So in our first week we were learning on how to capturing audio on the go with Zoom H5 and condenser microphones, with our top sound technician Steve!
Firstly, we need to book our equipment from our university Media Hatch and get:
- Zoom H5
- Battery pack
- Handheld microphone (Shure SM58 or Beyerdynamic M58n)
- XLR cable (to attach the mic to the Zoom H5)
- SD card (32GB doesn’t work on Zoom H5)
Primary steps to perform before using the H5:
- Insert 2 AA batteries into the back of the H5 (place the batteries under the fabric strap to make removal easier when returning the equipment).
- Insert your SD card (inside the flap on the right side of the H5).
- Slide downwards and hold the power button (left side) for 2 seconds to turn it on.
- Enter the date and time if prompted.
- Press the menu button and using the jog dial (allows you to navigate up, down and select) navigate to ‘SYSTEM’.
- Navigate to ‘FACTORY RESET’ and select by pressing the jog dial.
- When prompted, select ‘YES‘. The H5 will now power down, turn it back on to continue and set date/time.
- Press the menu button and navigate to ‘SD CARD’.
- Select ‘FORMAT’ and confirm ‘YES’ when prompted.
- Press the menu button and navigate to ‘REC’.
- Select ‘REC FORMAT’ and select ‘WAV48kHz/16bit’.
- Press the menu button and navigate to ‘IN/OUT’.
- If using a microphone other than the Shure SM58 then navigate to ‘IN 1/2 PHANTOM’ > ‘ON/OFF’ > ‘ALL’ and turn this mode ‘ON’.
Final steps to perform before you use the H5:
- On the front of the H5 ensure that ‘L’ and ‘R’ are tuned off and turn on ‘1’ (assuming you will attach your microphone to input 1).
- Attach the XLR cable to input ‘1’ on the bottom of the H5 (the end on the cable with 3 pins plugs into the H5)
- Attach the other end of the XLR cable to the microphone (the other end of the cable with 3 holes) and you’ll get a reassuring click once it’s properly attached.
- Attach your headphones to the ‘HEADPHONE’ jack on the left side of the H5.
- Adjust the input gain for INPUT 1 by turning the gain knob to ‘5’. Now perform an audio level test. Listen through your headphones and using proper microphone placement adjust your gain knob so your interviewee audio levels range from -12 to -6dB on the LCD display.
- Now perform a test record your audio by pressing the red record button on the front of the Zoom H5 (a red led will light up and your timecode will count up from 000:00:00). To stop recording press the record button again.
- To listen to this recording, press the ‘PLAY’ button on the front of the Zoom H5.
- Now you’re ready to start interviewing! It is vital to perform the tests as mentioned above in order to check your equipment is not faulty. Test the kit as soon as you get it from the hatch, if you have any issues? Return it immediately! And they’ll replace it.
Later, I went out to interview other people with the off air manager of sonar radio, Joshua Falconer. Asking everyone “What’s their favourite food and why?”
- Nod, whilst the interviewee is speaking. To show you are listening to them and give them a confident boost on their answer(s).
- Smile, give them that friendly approach so they can feel comfortable talking to you.
- Do not interrupt, let your subject finish their speech (as it is a sign of respect) and it is likely for them to give you a good answer. Also, they can be more open next time you interview them.