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Rating and Reviews: Zoom H4n Recorder

Capture performances, song ideas and more with this handheld 4-track recorder's built-in XY stereo microphones -- and transfer them to your computer via USB.

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"Dig it!" submitted May 18, 2010

By a customer from comcast.net
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Musical Background: Performing/recording musician, sessions, touring bands
Music Style: Name it...I have probably done it.
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VERIFIED BUYER
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: On board mics do exceptionally well on acoustic singer/songwriter stuff AND pulls off the live cranked rock band (which my band is rather loud) surprisingly great. So much better than the little olympus deal we were using (which admittedly was not really the application for it, more for recording just voice). I would not call it "warm" but I would certainly call it very accurate, not harsh. Very little to no noticable distortion or harsh compression, even in lower mp3 formats. Kick it up to wave file and get a basic mixer to record line in and you got about as good as it gets in this price bracket and slightly above, it will chew through the small card in about 20 minutes in highest quality. A 32 gig card takes you basically to unlimited land, in low mp3 format I have like a week of continuous or something silly :) Plan on getting a bigger card. The quality we get from a mixing board is actually astounding(!), especially considering what we are using. Feature: The four track feature is unique and really alot of fun on the road. We record in multi track mode live with whole band then layer backup/guitar tracks live right then and there, cool. Effects are numerous, not amazing, but they are very good and usable for interesting ambience, textures, creative and wierd when you use them not as intended, like guitar amps on vocals, etc. They cannot be applied to previously recorded material, as far as I can tell so far, you have to record with them on, no biggie really. The different modes, multi track, stereo, or all four inputs sold me on this, having all these options is perfect. Comes with wind screen (which you will need for actual feild recording in wind) power supply, and nice little mic stand adapter. I got the remote after the fact, which is handy. Ease of Use: Small learning curve, but it all makes sense fast and then when you got it, you got it. Little tricks and short cuts were built in too, still finding them after a couple months...all good. One thing I would like to see is a search/seek to peak function on playback (like the the old tape deck in your car), you have to hold down the next track button and check every once in a while to see what's up. We generally just leave it running the whole rehearsal so we get alot of talk in there sometimes. Quality: Seems solid, rubber shock sides, actual real metal on support for onboard mics. Had a moment of horror when I dropped it four feet onto a wood floor, while recording, right onto the microphones...it bounced. Picked it up....still recording, no dammage, nice. Made a loud pop on the playback to remind me of my clumsy moment. I don't recommend trying this...but some indicator of build quality. Seems tough enough, comes with plastic case. Value: Considering quality, features, and sound, there is little out there to match or beat at the price point. Manufacturer Support: Have no idea...at all, never contacted them, but like all big companies like this, I would approach support white knuckled...not expecting much. Maybe they would surprise. The Wow Factor: It is one cool little device, pretty much everytime somebody sees me or the band with it, they say "those are really cool...I want one!" I did too...so I got one...no regrets. Overall: For what it does and all it has on deck, at the risk of repitition...this little recorder rocks.
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"Real Review of the Zoom H4n" submitted April 24, 2009

