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Rating and Reviews: Zoom H4 Handy Recorder

Includes AC adapter, windshield cover, USB cable. Uses SD (Secure Digital) cards only.

User Ratings
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Amazing sound, so easy to use and WOW it is so compact." submitted May 7, 2007

By a customer from cod.edu
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Father of 3 musician, I'm their technical support.
Music Style: Classical
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: The quality of sound that this thing records is amazing. The mics are very good. I have recorded live piano music so far and if you didn't know it was a recording, you would swear that you were listening to a live performance. Feature: I like the tripod holder. The screen is a little small and it would be great if you could have the backlight stay on and not turn off after a few seconds. Ease of Use: This is so simple to use it is rediculous. Its like using a point and shoot camera. If you can use a digital camera, you can use this thing. It has a lot of other fetures that i haven't used and may never need. Those may take more experisnce to use but for simple record... just point and shoot. Quality: I think the quality is great. Time will tell how well it holds up. I can't see any quality issues with this unit so far. Value: I don't know of any other product out there like this. It may seem rather expensive when you look at it and then look at the price. Try it out...hear the results and checkout other digital recording equipment out there. It would cost much more to set other equipment with the same capability and sound quality as the H4. All that and it fits in the palm of your hand! Manufacturer Support: I haven't had to use support yet... which speaks well of the the ease of use and the quality of the product. The Wow Factor: I think it looks cool. In one respect it looks simple with its few buttons and display screen. On the other hand, it looks a little futuristic with its design of the crossing microphones. Overall: For what I need it for... which is recording piano solos and concerts, band practices and ensembles and creating demo CDs, I don't think I will need anything else. Plus, I can hook up my ouw mics if should choose to go that route.
60 of 61 people (98.36%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Definitley worth checking out." submitted October 13, 2006

By a customer from gmail.com
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Sound
Features
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Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Rock, Alternative, Country
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Sound: It's too soon for me to say, but my experience so far was really surprising. I didn't expect the sound to be so good. Feature: It would have made more sense, in my opinion, if the included mount attached to a mic stand, rather than camera tripod. In any case, it's not a huge deal. Ease of Use: I was up and running with this unit in no time. I didn't read the manual at all. Fairly easy to do, however, I agree with someone else here who mentioned that using the stick (front center) and the wheel (top right side) was a little confusing at first. Quality: Pulling it out of the box it immediately felt cheap. Let's be real. It's so inexpensive, they had to cut corners somewhere. That said, the built in mics were sounded surprisingly good and the quality of the recordings really blew me away. Value: I have to say, this was a somewhat trepidacious purchase for me, not because of cost, but because so few sites/reviews discuss ANY of the portable recorder's ability to record LOUD rock rehearsals. I was worried that this would be overloaded by the volume levels. It was not. It performed well. In fact, I had the input levels (on the side) at M and the input levels at about 80% and there was no distortion at all. (I used 2 well placed SM57s to record the full band. I can hear every instrument. I'm really quite amazed. The XLR/1/4" inputs are really handy and phantom power? Great! I haven't used that yet though, I'll be trying it out soon. This product does exactly what I hoped it would do, and does it really well. I might have paid an extra $100 though for a sturdier unit and a better interface. Be warned: the type is TINY. Manufacturer Support: I've had no experience with Zoom/Samson. The Wow Factor: $100 cheaper than its nearest competitor. Full 48v Phantom Power. Neutrik inputs. Very inexpensive SD media and USB? It doesn't get much better. This is a great deal. Overall: I wanted to get this review out to those, like me, who weren't sure about this product. I was really surprised by the quality of the recordings that I was able to achieve with very little effort. I haven't experimented with the compression, 4 tracking, or simulation, but this worked like a charm for recording a very LOUD rock band rehearsal. I just hope the thing holds up to lots of use.
61 of 62 people (98.39%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Amazing compact recording studio." submitted February 5, 2007

By a customer from sbcglobal.net
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Features
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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: jazz
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VERIFIED BUYER
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: I recorded my big band rehearsal with the H4 sitting on a table around the corner. Everything was clear, no distortion, sounded fantastic! Feature: The software included is amazing. The recorder is so versatile, with the different levels of gain for the microphones, and the additional inputs for mics, and the different choices for recording quality. The buttons and toggles are all quite small and delicate - not a problem for me, but might be for someone with big hands. Ease of Use: It's very easy to use - it took 10 minutes to figure out how to record my piano/vocals, another 5 or less to transfer it to my computer. The manual is easy to understand. Quality: I worry a little about the delicate controls, but it works very well. Value: A great deal. Can't get anything like it for the price. Overall: This should be more than I would ever need. I considered other types of recorders, but this is a much better value and so portable! I love it!
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"A marvelous little "potato"" submitted March 30, 2007

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Pro Musician
Music Style: Christian Rock
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: I haven't used the unit much but for what I need it's sound quality seems to be quite good. I set the unit on my couch and recorded an idea I had on my acoustic guitar. In playback it sounded Quite good. Feature: For what I need it for It has more features than I will ever use. I need it as a sketch pad for musical ideas and to record the concerts that I'm going to this summer. I tried to hook it up to my laptop when I first got it but it isn't compatable with the sound card on my new computer (HP Pavilion dv2109 nr) Ease of Use: I like the various sound quality options but I think it's a little tedious setting the record levels. But other than that its basically a point and shoot.I don't know about the 4-track option though. Quality: This is where the H4 really stumbles. The plastic feels really flimsy, the buttons feel cheap, the battery door could break off if not careful, it's odd shaped, and the bag they send with it does nothing more than keep the dust off it. I wish they would make a case for it to give it some kind of protection. Value: I haven't used the other similar products on the market but it is the cheapest priced unit out there and the other ZOOM (and Samson) products I own have worked well for me. Manufacturer Support: I haven't had to deal with them yet. The Wow Factor: The technical aspect of this unit is great. It's amazing all the things this product can do and do well. As far as the sex appeal aspect it's about as sexy as a potato but I don't care. My cell phone, I-pod, and palm pc is enough sexy for me. Overall: As I said before I got this for mainly two different things. When I come up with a new song idea I find it a real pain to go into my studio, power everything up, plug in mics, set levels, program a new song into my recorder and then hit record. It's easier to grab this toy, turn it on, and hit record. For concerts, last year I tried to record on my creative zen sleek mp3 player. Nothing but static. I am sure this will work alot better.
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"The little recorder that can" submitted March 7, 2007

By a customer from ieee.org
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: hobbyist
Music Style: jazz and rock
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VERIFIED BUYER
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: For the size, the built-in mics are excellent and the fact that you can plug condensor mics into the unit and draw 48V phantom power for them is outstanding. Don't expect the noise floor of a large unit, but it is quite acceptable, especially if used with wall power. Feature: If anything, the unit has too many features. It even has a built-in metronome (does ANYONE use that?) The dowside of so many gadgets hanging off it is that you have to navigate lots of menus to get what you care about. But the things that I care about (easy stereo recoring, multitrack recoring for occasional use) are there. I do wish that multitrack recording could support 96 KHZ at 24 bits, as you can do in stereo mode. Other than that, it's all inside... Ease of Use: For the usual things you do, it's easy. Changing the current settings is a pain, as indicated above. But, usually, you just set and forget. The unit remebers the last settings, which makes it quite acceptable. It would be nice if the volume indication was more readable from a distance and if the unit had an LED to indicate clipping. Otherwise, it is mostly user-friendly. Quality: The unit's construction is on the cheap side. The menu toggle on the front is cheesy and the door to the battery/SD card access worries me every time I have to open it. But the built-in mics are well-protected and it has held up so far (a few months of use). For the price, it's as good construction as you would expect, but no better. Value: The included Cubase and ability to use the unit as an audio interface for your computer to make a poor man's DAW really place this unit in a class by itself. The field recorder aspects are the bread and butter that have to be good enough for the unit to be worth buying at all. The unit satisfies in all these ways. Manufacturer Support: The company web site is useful. There are good end-user web sites (http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewforum.php?f=15 is worth checking out both beore and after you buy). I have not tried to talk to a living human for support, however. The Wow Factor: This gets a lot of jobs done pervfectly acceptably at a price that keeps you happy. It's sexiness (if that's even the right word) is in its utlity and price. Overall: This little beast does a lot. If you aren't interested in creating your own multi-thousand dollar studio, this will allow you to record practices and performances, make a demo CD, and even do nature field recordings if that is your desire. For those of us who don't aspire to becoming sound engineers, it is a marvel. Buy the Samson C02s with it, and you have an incredibly versatile recording capability for a lttle over $400.
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Great device for the price" submitted July 14, 2007

