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How to Reduce Noise on a Zoom H2 Recording

You can use the H2 to record band rehersals.
a singer and a stand up base silhouette image by Ana de Sousa from Fotolia.com

The Zoom H2 is a portable multipurpose recording device, suitable for recording everything from a lecture to a band rehearsal. It has four built-in microphones, so it can record a full 360 degrees, but if you do not set up your H2 properly, these microphones can record background noise, or distort the sound you are trying to record. If you record your source sound properly, post-production will be less difficult.

Recording Properly

Set your levels. On the right side panel of the H2 you will find the "MIC GAIN" switch. This will allow you to set the recording level. Setting this level correctly will mean you will record the correct amount of sound. This will make sure you do not get background noise or distortion on your track. Use the H (high) level to record quiet sounds or distant sounds. Use the L (low) level for louder or closer sounds.

Select the correct microphone pattern. The H2 allows for 360-degree recording, but this is not always appropriate. Only use this if you want to record the sound all around you, and not from a single source. Locate the "MIC PATTERN" keys on the front side of the H2, near the middle. They are a pair of arrows pointing left and right. You can see which pattern is active by looking at the microphone pattern indicators just above these keys.

Press the arrows to scroll through the different microphone patterns available. To record a single source from the front, select "FRONT 90"; this will give you the smallest recording field and reduce the recording of ambient noises around your source. Use this setting if you are only recording one sound, such as a speaker or a single musical instrument. You can record with the front microphones or the front and back microphones together.

Use a pop filter to block wind and breath noises. Do not hold your H2 when you are recording, as this can cause handling noises. Use the microphone clip and a stand whenever possible.

Remove Unwanted Background Noise from the File

Select audio editing software. Popular choices are Audacity, Adobe Audion and GarageBand.

Import or open your file with your chosen software. Select a few seconds of noise, but do not include anything you want to keep. Each tool has a filter that will remove the desired frequencies.

Select "Effects" from the top level menu. In Audacity you will apply the "Noise Reduction" filter. In Audition you will select the "Capture Noise Reduction Profile." In GarageBand you will use the "Speech Enhancer" effect. These filters will remove background noise while keeping the original recorded sound that you want to keep.

Experiment with the settings in the software. You can manipulate the frequencies by using the built-in sliders in each effect window.

Listen to the track. You might need to experiment with the filters in order to get the best sound. Do not save your work until you have found the correct.


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