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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: If u are reading this then u have one question...."how are the mics"....that is what u want to know....u want to know, if it can deliver a pro sound for $350 dollars...The answer is yes....But keep in mind that this is a $350 recorder...Its not an extreme High End unit...BUT...here is the trick....U dont need that, what u need is a recorder like this Zoom that can offer a "good" sound, and from THERE u take ur track, tracks, to your Laptop or PC and dial in a PRO sound using ur Mastering effects....= CD quality....If u just use the recorder and its effects it will still give u a very high quality recording,...absolutely....and if u are wondering if it sounds as good as the Sony that is $499.00 the answer is,... very close...I think the Zoom's Pre offers a little more top end then the Sony, actually. Feature: Accessories with this unit include the AC adapter, the Mic Stand Adapter, and the Case for the unit...All very handy,...Its nice that u dont have to purchase the AC adapter seperately, however, u do have to purchase the remote seperately = $40.00 = Ouch. Ease of Use: Unit is very easy to use.....u have a scroll button that acts as the main control...The Mic Pre level control is also right at ur fingertips and the Screen is very easy to view.....Getting into the deeper aspects of the unit take a few extra mins to memorize, but, like anything new, u have to learn the steps, and in the case of this recorder, most of them are self-explanitory.....I really like the fact that u can set the record levels so simply....and that u have the advantage of Auto record based on volume level is a nice feature...When u want to move from file to file, just press the fast forward and it goes to the next song, whether its marked or not. Quality: The unit feels substantial and nothing like a toy..Nice screen, nice rubberized housing.....The mics are smaller then i expected, however they feel solid. Value: I think its a very good value for the right person....That would be the person that hates to have an idea for a song, evaporate while trying to get the interface turned on and the laptop booted up and all that CRAP.....and certainly if u are an acoustic guitar player that needs a way to get those ideas down with the least amount of aggravation, then the Zoom is perfect. Manufacturer Support: Never dealt with their support. The Wow Factor: Its a nice looking unit....The controls make sense and are easy to locate and use....very nice screen, nice heaphone jack output level if need be......It comes bundled with Cubase, and of course Cubase is the most confusing Software on the planet if u are not use to it....Its not a software that is user friendly at ALL...as a matter of fact, just getting a track to show up is not clear so u can imagine what setting up ur ins-outs and Midi is going to be like....I dont know why the software engineers for Steinberg cant create a simple set up for this software....>It is the hardest to try to learn from scratch.....Zoom should have used Traction or Sonar, as both of them have an interface that does not confuse. Overall: Nice product for the money,...Good sound....Easy to use......Cubase,tho, is a pain if u are not already a user.
154 of 161 people (95.65%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Superb sound. Compact. Easy-to-use. Even our singer can operate it!" submitted June 28, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Pro Studio musician
Music Style: Any
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Sound: These microphones are superb. They capture details and nuances tat are usually only heard in $700 studio condenser mics. Great for live drums in any room that sounds good. Feature: I opted for this model because we needed to overdub solos over a live track. It works perfectly for that with no hassle. It's plug-n-play. Ease of Use: Turn it on. Four seconds later, press record. It works. Converts to any format file you want and talks to my MAC without any problem. Songs open instantly and play perfectly. Quality: Feels solid and hasn't broken in two years of daily use. I don't drop things. Value: Hard to beat this quality at this price. Manufacturer Support: ??? I haven't needed any support so I don't know. The manual is OK. The Wow Factor: This is for highquality SOUND, not video. If you want video there are options for synching this to cameras in pre and post production. Overall: Had it two years. Use it five or six days a week. No problems so far. I figure that's .50 cents a day for great recordings.
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"Would I ever let you down?" submitted October 20, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Features
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Manufacturer Support
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Rock
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Sound: The sound of the h4n is very clean. I use it for recording both band practices (drums, guitar, vox, ect.) and the h4n turns all of those instruments into a nice sounding blend. The onboard mics are very good and also very sensitive. this is a good thing but id recommend finding a way to mount the recorder to reduce handling noise. The preamps are quiet (at least to me they are) and both the xlr and the line ins sound good with a number of instruments. Ive tried guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, ect. Feature: The accesories that come in the package are useful, however also consider the packages availible ( i got the one with the soft case). With these extra accesories i can now both protect my h4n and use the remote and a nice mic stand mount adapter. As for the h4n itself i do wish you could record in 96/24 in all modes of recording (Stereo, MTR, and 4 Channel). However, i do get a great sound in all the modes. Be sure to read all the specs and make sure this will work for what your planning to use it for. Ease of Use: The h4n is very easy to navigate i was very excited to get my product so i had already downloaded and read the manual. When my unit arrived i was able to navigate easily and quickly. There are a ton of features and Zoom did a good job cramming all of them into this small package. Quality: The quality is very good the build seems very sturdy and its also good-looking. The onboard mics aren't protected as much as id like but they are sturdy and casted in aluminium. It seems as though this product will last years if handled properly and cared for. Value: In my opinion this product is oustanding for the price. I havent tried any other portable recorders but I did pour hours of research into finding the best one for me. I think i deffinately found the winner in the bunch with the sound, the quality, and ease of use you cant beat this unit. Now you can have a whole studio in a backpack ( I do!) : ) Manufacturer Support: Havent had any problems yet. They seem to have alot of firmware updates that are easily downloaded and installed onto the h4n. The Wow Factor: The product looks awesome. When looking for the perfect recorder looks were the last thing on my mind. I looked first for sound, ease of use, portability, and i got lucky that it ended up being the one that looked the coolest also. Overall: I plan on using this recorder for a long time for remembering song ideas, recording practices and shows, tracking out songs, making demos, ect. I will most likely continue to use it until i get older and afford a big boy studio!! Until then i cant complain about the Zoom h4n.
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"Initial thoughts on the Zoom H4n" submitted January 12, 2010

