Worry-free audio

Here are five tips for using Samsung’s H1 Zoom audio recorder for the first time:

#1 Get comfortable with what’s in the kit

ZoomKit

Your kit includes: windscreen, adjustable tripod, AC adapter, USB cable, and a mic clip adapter.

#2 Review the quick-start manual

For any new piece of equipment you use, spend a few quality minutes with the manual. It is included in the MCCS kits, and can be downloaded here. A few key sections:

  • Part names and functions, p. 7-8
  • Screens and basic operations, p. 7
  • Adjusting recording levels, p. 3

#3 Review the controls and display

Be able to find:

  • Mic and headphone inputs
  • USB and memory card slots
  • Volume and Input level controls
  • Elapsed recording time / Remaining recording time
  • Battery status
  • Level indicator

A couple of cool features to check out:

  • Disabling buttons: slide power switch upward to HOLD to disable the buttons and prevent mishaps while recording.
  • Reduce windnoise by 1) using the wind screen and 2) sliding the LO CUT switch to on.
  • Set the recording format by sliding the REC FORMAT switch to WAV or MP3. (Tip: wav is better quality, but mp3 takes up less space).

ZoomControls

ZoomDisplay

 

#4 Double check your settings

  • Set the sampling frequency rate to 44 khz and the recording mode to WAV 16 bit. (p. 4)
  • The LO CUT switch is generally set to OFF, unless you are recording where wind or breath noises are a problem.
  • The Mic Gain switch increases mic sensitivity should be set to ON for recording spoken-word audio. Switch to OFF for loud musical performances or other similar sounds.
  • Double check your battery status and be sure you have fresh batteries in reserve.

#5 Correctly set audio input levels

You’ll find this on p. 3 of the manual, and you should test it several times before going on your first interview:

  • Plug in your headphones, press record.
  • Method #1: Switch “AUTO LEVEL” to ON. Test the recording by asking your source a few simple questions so that you can get a read on his or her recording levels. Simple questions work well: What did you have for breakfast today? This gets the source talking, but you don’t have to listen to the answer too closely and can concentrate on setting levels correctly.
  • Method #2: Switch “AUTO LEVEL” to OFF, and use the manual +/- buttons to adjust the levels.
  • Once the levels are set, keep an eye on the level indicator to monitor.

Editing audio

For a quick refresher on using Audacity to edit audio, see p. 7-10 in the Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency (PDF). Here’s a piece of test audio we’ll use in class to review audio editing.