Almost unbelievably I have just recorded another night of me sleeping. This is the third attempt in a row that I have failed miserably to make use of my swish new microphone. My first thought of course was whether my new microphone was perhaps not as swish as I had hoped. But of course there was another reason.
Whether the microphone it was plugged in or not, switched on or not, the MP3 recorder (although saying it recognised it) was simply not using it. A poor workman, of which I am definitely one, always blames his tools. Was the microphone perhaps broken? I plugged it into the computer for a quick test and it was working just fine, although curiously worked without needing to be switched on. Clutching at straws but was the MP3 player itself broken? There is no setting within the menu to use the external microphone rather than the internal ones, but a quick read of the venerable Zoom H2n's instructions (duh...) has revealed the inevitable answer; I am a dolt.
Possibly I should have availed myself of the instructions earlier in this painful process, but that would have been too sensible. Anyhow the recorder has various recording modes and I have been exclusively using the two channel 360 degree mode for my balcony nocmig. This setting apparently disables any external microphone. Who knew? Once I turned the dial to the XY mode with the external mic plugged in, this instead disabled the internal ones and I was good to go. A quick test speaking directly into the machine followed by speaking directly into the top of the microphone proves this out, and the "telescopic" setting on the microphone really does up the level. So all my earlier "tests" were not as such tests in any useful sense of the word, and the reason the hiss had all but disappeared was merely because I was inside. As was the lack of wind noise...
So another 8 hours of snoring has been deleted and this time, finally, I am ready.
Fourth time lucky as the old saying goes.