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Low sound level when recording videos using Zoom H2n Handy recorder

I have experienced a bad to no-sound recording using Zoom H2n. And I found a solution. I often record online tutorial videos about illustration, design and image editing using graphic software like CorelDRAW, Corel PAINTER, Clip Studio and so forth. And I use my laptop and an external microphone connecting the two using a USB cable. And I use the Screen capture feature in Corel VideoStudio.

For years I used to use a headset with a USB cable plugged in to my laptop. But now use an external microphone, my new from Zoom instead, plugged in to my laptop via a USB. Best thing – way better sound quality. And Zoom H2n delivers an excellent sound quality. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s just about knowing how to use the correct settings and tools.

Zoom Corporation tech specification and info about Zoom H2n

With Zoom H2n handy recorder, Japanese company, I found an awesome microphone and recorder combo. But at first, right out of the box after buying Zoom H2n handy recorder I stumbled into this horrible low to no sound when recording screen capture videos, using Zoom H2n as a microphone connected with the USB cable. It was a problem that just had to be solved. The question: “No sound when recording with Zoom H2n handy recorder” just had to be sorted. I wasn’t climbing the Mount Everest, but it sure felt frustratingly annoying.

The settings I use when recording screen capture videos in Zoom H2n are Audio I/F and Stereo Mix. For use online, like YouTube.

Because I am new to using an external microphone, and recording and radio lingo isnt my forte, I literally spent days searching the net for a solution on blogs, articles and videos. Even the operating manual that comes with Zoom H2n. But no one mentioned the issue, in respons to my work situation. No one using Zoom H2n seemed to experience the same problem, or at least no one seemed to tell the solution. So much for all-knowing almighty Internet, right. Maybe they were simply not recording screen capture videos.

The solution to no recorded sound – Mic Gain

But finally, with support over the phone going through it with my father in law Gabriel, who works with radio, we managed to solve this beast of a problem. He originally recommended the old Zoom H2 to me years ago. He use it many times himself, but not like I do by creating video tutorials but more as a microphone to interview people for radio. We whent through all the settings and buttons one by one. And finally we found the problem and solved it.

The solution to all of this is a button on the new Zoom H2n called Mic Gain!

Did you hear it – The Mic Gain button on the right hand side of the Zoom H2n handy recorder! Use the Mic Gain button and turn it up from 0 to any level you feel fit. I turned it up to 10. And you will no longer have a problem with sound not being recorded loud enough when creating screen capture videos on your laptop.

Zoom H2n Mic Gain button. Photo Stefan Lindblad

In the previous older Zoom H2 model, the solution is a software setting instead. In the old H2 you go settings and choose either Low or High sound level. Whearas in H2n you have the new Rotating Mic Gain button with levels ranging from 0-10. As seen in the photo above.

Also, when Gabriel first said: “turn up the sound”, I thought of the volume button on the left hand side. But that was wrong, but the thinking was correct – turn up the volume. It just happened to be a physical button – Mic Gain.

More tip. If you run into this same issue, I bought the Zoom H2n handy recorder, with software updated version 3.0. All this is important to mention. Some terminology is not the same as in the older H2 version, nor the software of Zoom H2n version 1.0 and maybe 2.0. It seems anyway. And especially important if you have used the previous model Zoom H2. Or using a H2n with software version below 3.0.

For instance in older model H2 and earlier software version, probably software version 1.0 on the H2n model, the terminology, when you choose either SD Card Reader or Audio I/F, it suggest in older version either “Frequency” or “Connect”. And connect make it possible to use as a microphone to record on a laptop using screen capture software. Whereas in H2n software version 3.0, Zoom developers have changed it into calling it “Stereo Mix” or “Multi Track”. And Stereo Mix is the one to choose in the settings when you need to record screen capture videos on your laptop. Don’t forget to choose the Zoom H2n in the Screen capture software setting. Otherwise it will pick the local laptop mic instead. Not the same thing.

Good luck and hope this helps

Stefan Lindblad

Illustrator, Graphic Artist.

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