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Thread: ZOOM H4N experience/recommendations?

  1. #1

    Default ZOOM H4N experience/recommendations?

    Hi I'm considering to buy a second hand ZOOM H4N. Is there anyone who has personal experience with it?
    The cats are watching us...

  2. #2

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    one of the guys at out club has one and loves it. i still have a H2 n which sounds great but the menu diving is a pita.

    another one to consider at the same price point as the H4n is the Tascam DR 44 ... which is what i am currently using. great bit of kit especially with the recent firmwear update.
    Last edited by enc; 01-01-2017 at 10:27 AM.
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  3. #3

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    Ah great feedback. I am also considering the H1 but I recall reading somewhere that the sound quality isn't near the rest of the ZOOM line-up.
    I also was looking at the Tascam alternatives but couldn't really find a good deal yet.

    If I would be interviewing someone in a driving car, could I place the recorder somewhere in the dashboard/armrest or would I actually have to push it in the interviewee's face?
    The cats are watching us...

  4. #4

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    ..............,..,
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapes View Post
    Ah great feedback. I am also considering the H1 but I recall reading somewhere that the sound quality isn't near the rest of the ZOOM line-up.
    I also was looking at the Tascam alternatives but couldn't really find a good

    If I would be interviewing someone in a driving car, could I place the recorder somewhere in the dashboard/armrest or would I actually have to push it in the interviewee's face?
    Probably not the best type of recorder to use in that situation unless of course, you use a lav mic through the audio in.
    Last edited by enc; 01-01-2017 at 11:04 AM.
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by enc View Post
    Probably not the best type of recorder to use in that situation unless of course, you use a lav mic through the audio in.
    I'll do a test run first. I happen to have a lav mic laying around anyway. I just hope the mic quality is better when I plug it into a recorder. When I plug it into a pc or laptop there's some static noise when I record.
    The cats are watching us...

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by enc View Post
    Probably not the best type of recorder to use in that situation unless of course, you use a lav mic through the audio in.
    I forgot to ask, is there any type of recorder that would be ideal for the task I have in mind?
    The cats are watching us...

  8. #8

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    For best results when recording speech (as in interviews) you ideally need to get the microphone(s) close to each person speaking. For your car situation, you'd need a stereo recorder (the Zoom H1 is probably the cheapest PCM recorder - the Sony M10 (now discontinued sadly) is probably the best. The Olympus and Tascam PCM recorders get good review too....Even the cheap Sony ICDPX333 can give pretty good results, as I mentioned in your other thread HERE

    You'll need to buy 2 tie clip (lavalier - 'lav') microphones. THESE can give quite good results for the money. Until you get to the real 'pro' kit, most electret lav mic capsules tend to be pretty similar, so there's not much point in spending lot of money on mics for a project like this.

    You'll also need a suitable splitter cable. That's NOT a standard headphone splitter - but rather one which separates a stereo jack plug into 2 x separate mono jack socket inputs .. like THIS for example

    Then simply clip a mic to each person, and record the audio as 2 separate mono tracks (almost all speech is recorded in mono anyway). That way you'll keep the background noise to a minimum for best results.
    Last edited by rogs; 01-02-2017 at 10:54 AM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogs View Post
    For best results when recording speech (as in interviews) you ideally need to get the microphone(s) close to each person speaking. For your car situation, you'd need a stereo recorder (the Zoom H1 is probably the cheapest PCM recorder - the Sony M10 (now discontinued sadly) is probably the best. The Olympus and Tascam PCM recorders get good review too....Even the cheap Sony ICDPX333 can give pretty good results, as I mentioned in your other thread HERE

    You'll need to buy 2 tie clip (lavalier - 'lav') microphones. THESE can give quite good results for the money. Until you get to the real 'pro' kit, most electret lav mic capsules tend to be pretty similar, so there's not much point in spending lot of money on mics for a project like this.

    You'll also need a suitable splitter cable. That's NOT a standard headphone splitter - but rather one which separates a stereo jack plug into 2 x separate mono jack socket inputs .. like THIS for example

    Then simply clip a mic to each person, and record the audio as 2 separate mono tracks (almost all speech is recorded in mono anyway). That way you'll keep the background noise to a minimum for best results.
    Thanks for the tip, the 2 mono to 1 stereo jack is brilliant. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that.


    I still don't quite know which recorder to get. The second hand one that I had my eye on has been snatched away before I could make a bid unfortunately. There's no hurry yet though, I'm probably going to start shooting in march.
    The cats are watching us...

  10. #10

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    All the recorders of that type have their fans (and their detractors) of course. I've had a look at some Zoom, Roland and Tascam recorders over the years, but the ones I've ended up with are those that seemed to be better quality, both in the way they were made, and their sound. (In reality, that's mostly down to the quality of the mic preamps)

    I still have 3 recorders... a Sony M10 an Olympus LS5 and a Sony PX333.

    Of those, the Olympus LS5 is the best made (superb construction - the newer models are not quite so good in that department.) Good mic pre-amps (good enough for dynamic mics) Excellent intuitive menu system as well. Overall an excellent unit.

    The Sony M10 is the best machine overall. Really good and quiet mic preamps (good enough for dynamic mics). Nicely made, and with a legendary battery life (20 or 30 hours from one pair of AAs!). Sadly now discontinued, and with no direct replacement. Second hand prices tend to be high.

    The Sony PX333 is a much cheaper 'throw around' unit, which I used for my mic project (www.recmic.jp137.com). Although advertised as a mono recorder - and fitted with a mono internal mic - it is in fact a stereo unit. Records as 192kbps mp3 format, which downloads as 44.1KHz PCM via USB.

    The mic pre amps are not quite so good (obviously, at that price) but the unit can produce some quite usable recordings - especially when fitted with a good quality external mic capsules . It's no good with dynamic mics though.. the preamps are too noisy for that.

    With a separate mic preamp, and using its audio (line) input it can make some surprisingly good quality speech recordings. The inbuilt bass 'roll off' makes it less good for music recording though...

    I'm sure the Zoom and Tascam units are very good as well. There are lots of comparisons between different units on the web. The Sony M10 usually seems to come out best in most of those....
    Last edited by rogs; 01-02-2017 at 01:44 PM.

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