Zoom H4n Review
The Zoom H4n is an advanced digital audio recorder and is packed with great features. It is the upgrade of the Zoom H4 but it has many more features and looks much better too!
Not only is it a digital audio recorder, it also acts as a digital portable four-track recorder and a USB audio interface for your PC or Mac as well! And all in a small, easy-to-use package. Brilliant. In fact, I'm thinking about buying the Zoom H4n myself!
Totally fantastic! Even the built in microphones give very good quality but connect a good external mic and you have studio quality recording in a 6.2 x 2.8 x 1.4 inch package that weighs only 9.9 ounces!
The built in condenser mics are arranged with the left and right micas on the same axis to ensure they are alway equidistant from the sound source for great stereo recording with accurate imaging and no phase shifting. The mics may also be adjusted to record in either a 90° or 120° pattern. And with its four track ability you can add two external micas or line inputs and use the built in mixer for perfect balance every time!
The H4n records at up to 24-bit/96kHz for pristine recordings as well as MP3 formats from 320kbps down to 48kbps when you need longer recording times.
The H4n also has Broadcast WAV Format (BWF) mode that adds Time Stamp and Track Marker information to recordings.
Ease of use
Easy! There is a scroll button for the main control and the mic level control is right at your fingertips. As with any small device with lots of functions going into the deeper menus sometimes requires a bit of reading the manual, but since it comes with an easy to follow manual that is well written this isn't a problem. The unit has an auto gain record level as well which is great.
As well as recording features the H4 has a built in metronome, tuner, guitar and bass amp modeling plus 50 other DSP studio effects. Transfer to PC or Mac is via USB2 port. Recording is saved onto SD cards - up to 32GB (a 1GB card is included). It also comes with an AC adapter, windscreen, USB cable, mic clip adaptor, protective case and a built-in tripod mount for use with a standard camera tripod.
Cubase LE recording software comes with the H4n as well…I have to confess I haven't used Cubase since the days I had an Atari 1040STE (I'm a Logic user) so I don't have any idea of how the software runs these days, although I have heard it is the most confusing software on the planet if you are not already a user! I will find out from a Cubase user and post here soon - watch this space! If anyone has any info or tips to share on Cubase LE please contact me.
The H4n runs on 2 AA batteries and doesn't seem too power-hungry. It also has stamina mode which means it will run for
The H4 also has a low-cut filter to eliminate wind noise and an auto gain control to ensure quality recordings every time.
There is also a remote control available as an optional extra from around 40 dollars. You can even buy a waterproof case! Zzounds has various deals on the Zoom H4n where you buy the unit with several accessories. Click here for deals on the Zoom H4n at Zzounds
The unit feels very solid and doesn't have the lighter plastic feel of the Zoom H2. The rubber sides give added protection and although the mics don't seem as sturdy as the rest of the unit I'm sure all owners would take good care of this area anyway! The Zoom H4n comes with a case included.
Great sounds and feature set at this price!
$299 at Zzounds (although they guarantee to beat any price so you might get it cheaper if you tell them the Amazon price! Also check their blowouts page as you can often pick items up with substantial discount!
Value for money
Overall:Unbeatable value! With superb recording quality, the ability to use the H4n as a USB Audio interface to connect to your Mac or PC, the music practice-friendly features such as the ability to slow down tracks and its ease of use there is nothing better at this price in my opinion. I'm putting my money where my mouth is and ordering the Zoom H4n in the next couple of weeks (as soon as my bank manager agrees!)
Buy the Zoom H4n if...
- You want top quality digital recording with multi-track capabilities and digital effects built in
- You need a USB audio interface for a computer
- You need a practice tool which allows you to slow down tracks without changing the pitch
- You need all these features to be easily available with an easy to use interface
Click here to see other Zoom digital recorder models available
Click here to see digital audio recorders available from other manufacturers
If you are looking for something a little less expensive and mainly for recording music practice you may be interested in the Zoom H2 especially if you are using it to record group practice.
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