This is a step-by-step How-to for the Zoom H4
I will be adding to it as I do more recording myself, so for now consider it a work in progress. Please post any additions or suggestions.Getting ready to record
1) You need either 2 AA batteries or the adapter.
2) You might want to use a camera tripod, in which case you need to use the holder that comes with the Zoom.
3) You have to put the SD card into the Zoom. But be aware that the 128mb SD card will only give you about 12 minutes of recording time for a WAV file, so a 1G or 2G card is recommended.
4) You don't need to install Cubase (which comes with the Zoom) on your computer, your computer should recognize the Zoom (connected with the USB cable) even without the drivers that Cubase provides.
5) However you will likely want some program to allow you to convert from WAV to MP3 and do simple editing (even if it's only cutting the dead space off at the beginning and end.) Cubase will let you do this, but some people feel it's difficult to use. Many PW posters use Audacity, which is available for free download and fairly easy to use. Recording Format
1) You can choose to record either in WAV or MP3. An MP3 is a much smaller format, but a WAV file _____ what? fill in the blank here please! "sounds better? has less loss?"
This is why most people recommend recording as a WAV file, and only converting to MP3 (after all editing has been finished) if you need a smaller file for emailing and internet. There several different programs (some available for free) which allow you to make this conversion, including Cubase, Audacity any other programs I should list here? it doesn't have to be an all-encompassing list, but more than two would probably be good!
2) You can select three different frequencies levels: 44.1kHz, 48kHz or 96kHz. what information can I put here to help people understand the differences in these frequencies and which one they want for their purposes?Recording
1) The Zoom has three recording settings: L, M and H (low, medium and high.) For piano, most people recommend either L or M, since recording on H often results in clipping (i.e the piano's volume is too loud for the Zoom's capacity.)
2) In addition to the L, M, H mic settings, there are also gain settings. You should use these in order to prevent distortion while still having sufficient volume. Gain is discussed on page 32 of the manual. See step 8 for a brief look at auto-gain.
3) You can use auto-gain when recording by going to the INPUT MENU and moving the jog dial to "auto-gain" and selecting "on." When you record, press the red dot once and it will start to flash. Play the loudest part of your piece for a few seconds. Press the red dot again to start recording. Auto-gain is discussed on page 33 of the manual.
4) You will have to experiement with where to place the Zoom when recording. People have recorded with the Zoom sitting directly on the piano, under for a grand, behind the pianist, to one side of the piano etc. Each placement results in a different sound, so there's no one recommended placement.After you've finished recording
1) You can use headphones to listen to your recording while it's still in the Zoom.
2) Don't rename or delete your files (recordings) using the controls on the Zoom, do that after you've hooked the Zoom up to your computer.
3) You can remove the SD card and insert it into you computer to transfer files. Or go to step 11 to connect with USB.
4) To connect the Zoom to the computer, use the USB. Verify that the recorder is stopped. Press the center of the menu key. Move the jog down up or down to USB then press to select. Next choose "connect to PC." When the message "now connecting to PC" appears, your computer recognizes the Zoom as an external harddrive and you can copy, delete or rename files this way.
5) To terminate the connection between the Zoom and computer, cancel the online condition selecting the "safely remove hardware" option on your computer.Editing your recording
1) One way to edit your recording is to use Audacity. Opening the WAV file into Audacity will allow you to cut the dead space at beginning and end of your recording, and also allow you to convert from WAV to MP3 easily.
2) Editing the volume. You record on the Zoom's L setting and then normalize with Audacity. Import your WAV file into audacity, and then "edit-select all" and then "effect -- normalize". That will boost the volume.
3) If you want to send your recordings in email or upload them for internet use, you probably want to convert them to MP3 files. But if you are making an audio file, consider leaving them as WAV files and putting those directly onto the CD. The sound quality should be better.Extra Information CubaseLE editiing instructions Using Audacity video tutorial Zoom Mega-Thread in the Piano Forum Where to place mic for grand or upright recording, w/ illustrations Samson company website Zoom company website Zoom H4 manual online
This How-to has been edited 11 times.
The information in this How-to comes from a combination of my own reading/experience, Ragtime and Monica's posts in the Zoom thread, and comments from other posters in this thread.
Here's the background for this thread:
I got my Zoom almost a month ago, but I wasn't ready to record, so I never even took it out of the box.
Now I am finally ready to record, and was looking through that 15 page Zoom monster-thread, trying to keep my head above water! So I'm thinking we really need a one-page how-to. Who would like to help me make one? (Monica, that means you!
What I'd like to do is slowly put together a step-by-step, and then eventually I'll put that at the top of this thread and change the title. I am re-reading that monster-thread and will add from it as I go.
I'm starting assuming that someone has just opened their Zoom box (um, that would be me.)