By a customer from start.no
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Manufacturer Support
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Alternative
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Sound: Good enough sound with the built in mic`s, have not tried it with external mic. Line input work well. Feature: Highest score for this. This is one of the most feature packed portable recorders I`ve seen so far, and in this price range you could not ask for more. For me it works very well as an USB audio interface for my laptop, with low latency ASIO driver. Great! Ease of Use: It`s easy enough. Could have had bigger buttons, or have had all the mic/line gain switches done in the software instead. Quality: Feels a bit cheap and plasticky, but again.. I wouldn`t expect more for the price Value: I think the value for this unit is great. Maybe not the best recorder in the price range, but with all its built in features you get a lot for your money! Manufacturer Support: Haven`t had any use for support other than software updates which is easy available on the website The Wow Factor: It could definately have been cooler looking. It should have been 1-1,5 inch shorter and black, then it had been dead cool Overall: Very pleased with this. It has worked great for me. The only draw back as far as I`m concerned is its size(should have been shorter) and to some extent the cheap feel.
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Great Product at an even better price!" submitted March 9, 2007

By a customer from fwilson.com
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Acoustic Rock, Electric Rock
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Sound: I am so amazed by the H4. I've had it for a month, spent about 30 minutes with the manual and started recording my gigs. I play an acoustic solo and a duo. I have also recorded several bands with the H4. This thing is great. I just started getting deeper into the manual because I becuase I have had a few things I want to adjust, such as volume in my headphones during playback. I was listening to the playback thru speakers and all was good but I brought a recording into my office for some friends to listen to and found the volume thru my headphones was extremely weak. I was just reading how to adjust this so I will be trying it out at a gig this weekend. Feature: I would have been nice if the H4 had a mic stand mount. We're all musicians so we all have mic stands. rather have that then a tripod mount, which is kind of cheezy! Velcro straps to connect it??? This was definitely an afterthought and not well thought out, in my opinion. The other features seem great. I have only used the onboard mics. Have not used the 4 track or guitar processor yet so I can't comment on that. I seems very cool though. Ease of Use: Simple to use. Spent minimal time with the manual and was recording the night I bought it. Quality: Being that it's plastic, it's a lttle scary. Don't want to drop it. It seems to be well made. It would be better if it came with a hardshell case so I could just throw it in my gig bag when I'm done with it. Value: definitely worth it's price. Manufacturer Support: No problems so far. The Wow Factor: Pretty cool looking. I've been able to mess with people telling them it's a taser and pointing it at them. The cop at a club I playing wasn't too amused! LOL! Overall: I expect to be satisfied with this product for a long time. If I lost it, I would replace it. For the price, it's the best thing out there!
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"studio quality live recordings" submitted September 7, 2009

By a customer from earthlink.net
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Features
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Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: doesnt pay the bills but lets me buy fun stuff like the zoomh4 and other equipment
Music Style: folk rock
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VERIFIED BUYER
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: I play in a duet ,acoustic guitar and drums,we both sing. the onboard mics do a great job but for cd quality recordings try this.mic up the drums,plug in your guitar,get yor vocal mics ready, do all of this into your mixer. get a sound check what you think sounds good (we pan the vocals a little to the left and right ,and we pan the drum mics to get a stereo sound from the drums).then take a patch cord and go into inputs 1 and 2 of your zoom h4 and go into your record out of your mixer. then play on .listhen back adjust your mix on your mixer to what needs to be turned up or down or EQed then record again its so clear its scary. clean crisp recordings.this works really well and it shows just how you sound because there is no mastering and no fixing your mistakes.It is Live but unbelievably clean.i dont mess with the 4 track (just played around a bit)the built in mics work great but for studio quality ,try what I described above Feature: wish it had a remote (I see that there is a remote now but not sure if it works with the h4 Ease of Use: screen a little small I dont mess with the onboard effects (have played around with them ,they sound good)mainly use it for listhening back to our rehearsals and live gigs Quality: just be careful I wouldnt want to drop it but I wouldnt want to drop any of my equipment.if you did drop it the battery compartment would probably come open and throw your batteries out but i still think it would work. just be careful Value: great value for the quality of recording Manufacturer Support: havent had any problems with the h4 .have had some minor problems with other items but zzounds allways makes it right The Wow Factor: nothing sexy about it other than it kind of looks like a tazer If I didnt own this I would probably spend the few extra bucks and get the updated version(bigger screen adjustable on board mics and a rubber protective housing.looks like it might be a little more durable. but for sound I dont think there would be any difference Overall: I expect this to last a long time just protect it
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"I love it!!!!!" submitted June 22, 2007

By a customer from ij.net
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Musical Background: Yes
Music Style: Big Band, Country, Jazz, Concert
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: The sound is the best part of this recorder. I use it to record my big band (17) and I can hear every instrument. I have also used it to record my country band (5) and the sound is just as good as what we recorded in a studio. It recorded my big band better than a professional dat recorder with 9 mics! Feature: The SD card was the first thing I replaced. I use a 2 gig card and I can record for hours and hours. The batteries don't last very long, maybe 3 hours. I wish they lasted longer. Ease of Use: For what I use it for it is very easy to use. I have not used the additional mic in puts Quality: Does seem a little cheap. I agree that the switches could be better however I am sure that would increase the price. I have had my recorder for about a year and carry it in my computer case and have had no problem. Value: I believe it is well worth the price. Compaired to what it would cost for other equipment, mics, software etc. for the sound quality it is worth every penny. Manufacturer Support: Don't know never had to call The Wow Factor: Everyone I have showed it to loves it! Overall: I have found exactly what I was looking for. It would have to be somthing really drasticly better for me to purchase somthing else.
44 of 47 people (93.62%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Just another great addition to the toolbox" submitted March 2, 2007

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Sound: The external mic pre's could be a little better. I would never use the built in's for anything serious, but if I had to go lo-profile it would work. It does pick up every button you press using the built-ins, so SET IT AND FORGET IT Feature: It's got everything you need to make a great recording. Don't know about the effects. I'd never use them during recording I prefer to mess with things if required in POST. USB audio interface into DAW = Cool. Dispite what you may have read, this thing does work with 4gB cards, just make sure you get a hi-speed one and format it on your PC - I run a Transcend NO PROBLEMS. Ease of Use: I too am mystified by people that can't figure this thing out... Quality: Some aspects seem a little cheesy - it is plastic peoples so it can break if you drop it. It's not rocket science. Yeah the batt door is questionable, but I run external power on any rig when I can - 7.2V RC battery and no worries. Not the cool factor of a LiIon but not the price either - and close enough for size/weight. Only time will tell how the buttons hold up, but for the price if it goes a few years I'd be down with that - and for the price, it's just another tool in the box. Value: For the price beats MD hands down. A 1/8 jack might have been a nice addition to be able to run the batt box/831's, but I certainly wouldn't prefer that over the XLR/TRS with phantom (and I have great cable skills anyways). Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to go there The Wow Factor: A Brushed Titanium Case and Diamond buttons would have given it some true sex appeal and bulletproofed it :) Overall: Yeah it could have more features, but then it would just be more expensive. I'm a taper. What's my ultimate favorite rig I own? MOTU Traveler > Laptop. At $3000 am I going to bring this into every dive bar? Ummm, I think not. 2nd choice is my PMD671. Lastly, it's a tossup between the H4 and the iRIVER H120. It all depends on what I'm bringing with (or can get away with?) and what I'm expecting to get out of it. I like this unit because my 414's/MK-012's run great on it, but not as good as on the 671 at twice the $$. It's all about what you want to pay. In the end, it's all about location. This thing with the built-in's has the ability to sound just as good or better than a $3000 pair of mics, $1500 pre, and a $1000 deck if you're not in the right spot or don't know what you're doing. Like my iRIVER, it's the best $300 I've spent in a while. The MD has been in the drawer for 4 years now and I don't miss it at all.
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"Zoom ownz" submitted February 4, 2008

By a customer from verizon.net
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: rock, blues rock,
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: Sound quality is fantastic. i get super clear when i record stereo or direct. it even has phantom power =] Feature: Lots of things this baby does. Audio interface, 4 track, and stereo mics are great. This thing can do it all Ease of Use: SO EASY to use....right out of the box i turned the stereo mics and it sounded brilliant Quality: ive had no problems with it....seems pretty well built.....i would get a case for it tho... Value: price is pretty decent.....best sound ull get within a 300 dollar price range.... The Wow Factor: it looks decent i guess.....its a great addition to my setup... Overall: overall i would recommend it to anyone
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"A great value and a cool product" submitted November 14, 2006

