Next week I'm going to do the dialogue recording of a documentary film. Usually, I record using just one shotgun Mic (NTG 1) and one Handheld (Zoom H4N). But the director says that he has a couple Seinheiser Lav Mics that he wants to use as well.

I need some advice here.

Which is better when recording dialogue on a documentary with two mics?

  • Recording them to separate tracks?
  • Just mix/blend it down to one track in the field?

If I must record it to two tracks, can I do it with the Zoom h4n?

4 Answers 4


The h4n has two inputs, so recording these separately should be simple, which I very much recommend doing.

  • Thanks for the answer .. Which mode should i use ? 4CH mode or MTR mode ?
    – ClueSeeker
    Feb 14, 2015 at 7:05
  • If you update the H4n firmware, you can individually adjust the two Mic input gains, meaning that you can record two mics in Stereo. Just toggle from the built in stereo mic. The recordings will be a stereo file but they will be isolated on separate channels. You're limited by the hardware inputs, but to record 3 or more mics you can use 4-ch mode and record some mono files. Aug 23, 2015 at 23:20

Yes you should always use the boom as well as a lav, as the lav mic could sound crappy and if that's all you have then you're screwed. It could fall off, scratch against clothes, get wind noise, lots of things, but if you have a boom over the top then you're covered.

  • soundmark - as the aim of Stack Exchange is to provide answers that will benefit people in the future, getting your English right is actually an essential part of the process. Please try and ensure spelling and grammar are correct so others don't need to use their time helping you.
    – Rory Alsop
    Mar 27, 2015 at 10:53

It would be best to record two seperate tracks, the h4n will allow this. I would do a Lav and shotgun, and then in post you can choose whichever has the sound best fit for your purpose. Don't forget to get room tone on both mics!


Lavs are a back up. Shotgun should be your main mic to use as that will sonically always sound better unless there's a problem. As others have pointed out never mix both mics down as this would almost certainly lead to phase issues you couldn't resolve. How ever many mics you use for dialogue it should always come down to using just one recording.

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