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Zoom H4n Handheld Recorder Reviews
I bought the H4n after receiving several recommendations. When shooting low budget projects often without the luxury of a dedicated sound man, this little device gets me through of all kind of set-ups. It\'s super versatile, really good value and the sound quality is great - to my ears at least! A little wonder.
Love that this unit is light, sturdy and small, yet records at 44.1, 48 and 96KhZ, and can record four channels at once.
Has been VERY handy in the field, on a documentary film shoot in a foreign country.
The built in cardioids are better than expected and I find myself using them all the time for ambient sounds and even live music (say, street performers playing accoustic instruments).
Solid, easy interface, remote works well, and sd card feels reliable. Easy to interface and archive audio to external computer.
Two downsides: 1) it takes FOREVER to boot up. I\'ve learned to hit the on switch when I get out of the car or the train at a location, rather than when the camera operator powers up her camera. Measure the boot time in MINUTES, not seconds. That is A LONG LONG TIME in documentary.
2) headphone output quickly developed issue where it cuts in and out and i have to carefully jiggle the connection to hear my monitor headphones. this problem doesn\'t effect the actual audio being recorded but is super distracting.
all in all though, especially for the price, this thing is WOOPING SOME SERIOUS BUTT for us on this shoot.
Due to a design fault the AC adapter causes extra hum and noise with electric guitars connected into inputs 1 and 2.
An unfortunate problem in this otherwise top quality recorder.
I bought the H4n for easily recording classical music on site, recording of lessons and for personal practice purposes.
The unit delivers very clean and detailed recordings, and when placed far from the source even pics up the atmosphere of a hall nicely. I had a chance to record a violin concerto a soloist and an 80+ member orchestra with very good results.
I think the mics are excellent, but of course as they are cardiods they posses a little bit of coloring. In case of these I would describe it as a slight pinch. Absolutely not disturbing though and in some cases delivering a \"classy\" kind of sound. They pick up a wide dynamic range and work very well up close and from a distance.
As far as my experience goes, the amplifiers in this unit are very quiet, and still deliver an \"open\" sound. I use 2 QTC1 by Earthworks and the sound is incredibly realistic. The only downside is that the QTC\'s take 10 mAh which of course drains the batteries very fast (read within 30 minutes). This is not the fault of the H4n, the QTC\'s are known for needing a hight current. Others that need the 10 mAh will also need to carry around an external battery supply or the (very small) power adapter.
The headphone out is of high quality and delivers crisp sound as well. Even 200 amp headphones were fine. It is called headphone/line out, but even as line out the volume can be changed, which does not make it a dedicated line-out. I was a bit disappointed with the sound of the unit connected to my stereo set, compared to what `i heard over my headphones. But maybe this is due to my amplifier.
The H4n is less heavy than I expected, but at the same time feels sturdy. It is a high quality product. The button layout is excellent, and the jog dial works very well. The volume and mic level can be adjusted from 0-100. It is easy to switch between internal and external mikes, even while recording.
The 3.5 mm mic in jack is situated under the unit, which is a bit awkward, but I guess it will not often be used. For the rest as I said before the layout seems very logical.
The screen is very clear and gives all information. I like the fact that if clipping occurs, the red light in the mic selection buttons starts to flicker. This is very handy.
It is very easy to connect the H4n to my mac and choose it as an audio out (go to sound in the system preferences and it appears simply as USB sound device). The only downside is that it will only work at 44.1 and 48 Khz. This seemed to limit the options within Cubase to those values as well.
One of the advantages of the H4n is the ability to record from 4 microphones at the same time. There is a limitation though. It can only be done at 44.1 or 48 Khz. Setting the level of the separate mikes is very well implemented and easy to do.
Here in the UK Zoom\'s service is excellent, and the tech support guy was very friendly in answering the questions I had regarding my high mAh mikes.
I am considering running this recorder on a combination of rechargeable batteries and possibly an external battery pack when using it with the QTC1\'s.
All in all I am very happy with this recorder, and would recommend this product to colleagues without hesitation. I know it might be overkill for some out there, and there might be smaller units available. Sound wise though, I have not found fault yet with the H4n. I am very curious what other professionals are going to say about it.
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