My colleague Brian Fallon created a First-Order Ambisonic Encoder Reaper plugin for the Zoom H2n portable recorder which you can download from the link below, or directly from Brian’s website, here.
While the H2n is far from the best Ambisonic microphone available, it is certainly one of the most affordable and produces surprisingly usable results given its cost (although due to the geometry of the H2n’s microphone capsules, it is horizontal only). Zoom released a firmware update for the H2n earlier this year which allows for horizontal only Ambi-X audio to be recorded directly onto the recorder. However, it can sometimes to be useful to record in the original 4-channel mode (so you have access to the original stereo tracks) and convert to Ambisonics later. In addition, if you made 4-channel recordings with the H2n prior to the release of this Firmware update, then this plugin can also be used to convert these into Ambisonics.
Brian’s plugin is for the DAW Reaper and can be used to convert these H2n 4-channel recordings into horizontal B-format Ambisonics and also allows you to choose various output channel orders and normalization schemes (Furse-Malham, Ambi-X, etc.). The package includes a sample Reaper project and a manual with details on the recording and plugin setup.
Note, that if you own the older H2 recorder which has a slightly different microphone arrangement, then Daniel Courville’s VST and AU plugins can be used for conversion to B-format in a similar fashion.
13 thoughts on “Zoom H2n Conversion Plugin”
I fired this all up in Reaper and was very excited to convert my raw H2N XY/MX recordings to AmbiX. Unfortunately I am getting weird results and hope you can help: After converting, it seems the 3rd channel of the newly rendered AmbiX file is empty. I’m assuming there should be content there. Any idea why this channel is blank? I used the sample session and just dragged in my media. I double checked all my settings with the settings outlined in the directions and everything is identical. I’m stumped. If you could, please reply to email@example.com. Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Jeffrey, that’s actually correct for the H2n. Unlike standard Ambisonic microphones, the H2n doesn’t have any mic capsules pointing up or down, so it can record horizontal 1st order Ambisonics only. In the AmbiX format, the order of channels is WYZX so therefore for the H2n the third channel, Z, is empty. We keep the same 4 channel order though so the file works with other standard plugins, decoders, etc.
Hi Enda, what is the default B-format file type in the spatial audio mode, ambix or fuma?
the native spatial audio mode on the H2n gives you a 4ch file in the ambix format. The third channel, Z, will be silent, but that’s actually correct (the H2n has no upward or downward pointing mics so only records in the horizontal, hence the Z channel is silent).
If you record two stereo files and convert them later using Brian’s plugin, then you can pick either ambix or fuma formats for the output.
Thank you for your help, Enda.
Is there a Windows version of Brian’s plugin ?
Hi Axel, the plugin is specifically a Reaper JS plugin so it works on both Mac or PC, I have mostly used it on PC in fact.
All the best,
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No problem Axel. It should be fairly straightforward to setup and the manual goes through that in detail, but let me know if you’ve any problems.
Thank you again Enda, this is working perfectly.
Another question then : I also updated my firmware on the H2n to use the SPATIAL AUDIO mode. Which plugin do you recommend to decode the rushes recorded this way with the H2n ? For now I’m using FB360 Workstation but it involves a lot of routing in Reaper to decode a simple AmbiX signal.
Hey Axel, for a free decoder plugin I would recommend the binaural decoder plugin from the ambiX suite
The decoder presets that you download from there are so so, but you can also download a preset for the ambiX decoder from the SADIE database which is exactly the same HRTF set as the one used by YouTube (the KU100 dummyhead mic to be precise).
For commercial decoders, the AmbiHead plugin is pretty affordable and works very well too