Shotgun Mic + Zoom H4N

Anonymous (not verified)

I own two shotgun mics, an AT-897 and a Rode NTG-2, and I'm having the same problem with each (which makes me think that what I'm experiencing is not a "problem" and is completely normal). Here's the situation: When I have one of the mics connected to a Zoom H4N audio recorder, I have to have the recording levels all the way up (to level 100). With the levels all the way up, I have to be just 6-inches directly in front of the mic to be able to talk in a normal voice volume and register -12db on the Zoom (in an otherwise silent room). If I back up to 3 feet from the front of the mic, speaking in a normal voice volume only gets me to -24db. Now, I know you need to be as close to the mic as possible to obtain the best quality, but I would expect to be able to be at least 3ft away and not have to turn the audio recorder's levels to their max. Because when I bring the -24db to normal levels in post, the amount of noise increases as well.

My question is: are shotgun mics supposed to be like this? Is this an issue with the Zoom H4N? It would seem to me that I should have more wiggle room with the Zoom's recording levels to make the mic much more sensitive.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am

I suspect it might be a combination of the two, but first I have to say I do not have the H4 model, only a set of H2's that I absolutely love and use extensively. On them, I have, and with the configuration you're using, I have to set the levels to between 125-128 on the Zoom, to get the kind of response I want from my Nady shotgun (one sorry mic, I have to say). The ONLY way I've been able to have serious silence with little/no air or noise is to use baffles and sound abatement, quilts, blankets, etc. in conjunction with the setup. I can set the H2 outside this perimeter, but I have to run a cable from the shotgun to the recorder, and the shotgun is about 20" away from me.

My Rhode does much better, but I still prefer to be closer to the mic than 3 feet, still setting the Zoom at 125-128 and modulating carefully so as to not have moments where I might exceed the settings and hit the ceiling.

The softer levels are not a problem as I can "normalize" from within the Zoom, or do it in one of my audio editing programs during post.

Regardless of how "quiet" you perceive your room to be, there's noise levels to be concerned with unless it is a soundproof booth or recording studio room where they've taken measures to arrange for noise abatement.

One other thought: You don't have the AGC on the Zooms "on" do you? Just asking.

fx1shooter's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 11/13/2009 - 2:45pm
Plus Member

Are you using the battery for Phantom power or the Zoom Phantom power?

I have a H4-n and NTG-2 but I always connect the NTG-2 to my mixer and the mixer to the Zoom. I will however test to see if I get the same results.

fx1shooter's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 11/13/2009 - 2:45pm
Plus Member

ok I tried it connecting directly (however i have an NTG-1 not the -2) and it works fine. if I set the volume to 100, i can get -6db standing 3ft away and talking just a bit loader than normal like if you would talk to a group of 5 people at the restaurant. if i talk loader like in front of a group of 20 or so people it peaks.

to compare it, I connected my Neumann BCM104 (i use for voice overs) and got the exact same scenario.

the only things i set were phantom 48v and low cut at 133hz.

hope this can help you


210pe's picture
Last seen: 8 years 4 months ago
Joined: 12/09/2009 - 2:01pm

I have the H4n and just did some recording with my Sennheiser Me66 with the K6 phantom power (this basically does what you're buying above I believe). If i turn on the phantom power on the mic but off on the h4n I get around -4db at around 3 feet away.


jakeman3's picture
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 11/10/2009 - 12:46am

I also had that problem. I "fixed" it by adding a Nady DMP-2 between the mics & the H4n or camcorder. I must admit it adds a little circuitry hiss (an easy fix in post - well worth it) and it's output is line level only.

It's pre-ampwith 2XLR in & outputs, +48V phantom power& powered by one9 volt battery.

It's small - about 4.5"WX 2.25" HX 5.25" D and only 1 pound.

Pricedunder $75 and easy to use.

Good luck - Jake - Torrance, CA