By a customer from tx.rr.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Folk, choral, piano
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VERIFIED BUYER
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: The sound in the .wav settings is phenomenal. There is currently an issue with 256k and VBR settings on .mp3 recording, which is to be addressed shortly with a firmware upgrade. When on battery power, there is a very quiet noise tone picked up from the electronics in all but the highest quality setting, but it is way down there. It is not present when on AC power. It has not been noticeable on any of my recordings, unless I'm recording a dead quiet room and listening hard for it. Feature: I would have liked to have seen a microphone stand adapter, but the tripod adapter is very useful. Small tripods are available dirt cheap, and very helpful in isolating the unit and putting the built-in microphones in free air for best performance. Ease of Use: Using the built-in microphones is simply a question of selecting the mode (mp3, wav, etc), and the bit rate. Once that is done, the settings are retained. Recording is just a matter of pushing the big button once to observe levels, and again to start recording, and again to stop recording. It could not be simpler. Quality: A padded case, such as a one designed for a portable game device, is a cheap investment in adding some protection. Being mostly plastic, the device itself could probably easily break in a fall from any height. The battery cover seems easily breakable, as well. I take extra care not to stress its clasp when changing batteries or removing the SD memory card. Value: I believe that the price is a bargain for the breakthrough capabilities of this unit. Add in all the special capabilities in regards to powering external microphones and guitar effects, and it is a tremendous bargain if you value those capabilities. I do. Manufacturer Support: I have had no interaction, but from reports I've read and looking at their web presence, I have no fears about support. The Wow Factor: It is really one of only a handful of consumer level digital audio recorders at this time. If you have a need for a digital audio recorder to record music, or a multi-track recorder to compose your own works...you have to have it or one of the competing products. It is the logical replacement for minidiscs and PC software for those purposes. Overall: A better or more versitile product is always possible, but I am 100% certain I will use this for many years unless it breaks.
12 of 13 people (92.31%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"H4=Freedom: The World Is My Studio!" submitted January 19, 2008

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Pop, Rock, Guitar
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Sound: With .WAV 24 bit/96 Khz capabilties this unit has excellent sound. I mostly have used it at 16 bit/44 Khz so far, but the higher sample rate is there if you want it. The built in Mics sound great. You can use them for close micing to get a studio sound with less room acoustics and add reverb later, or they work great as room mics capturing a live performance sound. You can move the unit closer or farther away from the source to capture more or less room acoustics to your taste. Also the built in mics are ideal for quick and dirty capturing of song ideas when inspiration hits you. I have also used it with my Shure KSM27 Condenser mic and it works great! The built in phantom power was sufficient to power that mic (which requires 48v), and it gave me an excellent recording level to work with. Feature: The features of this unit can't be beat by any other field recorder in its price range from what I have seen. I did alot or reading and research before I purchased the Zoom H4 and I was impressed with its versatility. The accessories it comes with are great. The cradle for tripod mounting is perfect. In fact a camera tripod is a must have additional accessory you should purchase separately. I immediately bought the Quantaray by Sunpak QSX 7001 DX Medium Duty digital camera tripod for around $40.00 at my local Ritz Camera store and it works great! It lets me position the recorder exactly where I want it for various recording situations. Without a tripod you are likely going to drop the H4 on the floor if you use it with any external mics or plug your guitars into it. The wind screen is useful for outdoor recording projects too. The AC adaptor is a nice addition to the package also. Many manufacturer make you buy the AC adaptor separately for thier devices. I use it whenever possible to conserve the batteries. I use the Energizer E2 batteries which last a good long time in this unit. When downloading your recorded audio files to your PC (for burning on CD or editing in your DAW) the H4 is powered by the USB interface which also saves internal battery power. The external Combo 1/4"/XLR inputs are a great feature that I have not seen on any other hand held size recorder in this price range. Real time level monitoring and 3 level input gain sensitivity selection for the 2 external inputs and the built in mics guarantees you can set your recording levels appropriately for your sound source. The ability to use the unit as a quick and dirty audio interface is another great feature. The H4 includes Steinberg Cubase LE, or you can use your own existing DAW software to edit your recordings. A real manual is also included so you can sit in your favorite comfortable chair and read it, rather than the usual .pdf file manual included with most modern gadgets. My unit came with a 512Mb SD card, which was an upgrade to the advertised 128 Mb card. I did however go out and purchase a Sandisk Ultra II 2 Gb SD card (model SDSDH-2048-901) which not only greatly increases my total recording time, but also improved the file transfer time when copying my recordings out of the H4 to my PC. The ability to record in Stereo Mode or 4 Track mode is just another one of the great features of the unit. The included pouch is also nice to protect the H4 when not in use, but I also recommend getting a nice canvas type carrying/storage bag like the ones you can purchase in Best Buy or Staples for storing cameras and accesories. I have one in which I keep: extra batteries, the USB cable, wind screen, my spare 512 Mb SD card, power supply and the H4 itself. I could even fit an external mic or two and a mic cable or guitar cables in this carrying bag. This makes the unit and everything you need to bring along very portable for those on the road recording jobs. There are so many other great fetures of the H4 I can't possibly discuss them all here. My only negative comment about the H4 would be (as you will probably read in other reviews) the size of the display screen. The writing is so tiny that I have to use drug store reading glasses to see it well enough to read it. But the H4's quality, features and price far outweigh this slight inconvenience. Ease of Use: The H4 is highly intuitive to use. I am a manual reader by nature, so I read the manual cover to cover to learn as much as I could about the product. However, there are a few Quick Start Guides for both the Stereo and 4 Track modes in the manual that get you started recording right away. I found that once I was familiar with the basic recording functions and the menu system that I could accomplish most recording tasks without referring to the manual. The manual is extremely well written with very few if any typos or misleading, conflicting or confusing information like I find in so much of the documentation for tech gadgets these days. One of the first things I did with the H4 was to connect it up to my home stereo/turntable and record some of my old albums to transfer them to CD. For this I used stereo mode and simply recorded each song from the LP to a separate .wav file. Then I just transfered the .wav files to my PC and burned them on a CD in the correct order. It was very easy, and the recordings came out great. Just set your levels correctly and you'll get great results. Another early project I produced with the H4 was to record a friend of mine reading some Christmas Stories into my Shure KSM 27 mic connected to the H4. We recorded 10 short stories and burned them on a CD for him to give as Christmas gifts to some of his friends with young children. I pulled the recordings into my DAW, added a little soft Christmas music to the background on another track and the result were awesome! The most exciting thing that I find I can do with the H4 (and my original purpose for buying it) is that I can do a quick mix of some backing tracks I have made in my home studio and dump them into the H4, go down into my garage (or a room at another location for that matter) that has great acoustics, and add vocals or other instrument tracks, (using my expensive studio mics even) and then bring them back to my studio, dump them back into my DAW and do my final mix. In other words I am not tied to my spare bedroom studio with poor acoustics where my PC DAW resides to make all my recordings anymore! It's a whole new ballgame. The world is my recording studio now! To get some other great ideas of how you can use the H4 visit http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h4/index.php and be sure to click on the link that says "H4 Usage Examples". Also visit http://www.zoomh4.net/ I found the learning curve to be minimal if you are at least somewhat familiar with recording techniques in general. Quality: The quality of the H4 is excellent. I have not had any problems with the unit. It is small, compact, and sleak looking. I am very satisfied with the quality of it. It is a delicate unit however that needs to be handled with care. The battery/memory card compartment door feels a little flimsy and is a little tricky to open. However when you get the hang of it and do it exactly as is shown in the instruction manual it is easy and should not be a problem. I highly recommend getting a tripod to mount it on which will keep it from getting damaged from a fall or drop. With appropriate handling this unit should last many years. Value: I think the H4 is probably the best value for the money as far as compact handheld portable field recorders go. As I said above, I did alot of research before purchasing the H4 and this unit has the most features, and flexibility. Manufacturer Support: I have not needed to contact the tech support for this unit so I cannot comment on that. I have looked at the website however and the support information is very good and seems to be updated regularly (ie. firmware updates, support SD card information etc.) The Wow Factor: It's a cool piece of gear period! It gave me the freedom to record anywhere. It's flexible, feature packed and a great value for the money. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a compact, super portable field recorder. Overall: I expect to be satisfied with this product for a long time to come. I would definetely buy another one if this one were lost, stolen or accidentally broken.
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"Loaded with features and value for any musician of all levels of experience." submitted December 6, 2006

