Zoom H2N-noise when recording direct to Audacity thru USB audio interface

Hey, folks - I’m having an issue with which I hope I might find answers here, or at least find others who’ve encountered a similar issue. I’m currently recording an audiobook, and using a Zoom H2N to record. Due to some weird beeping noises that started happening when on battery power (nothing else connected, not even headphones), recording directly to my SD card, I’ve simply moved to a USB Audio I/F connection to record directly to my Macbook Pro (Early 2011,OS 10.13.6). I’ve been primarily editing with Audacity, so I thought I’d record directly to it, then edit from there.

Alas, I’m having major issues so doing. When simply recording room tone, it’s most evident, but there is some kind of odd “noise”, for lack of a better term, happening throughout, again most noticeable in moments of silence. It makes the tracks unusable as they can’t be mixed to ACX specs (particularly noise floor), no matter what I do. Everything IS working fine when I record directly to Garage Band under the exact same settings, so even without solving this mystery, I’ve able to continue. But, it just adds extra steps and time so I’d prefer to go back to doing it all in Audacity if possible. I believe I have all the settings correct (Zoom: set to create at 44.1k Hz 16-bit WAV, Audacity: project rate also set at 44.1k). No issues with Audacity recognizing the H2N, it’s ultimately just not recording a “clean” take, so maybe I’ve got something in the settings that need to be adjusted? I’m nervous about doing a total reset as I spent a LOT of time getting plug-ins to help more easily reach ACX’s specs.

Ideally, I’d also like to find someone having the same beeping issue with the Zoom H2N on battery power direct to an SD card who maybe found a solution to that in the settings, but if I’m to continue with a USB connection in the hopes of directly recording to Audacity, I welcome any advice. I think I’m too deep into the project now to switch to a new mic for fear its color would completely change.

Thank you in advance for any help!

when on battery power (nothing else connected, not even headphones)

The H2n is on batteries? Not the Mac?

Can you post some of the beeping?


How close is your tablet or phone to the H2n?

The Mac has regular big, flat USB connections, right?

Not the newer USB-C or Thunderbolt-3

there is some kind of odd “noise”, for lack of a better term, happening throughout

Like this?


Hey, Koz-

So to answer the queries one by one, and thank you for addressing what is in one instance likely simply a Zoom H2N issue, and not necessarily specific to using Audacity.

  1. The “beeping” noise:
    Yes, that beeping only happens when I’m recording on the H2N using 2 AA batteries and onto an inserted SD (32GB) card. Nothing else is connected to the mic, neither my computer nor headphones. The laptop doesn’t even come into play until I’ll pull the card and re-insert it for editing.

If there’s anything in the room, it’s solely my (WiFi only) iPad, and it’s been put into Airplane and DND mode. I know when I’ve put my live phone directly up to the H2N to check while recording, I have heard that unmistakeable cell sound which sounds different. I don’t think I’m near any majoring wiring in the house, and I am very far from our routers as well. Here’s a link to what I’m hearing (sorry, this one is an mp3 as I can’t find the orig. WAV, but I promise it was the same on the WAV version) Best heard with ear/headphones.


  1. The odd “noise” while the H2N is connected via USB I/F direct to Audacity:
    Thanks for that clip for comparison, but no, that “whine” sound doesn’t seem to be quite the same thing I experienced. Again the issue is only occurring when I do the USB I/F direct to an Audacity recording, but NOT when doing the same directly to say Garage Band. Those have come out fine - so that’s why I wonder if perhaps it’s simply a settings issue? Also, YES the Macbook Pro I use has that same larger USB connector on one end, mini-B on the other to the H2N, not the newer C or Thunderbolt ones. Here’s two comparisons:



Thanks again for the help!!

Thanks for the sound samples. You had me going there with the DropBox submissions, but they do let me download the works. Sometimes forum posters forget and make it so we can’t download.

Crank your H2n up for full battery operation. Print your script on paper, and read that instead of the iPad. Leave the iPad in another room.

Use this as a format, but leave more silence at the beginning (4 seconds?).


That help? More as we go.


In general we don’t much like tests in MP3. MP3 creates some sound damage when it works and we’re never sure if the distortion we found was you or the MP3 file. That’s also the reason it’s a terrible idea to do production in MP3. Each time you edit, the quality gets worse and you can’t stop it.

Do everything in WAV and if you do need an MP3 for running on the beach or submission to ACX, make it from your WAV Edit Master.

In this case, the beeping is obvious.

As we go.


