Audio Recorder Zoom H4n Review

Audio Recorder Zoom H4n Review

General design: The way the Zoom H4n looks and feels when you hold it in your hands is that of a solid recorder, a professional audio recorder built to last. Compared to its predecessors, it’s a huge improvement over the H2’s cheap plastic construction. Compared to the design of other higher priced recorders like the Sony PCM-D50, it holds up pretty well and offers pretty much the same features and more, at a much lower price point. The H4N is a little bulky, definitely not a recorder you just stuff well in your pocket. But then again, it’s a professional recorder with 2 XLR inputs, so there’s a reason for that. The microphones are well designed and well housed in aluminum housings and can be rotated 90 or 120 degrees (for wide-angle shots) for recording patterns.

One thing to note is that there is no protection for the microphones like you might find in a Tascam recorder, for example. So you should be careful as these mics may stop working if you drop them just once. In addition, the Zoom H4n is wide enough (2.75 inches) to stand vertically if you are using the mini-jack on the back and need to place the recorder on a table. Another thing to note is that the design and feel is very intuitive. If you were looking for the buttons in the dark, you could easily feel the offset record button and menu controls. And if you’ve never used it before, you can easily navigate the menu and shooting options. When playing back your audio, you’ll find a built-in speaker on the back that lets you listen to your recording without having to use your headphones.

Finally, we have to mention that along with the recorder you get a mic stand mount, an SD card (1GB), a black foam windscreen that covers both mics at once, and a power adapter should you be close enough to a power outlet and want to Don’t waste your batteries.

Controls and tour of the recorder:

If you hold the Zoom H4n and look at the screen, on the left side you will see:

Power button that allows you to turn the recorder on and off by sliding it and holding it for a few seconds

Headphone level – some people confuse this with the recording level button. Located on the left side, it allows you to easily adjust the playback audio level.

On the right side:

Menu button and jog dial – On the right side of the recorder, after pressing the menu button, you can use the jog dial, which moves up and down and can be pressed, to browse and select specific sections of the menu.

Recording Level Buttons – Located on the right side of the recorder and used to adjust the recording level.

On top:

The microphones

Under the recorder:

The XLR inputs

On the back:

AA battery compartment in the center and just above the battery compartment the “Stamina Switch” – well hidden behind the recorder, this switch sets the recorder to 16-bit format and 44.1kHz sample rate, allowing the batteries to last more than 10 hold hours .

Minijack connector.

Front: 2″ display, record button, record controls and input select buttons.


First of all, let’s examine the Zoom H4n’s recording options, which differentiate it from its competitors since it can record in stereo, 4 channels or in “MTR” mode, that is, multi-track recording.

Stereo is obviously the most used and natural recording mode, but 4-channel recording can be a useful feature in many situations, as recording 4 channels simultaneously allows you to record extensive projects or just leave this feature on for backup purposes use. In this mode you basically have two stereo files, one from the built-in mics, one from the mics you plug in. You can basically capture ambient noise while also being able to capture more directional audio in an interview or a performance of any kind. Very nice.

Also interesting for musicians is the MTR mode, the multi-track recording option with which you can easily overdub instruments with vocals. You can even adjust levels, volume, effects and panning on each track before mixing them.

Like many other similar audio recorders, it offers various recording formats (MP3 or WAV) with sample rates of 44.1, 48 and 96 kHz. Files can be recorded with 16 or 24 bit depth. If you want your batteries to last you can choose 16bit/44.1kHz, which is what is known as “Stamina mode”. If you want to clean up your audio with Pro Tools, we recommend the 24-bit/48kHz format.

With the Zoom H4n, you can either set the recording level manually or leave it on automatic. With the automatic recording function, you can also have the zoom recording start automatically as soon as an audio threshold of your choice is reached.

Low cut noise is available and useful in windy conditions.

Phantom power for the XLR connectors, allowing you to connect shotgun microphones that don’t have a power source.

Built-in phase trainer that has a replay function that allows you to change the speed from a maximum of 150% to 50%. This does not change the pitch.

Studio quality DSP effects for polishing tracks

The H4n can be used as a USB audio interface. This is a feature that allows you to record audio directly to your computer using any recording software in case you want to start editing your audio right away to speed up the editing process.

Finally, it records to either SD or SDHC cards


If you are not shooting the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but are looking for a high-quality audio recorder at a good price for your music, performance, podcast or interview, the H4n is your optimal choice. It’s a solidly built recorder that’s very easy to use, has lots of recording options, and will last you for a long time.

Thanks to Justin John Woods | #Audio #Recorder #Zoom #H4n #Review


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