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Semi-Pro Videographer
Music Style: na
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Sound: Records the sound that is there. Though it's classified as unidirectional, sounds recorded from the sides and back will sound distant. Fairly decent, though cheap, X-Y mic combo. Feature: You can do almost anything with this right out of the box. They should have supplied a case to put the thing in, as it's rather oddly shaped. Ease of Use: I'm a PC/tech expert and the menus and buttons continue to boggle me on this. The manual could have been a little more explicit. Quality: Taking 1 point off for the plastic housing and 2 points off for the cheap X-Y mic combo. I would have loved to see a unit like this with some higher end mics attached, so as to truly make it an all-in-one, even if the list price had been, say, $699 or so vs $299. Value: Couldn't find anything better for less. Manufacturer Support: Company didn't respond to my emails regarding the attached microphones or the mic modeling feature. Also, the manual could have been better written. The Wow Factor: More features and "usefulness" than any product I've ever owned. Overall: Overall, the features make up for the lesser quality, noisy mics and plastic case.
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"Still the best all rounder under $300" submitted August 25, 2008

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: hobbyist
Music Style: spoken word
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Sound: inbuilt mics are really quite good , with dynamics on the input it's fairly noisy ( least mine is) but it's better with decent externals though Feature: Recorder , interface, 4 track and an effects unit is an amazing bargain. You get the PSU, a cradle that's more like a gurney for your old gi joes and the windscreen ( needed) which does not stay on without help. Ease of Use: Horrible menu system, legibility is minimal. tiny controls ( no way you are changing inputs with gloves on:) and basic features require 2-3 steps to get to what most recorders have on the front/ back panel. tiny switches. Quality: plasticcy that I doubt would weather a 3ft drop to the road too well the job wheel just feels like it's going to go first. Switches are ok but small. Value: it does everything tolerably well if you know what you need to record in advance and are ready for it. In perspective think of what passed for audio gathering prior, marantz or sony tape deck for radio this blows that life away :) this is really a jack of all trades and master of non. Manufacturer Support: they released new firmware which added features, improved legibility and fixed some bugs. Tonnes of recorders have this upgrade path but how many companies do you really see using that? Overall: I basically need access to the levels as a primary control. This could be fixed in software if they chose but I can't rely on it for when I have to move from fixed to mobile operation in a hurry. I have little bad to say about it when it's being used handheld an love the battery live, sound quality and ease of use when you know what is about to happen. Other than build quality of the jog wheel, battery flap it's still a great value for the money.
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"I would buy this one again." submitted July 4, 2008

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Musical Background: Live Sound Engineer
Music Style: Pop and Rock
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Sound: After updating the BIOS, this unit does everything you can imagine. There was one audio mode that didn't work correctly until I did the update from the Zoom home page. Since then, the sound quality is unbelievable. Feature: Though I wouldn't call the interface intuitive, it is very easy to use with just a little practice. I work outside of the U.S. and explaining the use and operation to non English speakers has never been an issue. Plenty of great options and functions. I don't use them all (i.e. guitar modes, or mic emulations) but they all function great. We use it mostly for recording directly from the live sound board at events. Ease of Use: Easy setup and very easy to download the audio to any device. Good instructions, but who really uses those anyway. Once you get the hang of it, everything is simple. Quality: Okay, so it IS plastic. It still holds up to daily use and abuse. We do keep it in a case when not in use. The battery door is my only complaint, however it too has held up to 6 months of continuous use. Value: I would think that the function justifies the pricing, but at a $300 price point, I would have expected the housing to feel more sturdy. However, if mine got damaged, I would be ordering another one before the end of the day. Manufacturer Support: Never had to talk to anyone directly, but their web page has a good FAQ and the download for the BIOS flash was easy enough to do for anyone who can plug in a USB cable. The Wow Factor: When I first saw a friend in the business with one, I knew I would be buying it. Size and styling are great and I consider it and recommend it as a "Must Have". Overall: I think any product would have to be unbelievably great to get me to switch. The Zoom is not perfect, but it is the closest I have seen for the pricing and function.
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"Great value!" submitted January 27, 2007

By a customer from bellsouth.net
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Musical Background: Live/Recording
Music Style: Christian Music
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Sound: I've had it a month. I've used the built in mic for quick voice overs; recorded from FOH board to H4 via mic inputs 1&2; and used it in Audio I/O mode to record to laptop. So far I've had good results in all situations. Sound is pretty clean. Feature: Only used a few so far. If it does everything else as well, it's an amazing product for the price. Ease of Use: Small learning curve. It was fairly easy to get up and running quickly. Quality: The H4 seems cheap on the outside. The front and side toggle and rotate buttons feel cheap. I'm being real gentle with them. Would like to have a more durable shell. Value: For the money, it's great! Manufacturer Support: Not had to use. The Wow Factor: Pretty cool.
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"AMAZING!!!!!!!Every musician should own one." submitted February 7, 2007

By a customer from prodigy.net
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Musical Background: Recording Engineer/Active Musician
Music Style: Classical, Jazz, Choral, Mostly anything acoustic
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Sound: The sound from the built in mics is a bit thin, and the stereo field narrow, BUT: The signal produced with the built in mics has virtually no noise and thus lends itself very well to enhancement (reverb, spatial enhancement, etc...). By judiciously doing so after the live recording, I've gotten results that easily rival the best mics I own ($500-$1000 mics - no kidding!) It's actually a bit annoying! Feature: The LED readout is extremely hard to read. Hope new models will use more of the face-plate area for the LED screen, and use newer, brighter technologies as we see on our cell phones. A built in self adjusting global atomic clock in each unit would be EXTREMELY helpful if you used multiple H4's at an event. This would make synchronizing tracks ad infinitum a cynch in post production, and sell a lot more units to people like me. I hope someone from ZOOM is listening! Ease of Use: Needs work on the mic stand cradle. Should be attachable to a standard audio mic stand. It is not, but luckily Edirol makes an adaptor that will solve this (for about $30. Attaching the unit to the cradle is awkward, and a bit risky if the velcro straps are not secured very well. This needs work for sure. It's basic operation is "point and shoot" You can be making excellent recordings within minutes of opening the box. From that point on how far you travel the learning curve is up to you. Quality: I have already dropped my unit twice, with pretty hard landing on the mic protecters. Both times caused the battery door to open, spilling the contents. No damage to the unit whatsoever. I'm impressed. It's also pretty forgiving of user error. At 44.1 stereo setting, fresh batteries last about 3 hours, a 2gig card record about 2.5 hours. I have not lost a recording yet due to spent batteries or used up memory. Value: Incredible Value. Whatever it's shortcomings, it's probably the best price/benifit item I've ever purchased. Manufacturer Support: Have not gone this route yet. The Wow Factor: I suppose it could be a little sleaker, but who cares? I've shown it to five people in the last month, and they all bought one within a week (Maybe ZOOM should give me a discount on my next one!) Overall: Improvements I would like to see: 1) Improved (quieter)external mic input preamps 2) Digital optical in and outs 3) More readable LED screen 4) Better interface with audio mic stands, including vibration mounts 5) 4gig card supportable 6) Time stamped files using a built in atomic clock for post production syncronization of files from multiple H4s 7) Simultaneous 4 track recording abilty Other than the above, I find this an absolutely amazing unit, at almost any price. $300 is a steal.
8 of 9 people (88.89%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Awesome Recorder!" submitted October 10, 2006

By a customer from earthlink.net
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Concert Band
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Sound: Definitely CD quality. I tried different settings recording concert band rehearsals. All high quality. No distortion - real clear. Listening to the recording through earphones or speakers is like being right there live. Feature: Accessories provided were adequate. Ease of Use: I learned very easily from the manual in a short amount of time. Quality: It is made well, however the plastic concerns me. Value: Well worth the purchase price. Manufacturer Support: Have no experience with this. The Wow Factor: Great design. Overall: I probably won't look any further for a recorder like this. This is a wonderful purchase, on my part, and will serve my purposes for years to come. I can't imagine a better recorder this size, with these features and so user-friendly.
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"Absolutely wonderful machine for recording life all around you!" submitted September 1, 2007