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: amateur musician - 40 years experience
Music Style: Rock/Classic/Alt - bass player and sound guy
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Sound: These will be initial findings and feelings about the zoom h4n. I have not connected it to a decent playback monitor. In headphones the monitoring sounds great. Recording an acoustic guitar was easy and sounded good. You need a quiet room because the mics pick up every little sound. I intend to use it to record 'musical thoughts' to be worked out later, and band rehearsals. Possibly also live performances but that's not the main purpose. Feature: I can't believe it does everything that it does. 4 track recording in a handheld device to a chip. Wonderful. Or simple use with the stereo mics on a mic stand. Ease of Use: The interface is clumsy. I don't see how it would be possible to be easier given all the function included. You just need to practice with it a bit to get use to it. The manual is typically poorly-written (translated from another language?). Understanding what the instructions are really saying takes some time. It's a big manual but if you read it all and start practicing with each function it becomes understandable. Quality: Feels and operates like a quality product. I bought a B Stock unit and it looks factory sealed. For road use I'd want to keep it in a protective case but that's not a failure of the product. Value: I think it really is worth every dime. Considering all the things you can use it for as a musician it really is practical. Manufacturer Support: zZounds was great to deal with and the shipping was unbelievably fast. I have not needed to contact Zoom (Sampson?) so that is unknown. The Wow Factor: Technical marvel - yes. Sexy? No. You need to get out more. Overall: I expect to get years of use out of the h4n. Recording band and self practice, song writing, live recordings,
21 of 22 people (95.45%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Simon actually likes something" submitted November 6, 2009

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician, Hobbyist,
Music Style: Classical, Country, Choir
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Sound: THE QUALITY IS SUPERBULICIOUS!!! The stock microphones are very good, but of course I am using the at4040, and the quality is just unbelievable! Studio Quality Recording! Feature: Has so many features, I just got it in two days ago and I am learning them all. Really must spend some time with this thing, read the manual, etc... Ease of Use: Really easy to use. I gave it a 9 because it doesnt have a touch screen ;) hahaha Quality: Very Very Sturdy and looks like it will last a while. The microphones look a tiny bit weak, but I am going to care and cherish this thing FOREVER!!!! Value: By far the best run for your money, has many features and you can actually record studio quality sound. Manufacturer Support: The best support is one you dont have to call! :D The Wow Factor: This thing is a Sexy Beast! :D Very appealing especially since I have a custom Red Windscreen. :D Overall: Overal it is awesome. I dont have time to explain just how great this thing is but I give it a 9.9 And coming from me, that is high praise.
18 of 19 people (94.74%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"How the Zoom H4N changed the way things get done" submitted March 21, 2012

By Roger L in Pensacola, FL
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Musical Background: Haven't played music in years, but did once play guitar and base...now I just preach.
Music Style: What music we record with this item is congregational singing, acapella.
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Overall: The church where I preach lost a semi-highend CD recorder to malfunction and age, so the time was right to look around for the newer and smaller digital possibilities. I had seen this product around for a little while but was concerned that it would not produce the deep, rich sound that funneled through the sound system into the old CD recorder. Took the chance, bought it, and can't be more pleased with the quality. It's as good as, and in some ways better, than the sound produced by some high-end microphones and a great sound system. The on-board mics are more than adequate to produce good quality voice recordings...and this thing is portable, unlike the old recorder. Great investment in my opinion
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"All Around Great Product" submitted October 16, 2013

