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Author Topic: Got mics and recorder need preamp help  (Read 2071 times)

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Offline drfunkenstein2k

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Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« on: November 24, 2020, 03:14:22 AM »
Ok this is what i have so far

Berliner CM-33 (Pair) > No preamp > Zoom H4n recorder.

i want to get a preamp with phantom power for the mics as the Zoom preamp is not good.

I checked out CA-9200 from church audio but they dont have phantom power
Naint  is out of the preamp game..... :(
other preamps are crazy expensive ...

what can i do?
please and thank you!

Offline pillowman

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2020, 03:45:23 AM »
just chekc this topic here:

https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=192513.0

pillowman
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 03:53:21 AM by pillowman »
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Offline voltronic

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2020, 06:47:19 AM »
If you really want to keep your Zoom, but want a portable, bulletproof preamp with gobs of very clean gain, you will not do any better than a Sound Devices Mixpre AKA Shure FP-24.  I own one as you can see in my signature, and I am never selling it.  These pop up on the YS here from time to time.  This one looks to still be for sale, and at a crazy low price.

If that doesn't work out, you can find these on eBay here and there, but be wary of condition and don't pay more than $300-$350.


The other way to solve your problem is to simply replace your H4n with a better recorder which has much higher-quality built-in preamps.  Tascam DR-100 mkIII is what you should get.


As much as I love my FP-24, if I was in your situation I would definitely replace the H4n with the DR-100.  Besides better preamps, you are gaining better ADC and the ability to record a pair of safety tracks at lower volume so you don't need to run limiters if levels go too hot.  It's all-around a much better recorder, and you won't need any additional cables or need to carry another box, extra batteries, etc.
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2020, 07:47:30 AM »
i second the dr100 mkiii

currently "banned" for this "controversial" post
email me if you need to connect

re:this R700 door issue (https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=196992.0;topicseen) you need to lubricate the mechanism so the limit switch that makes-on-open gets full contact. a hack is a quick tug on the metal bar below where the tape sits, wil close the switch and prevent retraction

Offline drfunkenstein2k

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2020, 09:16:53 AM »
i replied to the Shure Fp24 but its over a year old....
i think the zoom is just fine for recording, just need a preamp to get that sound

Offline anodyne33

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2020, 09:36:11 AM »
If I hadn't recently parted with mine I'd have suggested a UA-5. They're the old stand by and nothing special but get the job done.
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Offline kuba e

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2020, 05:35:56 PM »
Very similar to the UA5 is the M-Audio Fast Track Pro. You can buy it around 50 bucks on ebay. It works as a stand alone preamp with P48. You need a 9V battery to power it (500mA). You can also use it as an external sound card for a PC. I used M-Audio with Nak300 and Studio Project C4 microphones and it was sufficient. But I don't know how good the zoom preamp is. Maybe it is not bad.

UA5 needs a digi mod to run it as stand alone. You can find modded UA5 only here in Yard sale.

Check also Beyer MV100 preamp.

« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 05:42:38 PM by kuba e »

Offline obaaron

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2020, 07:20:51 PM »
Naiant little box: https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=192752.0


I have one and love it. Also recommend the Sound Devices MP-2 or the Mixpre/FP 24 as stated in above post.


You would then need a cable to go from the preamp the the 1/4” inputs on the Zoom
Mics:  Gefell M20,M21- sms2000/nbob | Schoeps MK4V;MK4- cmc6/nbob | AKG ck1,3,8,22;ck61,62,63,69- c460b/c480b/Naiant actives | Neumann KM140/150 | AT853, AT933 | CA-11
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Offline fireonshakedwnstreet

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2020, 11:36:31 PM »
Another vote for the modded UA-5.
Mics: AT853Rx (C,O); ATM41HE; Nak 300 (CP-1/2); JVC M510 (shotgun); Samson CO2
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Offline Twenty8

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2020, 05:33:33 AM »
Another vote for the modded UA-5.
As an owner of a couple, I can second that.  They are a little difficult to wrap your head around, but the search function of this board will help in finding all you need to know about these units.
They are also not easy to find.  That does not make them better, its just a consequence of time passing on discontinued units.

Getting a different deck would serve a few purposes and is one you should consider.
A lot of recorders on the market have the clean gain you seek from another piece of equipment.
Minimizing your footprint and the amount of gear you bring to a show is something to consider... because that is important in real world scenarios.

P.S.  Responding to old Yard Sale posts can be futile.  Been there myself.  If you have time to shop, find what suits your needs.  If you need one soon, listen to the member's above input in your wants/thinking.  Just reading tapers opinions has been the highest rated guide for my purchases in the past.
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Offline jbell

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2020, 12:46:57 PM »
i second the dr100 mkiii

This right here
Microtech Gefell m20's> Nbob KCY> Naiant PFA(60v)> Sound Devices Mixpre-10 II

-22        -12         -6        TDS     
]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]][}   
]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]][} 
__________________________
|Record|  Runtime: 4:19.99  {|||] 75%

Offline old and in the way

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2020, 06:43:16 PM »
For 399 you can get a Centrance Mixerface R4D. Excellent preamp and recorder ,can record to a small deck like the sony A10 or Roland RO7 also can record to your android or I Phone. Sell the Zoom and go small.