By a customer from kreativeDVD.com
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Musical Background: Amateur
Music Style: choir and acoustic
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Sound: I'm old enough to recall battling S/N ratios of open reel machines back in the 60s, so the almost(!) complete silence of this recorder still amazes me. Sofar, I have recorded a fair bit of voice (stage and outside) and a few short acoustic guitar licks, and the sound has been throroughly convincing. Next week, I shall record our choir and I am looking forward to the reaction. The tripod holder will come in handy. Were it not for the slightest amount of .... one can't even call it hiss .... I'd give it a 10. Feature: Can't really imagine what else Zoom could pack into this tiny machine. After all, this is meant for portable use. The mics are astoundingly accurate and the stereo stage is smooth and natural. Once you know the buttons, the thing isn't daunting at all, even for an old-timer like me, and being able to record either stereo in 96/24 or 4-Track is wonderful. The windscreen works well for close miking .... I like the Zoom!! Ease of Use: I don't mind the buttons that much, not even the hyrarchical menu, but the display is ridiculously tiny. Being of an age, when close vision is in any case somewhat iffy, I am seriously considering a mangifier as accessory for my kit bag. That said, I find that for many actions, once one has become familiar with the work-flow, can become automatic, not dependent on display watching any more. For 4-Track, however, the display is seriously undersized. Good that one can load the various tracks - before bouncing - onto my laptop. That's where I do all mastering anyway. Quality: Sure, it is plasticky, but I don't feel that the quality is below par. Camcorders and Digicams use a similar material and until now, I haven't broken one of those. Value: I have looked at two other similar recorders and since I do like the 4-Track feature, I ended up basing my decision on it. The sound is excellent, the price seems completely justified. Manufacturer Support: no need for it yet. So, I just give'em a 10 on the hope..... ;) The Wow Factor: Looks like some kind of Taser gun..... but who's the arbiter of cool? I like it. Overall: As soon as Zoom comes out with an H5 which has a larger display, I'll switch, because that's the only true beef I have with it. Otherwise, I believe, I have found what I was looking for. A superb recorder for on the road and when setting up gear would kill the mood.
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"Studio in your pocket." submitted December 31, 2008

By a customer from chartertn.net
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Musical Background: Musician/songwriter/home studio engineer
Music Style: Country, gospel
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Sound: Excellent sound reproduction. The microphone modeling was interesting, and I see it as something I will use frequently, depending on the sound source. The stereo field was well defined with the crossed mic setup. Mics are better than I expected. A short recording outside revealed a strong need to use the windscreen due to wind noise overpowering the source. Use the low cut filter to help, as well in this situation. Feature: So much in such a small package. I have a Zoom multitrack recorder-based home studio. This unit encompasses the basics of nearly.everything in my studio, albeit on a much more limited scale, It's amazing you can carry what is essentially a 4-track studio in your pocket. Using the unit as an input source to Cubase LE makes this a very attactive unit for those just starting into DAW recording. And for simple, quick recording the stereo mode is as simple as point-and-shoot. Ease of Use: Read the manual, play with the recorder, then read the manual- again. There is a lot here, and some stuff is layered in menus. Also, I think that Zoom should have used the front joystick as a menu selector rather than the side-mounted jog switch. You have to use both when scrolling through and selecting menu items. Quality: Plastic case, but seems durable enough. Mics are well protected by metal bars. Battery access door seems a bit flimsy. Value: Price a DAW USB two input box, a portable digital stereo recorder, and a 4-track digital recorder, add then up and compare. Manufacturer Support: Zoom has responded directly to me with email requests related to other Zoom products. They have updated software on products where there have been needs. Overall: I own several Zoom products and have been very happy with all over the years. I expect the M4 will offer the same level of satisfaction.
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Zoom H4 Handy Recorder Customer Review submitted April 2, 2008

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Sound: This sounds good for my purposes, external mics help... Feature: This has a gazillion features: recorder, audio interface, 4 track, effects, what else do you want...? Ease of Use: This is not hard to use but the interface could use work... other reviews are correct on this. If you are bad with technology this might be hard, if you are good with technology this is not hard. Quality: This is where this device could be improved the most. The build quality is poor and it is made of plastic. Luckily the mics have a metal sort of cage around them.
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"A songwriters must have!" submitted August 1, 2007

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Sound: The sound of this unit is imho, very good! As a songwriter, i have always been fighting with capturing my spur of the moment ideas on tape. This is where this tool really shines. I have not recorded any bands yet, but if i do, i have no doubt that this unit will deliver. I have a motu 828 and a marshall v67 mic using a MIM strat. I hate to say it but, i really think that the H4 sounds just as good as the more costly interface and mic. The only gripe i have is the screen is teeny weeny. And, sub-menus are the price you pay for the size and features of this little gem! Not a big deal if you have worked with other recording devices. In summary, if you are a songwriter that wants to lay down ideas, or a band that wants a live recording at your rehearsal space, this is the tool to use!! This thing can handle just about anything i can throw at it. It is what it is, a very capable tool for the inspired artist. Feature: The handy tri-pod thingy is neat and necessary for serious recording. The manual explains this in detail. The biggest benefit for me was using the mic sims. WOW!! I have used all of these mics in the studio and can honestly say that this unit mirrors those sounds. Think ANTARES mic mod. I tested the Comp, Limiter, and Auto-gain in stereo mode via the built in mics - no problems there. I have yet to test the 4 track mode with all the effects that are avail. If you know zoom, you should know what to expect as far as effects go! Let's just say, there are too many to mention here. Having showed my enthusiasm for this machine, i sadly admit that the housing for this machine is NOT road worthy. It is made of plastic that, to me, says i DARE you to DROP me! Don't do that! Also, the teeny lcd is annoying to me. Bummer. The pluses to this machine are almost embarrassing to the competition. the micro thingy? Yup, you have to send the micro thingy back to the dealer to change the battery. That alone was enough for me to say no to. Ease of Use: Easy, you plug in or use the two internal mics and press record. Really that simple. Record to wav or mp3. Mp3 was my option because i did not get the 2gig card. I use the standard 128. These cards can be purchased at any electronics store. The quality of sound in Mp3 mode was most satisfying. The wav mode was awesome. Again, i really use the H4 as more of a sketch tool. And i can upload the ideas i have to my pc via the included usb cable and cubase le software that comes with the H4. Although you can use it with just about any recording software you have. Quality: Not road worthy, maybe they have a case that protects it? If you treat it well and Don't DROP it, you'll get some mileage out of it. Since it uses batteries that i can replace, i think the unit will last me a long time. No down time because i won't have to send the machine back in for a new battery. Value: Yes Manufacturer Support: Haven't needed it yet.
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"Live Cantonese opera and ambient environment work" submitted January 3, 2008

By a customer from uvic.ca
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Musical Background: semi-pro
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Sound: I used this on a camera stand to record a Cantonese Opera company. The drums had nice bass tone and the crashing cymbals and high metallic hits didn't phase it. It did a good job on the 12 striong players and picked up the already miked through PA singers with nioce definition. With almost new batteries it died after 1 hour 40 minutes at cd quality and in one 1.2 gig audio file, no gimmicks on. Worried i changed the batteries later and bingo the file was there uncorrupted. It was a piece of cake to drag and drop in sound forger or to play files from it via usb through my audio station. I also heard some pretty good ambient field work (waves with wind on a pebble beach) so the windscreen works okay. This unit was ver 1.30 and there is now a 2.3 or some such driver on the website and cubase and asio updates. Feature: I was puzzled, working with a rental and 6 pages of cheat sheets that it was so hard, maybe impossible to delete a file I did not want. Later, wehn hooked up to a computer it was easy to delete copy paste rename files in the hd from the computer. The accessory package was great and well thought out. When we bought one and saw the full manual I found it to be clear and extensive. I loved the crossed mike system, its a classic UK approach and gives great definition and made my mediocre ears happy. Negatives, you cannot update the OS without the auxiliary power supply hooked up. My colleague bought one on my recommendation and brought it over to update without the power supply. I was suprised at how many of my 9v adaptors were either too hot or too low for the 300 ma requirements. We did not dare risk using a 200 or a 500 for the delicate task of upgrading the os. Why wont it boot upgrade from batteries? I also think big files on cd quality eat batteries and we went with the new lithium rechargeables (4x longer) because I don't think you'll get 4 hours continous file at 44 rate on alkalines. Carry a spare set for a work day in the field. Ease of Use: In the world of Ipod wheels I found the menu button and jog wheel that clicks on the side odd and not what I wanted in a fluid work environment. If they had that it woudl be perfect in a tactile sense. Quality: For rugged fieldwork I'd like rubberized buttons and some light rain protection. I think there is a market for someone making a silicon case for these. But its so cheap buy a backup one! The accessory kit needs a belt pouch. My teenage daughter thought it was a bit big for someone raised in ipod land. I laughed at teh mickey mouse camera cradle and then was amazed at how easy it waas to use and how simple it was to borrow anyone's camera tripod and use it. Value: Fabulous Manufacturer Support: Website www.zoom.co.jp has the updates and clear instructions. Always update yours. Don't trust the battery advice for high end big files: buy some lithium rechargables. The Wow Factor: This is break through gear. All it needs is someone making a waterproof or matel case for field work to bring it into film work big time. Overall: Buy this one, not the H2. You wont regret it.
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"ZOOM Nails the Bulls-Eye with the H4 Handy Recorder!..." submitted October 12, 2006