By Cameron Bren in Madison, WI
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Overall: I am very pleased with this device. I use it for recording instruments, vocals, and jams. The quality is great and I am very happy with the performance of the microphones in every situation I have used it. Also the audio interface works great with low latency for monitoring instruments through your DAW or using the mics as USB microphone. The 4 track recorder is kind of a pain but that is because I am used to software. I actually use it a lot more than I thought because it is actually refreshing to work within narrow limits. I also use this for the work I do for newspapers and radio. Switch it in stamina mode and mix to mono and I am ready to go. The mark feature is excellent as it appears in soundforge when I pop the SD card in my computer. No major complaints, the device software could use some minor improvements but that may come with future update. Super solid feel and build quality.
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Zoom H4n Recorder Customer Review submitted December 20, 2010

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Musical Background: Piano student & YouTuber
Music Style: Classical piano
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Sound: Amazing sound. It's like having a hand-held recording studio. Extremely clear sound. It lowers the recorded volume soon after I start recording myself playing the piano, though. That might be because I am setting it right on top of my piano, which is not recommended in the instructions. Feature: I love the ability to record separate tracks and then combine them. That is amazing. Ease of Use: Very easy. Interface is very easy to work with. I haven't messed around with it enough yet to see if I can modify the sound to my personal taste. No learning curve. The manual is very clear. Works well with my piano, which is why I bought it. Quality: Well made, very reliable, I do worry about damaging it by dropping it, but so far I haven't done that. Would be perfect "on the road" - it seems like that's what it was made for. I can't think of any bad aspects of it. Seems like it'll last a long time if I take good care of it.
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"Great Quality - Easy To Use I'm a bass player - all kinds of music - and I do some video work as a hobby. In the two weeks I'v" submitted April 3, 2011

By a customer from frontiernet.net
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Musical Background: Retire Teacher/Active Musician
Music Style: Jazz, Orchestral, Shows
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Ease of Use: In a device this small and this good, features have to be buried in menus. That being said, I can't imagine how they could have done better. Quality: Is not a toy. Manufacturer Support: I followed set-up instructions and went to the website to download the latest software. Installation was quick and straightforward. Overall: There's always something new out there, but I can't imagine the Zoom H4n recorder not being useful.
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"Crisp and Clean Recording, User Friendly; That's All You Need To Know!!" submitted July 10, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Recording Engineer
Music Style: Rock
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: This product is amazing. They really paid attention to detail, all the buttons are in the perfect place. Thats really important when your on a film shoot and things are moving so fast you don't have time to take out the recorder and increase or decrease the recording volume and the play volume is in the perfect place as well. All I need now is some kickass headphones but my next purchase is going to be a shot gun mic. Feature: The headphones that came with it were good but not great which is why I'm looking for a better set of headphones. Ease of Use: I'm giving this a 9 mainly because I haven't read the manual, but I have midified it in some way. There is so much more to learn about this product but what I taught myself by just using it is truly amazing. This product is so user friendly. I'm 47 yrs old, which means I'm from the analog age and tape recorders where all we had to do is put a tape in and press play and record and this product is so much like it plus much much more. Quality: Yes the product was made very well, the quality was great and there was NO blemishes or scratches on it what so ever. As far as how long will it last and what I know of the digital age can be anybody's guess but as far as this product goes, if you treat it right and keep it clean and dust free and not bang it around it should last a very long time. Value: I think it was a fair price but don't quote me on it. Manufacturer Support: I can't grade this one because I have no experience with them, "yet". The Wow Factor: I like the fact that it has a threaded place on the back so you can mount it to a tri-pod for instance or your belt (all you need is a 1/4" bolt. Overall: That question is a hard one to answer especially for thos of us who are on a budget. I have a number of things in mind to purchase and I'm still in the building stage right now and if everything stays the same (very, very doubtful) it might be sometime before I look at any digital recorders. However on the flip side I'm still learning what I want to do and what I'm good at and it's changing all the time. All I can say is "Only time will tell".
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"WOW! Thats a LOWWW price!!!!" submitted May 17, 2010

