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H4N crackles fix suggestions?

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H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:25 pm

I’ve had my H4N for many years and it has given years of great service. Recently I have heard very quiet and random short bursts of crackles. It sounds like the digital hash of yesteryear. The crackles get recorded. This has happened twice recording spoken voice using the internal mics and on battery power. I also reformatted the internal memory card.

I’ve searched the net for others having this issue and found nothing useful. I am going to do some testing and thought I would post my methodology in case one of you sees I have missed a very obvious test.

- plug in an external mic or two and test, showing it could be the built in mics
- try with both dynamic mics and mics that require phantom?
- change to another SD card in case the current one is going down. I thought they either work or are dead. It’s a quality card.
- the batteries are fresh so try the above using the AC adapter
- contact Zoom tech support to see if they have seen this issue before

Any other thoughts appreciated.
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Re: H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:43 pm

Looks like a good set of test variables to me...

Other things to consider:

Is the firmware up to date?
Can you hear this when playing-back on the internal speaker and after transferring the file to computer? If computer only, try reading the SD Card either via USB or an external card-reader.

Hope you can pin it down and get it fixed.
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Re: H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:03 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:- plug in an external mic or two and test, showing it could be the built in mics

Worth testing, but your description of 'digital shash' makes me think it's related more to the digital and/or control system than the analogue front end.

- try with both dynamic mics and mics that require phantom?
Again, worth testing, but unlikely to be the issue -- unless the mics are thirsty on phantom which might have an impact on battery performance.

- change to another SD card in case the current one is going down. I thought they either work or are dead. It’s a quality card.

They all die in time as they all have a finite number of record cycles. death will come sooner if you continually re-format your card when only partially used as the early memory addresses can then get used a lot more frequently! I believe the better cards have an onboard management system to try and share out usage more uniformly, but that's outside my knowledge sphere I'm afraid.

A dodgy card may well cause the processor to stumble, resulting in nasty noises both in the machine itself while recording and on the recording, so I'd definitely try with a different card.

- the batteries are fresh so try the above using the AC adapter

Batteries are a strong possibility. A sudden but brief voltage dip could cause this kind of problem. Make sure you clean the battery bay contacts too!

- contact Zoom tech support to see if they have seen this issue before

Always a good idea. Sometimes it takes multiple reports of problems before a potential fault comes to light!

H
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Re: H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby hobbyist » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:02 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:I’ve had my H4N for many years and it has given years of great service. Recently I have heard very quiet and random short bursts of crackles. It sounds like the digital hash of yesteryear. The crackles get recorded. This has happened twice recording spoken voice using the internal mics and on battery power. I also reformatted the internal memory card.

I’ve searched the net for others having this issue and found nothing useful. I am going to do some testing and thought I would post my methodology in case one of you sees I have missed a very obvious test.

- plug in an external mic or two and test, showing it could be the built in mics
- try with both dynamic mics and mics that require phantom?
- change to another SD card in case the current one is going down. I thought they either work or are dead. It’s a quality card.
- the batteries are fresh so try the above using the AC adapter
- contact Zoom tech support to see if they have seen this issue before

Any other thoughts appreciated.

Hugh most likely noted the correct problem as digital.

But I have seen switches, contacts, knobs, pots, connectors, yada yada that caused similar problems.
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Re: H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:00 pm

Thanks all.
I realized the hash sound was somewhat familiar sounding and then it came to me. It’s not unlike that really quiet sound that some mics make when warming up. But I will do all the tests and I can even send audio examples to Zoom if need be.
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Re: H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:38 pm

Of you can post an example it might help in identifying it.
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Re: H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:26 pm

Any chance it might be caused by condensation?
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Re: H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:57 pm

Condensation. Interesting idea. Both locations were high humidity.
I can post small snippets. Would I use SoundCloud? Is that a good method for posting audio here?
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Re: H4N crackles fix suggestions?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:16 am

Yes, Soundcloud is fine MFG - leave it as a private upload, and then the whole world won't see it.

Just us if you post the URL here.


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