By a customer from keithley.com
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Musical Background: Musician for Church (Zeta 5 string Electric Violin and Carvin 5 string Bass Guitar)
Music Style: Rock, Gospel, Jazz
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Sound: Using 2 external CAD GXL2400 Mics and the ZOOM H4 I'm recording live Oboe / Piano recitals (using the H4 as a stereo recorder) and getting PHENOMINAL results! The sound quality and clairity are simply jaw-dropping fantastic. I'm running at just a 44.1kHz sample rate @ 16 bit depth to a standard .wav file and am quite pleased with the low noise floor of the recordings. Will try the 96Khz sample rate @ 24 bits later just to compare. WOW!!! Feature: Wall wart (wall outlet power supply), camera stand mount, 128MB SD card are standard issue with the unit. Flash memory card will give you about 12 mins of recording time into a .wav file format. A 2 GB SD card should give about 200 minutes (3 hrs, 20 min) of std .wav record time (2 GB card is available for less than $40. No memtion of write speed for the SD memory is given - figuring it out --> anything with a X2 or greater write speed will work for a 10 MB/min write rate to the SD card). Phantom Power is available in 24V or 48V levels (lower voltage uses less batt power if your mic can handle the lower voltage - my GXL2400's need the full 48V). No hum or noise was noticed when using the phantom supply for the external mics. Having a compressor built in to the unit is priceless - no hauling around extra equipment to do the job! Mic levels can be set via slide switches on the side of the H4 and tweeked in the input menu options. There are even settings to emulate vintage mics (ONLY if you use the attached mics - these settings are not available to external mic inputs. I can understand the technical reasons for doing this but it would still have been nice to at least let you TRY! The firmware is there - let me use it!). Have not tried the 4-track side of the H4 yet - its capabilities are even more impressive. The H4 even acts as a instrument tuner, a metronome and has a full range of effects for having fun with your instruments. If I only had more time to play.... Ease of Use: Menu navigation is not intuitive - you don't use the "MENU" joystick / button to navigate and select/edit options - you use a side mounted push wheel located on the right side above the record button. Takes a little getting used to. SD memory card is difficlut to extract from the top of the unit - once you press and unlock the card from the socket you have to either catch it with your fingernail and slide it up or use a small pair of pliers/tweezers to grab it as you cannot get your fingers on the SD card enough to extract it. If you use the PC interface to extract the data this won't be a problem (as you will not need to remove it) but since I don't own a PC with a MICROSUX XP OS I can't load the included software, so I have to read the card external to the H4 (when will a LINUX version be available???) There is no RTC (real time clock) in the unit so ALL of the file dates are fixed to 9/16/2005 12:00:00 AM. It would be nice to at least be able to set the date and time and have it stay there rather than be 9/16/2005 12:00:00 AM forever (HINT to ZOOM?). Quality: Everything arrived in perfect condition. Nothin' else to say. Value: There is nothing this versitile available at this price level. Would definately buy it again! Manufacturer Support: Firmware upgrades are done via the SD flash memory card - couldn't be easier! As of 10/2006 they are still running ver 1.0 firmware with no upgrades being available yet. PDF manual is easily downloaded from the Zoom website. Haven't really had any problems with the unit so I can't comment on their tech support. Overall: Unit performs better than I expected with just a few small annoyances that may be fixed in future firmware releases (except the difficult SD card extraction). Quite pleased with its fit, form and function!
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"So very close to perfect, but not quite" submitted September 16, 2007

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Feature: Great features you might not appreciate at first: Backlit screen so you can use it in a dark room, AA batteries so you can reload without plugging in, and recording level set with a dedicated switch, not buried in a menu. Acutally, it would be nicer to have a knob for the input level, but the three-position switch is adequate. Ease of Use: The H4 passes with flying colors my own Test of User Friendliness: Can I figure out nearly everything without looking at the manual? Yes I can. Everything you want to do right away is easily accessible and obvious, and all the advanced features are buried. Kudos to the Zoom for ease of use. I own a Lexicon recorder rig (basically a USB interface to a computer, not portable) which is about 100 times harder to set up and use. The Lexicon does more of course, but the Zoom beats the crap out of it for ease of use. Quality: The downside of the Zoom is the cheap case and cheezy buttons. Listen to this, Zoom people: I would gladly pay another hundred dollars for better buttons and a nice case. Just look at the Sony recorder; that's what I want on the outside. Now go fire the dope who designed your buttons. Manufacturer Support: The best support is not needing any. That's what I have. The Wow Factor: You are so VERY close to having a killer product. Overall: I have an old Sony Minidisk player/recorder. I am now going to smash it to little pieces with a hammer.
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"Just What the Doctor Ordered." submitted June 4, 2007

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Pro Producer, Pro Player
Music Style: Sound Design
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Sound: I record spoken word/ human voice professionally and must give credit where credit is due. The H4 sounds astounding for the price. I hooked up a single Rode NT1A condensor mic via the left XLR input and the results were exactly what I wanted. Feature: The H4 had everything I needed in it's menu. Adustables input levels, the ability to connect via USB to my laptop and VU meters. However, this unit claimed to be a digital recording interface so one could record to one's computer THROUGH this unit and this has not yet worked for me. That's why I give a 5 as a rating here. Short of that, it works great. Ease of Use: It really doesn't get easier than this. The only difficulty at all is the funny little green screen as opposed to the much brighter and bigger full-color screens we're all used to today. I can't imagine ZOOM won't fix this drawback in the future. That said, it's bnot reallty THAT big a deal, just I find myself squinting a bit when looking at it. Quality: It FEELS a bit cheap, but does it's job well. The buttons feel a little on the cheap side, too, so be careful. My clients, who have not touched it but have seen it, were quite impresses and presumed it cost a great deal more than it did. Value: I've already made my money back. Great item. A miracle. I can now travel to my clients to record them insteasd of them having to trek to my studio. That's added value. The Wow Factor: I saw it and had to have it. This is a sexy sexy thing. Overall: If this product continues to work as well as it already does, then I'll be making money with it for a long time. I can't see how this product could be a disappointment to anyone. For the money, this thing is a miracle for me. I record people reading scripts and it could not be better for the money. Home run.
5 of 6 people (83.33%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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Zoom H4 Handy Recorder Customer Review submitted September 18, 2007

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Music Style: Rock metal
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Sound: Good sound quality spot on, translate sounds good for stereo live, better for direct recording like any mic placement is the key Very responsive to Bass low freq. it made my Bass player fine tune his rig and has helped taylored the sound in a Live sitch, product sounds best w/ no effect when recording live thru built in mics, a spot of comp. maybe will work also. for direct rec. i use it w/ mixer, POD for guitar Direct is cleaner use my own mic also for vox you can experiment w/ this baby very versitable!!!! Feature: I place it on a camera tRIPOD. BEST FEATURE IS U CAN USE IT"LIVE" OR DIRECT, ONLY THING THAT BOTHERS ME IT SAYS U CAN GO STRAIGHT INTO CUBASE BUT IT DOESN'T WORK MAYBE THE VER. OF LE OR SOUNDCARD I HAVE Ease of Use: EASE TO USE OF COURSE THE DISPLAY PUTS A STRIAN ON YOUR EYES, EASIER TO USE 'LIVE'BUT LIKE MUST DIGITAL RECORDER U HAVE TO NAME PROJECT SO IT U CAN FIND IT LATER LIKE THE EASE OF UPLOAD ON THE COMPUTER EDIT IT IN CUBASE BURN CD Quality: HAD IT FOR A/B 6MO NO WORRIES YET? TREAT IT LIKE A STRATAVARIOUS OR CONDENSER MIC ITS NOT REALLY A TASER GUN!!!!! LIKE ANY PEICE OF EQUIP. TRY & KEEP IT OUTTA HARMS WAY (DRUNKS, KIDS ETC.) Manufacturer Support: NO BUT I SHOULD ASK THEM A/B RECORDING DIRECT INTO CUBASE LE Overall: I'll wear it out, I would buy another one cuz its easy to get a good Live recording quickly
5 of 8 people (62.5%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Disappointing in all respects except sound quality with built-in mics" submitted October 17, 2006