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Features
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Manufacturer Support
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Musical Background: Active musician 18 years
Music Style: metal, country, rock, blues
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: The overall sound is amazing, the effects patches could use some tweaking, but for tone on recording guitar parts i'll stick with my rig. Yet with all the possibilities as far as recording options, you can literally spend days finding the best set up for your application. It has great control as far as recording level giving you the ability to cut out ambient noise, and as far as the recording clarity, the mics pick up acoustics very well, and if you can't get the studio sound you can plug direct line in. So all in all with all the options this recorder packs, it is hands down the best all in one out there, and zoom did not skimp on quality in any way. Feature: The features on this recorder are outstanding, minus the sounds of some effects, but as mentioned before, these effects aren't meant to replace a guitarists rig. The menu is well organized and the scroll button is a little tricky sometimes, but as much as you will use the H4N, it gets very easy to use. The built in tuners, yes i said tuner(S)are awesome. Unlimited as far as instruments and frequencies,really well designed. Again I have to mention the recording features, unlimited potential here too. Very plug and play after reading the manual once thru. Ease of Use: Amazingly with all the feature packed into the H4N, it is really easy to use. Especially going into a laptop or pc. I had a harder time configuring my laptop to recognize the device, than i did making my first recording which had four tracks bounced. The manual is clear and easy to understand. The only gripe here is Zoom decided to take a fairly easy device and pair it with the basterd software that takes a PhD. to figure out, and then don't include a cubase manual????? What gives? Quality: Have not had a single problem out of this unit, and believe it gets used almost daily. The only issue i did have was out of the box, the battery cover on the back does not like to stay put. But for my use it's alright after a lil' fixin'. You can tell Zoom really takes pride in putting this into their customers hands. Value: Ten again, for the package i would have spent at least $1,000. By time u add the 4Gb sound card and headphones, I bought the big package and don't regret it at all. amazingly low priced for what you get. Not to mention Cubase software. This unit cuts down on cables and equipment without sacrificing quality of sound. The general rule is less cable the better the sound quality. Manufacturer Support: The reason a ten out of ten here is there hasn't been any need to sit on hold to talk to a guy in India that barely speaks english. The Wow Factor: Believe me I can make great music, but this SEXY piece, allows me to make a studio quality recording of it for sharing. Overall: This unit I guarantee will be with me forever. Although i do use alot of hi-end recording equipment in the studio, this is the piece that records and gets me ready for sessions, and putting my videos on the web.
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"Great features and flexibility" submitted July 23, 2010

By a customer from musicstudents.com
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Musical Background: hobbyist and web publisher
Music Style: various styles
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Sound: Excellent sound; I have been testing it with a variety of mics and this guy picks up everything. Crystal clear and realistic tone. Tip: buy premium cables because you will be able to tell the difference with this unit. Feature: I am new to this era of handheld recorders; for years I've been recording to the hard drive with a Turtle Beach sound card. Finally I had to change the fan in my computer and the new one was so loud, I couldn't ignore it any more. Time to upgrade. I was thrilled to record my first test with the H4n and not hear a thing but my music (and my breathing, my pants brushing against my chair, my headphone cord swinging back and forth. This thing could record the sound of paint drying). I checked out the unit and came across some great features that have already saved me aggravation. For example, this thing can record the PREVIOUS two seconds of audio, so you can hear a sound, and THEN start your recording. It actually goes back in time two seconds (I plan to use it to record coyote calls in the wild, by the way). Another great feature is automatic record, it will start to record when it receives a signal (you set the level). Then it will shut off when there's no more signal. This means you can record take after take without touching the unit. This is great if you're strapped into your guitar, in position with the mics, you don't have to worry about leaning over and touching any buttons. You just say "Yo!" and the recording starts. You can also use this feature to trigger multiple units at once, for example, different mics in different parts of the room can all be started at the same time by your voice or a clap of your hands, and then mixed and synchronized together later. That's why I bought a second unit, and plan for another later on. The only problem with this is, it's so easy to record takes, you may end up with hours of takes to wade through later. Ease of Use: It does take some learning and getting used to (I'm not there yet, but it's pretty self-explanatory if you page through all the menus). One thing took me a while to figure out - there's a little wheel you spin to change your selection, well, when you want to choose that one, you push the whole wheel in rather than turning it, this was something I hadn't seen before. The manual is not all that clear, but you will get it. There's quite a lot of features and info, including lots of amp and pre-amp emulations and other tools - metronome, tuner, etc. You have to dig in there to find it all. One thing I noticed, it's kind of hard to clip with this unit, and a very handy feature is, when you do exceed your recording level there's a lit button that blinks. So you can easily see if you're clipping, so you can get an idea of how strongly to play, how far to stand from the mic, or if you need to adjust the recording level. What I do is chop a couple of loud chords and see if the light blinks, and if not, I'm good to go. Quality: Seems very solid and well made. Value: I don't know about the competition, but this has more features than the Marantz unit I was considering at half the price. Also cheaper than the Tascams I believe. Manufacturer Support: have not needed The Wow Factor: it's not that pretty, just functional. Overall: what I wanted was quiet recording away from the computer, and portability. This fits all my needs, and lets me record sychronized takes for multiple channel mixing. Quality is better than what I have been using, and flexibility is very good - it will accept any mic and provides phantom power for them. My idea is to make up briefcases with mics, pre-amp, cables, and Zoom recorder all connected and set up so I can store it easily and when I whip it out, it's already set up. This fits the bill perfectly. The H4n works well with its own mics or with external mics. However I had trouble with a line level input source being too loud. None of the inputs on this unit are line level. However I also purchased an H2, the smaller unit, and it has an input that handled the line level source just fine. One nice thing about the H4n vs. the H2, the H4n loads its files to your computer much faster than the H2, must have a larger bus. Very fast to upload.
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"I take care of my H4n because it has no protection for the mics and they look kind of delicated but the sound is awsome and it m" submitted August 18, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Blues, Rock, classical
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Sound: The quality of sound is awsome, the features are really cool. I have recorded in the multitrack mode and it is really good Feature: It takes a little while to figure out how to use it but once you get the basics you are good. Ease of Use: It is easy to learn the basics and since you can create so many different projects with the H4n it will take some time to be a pro with it. The hardest part, I think is to install the software Cubase LE5 that comes with it. Quality: Really good Value: I think it is expensive, 300 bucks, but the product is very good and you will not regret. Manufacturer Support: Not needed yet. The Wow Factor: It is nice looking and easy to access the features.
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"GREAT PRODUCT!" submitted January 29, 2014

