Using a Zoom H1 recorder to record audio with a pro sound board

This is our procedure for using a Zoom H1 recorder to record audio from a pro sound board.

Connect the recorder to the sound board.  We used a female XLR to male 1/8" TRS cable.  Connect some headphones to the recorder.

Set the recorder to input level 16.  Set a comfortable listening volume level (for us this was 40).  The reason to use input level 16 is that this is the point at which the peak light most closely matches when audio is actually distorted.  Any lower, and the peak light may not flash when audio is distorted.  Any higher, and the peak light may flash erroneously.

Play the loudest audio you expect to use for your project and adjust the output of your board so that the Zoom H1's peak light does not flash and audio is not distorted.

If you have a dynamics processor, you may wish to stop here.  If not, you may wish to use the Zoom H1 as a rudimentary dynamics processor.  Increase the Zoom H1's input level.  (Note that this will make the peak light inaccurate - you cannot rely upon it at any level other than 16.) The Zoom H1 has an internal limiter, but it is only effective if audio did not peak at level 16.  Try an input level of 25 or even 35, and listen to the results.  This should result in some minor compression, i.e., soft parts of your recording being slightly louder, and brief periods of high volume not being overpoweringly loud.  However, this comes with the downside of the peak light no longer being accurate (so you won't know if audio is distorted until you play it back).


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