By a customer from johnsantana.com
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Musical Background: Master of Music degree. Professional radio producer
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Sound: I'm very sorry to say that the sound is not acceptable with external mics--at least the three that I tried. The input gain is low and the pre amps have lots of noise. This is surprising since the sound from the internal mics is quite good. But if you want to use it with external mics, I would definately try it with your particular mic before buying! Ease of Use: It is invonvenient for field use--its intended purpose. Even the record levels must be set by going through menus and adjusting with a rocker switch. Quality: It seems flimsly. The front panel control switch feels flimsy and the side mounted menu switch is worse. In fact, the side rocker switch is very small and difficult to control. Value: To be fair, it's the least expensive such device available, so what do you expect? Manufacturer Support: In general, everything I've have from Samson is of good quality. The fact that they don't put their name on the product may be significant. It's sold under the "Zoom" product name. I don't feel this is up to the Samson standard by a very long shot! The Wow Factor: Plastic looks and feels cheap as do all the buttons and controls. Overall: I'm returning it.
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"Gigger and more" submitted January 17, 2007

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Musical Background: Pro-musician
Music Style: a lot of jazz and a little of every thing else
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Sound: Internal mics sound good. Sensitive. Great for a "don't wanna hoof all my good gear" recording. Feature: I wish it had the ability to punch track markers. If you don't have someone to press pause, you get one long track. Ease of Use: The main jog button. You press it up for play, side to side for ffwd and rev, but if you press down, it will lock HOLD!!(like a cd players hold) Very stupid. Should have placed a hold button on the side. Quality: It's a plastic recorder. Don't drop it!!! If you want something that runs on batteries, DON'T EXPECT MORE THAN 2hr with 2AAs Value: It is what it is. An inexpensive feild recorder. Better that a cheap mic and a MD. Not better that 2 good mics a mini-mixer and a MD Manufacturer Support: Haven't used it. I would suggest buying one from a local guy so if you don't like it, or have problems easy return. The Wow Factor: Looks cool, Beem me up Scotty Overall: Off to a good start. The mic stand is worthless. Has some flaws with the battery life( 30min to 1.5 hr) if you need to use batteries bring a lot! I would suggest this for music instructors wanting to record lessons for students, guys looking to get an ok field recording, and someone who whats an inexpensive recording toy.
2 of 3 people (66.67%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Choppy recording at 24 bit & Noisy at 16 bit. Useless." submitted October 28, 2006

By a customer from banginbeats.com
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Musical Background: Professional Sound Designer
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Sound: In 44.1 & 48kHz there is a "tone" evident on ALL recording in any critical listening. This renders this thing useless for picking up any kind of low-level sounds since it's immediately apparent. In 24bit/96kHz the sound is fine with a 512mb SD card, but with a 2gb (which zoom claims it works with) the sound actually cuts out and is choppy. You can even see the counter running choppy. It cannot handle a 2gb card at 24 bit for some reason. Using the 512 card I have in 24bit is useless because that will give me about 15mins of recording time. Not acceptable. Feature: There are few useful features on it, the interna mics are surprisingly OK... But I'm not gonna go into all the features, since they are useless with this sound. Ease of Use: Very easy to use in stereo mode, I figured it out in 5 minutes without the manual. I didnt get into 4 trk mode though. Quality: The thing is flimsy but so was the Marantz pmd660 I bought last year for twice as much.. So I wont hold that against them. At this price, you're not going to get anything bild like a tank. Value: I think it stinks. I'm very disappointed. Manufacturer Support: I called zoom in Long Island regarding the tones I'm hearing at low levels during recording in 44.1 & 48k.. The guy who I spoke with put me on hold and said he was going to try to recreate what I was hearing.. So he went and recorded a couple minutes of audio in the busy office he was in,(not the smarted guy) A busy office is going to drown out any of this noise. Its at low levels.. Like say if you were to record ANYTHING in a room of complete silence. The thing is usless for grabbing any sound fx without ambience under 24bit because of this. The Wow Factor: The thing would be great if it performed up to it's advertisments. Overall: I'm returning it.
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"test it before buying it." submitted February 3, 2007

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Quality: Problem with pulsating high freq. sound when a external mic is in use. One should not have this problem with any new product.
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Zoom H4 Handy Recorder Customer Review submitted February 3, 2007

By a customer from msn.com
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Musical Background: Weekend keyboard player since 1976
Music Style: If I can hum it, I can play it...Pop, dance, country, classic country, classic rock, rock, southern rock, southern gospel, NO hi
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Sound: For the money, it's a God send. I like to record every performance for evaluation of what we did right, and what we did wrong. It's a great tool for that. I haven't been able to record direct off the board yet, but the mikes do a fair job. Like I said, for the money it beats anything else I'be been able to find. Feature: It does about everything you could ask for in a compact hand held package. I do agree with the other comments the case and buttons feel pretty cheaply made, so I take extreme care while handling. Ease of Use: Once I took time to figure it out, it really is a slick little unit. I prefer to record in the MP3 mode for ease of downloading and burning onto a CD. I can record the entire nights show on one set of AA batteries, take it home and dump everything to the computer with the USB cable. I do wish the Cubase LE software had some sort of instruction with it. I'm having to figure it out the hard way with trial and error. That sucks. Quality: It is like handling an egg. The plastic case is something that wouldn't take much of an accident to have significant damage. The battery and memeory card access door is fragile. It is a really cool unit in a fragile case. I don't like the feel of the record button, but it works fine. Value: I paid $250 for this unit. I would like it better at about $150, but hey I don't like the price of gasolene either. Manufacturer Support: Thank goodness I haven't needed it. I've used the unit about three weekends now to record our band without any problems. The Wow Factor: I would give it a 10 if it was a little sturdier made. Overall: I like this unit better than dragging a CDR around, plus the fact it has built in stereo microphones that aren't Shure Betas, but do get the job done. If you are looking for a recording studio, this may not be the item for you. But if you are looking for something that is quick, works, and won't break the bank like I was, this is it. Just baby it while handling the unit.
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"VERY DISAPPOINTED!" submitted December 16, 2006

By a customer from shaw.ca
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Rock, World, Jazz, Blues
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Sound: Through the headphones it sounds fine, unfortunatly this device won't connect to my Mac. It just freezes and I have to disconnect it and force quit Garage Band. Audio I/O does the same thing. If I can't get it to make any sound, then the sound sucks. Feature: Cheaply made, the USB cable it comes with doesn't work at all so I had to use the one from my digital camera. Tripod adapter is really cheezy and the sound card it comes with is seriously inadequate for the price of this unit. Ease of Use: Easy enough to stumble through, as it should be - due to the instruction manual being so poorly written Quality: The switches and buttons don't operate smoothly and the most important one - the "jog" dial will either not go in, or if I press it more firmly than I should have to it sticks inside. Furthermore, the fast forward/reverse is not fast at all. It doesn't do anything! and the fact that the recording mode and other features do not stay engaged between sessions is really frustrating. Value: I don't know of any other items that compare to this, in this price range. Manufacturer Support: I am so displeased with this product that I will not even bother with support - it's going back to the store! The Wow Factor: Upon reading about it before I bought it I just had to have it, but after trying it out for a few days I soon realized that it is overhyped, poorly designed, shoddy workmanship and a waste of money and time. I made the mistake of going out and buying more memory for it, a tripod and 4 high quality batteries, all for nothing because it's going back to the store tomorrow. The concept of it sounds great, but they need to go back to the drawing board on this as far as I'm concerned. Overall: I'm going to see what else is out there, even if I have to spend an extra few bucks - I just want something that WORKS!
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"The Swiss Army knife of recording gear." submitted October 30, 2006

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Musical Background: Active musician
Music Style: Rock
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Feature: Tripod holder supplied very useful: I had a spare camera tripod from a digital camera, it works fine. Windshield supplied. PSU supplied. Memory supplied. USB cable and Cubase LE supplied. But forget the accessories, in the H4 itself there are more features than you could possibly expect for the price. Stereo recorder, mic pre-amps, mics, amp sims, effects, 4-track recorder, metronome/click, guitar tuner, USB audio interface. You'll need: batteries, a tripod, a bigger memory card. Quality: It may be made of plastic but it actually seems very robust. Finish is good. Value: Swiss army knife of recording gear. Does pretty much everything except make the tea, and costs under
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"Sorry I bought it!" submitted July 27, 2009