I’ll do another chapter using only battery power direct to SD card and will make sure that, other than the iPad set to airplane mode & DND, there’s no other electronics in there. I’ll be sure to get you a solid WAV of it if/when it happens again. Here’s a wav I made today but the phone was about 4 ft away, so I can’t be sure it’s not the issue. I’ll also make one with NOTHING in the room just to see and get back ASAP.

think I’m too deep into the project now to switch to a new mic for fear its color would completely change.

It would, yes. ACX places great stress on having all your chapters match.

One poster gave us a good scare when they told us they were moving houses in the middle of a book. They kept the same microphone and were careful about soundproofing, so it worked out.

Effect > Noise Reduction only works well on sounds that don’t change over time such as background hum, fan noises, or air conditioning whine. It’s a good deal less effective on dynamic noises such as traffic and jets going over.

Noise Reduction tends to be broad and sloppy, so in some cases, we have generated tools to address specific noises. That “frying mosquitoes” USB thing has its own tool.

That’s not to say there isn’t a desperation method. Carefully edit one of the beeping clips (in WAV) so instead of eee. eee. eee. eee, it goes eeeeeeeeeeeeee. Select that long eeeee as the Noise Reduction Profile and I bet that works enormously better.

So this problem started happening part-way through the book and you didn’t obviously change anything? Do you do automatic Mac updates in the background?


other than the iPad set to airplane mode & DND

Not what I said. Do a short test with the iPod and the phone in the garage.

Display screens can have electronic radiation. Nothing to do with WiFi or Airplane Mode.


It’s hard to get across how tiny microphone signals are. Manufacturers have been trying to make that difference vanish for years with their MIC/LINE connection on the side of a laptop. “It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”

It’s not fine. If you do the decibel conversion arithmetic (as I know you’re doing right now) your voice signal at the microphone is a thousand times quieter than the show delivered to ACX. That’s the difference between the batteries in your flashlight and one of those.

Screen Shot 2021-04-16 at 10.13.30 AM.png
It’s a sitting duck for any kind of electronic interference.

I’m on the edge of my seat for your H2n recording with no-zero electronics in the room. Recording on a Zoom has been the gold standard for a rescue method when nothing else works. If that doesn’t work either…

If you do get some noise, try fresh batteries.


Thanks again, Koz! I work in the theater world and have posited this question/issue to a few of them who’ve designed and mixed project on Broadway/Vegas/Industrials, and they have said things similar to what you. The issue REALLY is a drag. So, I did a quick AVO audition submission just now, and made sure there were NO electronics in there. No iPad, no phone, anywhere NEAR the mic. Direct to SD card, batteries were good. Not full, but nowhere near empty - this beeping has come regardless of how strong the batteries are, but I guess it MIGHT happen more often the older the batteries are. No other cords attached to the H2N.

Here’s a WAV. It’s short, but hopefully enough.

Missed one.

I spent a LOT of time getting plug-ins to help more easily reach ACX’s specs.

You may not have needed a lot of time. Unless you’re talking about suppressing popping, mouth noises, and odd distortions, basic ACX conformance can be reached with three Audacity internal tools.

If you’re in Audacity 3.0.0 or later, you can use the shortcut Macro.

ACX-Mastering-Macro.txt (458 Bytes)
The first two ACX standards, Peak and RMS (Loudness) are guaranteed. If you recorded with low noise and no echoes, all three will meet and you’re good to go.

Did you know about ACX-Check? It’s a plugin to Audacity and a cousin to ACX’s own AudioLab services.


ACX’s own AudioLab services.

…which are here.


According to ACX, successful audiobook readers need to have a bluejeans jacket, be nearsighted, and have no hair. I hope you qualify.


Here’s a WAV. It’s short, but hopefully enough.

Dueling posts. The other forum extreme is going so fast we’re stepping on each other’s messages.

Beeping Noise Direct to SD Zoom H2N.wav

That is so not good news. This is me searching for others with the same experience. I’m also going to leave a note for the Sweetwater people and ask if they’re heard of anything like this.

We can try to generate a custom filter to get rid of it in your recordings (assuming it doesn’t change). Make a full ten second recording with just beeping. Export the WAV. While you have the setup, make another recording. That thumb rolley thing on the right is the recording volume control, right? Start the recording where you are now, Announce you’re going to go all the way up and do it. Leave it there for a couple of seconds, then announce you’re going all the way down and finish out the 10 seconds like that. I don’t care about the voice distortion if any.


Need to drop for a while. I isolated some of the tones in the beep, but this will be tons easier with a full ten seconds of good quality beeping. I can’t wait for that volume change test.


