Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Zoom H4 Handy Recorder.

The Zoom H4 handy recorder review.

This is not by any means a new product, but a look at one way to solve some current problems that you might be facing.

We often hear sounds in our day to day lives that might make it onto our recordings. Everything from the rhythmic turnings of washing machines to the push and pull of coin slots enter my conscious every time I hear them. Recording these sounds as either wave files or mp3 recordings is a breeze with the Zoom H4 handy recorder.
Recording interviews, conversations, or even our own thoughts is also a great way to use the Zoom H4 handy recorder.

I purchased the Zoom H4 handy recorder for these very reasons, and many more reasons as well. I was having a problem with the audio quality in my videos that I have been posting. The high pitch that my video recorder emits makes its way onto the final output of each video. Most often I cant use a separate microphone/Pro tools input to record my audio because I am using Pro tools in the demo video itself. Something had to give. Hence, the Zoom H4 handy recorder.

The Zoom H4 handy recorder works in two “modes”. These two modes are “stereo recorder” and “four track recorder”. Each mode work as you might guess, but I needed a simple way of recording only two 48 phantom powered mics, panned to the center. The unit came with two AA batteries, a wall wartplug in, a sof case, a tripod mount, usb cable, instruction manual, and Cubase LE software.

The Zoom H4 shines as a stereo recorder, both using the on board pair of condenser microphones (set up in an XY pattern) or using two separate mics plugged into the device. However, the Zoom H4 can be used as a four track recorder as well. This solved a problem for me.....

The Zoom H4 (used in stereo mode) sends the microphone inputs (of a plugged in mic pair) hard left and hard right. This is not what I wanted. When the Zoom H4 is placed into four track mode, I found out that the tracks can be put into “stereo linkable” mode. Hence, two mono mics are recorded in the “center” pan position. Badah bing, badah boom, the work is done.

The on board mics are really good sounding and work very well, and you can plug in up to two inputs worth of gear (guitar, bass, keyboards, microphones, ect). The Zoom H4 has combo input jacks which allow for either male ¼ inch mono jacks, or male XLR mic input jacks. Phantom power is available too, in either 24 or 48 volts!

Please follow this link over to the Samson Audio website to watch a video that lists all of the cool features of the Zoom H4 handy recorder.

The newer Zoom H4n allows the user to use the on board condenser pair of mics along with two other mics plugged into it, and all at the same time. The Zoom H4 does not support this feature. So think about what and how you want to record before you decide to make a purchase. Having three sound sources could be a sale point, versus only having the either/or set up of on board mics and inputs plugged into the unit.

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