Offline bty670

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2020, 02:56:54 AM »
For 399 you can get a Centrance Mixerface R4D. Excellent preamp and recorder ,can record to a small deck like the sony A10 or Roland RO7 also can record to your android or I Phone. Sell the Zoom and go small.
I had never heard of the Mixerface until your post & have been doing some research. Looks like a really cool preamp / recorder! Love the size and how low key it is. People seem to say the biggest downfall is no display monitor (to check levels), but that is not a deal breaker for me... I will be looking into one of these in the near future!

Offline voltronic

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2020, 08:39:59 AM »
About "going small"...

I have to come back to the DR-100 mkIII again.  For $299, you replace your Zoom with one small device that is an upgrade in every single way for the current recording chain.  All of these preamps or external devices people are recommending are good units, but in the end the H4n is just a lower-quality recorder than other options out there.  It might be "good enough" for now, but how about down the road when the OP upgrades to much better / more revealing mics?  Not to mention having a unit that records safety tracks so you don't need to run a limiter (which I avoid at all costs) is huge at this price point.

This isn't too diss on anyone's recommendations; I'm simply pointing out that if the H4n is the weak link here, you can replace it entirely with something that will be the strongest link.
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Offline kuba e

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2020, 10:54:57 AM »
The H4n specification says it can do 4 track. Berliner+sbd or Berliner+omni is a good option.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2020, 01:14:31 PM by kuba e »

Offline illconditioned

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2020, 09:14:11 PM »
Try the H4N first.Never tried it, but why not.  Depends on how much the mics output and how quiet the source is.Worth a try.
Good luck.
Please DO NOT mail me with tech questions.  I will try to answer in the forums when I get a chance.  Thanks.

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Offline sound bites

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2020, 05:22:18 PM »
i replied to the Shure Fp24 but its over a year old....
i think the zoom is just fine for recording, just need a preamp to get that sound
Just to clarify: the H4n does not have line level inputs, only XLR mic and TRS instrument level. You would need to use an in-line attenuator to get unclipped sound in from your preamp.

Offline voltronic

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2020, 07:38:34 AM »
i replied to the Shure Fp24 but its over a year old....
i think the zoom is just fine for recording, just need a preamp to get that sound
Just to clarify: the H4n does not have line level inputs, only XLR mic and TRS instrument level. You would need to use an in-line attenuator to get unclipped sound in from your preamp.

Yes the XLR outputs on the FP-24 are very hot in level, but there's an easier way. Use the 1/8" output on the FP-24 into the H4n. No attenuator needed. Many FP-24 owners have done this, and that's how I connect to my M10.
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Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2020, 09:08:31 AM »
i replied to the Shure Fp24 but its over a year old....
i think the zoom is just fine for recording, just need a preamp to get that sound
Just to clarify: the H4n does not have line level inputs, only XLR mic and TRS instrument level. You would need to use an in-line attenuator to get unclipped sound in from your preamp.

Yes the XLR outputs on the FP-24 are very hot in level, but there's an easier way. Use the 1/8" output on the FP-24 into the H4n. No attenuator needed. Many FP-24 owners have done this, and that's how I connect to my M10.

Yep, I ran TAPE OUT like this many times with my M10.

Offline sound bites

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2020, 12:53:03 PM »
i replied to the Shure Fp24 but its over a year old....
i think the zoom is just fine for recording, just need a preamp to get that sound
Just to clarify: the H4n does not have line level inputs, only XLR mic and TRS instrument level. You would need to use an in-line attenuator to get unclipped sound in from your preamp.

Yes the XLR outputs on the FP-24 are very hot in level, but there's an easier way. Use the 1/8" output on the FP-24 into the H4n. No attenuator needed. Many FP-24 owners have done this, and that's how I connect to my M10.

Yep, I ran TAPE OUT like this many times with my M10.

OK, it‘s not what I would do, but I guess aux level at -10 dBu will work.

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2020, 01:29:26 PM »

Yep, I ran TAPE OUT like this many times with my M10.

OK, it‘s not what I would do, but I guess aux level at -10 dBu will work.

tape out is +11dBU which is still pretty hot
currently "banned" for this "controversial" post
email me if you need to connect

re:this R700 door issue (https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=196992.0;topicseen) you need to lubricate the mechanism so the limit switch that makes-on-open gets full contact. a hack is a quick tug on the metal bar below where the tape sits, wil close the switch and prevent retraction

Offline voltronic

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2020, 08:23:26 PM »

Yep, I ran TAPE OUT like this many times with my M10.