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Music Teacher
Music Style: 60's-70's pop music, Christian
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Sound: What sound? You have to hook it up to another gadget to get the sound like your computer or external speaker. Makes it very difficult to record and listen automatically. Feature: The tripod is handy but very flimsy. It came with a bag but I keep everything in another bag for better protection. It also came with headphones and a memory card. Ease of Use: It is very complicated to work. Takes a lot of time to see what all the buttons mean and then you have to toggle several times to get to where you want to go. Very confusing. I never could get the software to work right and never could get help to find out what to do about it. Quality: I am afraid I am going to break it because the toggle switch is so flimsy and the buttons are hard to push. Value: Very unhappy with the product and what I paid for it. It just doesn't measure up to my expectations. I wish I had never bought it. Manufacturer Support: I have tried to get help. Didn't. The Wow Factor: I saw this being used in a music workshop and it looked like it would be a good investment. It isn't. Overall: I am already looking for another type of recorder. Something that is easier to use.
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"I am more than satistfied" submitted December 5, 2006

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: Blues
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Sound: I have tried and owned every recorder on the market. I have used almost every mic that is currently available and many that had been available but are no longer available and I cannot believe what I have here... I have tried and tried simply to get an acoustic sound that is real. No bull, and this is THE unit for just that. I am so impressed that all of my equipment is for sale except this. Feature: It is an extremely easy to use unit that is geared towards someone who wants to record it as they hear it. If you want to add effects and make yourself sound like something that you aren't for lack of talent, this is not the unit for you, but if you want to take that sound that you have in your living room, record it and have on the net or cd in five minutes, THIS is the unit for you. Ease of Use: I made my first recording in three minutes. It is THAT good.. Quality: When I read the reviews about it, I thought " This is going to be a piece of ****" but something is seriously wrong with the people who disliked it, because it has everything that you would want built in, including the microphones! It has one record button that has no annoying click that would get in your recording, the mic volume controls can be controlled by faders in the menu or if you are in a hurry by the onboard slider switches ( three position sliders ) Value: For 299 dollars, this is considerably less than one of my microphones ( that I don't need anymore ) Manufacturer Support: I really have no clue about support The Wow Factor: Looks kind of weird, like a tazer. Overall: I am selling my roland vs-1824cd and a ton of microphones and it feels really good to lighten up with a unit like this.
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"A very useful tool for live concert recordings." submitted January 25, 2007

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Sound: This cannot be answered by only one number. Using its internal microphones it rates about a 6. Using external microphones it might rate a 10. I am surprised by the number of reviewers who think the H4 microphones are pretty good. (I sent it back to the manufacturer to check the microphones.) Feature: It has many good features. I love the different mic simulations. I also love that it has no moving parts to screw up the recording. It should have had a 1/8" stereo input for the many stereo microphones on the market, e.g. Audio Tecknica, Sony, etc. The adapter is hard to find but you can make your own with Radio Shack parts (one Y adapter and two 1/8" to 1/4" plugs) for less than $15. Ease of Use: The manual is good but requires a bit of study for anything other than basic recording. There is a tendency to go into "keyhold" mode when you press the program button. They should have left that out. Quality: My first unit had an intermittant microphone so it went back. The second is fine in that respect but, as mentioned above, the built ins lack clarity to me. A friend who is a professional record engineer felt a lack of dynamics as though a limiter was always on (when it was not.) So far, it has proved quite reliable in actual concert recording. Value: Considering the cost of a minidisc machine plus microphones, this appears to be fairly priced. Manufacturer Support: The company returned my phone call in one day. Turnaround time for inspecting my unit is 4-6 weeks according to them. The Wow Factor: It lights up like a Christmas tree. This is not good for "Pirate" recordings. It can be cured by black electrical tape over the lights. Overall: It would have rated a 10 if the microphones sounded better. For the price I find nothing that would be superior. I expect to keep it for a very long time. Using external microphones with the H4 provides excellent sound.
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"The H4 is worth a try. The senstive mics and easy handling are big pluses. Be prepared to find some operational challenges. B" submitted July 1, 2009

By a customer from nycap.rr.com
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Musical Background: Active composer
Music Style: electronic on minimilism more or less. Often added to a slide show.
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Sound: I find that with just 3 gain choices I may over record. When this happens in a concert there is no opportunity to record again. I watch the LD indication but is not always clear to me if it is in best range. Feature: Came with a stand which I have not needed. Also has neat wind shield but it seems a little weak in filtering out wind outdoors. Ease of Use: I assume you modify sound with the cubase addition?? I have a MAC and use Logic sequencer. Cubase sequencer gave me a hassle years ago. I have not used the one you included. I'd rather those features did not come with the H4. The H4 downloads into the MAC iTunes easily. I need to put it in PEAK for major deletes etc. Quality: I think the H4 looks neat. I love the placement and quality of the mics. They are very sensitive, I like the simple brushed aluminum and black. I don't see anything that will fall off. I am not concerned about blemishes. The finnish seems hard. It is ideal for "on the road" and fits into a large pocket easily. I find the center, "jack of all trades" button hard to use most of the time. That is press "up" for recrod and then to stop. Half the time I activate the center. Jog wheel sometimes hard to push in. Value: NA I have made no comparisons. This was a xmas gift. For me the learning curve was sharp and I found the manual a bit confusing. I now have my own set of directions. It does seem very expensive but others claim they can only connect with a PC. Manufacturer Support: NA Have not dealt with company yet but may. I just bought the H4 ar 8G card. It fits and works fine but the manual syas to use upt to 2G. I wonder if I will be wasting 6G or what. No easy contact info in maual but there is on this rating form. The Wow Factor: Its "sex appeal" is great. Nice and smooth to hold. Body easy to manage. Overall: Overall I am satisfied with this product. It beats the white noise of a tape by far. I use it mostly for nature sounds which I overlay onto note music in Logic. Once I get a "library" of sounds I may use it less. If it was stolen, I'd die until a few more months have gone by. Kind of expensive to replace. I found it very useful recording 2 grandsons (didn't know I was that old?} solo concert work. Nice for family gatherings.
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"24bit/96k To Go" submitted March 20, 2007

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Recording Producer/Musician
Music Style: Blues Roots or if your paying ANYTHING
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: Stereo Recording at 24bit/96k is a huge improvement over the regular 16bit/44100.Connect a couple of Condenser Mic's through it's built in Phantom Power and you will get an even better sound,amazing sound really.It also records at 16bit/48k for a direct transfer to a DVD Project.You can also record as a MP3 which is nice for those long drawn out interviews or long concerts<G>. Feature: It uses the Secure Digital (SD) Media cards which are now cheap[$30 for 1gig] and are much easier to put in and out then the compact flash cards.The built in Mic modeling works quite nice,it gives you a nice range of sound.The Guitar modeling is a bit cheezy as most of them are. The H4 also will function as a direct audio interface for your computer. Connect the supplied USB cable and record directly to your computer or LapTop. Ease of Use: If you just want to use it as a Stereo Recorder,no problem. If you want to use the multi track feature you have to go through a couple of menu's in it's Tiny screen to set it up. The Menu and thumb wheel take a bit of getting use to,but if you have used a Digital Camera you shouldn't have to much trouble after a while<G>. Quality: All Plastic so what can one say about it.Seems to be strong enough. Value: The Only 24bit/96k Portable recorded for under $1000. You cannot beat the sound this thing can record,sure you can get lot's of multi track records for around the same price,but the best they can do is a standard 16bit 44.1k which will limit your over all sound when you get into multi tracking.I would use this little unit to capture the sounds that I want and drag them into my computer for further work with them.The Phantom Power and built in Mic /guitar amps let you use the USB connection to record directly into a computer or Lap Top which would make multi track recording much easier. Manufacturer Support: Good WEB Site with good FAQ,plus there's a form. The Wow Factor: Ugly Silver,anything but Silver makes it look cheap Overall: Only time will tell how long it will stand up with use,but it does make a sweet recording.
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"very dissapointed customer." submitted November 30, 2006

By a customer from sbcglobal.net
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: amatuer musician
Music Style: jazz, rick, r&b
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Sound: have not been able to download any recordings so cannot say how the sound is very difficult to set up and use. not intuitive. So while it may have great sound I have no idea...if you cant get there to hear it its no good Feature: seems ok but could not verify the usefulness of the features due to inability to get anything downloaded Ease of Use: not intuitive, possible to get recordings ok, no ability to connect to PC and download, no drivers no connectivity, no support. Quality: plastic seems cheap and insubstantial Value: no value to something that cannot be used. Manufacturer Support: difficult to find any support info...none provided with tth machine. website difficult to navigate. no-one available at phone support. a call back is promised. I am still waiting The Wow Factor: it made me crazy trying to figure out how to use it. a great dissapointment. Overall: i am returning it after having unmet expectations.
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