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ZoomH4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version)
 
4.6

(based on 1013 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (679)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (280)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (33)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (15)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (6)

97%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound (832)
  • Easy to use (783)
  • Versatile (704)
  • Low distortion (459)
  • Good power output (403)

Cons

  • Unnecessary functions (56)
  • Difficult to use (42)
  • Poor quality construction (29)
  • Weak (13)
  • Short battery life (11)

Best Uses

  • Professional recording (576)
  • Outdoor events / games (494)
  • Amateur recording (472)
  • Performances (435)
  • Home studio (383)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (699), Novice (149), Professional musician (84)
    • Primary use:
    • Personal (4), Business (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Multi-functional

In my opinion, this piece of equipment is a must have for any multimedia professional. But before I rave, lets start first with some cons...

What I was least...Read complete review

In my opinion, this piece of equipment is a must have for any multimedia professional. But before I rave, lets start first with some cons...

What I was least pleased with, was the exclusion of any way to attach this to my body or clothing. Even searching B&H and the rest of the internet I wasn't able to find much besides a case that looked cumbersome and over-the-top. Because I use this as a mobile unit to supplement the shotgun mic for my DSLR, it needed to be attached to me, and not shoved in some pocket where buttons could be pressed if the unit was unlocked. To solve this I ended up going to my local hardware store and constructing myself a belt-clip that screwed into the threads on the back. A bit of work, and hardly ideal, but it works. Also, I find that the menu is a little annoying to navigate (there's a dial that you spin on the side of it to move up and down). Not a deal breaker by any means, but again, when you're the sound guy on a set, it's not fun being waited on because you're adjusting settings between shots. I've also found that the way the files are categorized is upsetting. Simple 01, 02, 03 file names makes it difficult to recall files if not renamed after being upload. But being diligent to date file folders with when the audio was recorded avoids having 20 "01" files floating around. Finally, least of all, there is no lock for the XLR cable like most systems and microphones have, so when hanging from my belt I am always afraid that I will yank out the XLR. Simply something to be aware of.

The pros however, are wonderful. The built-in elements aren't the best, but for a piece of equipment of this price, they pass with flying colors. Great for room tones and background audio. The XLRs are also 1/4th connectors which provides great versatility. The back lit screen works wonders in dark environment such as concert halls, dance recitals, or plays. It is very clear whether or not you are recording. There's a lock function on the side to prevent tampering while recording. The threads on the back make it easy to attach to a mic stand or tripod (granted appropriate thread adapters). Phantom power... oh yes, phantom power, is probably the main reason I bought this little guy. And many people complain that it runs through batteries too quick. Well, you ARE using 48v if you've got phantom power engaged (it also has a 24v option), so of course you're going to run through batteries! I bought 8 rechargeable Pearstone batteries and they will last me all day. I can recharge them at night, and go all day the next day. Stamina mode is also wonderful if 16 bit - 44.1kHz - MP3 is acceptable audio for your purpose. Stamina mode running the attached elements will run for HOURS on two fully charged batteries. The gain is plenty, and pretty darn clean at that. The ability to record the mic elements and XLR/TRS inputs is great as well, and I use it often. The XLR/TRS levels can be adjusted independently of each other or linked together. One XLR channel can be summed to mono to reduce any post work. Built in limiter is better than clipped audio... The list goes on and on (believe me)!

In all, this really is a must have. There are so many uses, and it has saved me numerous times. It's small enough to fit in my camera case along with my shotgun mic and a short coiled up XLR cable. Fits the bill perfectly. Get one!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

More than disappointment

I rated this product as I did at 2 stars because of a complex of draw backs and cons which prevented me from hailing this unit and praising it as I hoped I would be...Read complete review

