REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
ZoomH4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder
 
4.6

(based on 914 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (607)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (260)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (28)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (14)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

97%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound (765)
  • Easy to use (716)
  • Versatile (649)
  • Low distortion (421)
  • Good power output (379)

Cons

  • Unnecessary functions (52)
  • Difficult to use (39)
  • Poor quality construction (26)
  • Short battery life (11)
  • Weak (11)

Best Uses

  • Professional recording (531)
  • Outdoor events / games (449)
  • Amateur recording (427)
  • Performances (405)
  • Home studio (343)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (644), Novice (136), Professional musician (75)
    • 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 914 customers

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5.0

Total workhorse

By Jared H

from Minneapolis, MN

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

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

Cons

  • Drains batteries

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Events
  • Home Studio
  • Performances

Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

I've used the H4N on many indie and low budget films as well as concerts at clubs around town. I've also used more professional equipment bust most of it's out of my price range. I'm glad I finally bought one for myself. It's rugged and can get the job done. Obviously, there's more noise with this than the higher end field recorders but the H4N is by far the best bang for your buck!

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5.0

A Versatile Necessity

By natethefilmmaker

from Norfolk, NE

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Compact
  • Excellent Sound
  • Low Distortion
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

    I am a Digital Media major in college and use my school's Zoom extensively in a wide variety of applications. I liked it so much that I purchased my own. I've used it to record interviews, choir concerts, voice-overs, and background movie music – using both the built-in and external mics.
    The built-in mics perform exceptionally well with little to no noise. I also love the Zoom's ability to record with externals and built-ins at the same time.
    It's portable, durable, versatile, and well-priced.
    -A must-have for anyone needing pro-audio on a budget.

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    5.0

    My favorite field recorder

    By Elizabeth

    from Denver

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact
    • Easy To Use
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

      This recorder is flexible and lightweight enough that I'm able to use it under a great variety of recording conditions.

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      5.0

      I would buy this product again and again

      By Alex P Studio

      from Marlboro NJ

      Verified Buyer

      Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

      to record audio

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      4.0

      H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder

      By NWNatural

      from Gig Harbor, WA

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact
      • Easy To Use
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

        Great piece of recording equipment but keep in mind it works really well! almost too well as it'll pick up sounds that you might over look in any normal setting. For example, I video recorded an interview of a WWII vet and rather than rely on the Mark III's microphone I used the H4N instead and attached it to a mic stand. I found that I was able to hear almost too much, like the subjects stomach growls, finger scratching and other unmentionable noises..the kinds nobody wants to hear if you catch my drift. No fault of the recorder though..it does what it's suppose to do. Also the recorder has so many features and with its versility it's really worth the price.

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        4.0

        H4n Review

        By Tavia

        from Florida

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

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

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Filmmaking

          Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

          I use the H4n for independent short films. It's easy to transport and store and is user-friendly. I would like to have a clip for it when I'm attaching a separate mic to it.

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          5.0

          Excellent 4 Track Recorder

          By PTN

          from Phoenix

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

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

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Events
            • Home Studio
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

            Works great for recording sound tracks on documentaries and other video productions. The mike on DSLRs are not adequate, and the H4N gives me the ability to get outstanding sound on my projects.

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            5.0

            Great Value

            By Orange Bear

            from Dubai

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

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

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Events
              • Professional Recording

              Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

              We use this in our video production and its so light and portable that we use this thing a lot, I mean a lot. Although there was a already an H6 when we bought this, (we do not require a lot of inputs) we felt that this gadget would suit best to our needs. We do mainly corporate video interviews and this thing suits our requirements very well. the new model is kinda overkill for us. so value for money, this really fits our budget and need.

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              4.0

              Great machine

              By Freddie

              from Ardsley, NY

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Compact
              • Easy To Use
              • Excellent Sound
              • Versatile

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Events
                • Performances
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                Even though I've been a TV and Video producer for over 30 years and have always been observant while my crews set up and use their equipment, I don't own a lot of professional audio gear. I have a few mics and cables but I've just added the Zoom H4n to my arsenal and I'm so impressed with the quality, ease of use and price point of this device. I got some advice from three trusted audio techs and they all suggested the Zoom so I figured I can't go wrong. And I was right. I was able to use my XLR Sony mics, change some settings to my liking and rename files. I'm very pleased that I added the Zoom to my bag of tricks and can fully recommend this device for the professional, semi-pro and/or amateur video producer or audio tech.

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                5.0

                Great Recorder

                By Budman 49

                from New Smyrna Beach, Fl

                About Me Experienced

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Easy To Use
                • Excellent Sound
                • Versatile

                Cons

                • None

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Home Studio
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                I used this recorder for my video I did for Multi-Media class. It is easy to set up and the capture is really good. I had my friend Danita monitor the recording with headphones and the resulting audio will be used in my video production. This recorder is made really well and seems like it will be durable. I have two more semesters of video, so this recorder will get well used. I like the remote, just wish it had a stop button.

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                3.0

                Seems decent

                By Switching

                from Cameroon

                About Me Novice

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                      I actually haven't used this microphone much yet, but from playing around with and testing it, it seems like a decent tool. I bought it as a more affordable option to record audio for videos filmed on a DSLR camera, so I hope it ends up suiting that purpose.