By Toni S in Teaneck, NJ
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Musical Background: Play piano, drums over 35 years
Music Style: Christian, R&B, Country, Neo Soul
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Overall: Mainly use for vocals. What I like most is the crisp clear sound of each recording I have made. It is pretty easy to use.I have used a few others but this is the best hands down!
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"Great Recorder.. Great Customer Service!!!" submitted February 3, 2012

By P M in New York, NY
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Overall: The professionalism, courtesy, kindness and knowledge was unparallelled at zZounds. They matched the price of another store, had free shipping, and my product arrived promptly. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Other stores should start taking notes on how to run their customer service. You've made a customer for life. I've recommended and will continue to recommend you to ALL my musician friends who are looking to purchase. Thank you again!
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"Works for me " submitted June 29, 2014

By marc burbank in North Houston , TX
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Musical Background: off and on since 1966.played pro. many yrs..primarily recording these days.(drummer)
Music Style: Classical rock, rock, blues. Classic country, and swing.
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Overall: What's not to like. Up to 4 channel recording, put the mic anywhere you need it.
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"goog" submitted March 24, 2014

By boris neiburger in Brooklyn, NY
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Musical Background: colledge
Music Style: rock, jazz
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Overall: professional recorder, very comfortable, good quality.
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"Get it" submitted December 4, 2009

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Active
Music Style: Rock, Alternative, Other
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Sound: Clear and Crisp. My bass is thick. Liking the sounds qaulity very much pretty good for the money. Feature: the remote should have came with it and a bigger SD card Quality: not built too bad, has prtoective case you could drop it hear and there but it oviosuly by handling not indestrucable by any mean Value: cant beat this with out pay say another 150 dollas and still questionable to the best option even still Manufacturer Support: My dealer helped me. The Wow Factor: This can do anything you need it to really. NO. It doesnt sonds like something youd get studio qaulity professional mixers etc. But this will make you a damn good demo and so eas yto carry around GET THIS YOU WONT REGRET IT! Overall: EAsy use, found my way through dials. many features for price, and the internal mics are incredible. Not what you might expect, but it is what you get!
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"Great Intro recorder" submitted March 6, 2012

By a customer from gmail.com
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Overall: I've thoroughly enjoyed using this little recorder. I've done some field recording using the built in stereo mic and it sounds a lot better than I expected. I haven't played with any of the special features yet, but it's easy to get started and produces nice recordings.
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"Too many features, actually" submitted May 21, 2012