I rated this product as I did at 2 stars because of a complex of draw backs and cons which prevented me from hailing this unit and praising it as I hoped I would be able to. Let us see why step by step but first let me assure you that I am not one of those negative people who has generally negative outlook at life and whom it is virtually impossible to please. I rated other things very high and in some cases gave other products on other sites the highest ratings too. I am a videographer and purchased this unit in hopes to get professional grade sound for my videos. Reasoning was its compact size combined with ability to record at 24bit/96kHz as well as XLR inputs which are critical to me. I intended to use this unit as a backdrop environment sound for back channels in 5.1 or as a backup for main sound pattern in some cases.I will start with topmost star rating of 5 as permitted on this site and go from there. I will explain each problem that Zoom H4n exposes and subtract corresponding value for each.First thing first: the sound quality. While built-in microphones provide sufficient sound clarity and recording at 24/96 produces sufficient frequency spectrum, the level of self-noise is simply overwhelming to me. Do not be confused although, it is not overly loud for most consumer-related needs and will probably work quite well for most of the tasks which all other reviewers here seem to mention, but in my case the expected result is compared to a production level and it does not withstand even moderate criticism. I was able to get by only when I hooked up one of my studio mics (Audiotechnica 4033 to be specific) via phantom-powered XLR inputs, recorded voice-over narrations this way and then used software on my PC to apply noise gate at -40dB followed by voice compressor. Then only my recordings became more or less acceptable in quality for production. Forget "perfect" as many people here say and I am not even talking about decent, the quality reached mere acceptable status: the noise, removed from the pauses between speeches was still layered over the voice and you could hear it quite distinctively. To be fair although, many people may not notice it because they listen to the text and their attention is usually drawn to the context but since my job was making it sound right, I was paying attention to the sound itself and I could hear every flaw loud and clear while computer signal analysis visualizes the noise for me.I decided to give it another try and attempted to record something which is quite hard to capture very clearly: a cat purr. This time I used built-in mics and chased my little kitty when she was purring in gratitude for food. I shoved this thing right in her face which made my pet scared for a while but eventually the job was done. Imagine my frustration when I looked at my sound in Sound Forge and heard it in my speakers. Forget computer hardware issues, I have highest quality 24 and 32 bit processing sound card and excellent sound system and I look at the sound in analyzer rather than relying on cheap speakers as many do. My recording went straight to trash. The job wasn't handled at all.Again, if you are nothing more than an average person who never heard of 24bit DVD-Audio or Super Audio CD and spent no more than $1000 for your home sound system or do not work in audio/video production, you have nothing to worry about: you may not notice any issues with noise. But if you are a professional who needs quality above all, be forewarned. For this very significant and probably most critical issue with Zoom H4n I am taking one star off of the highest available rating. This is quite moderate subtraction in my opinion by the way. So far we are at 4 stars.Next, it allows 24bit at 96kHz recording in Mono and Stereo mode only. For 4 channel recording you are limited to 24bit at 48kHz only and if you hoped to use MTR mode, forget 24 bit, you are back to basics and that is 16bit at 44.1kHz only. Too bad, I wish it allowed 24 bit across the board. In my dreams in case with Zoon H4n although. Subtracting one more star and we are at 3 now.Next, Zoom H4n ASIO driver is not meant to work with 64bit operating systems. This means that if you have Vista 64 or Windows 7 64 bit, forget about connecting your Zoom and using included Cubase LE4 directly. Not going to happen. All you can do is get your SD card, copy files via card reader and work with files this way. This also means that all promised native support in inclosed Cubase LE4 is gone. If you wish it worked as promised, get yet one more PC or make you computer multi-boot and install 32bit OS. This means additional draw back which makes me very disappointed. Visit this forum and see what user Guyatone who seems to be working for Zoom Corporation says about not being interested even in making their product 64bit OS compatible: [@]I want to be moderate and I subtract half a star at this time. Therefore we are at 2.5 stars now.Next issue is with included Cubase LE4. While this software is supplied by Steinberg ([@]) rather than Zoom Corporation, it is still sold together with Zoom and therefore becomes part of the deal. As such it affects the general perception of the product and therefore Zoom folks should pay very close attention to this piece as well in order to keep their face up. Unfortunately, there is a huge problem here too. You cannot use CubaseLE4 more than 30 days or 3000 launches without activation but Steinberg's software activation web page does not work. First, you create an account on their site which works ok. Then you are forwarded to a page where you select Cubase LE4 for activation and registration and that's when you get "Error 404: not found page" message. Excuse me? Yes, you bought this product legitimately, you wish to register and activate it and instead you get "404" garbage. I don't know about you but this makes me very mad. Steinberg is yet to fix their issues, I am still not activated yet: we will see how long it would take them to fix their poor design issues. But because I am such a nice and cool guy, I am subtracting another half a star only. And that brings us to 2 stars only.I hoped to sing praises to this unit when I ordered it based on feedback of all other reviewers on this site but after encountering all mentioned above issues I am contemplating on returning my unit for refund. I still need some compact low noise recorder with 24 bit capability and XLR input as Zoom didn't stand up to its reputation.

