Submitted July 23, 2010 by a customer from musicstudents.com
"Great features and flexibility"
zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
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.
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.
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.
Seems very solid and well made.
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.
have not needed
The Wow Factor
it's not that pretty, just functional.
hobbyist and web publisher
5 of 6 people (83%) people found this review helpful. Did you?
Thanks for your opinion!