Fixing my Zoom H2N

I’ve been using my Zoom H2N during the pandemic to record for various projects. It has served me surprisingly well, combined with some duvets, blankets, and pillows placed strategically to dampen surface reflections from whichever small room in the house I happen to be recording in for the day.

Yesterday, while I was preparing to record some part-learning tracks for the Bradford Festival Choral Society, the left channel of the zoom was registering consistent noise. NOT GOOD.

After doing some troubleshooting, it seemed like the problem was either some moisture in the microphone capsule, a loose connection somewhere, or some dirt or corrosion somewhere in the line-in jack.

I flexed my Google kung fu and came up with this video which featured a methodical examination of an H2N which showed it being checked and taken apart. Apparently, trouble with the line-in jack is not uncommon amongst this model. This video ended with the line-in jack unit being unsoldered and replaced.

After trying to clean my own H2N with some compressed air, and still having consistent noise on the left channel, I then screwed up the courage to open the recorder carefully. I checked the mic capsules, wires, soldering points, and everything looked nice and neat. I played around with the line-in jack, and discovered that there must be something going on within the unit, since the noise disappeared if a headphone plug was half-inserted into the jack (not enough to trigger the H2N to use the external microphone of the headphones, but enough to get past whatever dust/corrosion was somewhere inside unit).

Since my husband was working in the office upstairs (where my soldering iron lives), and I wasn’t feeling brave enough to unsolder a custom jack unit from the neat-looking circuit board of my little H2N, I decided to try my best to clean what was possible without opening things up even more,

I’ve now put the Zoom back together again, and somehow, miraculously, it works fine now. I seem to have accidentally fixed it. Just in case though, I will get some contact cleaner and clean the inside of the line-in jack.

This little trusty recorder has seen me through many projects, and I’m glad that I seem to have persuaded it to stay with me a while longer.