Reviewed by 1013 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Easy and effective

By Jackie the amateur podcaster

from New York City, NY

About Me Novice

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Low Distortion
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio

    Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

    I'm pretty amateur in the field of sound recording, but when I decided to make a podcast, I knew that I would need an effective portable recording device. The H4n was easy to learn to use, and create quality sound that I can carry around in my bag. Its not hard to learn how to use, and that was valuable for me as I don't have a full education on the subject. I'm really pleased with it, and would definitely recommend it for someone else with my recording needs.

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    3.0

    Fantastic all around but a SERIOUSLY big flaw.

    By Kolb Visuals

    from PA

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Compact
    • Easy To Use
    • Excellent Sound
    • Low Distortion
    • Powerful
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • Files Easily Corrupted

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

    I bought this back in late 2012 and I instantly fell in love. It was small, portable, and recorded high quality audio. I use it for everything from voiceovers in a studio, interviews on and off camera, demo tracks and scratch tracks as well as live sound recording at events. But one thing you have to know about this before using it in any environment is this. If you do not use the correct SD card (Which I have yet to figure out which works fine) it will shut down in the middle of recording and you will be left with an audio file that is unusable. This happened to me first in summer 2014. I was filming a wedding. After I wrapped up I walked over to my Zoom and it was turned off. What I thought happened was human error. I thought I simply forgot to hit record and it shut off after a few mins. Ok I walked away making sure that would never happen again. Summer of this year I was doing an interview with a man in Poland. When it was over the same thing happened. Thought once again I was just an idiot and I beat myself up. this past weekend I was filming another wedding when this happened again. But this time I checked several times during the process to make sure that I had in fact started the recording process. Absolutely ticked off at this point. I do a little digging and find out the little tid bit about the SD card.

    So aside from that one HUGE flaw its really tremendous. Just be weary of what SD card you use. Do some research.

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    2.0

    High Frequency Glitch

    By Tom Trinley

    from Evanston, IL

    Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

    Have had the H4n for about a year. Recently, while using a pro mic connected to one of the XLR inputs and monitoring with headphones, a high frequenting ticking sound is recorded. This makes the recording unusable. The problem seems to be with the headphone jack. When I pull the headphone jack out slightly, the ticking stops.

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    5.0

    The best for your money

    By Vladislav

    from Russia, Moscow

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Excellent Sound

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Events
      • Home Studio
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

      I am Russian, and my English is not perfect. I hope you understand me. Zoom H4n - ideal for podcasts, screencasts. Also ideal as an external microphone for video DSLR. The sound quality is sufficient for all purposes.

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      5.0

      Incredible

      By Anna

      from New York

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact
      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Low Distortion
      • Powerful
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

        I use this product to record audio for my short films as well as record music recitals. I love everything about this Recorder - it's easy, it always works, and it's sound quality is wondrous. I have nothing to complain about towards this product. It produces extremely high-quality sound

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        4.0

        Still the better for stereo recordings than the Zoom H5

        By Kristen

        from New York

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Excellent Internal Stereo
        • Versatile

        Cons

        • Not Enough External Gain

        Best Uses

        • Stereo Field Recording

        Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

        I've been using a Zoom H4n since they first came out, to create experiential field recordings in stereo for an immersive audio podcast. But I also use it in 4-channel mode with a single shotgun mic, in order to isolate a subject's voice in an interview, while still capturing good ambient sound. I'd been frustrated with the gain on the external mics (sometimes you have to crank it all the way up to 95 in order to get a good signal), so recently I tried to "upgrade" to a Zoom H5. But I quickly discovered on the H5 that, while the external mic problem was now totally fixed, I now had the exact same gain problem with the Zoom's *internal* mics (my favorite part of the machine). I returned the H5 and am now back to my H4n. The sound on the internal mics is loud and beautiful, and I love the flexibility to create a wider stereo image at 120 degrees (a feature unavailable on the H5 unless you by a separate microphone module). It's a great machine.

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        5.0

        The best out there

        By The Good Doctor

        from Portland, OR

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Excellent Sound

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Events
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

          as a freelance videographer, i have not come across a better recording device in this price range. you simply cannot beat the h4n.

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          5.0

          GREAT ITEM !!!