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                      4.0

                      Great Product Easy to use

                      By Mike

                      from Melbourne, FL

                      About Me Novice

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Compact
                      • Easy To Use
                      • Powerful
                      • Versatile

                      Cons

                      • No Rechargeble Battery

                      Best Uses

                      • Amateur Recording
                      • Professional Recording

                      Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                      Very easy to use and set up to work with my DSLR. Excellent way to get professional quality audio when you are just getting into DSLR video.

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                      5.0

                      excellent products and professional

                      By AKareem

                      from Qatar

                      About Me Experienced

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

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

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Professional Recording

                        Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                        Handy and very easy to use in my filming...

                        Share this review

                         
                        3.0

                        Very Handy Audio Recorder

                        By Glassroom Video

                        from Washington DC

                        About Me Professional Musician

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

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

                        Cons

                        • Difficult To Use

                        Best Uses

                        • Amateur Recording
                        • Events
                        • Performances
                        • Professional Recording
                        • Video Production

                        Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                        The interface of the operating system could look better but other than that, it's a great device. I use it for weddings and corporate video production. It's capable of monitoring the input and can mount to standard 1/4in mounts on rigs. Has "recording" errors when recording at 96k but no problems at 44.1k. SD Card formatting takes a few minutes so plan accordingly. But all-in-all a very sturdy and a very handy device. I would definitely recommend using as an external audio recorder.

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                        5.0

                        Powerful Little Device

                        By Jocularj

                        from Atlanta, GA

                        About Me Experienced

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Compact
                        • Easy To Use
                        • Excellent Sound
                        • Versatile

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Amateur Recording
                          • Professional Recording

                          Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                          I use the H4n to replace the onboard mic for DSLR shooting.

                          The device has XLR input as well as built in mice and is a 4 track recorder. Easy to adult audio levels while recording
                          Records in many WAV and MP3 formats
                          Built in limiters

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                          5.0

                          Amazing

                          By robmaci

                          from Brooklyn New York

                          About Me Experienced

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

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

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Amateur Recording
                            • Events
                            • Home Studio
                            • Mobile DJ
                            • Performances
                            • Professional Recording

                            Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                            Really simple interface, really high quality recording. I recorded musicians in a warehouse who were at times next to the recorder, and at times 50 feet away, and I heard everything. I haven't delved into the world of high end recording, have thus far only used simple pocket recorders like these, but I feel the h4n brings high level recording into the hands of the consumer. I love it.

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                            4.0

                            Great sound recorder

                            By T20

                            from San Diego, CA

                            About Me Experienced

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Excellent Sound
                            • Versatile

                            Cons

                            • Difficult To Use

                            Best Uses

                            • Amateur Recording
                            • Events
                            • Home Studio
                            • Mobile DJ
                            • Performances
                            • Professional Recording

                            Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                            - Great use for sound recording
                            - Can recording 4 tracks
                            - A little bulky and heavy

                            Share this review

                             
                            5.0

                            I find this a great product

                            By none

                            from Berkeley, CA

                            About Me Experienced

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Compact
                            • Easy To Use
                            • Excellent Sound
                            • Versatile

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Amateur Recording
                              • Events
                              • Home Studio
                              • Professional Recording

                              Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                              I use the Zoom H-4N to capture good, clean sound when shooting on location. It's a good size (small but not tiny), it has two XLR connectors so you can use the built-in mics (which are good) OR attach other mics to it with cables. You can even use both its built in mics AND other mics plugged into the XLR connectors, although I've never done this. The menu part has also been redesigned since the company came out with the original Zoom H-4, and the new one, the Zoom H-4N, is much easier to use. All in all, I use this for pretty much all of my sound work except for things where I want to connect a lavalier, and that's simply because the lavaliers I have don't use an XLR connector. Because the maximum capability is four mics (its own two plus two connected through the XLR), it would not be good for complicated recording such as performances with several instruments, or a scene where you need sound from many sources.

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                              4.0

                              DSLR must have

                              By Filmgeek

                              from Westfield MA

                              About Me Novice

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Versatile

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Amateur Recording
                                • Events
                                • Home Studio
                                • Performances

                                Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                                I have been using the Zoom H4N to record and monitor the audio from making youtube reviews to both live music performance and controlled recordings of music. And it has changed my DSLR from a pretty image creator into a great video recording device. My only regret is that I could not afford the newer H6 as it has more XLR inputs to really boost my ability to record local musicians and have more control over each separate track

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                                5.0

                                Simply WOW!

                                By Mr. K

                                from Montréal, Québec (Canada)

                                About Me Professional Musician

                                Verified Reviewer

                                Pros

                                • Compact
                                • Easy To Use
                                • Excellent Sound
                                • LOTS of features
                                • Low Distortion

                                Cons

                                • Boring Display

                                Best Uses

                                • Home Studio
                                • Mobile DJ
                                • Professional Recording

                                Comments about Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder:

                                I used this to record discret nature sound as well as heavy metal shows and it works fantastic in both situation.
                                A lot more features than I need but great price for the quality.

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