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

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

Post by jcvoiceover » Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:31 pm

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!

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

Post by kozikowski » Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:40 pm

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?

viewtopic.php?f=49&t=72887

How close is your tablet or phone to the H2n?


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

Image

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?

https://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/cli ... neClip.mp3

Koz

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

Post by jcvoiceover » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:32 pm

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.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f9mkudmavcsvt ... y.mp3?dl=0

2) 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:

Clean:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0h1z9xnb2gdcn ... 0.wav?dl=0

Noisy:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yx37b9b3ym8bm ... e.wav?dl=0

Thanks again for the help!!

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

Post by kozikowski » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:19 pm

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?).

https://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/Tes ... _Clip.html

That help? More as we go.

Koz

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

Post by kozikowski » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:25 pm

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.

Koz

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

Post by jcvoiceover » Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:05 pm

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.
Beeping Noise Direct to SD Battery Power.wav
(588.97 KiB) Downloaded 4 times

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

Post by kozikowski » Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:25 pm

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?

Koz

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

Post by kozikowski » Fri Apr 16, 2021 4:32 pm

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.

Koz

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

Post by kozikowski » Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:20 pm

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
Screen Shot 2021-04-16 at 10.13.30 AM.png (170.49 KiB) Viewed 239 times

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.

Koz

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

Post by jcvoiceover » Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:31 pm

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.
Beeping Noise Direct to SD Zoom H2N.wav
(776.39 KiB) Downloaded 5 times

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