          By Menduco

          from Bay Shore, NY

          Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

          This is an amazing recorder, professional quality with a very convenient price.
          Shipping was pretty faster. I used this recorder for a short film and the results is perfect.

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          4.0

          Nice!

          By Rocky Organza

          from NYC

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Compact
          • Easy To Use
          • Excellent Sound
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

              Love dis little recorder! Worked great for my web series which was like "Star Trek" meets "The Fugitive" (the TV show). I'm not Spielberg, I'm just Rocky Organza, but dis worked great for me and I think it'll work great for yous too! Im gonna use it again for my upcoming project called "My Mother-in-Law's Brisket." It's a comedy if you couldnt tell.

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              5.0

              Can't imagine anything else

              By Don

              from Colorado

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Compact
              • Easy To Use
              • Excellent Sound
              • Powerful

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Home Studio
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                This thing is perfect for recording sound. I use it for my videos. I like to record my video separate from my audio so I can match it up better or get the mic closer than my camera. It takes some playing with until you totally understand it, and now that I know how to use it, I don't want any other recorder.

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                5.0

                I would buy this product again and again

                By Navin

                from India

                About Me Professional Musician

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Compact
                • Easy To Use
                • Excellent Sound
                • Low Distortion
                • Powerful
                • Versatile

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Amateur Recording

                  Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                  Good Product

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                  5.0

                  It works well

                  By DayDreamJohnny

                  from Los Angeles

                  Verified Buyer

                  Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                  I've used this for two little short films so far and it gets the job done.

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                  5.0

                  Awesome

                  By Liz

                  from East Haddam, CT

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Excellent Sound
                  • Versatile

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                      Love the H4n much better than Tascam

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                      5.0

                      Outstanding Quality and Easy to Use

                      By John

                      from New Jersey

                      About Me Experienced

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Compact
                      • Easy To Use
                      • Excellent Sound
                      • Low Distortion
                      • Powerful
                      • Versatile

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Events
                        • Performances
                        • Primary Source Audio
                        • Professional Recording

                        Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                        Pristine audio quality. I actually used this to backup audio recorded to a CF disk for video shoot. Now I use it as my primary audio source that I edit in.

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                        5.0

                        Handy little recorder

                        By Chris Swann

                        from Texas

                        About Me Experienced

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy To Use
                        • Excellent Sound
                        • Versatile

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Corporate
                          • Indie
                          • Industrial
                          • Professional Recording

                          Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                          Handy way to record your primary audio or to act as a back up unit. Easy to use, flexible, and good quality. Sturdy build, seems like it will take some abuse.

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                          5.0

                          A Great Recorder

                          By Brent

                          from Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area

                          Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                          I've used the Zoom H4n before on a short film. The XLR inputs make the use of any mic convenient, and the menu is simple and easy to navigate. I was able to record clean dialogue with no problem at all. Highly recommended.

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                          5.0

                          LOVE IT!

                          By Nexrai

                          from Wisconsin

                          About Me Experienced

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Easy To Use
                          • Excellent Sound
                          • Low Distortion

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Amateur Recording
                            • Events
                            • Home Studio
                            • Professional Recording

                            Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                            The audio quality on these recorders are wonderful just by itself and being able to plug it external boom mics is great as well. I'm very happy with the audio I've captured from these to use in my short films.

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                            4.0

                            The one to have

                            By RKONeil

                            from Virginia

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Excellent Sound
                            • Versatile

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                                Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                                Not the most intuitive interface, but manageable.
                                Great sound quality, very versatile.
                                This is the way to go!

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                                4.0

                                Handy

                                By marknox

                                from Toronto, ON, Canada

                                About Me Professional Musician

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Compact
                                • Easy To Use
                                • Excellent Sound
                                • Low Distortion

                                Cons

                                • A Little Hiss When Quiet

                                Best Uses

                                • Amateur Recording
                                • Events
                                • Low-budget Film

                                Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                                Compact, easy to use and very handy as a location recorder for film, video or archiving.
                                Easy off-load to any computer thru USB.
                                A must-have gadget for any audio tech.

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                                5.0

                                Quality Device

                                By Fred

                                from Houston, TX

                                About Me Experienced

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Compact
                                • Easy To Use
                                • Excellent Sound

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Amateur Recording
                                  • Home Studio

                                  Comments about Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder (2009 Version):

                                  I bought it for record a video clip sound. It works perfectly.

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