5.

Suggesting that the OP use the pad on the H5 requires that he use one of the XLR/0.25" inputs which will be mono anyway. When using the Zoom H5 in a podcasting role the builtin X/Y microphone can be unused and it’s convenient to use the external L/R mic input for tasks like this. Stereo, why not? You don’t have to just record Hangouts/Skype, you can capture soundbites off the Internet for inclusion in your content too.

If the problem is with overload then, if it’s at his end, then volume reduction or additional attenuation needs to be provided by some means. If the problem lies at the other end then that’s another matter - with another solution.


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I can’t post the H5 manual. Too Big. It’s on page 98 of my download PDF.

This selection is intended to connect the H5 directly to a sound mixing console.

This will give you a 20dB attenuation to prevent overload at the selected inputs. In My Opinion, the overload experienced by the poster is light enough (you could almost use the interview as-is) that this should work.

Or, the attenuation cable is another option. I didn’t know that cable was available.
[writing that down].

Thanks, @Darlow.

We still have a split opinion on what’s causing the distortion, but this connection mismatch is a safe bet.


Dueling posts.

The manual claims to be able to do this to two inputs and the question is preserving interviews—one voice.

Festival of options.

Again, assuming input mismatch is the problem. Fixing that would be my first shot. Thanks for the post.