A PS to the above - I would love to know the source of the beeping, but it may just be wiring in the walls around here or even picking something from a neighbor. It’s hard to know.

The bigger, and hopefully more solvable, issue I’d like to get to the bottom of is the noise I’m experiencing when connected via USB direct to my laptop and into Audacity.

Meanwhile, from up the post.

Screen Shot 2021-04-17 at 9.26.26 AM.png
So “Noisy” is from your H2n into Audacity and “Clean” is the H2n into GarageBand? If not, where did you get clean from?


Sorry, I hadn’t seen your post about the beeping when I last wrote. As to the hope for getting 10 seconds of the beeping: My issues are that

  1. I don’t know when it’ll happen. Might happen again seconds later, might be minutes, but…
  2. When it does happen, they only come in sets of 3, maybe 5 max, and then disappear. They barely last a full second.

As to the USB files, clean and noisy:
Yes, both are via a USB audio I/F set-up directly to the macbook pro: “noisy” was recorded using Audacity. “Clean” was recorded the same way, just through GB. I then imported that WAV into Audacity just to check and it still sounded “clean”, much like any WAV files made by recording directly onto my SD card come out (unfortunately, the beeping trashes way too many of those takes). Wanted to give two examples made under the same set-up, but into different programs. I can create a longer recording of both if needed.

I so appreciate your digging in on all this, just not sure how best to proceed on the beeping recording within your instructions above given the fickle nature of their occurrences.


Thanks for the pointing to the ACX Audacity plug-ins and settings. I actually got ACX Check a while back, and use it often. I read through that series of recommended settings often here on the forum even before I joined, and found I still had a problem with getting to acceptable floor noise level. I don’t know exactly what I did to rectify it, but I do recall spending a VERY long time searching online for answers.

Ultimately the way it goes now - If I’ve created a WAV that’s clean (which now seems best through USB to GB, then import the WAV to Audacity for editing) and I Loudness Normalize to -22.5, then Normalize to -3.0, but OMIT any of the Filter Curve settings. Every time I check the adjusted file under the ACX Check plug-in, they pass.

I can’t post the full original WAV file, but doing as I describe above, I’ve gotten a version this message on 38 chapters so far.
Screen Shot 2021-04-17 at 1.37.17 PM.png
I only began having an issue when I started trying the direct USB to Audacity set-up. Again, it’s working with WAVs created via GB right now, but I’d love to know what I may have tweaked in Audacity to muck this up so I can save the step of importing, as it take a while on my older computer and OS.

I still had a problem with getting to acceptable floor noise level.

Right. Home performers never meet noise. -60dB (ACX Limit) in English means your background noise (room tone) has to be a thousand times quieter than your voice, and the actual working number is -65dB, almost half again quieter. Apartments and even houses can’t meet that. Just sitting right here I got street noises, the refrigerator, hum from the sound system and two clocks. And this is a relatively quiet street. I go into the quiet bedroom, throw out the clocks, put a blanket over the squealing internet modem (or turn it off) and record after 10PM.

The all time winner in the longest forum post is Ian in Hollywood (the real place) who spent over a year with us getting going. And he did get going. He’s a paid announcer now.

I see there’s a ton more valuable info in that last post. I need to read it carefully.


Yeah, I had a bear of a time getting the noise floor issue taken care of, but decided to move my recording into a closet where I now reside. It’s insulated all over, but as it isn’t a real booth or Whisper Room, occasionally construction or lawn mowers, even heavy rain can create noise issues. I also have a PVC constructed booth (thanks YouTube) with moving blankets in there, so it’s pretty dead. At least dead enough that I can always meet floor noise now. Every chapter I record, I begin by recording a solid 30 seconds of room tone and then bookend the chapter’s WAV with that in the editing process to splice in and to meet ACX section specs. When that’s done, I tweak with Audacity effects as described above, and it’s approved. Seems to work, so I’m not complaining. Well, not about that…

Worthy of note: I recall doing a Source Connect session for a gig awhile back where the tech tinkered with a lot of my Audacity settings through a screenshare. We had issues then with my mic connected via USB-turned my voice into a weird alien, and I ended up just recording to the SD and sent them to him, chatting over Zoom for direction. I do wonder if it’s possible he’d made an adjustment for his purposes that has now created this issue for me. I’m not running the newest updated Audacity (I’m working with 2.4.2). Might an upgrade would fix this glitch? I will say, I’m awfully far into the audiobook project to make a change that might mess up my process. So I’m reticent to just go ahead and get the most recent update, given that this seems to be a unique issue to my experience.