By Miles L in Austin, TX
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Musical Background: Professional-almost fifty years.
Music Style: eclectic
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Overall: The manual has over 150 pages, poorly written pages, at that. You will read them and say, out loud, "Huh?" Yeah, they're in English, but English as interpreted by a non-English-as-a-native-speaker tech writer. This little unit records things well, but it has so many other features, and their use is non-intuitive/counter intuitive when it comes to the many menus and buttons. That being said, the unit records things darn well.
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"I LOVE this thing!" submitted September 29, 2009

By a customer from opendb.com
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Musical Background: Amateur musician for decades; recording hobbyist about 5 years
Music Style: Rock.
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Sound: I mainly use this for recording live bands at clubs, and for occasionally recording a song idea. The sound with the built-in mics is very good -- much better than I expected -- and it's even better with good external mics. (I seem to remember the H4 had some reports of noisy preamps for the external mics, but the H4n seems to be very quiet.) The best live-band recording I've done so far was with a borrowed pair of Rode NT5s in an ORTF pattern, so I intend to get a set of those soon. The best bass and guitar recordings I've done were with an SM-57 directly in front of the amp speaker and the amp's "aux amp" output plugged directly into the other jack, but the D.I. alone with added amp modeling and effects also works well. For acoustic guitar, the built-in mics aren't bad, but I like the sound I get with a pair of MXL 990s. But I'll probably continue using the built-in mics most of the time in clubs just because they are so convenient, and they sound reasonably good on live music. (You really need a room with good acoustics in the first place before better mics will do you much good, anyway.) I haven't yet had a chance to try it plugged directly into the house mixer, but judging from how well it does with mics, I'm guessing that will give you a very professional sounding live recording. Two things to watch for that screwed up my first recording in a small club, however: (1) Don't try to push the record level too close to 0 db. If you do, you'll probably get occasional clipping, which causes a nasty distortion that can't really be fixed even with "peak restoration" software. (My old UA-25 USB interface had an analog limiter that was much more forgiving, so I guess I got the bad habit of recording at high levels.) Leave yourself some room and aim for peaks no higher than about -6 db or even lower. The 24-bit sampling gives you plenty of depth, and with the noise level being fairly low you can normalize later (the H4n has that built in), or bring up the levels in your DAW. And (2), even though it's convenient to sit this on its little tripod on a table in a club, people walking by 3 or 4 feet in front of the mics can cause a proximity effect that changes the sound. So if you can't position yourself to avoid that, you'll want to get the mics up as high as you can. (The last place I went where I anticipated that because of the dance floor, I took a light-weight camera tripod, set it on the table without extending the legs and cranked up the center post as far as it would go, and it worked great.) Feature: Nice accessories; I especially appreciate the plastic case. (It's not padded, however, so you may prefer putting it in a camera bag, but I like the plastic case because I can still fit it in a pocket.) The handle that lets you stick it in a mic clip is cute and will probably be appreciated by some, but I haven't needed that. (It would probably be good in a situation where you need to hold the H4n while recording, to minimize handling noise.) Ease of Use: Ease of use is what I really love about this thing! I was doing live recording with a couple of large condensers (in separate cases), a UA-25 USB interface and a laptop computer, so I was lugging around a full backpack plus a mic stand and cables. It took me about 15 minutes to get set up -- after finding a wall outlet, that is -- get plugged in, booted and ready to record. This thing fits in my pocket as is ready to record in about 15 seconds, and rechargeable batteries will run it for hours. (And I'm getting better recordings,too, not the least reason being I no longer have Vista causing occasional pops and dropouts because it has something it thinks my computer should be doing instead of tending to the USB stream.) The screen is fairly large and backlit, which I understand is a considerable improvement over the H2 and H4. Most functions that are not controlled by the front buttons are controlled with a side-mounted Menu/Exit button and a scroll-and-click thumbwheel -- a lot like a Blackberry -- and I find it very easy to use after you learn your way around the menus. Record and playback levels are controlled with rockers on the sides. I think the Zoom engineers did a wonderful job of putting a LOT of features in this thing yet keeping it fairly easy to use. Did I mention I LOVE this thing? Quality: Seems to be very solid and looks great. I haven's seen an H4 "in person", but this is much nicer than my friend's H2. Value: This thing does a great job of recording and has features I don't see on more expensive models. Manufacturer Support: Haven't needed it. Overall: I'm very happy with this because I can now do what I've always dreamed of -- getting good quality live recordings -- in an unbelievably portable and convenient package.
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"Great little portable recorder! Not a great interface! " submitted September 19, 2011