OK, it‘s not what I would do, but I guess aux level at -10 dBu will work.

tape out is +11dBU which is still pretty hot

This sounded crazy high, so I checked the manual.  That's stated as clipping level, so wouldn't nominal level be much lower?  In practice, I have never overloaded the inputs of my M10 or anything else connected to the TAPE OUT of the FP-24.  With the LINE out, that's a different story.
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2020, 02:45:06 AM »
This sounded crazy high, so I checked the manual.  That's stated as clipping level, so wouldn't nominal level be much lower?  In practice, I have never overloaded the inputs of my M10 or anything else connected to the TAPE OUT of the FP-24.  With the LINE out, that's a different story.

'clipping level' should ideally always be close to 0dBFS on your recorder

'nominal level' is wherever you set it

we are actually agreeing here, that the tape-out level is plenty hot and not a low level -10dBU compromise of dynamic range
currently "banned" for this "controversial" post
email me if you need to connect

re:this R700 door issue (https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=196992.0;topicseen) you need to lubricate the mechanism so the limit switch that makes-on-open gets full contact. a hack is a quick tug on the metal bar below where the tape sits, wil close the switch and prevent retraction

Offline drfunkenstein2k

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2020, 03:01:01 AM »
i found in the Yard Sale Shure-FP24 for $240 shippped, what do you guys think?

Offline voltronic

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2020, 07:27:42 AM »
This sounded crazy high, so I checked the manual.  That's stated as clipping level, so wouldn't nominal level be much lower?  In practice, I have never overloaded the inputs of my M10 or anything else connected to the TAPE OUT of the FP-24.  With the LINE out, that's a different story.

'clipping level' should ideally always be close to 0dBFS on your recorder

'nominal level' is wherever you set it

we are actually agreeing here, that the tape-out level is plenty hot and not a low level -10dBU compromise of dynamic range

I got it now; thanks.
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Offline drfunkenstein2k

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2020, 07:36:23 AM »
Berliner CM-33 (Pair) > shure FP24 > Zoom H4n recorder.

should be decent right?

Offline carpa

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2020, 12:39:39 PM »
About the risk of feeding hot signal into the Zoom: if I recall fine, the H4n doesn't accept signals as hot as the improved H5 and H6. I second the advice not to spend so much money trying to improve the H4n, but if you go that route better check the overload risk anyway....

I own a Zoom H6 which I like (flexibility, 6 channels, interchangeable  capsule for point and shoot). In close- medium miking, both with stock capsules and external mics I can pull  good noise free recordings, but it's preamps get a bit noisy going beyond 6/10 of the dial range. So absolutely usable and flexible but with some limitations in terms of distance/mic sensitivity/music genre. Plugging in my Naiant Littlebox gives better results sound wise, but not really an appreciable upgrade in noise performance. Tried to plug my Audient evo4 interface  out to Zoom input and I can get an audible less noise. The EIN of my interface ( -129db) is a lot better than -120db on the Zoom so, still not bypassing the recorder's preamps there is still a plus. BUT I need to engage the -20 pad on the recorder, otherwise the overload risk is there.  Don't know if the H4n has an attenuation pad.

 A viable solution if you want to keep the H4n could be a couple of fethead phantom inline preamps. The Phantom version passes power to the mics after keeping a part for self powering and it should give a 18 db boost with less gain needed from the recorder.  There is a video by Curtis Judd on YouTube testing these gadget with H4n and the improvement sounds substantial, as shown also in a DAW.   Yet it is a matter of thinking if spending 150 bucks for these....however the improvement with the old H4n is there, more questionable with better stock preamps as, while very convenient, unobtrusive and cable free it is always a preamp feeding another preamp. Berliner 33 had a - 40 db sensitivity so you'll end up turning them into a -22 mic; maybe still too hot?
I also would sell the H4n....

Offline drfunkenstein2k

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2020, 02:00:46 AM »
ok guys 1st i made a mistake my recorder is the Zoom H4n PRO
according to chris judd on youtube the preamps are  the same to the h5 and h6

Offline carpa

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Re: Got mics and recorder need preamp help
« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2020, 03:32:17 AM »
Ok, this is better than the older version. Still, it doesn't have input pads like H5 and H6 and I'm not sure about what the max input level is on the 4nPro but I think is -10.  H5 and h5 specs say +2 without the pad and +22 with the pad engaged.

Before everything, did you already try your mics with the H4n Pro? Then, at which distance from the source did you place the mics? What kind of source were you recording?   I looked at the specs and they are rated at -40db sensitivity and -22 Self noise, which is quite a bit on the high side.  I suspect the noise you hear is the microphone self-noise before the Zoom shows his preamp limitations. You need to move closer to the source, and you should with any preamps I guess.  Do you have any other mic with less noise just to give a try?

 

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