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Musical Background: Semi Pro/ Lead Guitar - Songwriter
Music Style: Bluegrass to Bebop
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Sound: This little unit has amazing sound in a small package.Great for throwing together a quick demo of a freshly written song. I would score it higher if the Asio driver worked better with the recording software that comes with it. Feature: As far as features I think it has way more than a lot of more expensive recorders. The built in effects and preamps are handy fun to play with. The USB interface works well but not so well with Cubase. Ease of Use: While it is pretty easy to get going on this machine to do some of the more advanced things takes some tinkering. There is a learning curve and the manual that comes with it is very small print.(I downloaded the PDF version). I have not yet figured out how to make an imported *.wav file part of a new project. I can't get it work in any of the 3 modes. It will play back in Stereo but is useless in MTR or 4ch mode. Quality: This unit is well made.The onboard mic housings don't inspire confidence but the main part of the unit seems quite durable. Value: This is a tough one, I bought this unit over more expensive multitrack recorders hoping to use it not only for my Micro 4/3rds GH1 but to dabble in my songwriting with the computer. It hits a homerun on the video portion but as an interface for my recording software I am a little disappointed. Hopefully after I have more time with it I will solve the issues I'm having. Manufacturer Support: I was able to download drivers and a PDF manual at their website. They don't have support for the Cubase LE5 software which is disappointing.(they leave it to Steinberg makers of Cubase). I'll give them a passing grade for having a users forum and drivers readily available. The Wow Factor: For me it's just practical. I would like to see it come bundled with better software. Sexy naw! Overall: I am already wishing I would have bought a Multi-track like the 2488 neo. The H4n delivers as a portable quality recorder for someone shooting video or songwriting but as of right now(1 week in)I'm not thrilled with it as an interface.
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"good.. but some bad features for me." submitted March 21, 2011

By a customer from volny.cz
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Musical Background: recordist
Music Style: rock, jazz, country
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Sound: Recorded some Live piano, violin and rock concerts. Used for backup field recordings. Did good job. No noticable noise or distortion. But not detaily tested... Internal mics maybe shout be less noisy and I don't like at all the highs, which is too much crisp for me. But it's just feeling. And I hate that any touch of H4n is very noticable, when recording on Internal microphones. Feature: Accesories good, I don't use the musicians features like metronom, tuner, and dubbing... Some Timecode free run function will be great.. I realy don't like that the machine started to work slowly, when the card is almost full. (2GB) To record it takes maybe 10 second!! For me is folder's useless. But the XLR with phantom, Date/time names, 24/48kHz, Wav, Mp3 ... are great features. I'm missing some cover bag.. I hate the bateries life!! In no stamina mode maybe 1 hour with alcalic no recharged bateries. And Stamina mode no allow 4ch record, Mp3 record and just 44,1kHz. Ease of Use: To record you have to push the button twice.. It's stupid. Quality: I prefer non plastic equipment. I'm afraid that no survive a lot when I will be using on film documents and field recording. But I have it for 1 year now and have not any trouble. Value: For that price I think you could not have better. Manufacturer Support: not yet tested... The Wow Factor: With professional sound field recodist - 5.. there are many better, but much more expensive with non professionals - 9 .. great Overall: For that many I like it. And I hope it stand in good condition for long time.
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"Disappointed" submitted May 31, 2012

By David Courtemanche in Irvine, CA
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Musical Background: 20 years, Bass Guitar, Home recording
Music Style: varies
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Overall: As for recording quality and functionality, can't complain. What I can complain about is quality of manufacture. My H4n is a little over a year old (so, out of warranty). It's been used maybe a dozen times at the most, in very mundane settings. All of a sudden, the battery unit stops working. Still works with AC power, but no battery. Sent it in for repair and it cost me $155. That's more than half the cost of brand new. Will not purchase another piece of Zoom equipment.
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