The Zoom H4n Pro Voice Recorder
Tired of carrying around numerous recording tools? Wouldn’t it be easier if you had something hand held, palm-sized, that had everything in it? No, we are not talking about a smart phone, although they have made life easier; we are talking about something better.
Say hello to the Zoom H4n Pro that is designed specifically for audio recordings. This little recorder comes packaged with an advanced microphone and a noise floor that is extremely low; it is capable of taking our breath away, and recording it as it happens too.
The Zoom H4n Pro looks sturdy and sleek. It has built in X/Y microphones that promise to give distortion free recordings and sports a ¼ inch jack, making it easier to connect the recorder with a camera. It also has a combo input for two external microphones that make it easier to get crisper, clearer audio.
The body is built from soft, durable rubber and it is roughly around the same size at its predecessor, fitting easily in the palm of your hand. The Zoom H4n Pro is available for sale at Amazon.com for $200. If the price is making you balk, keep in mind that this recorder is well worth the money.
Zoom has packed the H4n Pro with a number of excellent features that fit inside a palm held device. The rubber body also offers a strong grip and it has locking cable connectors (XLR/TRS) that are capable of safely securing external microphones to it with ease.
Zoom H4n Pro has extremely powerful features as stated on the website. Some of the best ones among them are:
1. Great Mic Preamps
The microphone pre-amps on the Zoom H4n Pro have better sound recording capabilities. With an enhanced noise floor that comes up to -120 dBu EIN.
This allows it to easily capture audio at an extremely low volume and with better clarity. This can be very useful if your interviewees speak softly or are seated far from the voice recorder.
2. Onboard Audio Enhancing Effects
Feel like your audio needs to be tweaked a bit to enhance it? Take advantage of the onboard audio enhancing effects the H4n Pro offers. With just a press of a button on H4n Pro’s interface, you get to use emulators and effects such as limiting, compression, echo, delay, and reverb, and even run a low cut filter. Since this is meant for professionals, the H4n Pro makes sure that these effects are studio quality.
3. Recording and Editing Software
If you prefer to use software to edit recordings on your computer, you can make use of the free download licenses that come with purchase of an H4n Pro. You get access to software such as the WaveLab LE9 and Cubase LE8 that are compatible with OS and Windows.
4. Remote Controlled
If you are using both an external microphone and the H4n Pro, you might be wondering how to get the perfect audio. Unless you have an assistant, one microphone will be left unattended. Remove the doubt and uncertainty with the help of remote access.
The Zoom H4n Pro is compatible with the RC4 remote that allows you to start and stop your recordings, switch the source for input, rewind and forward files and even set the levels for recording and playback. The best part is that it eliminates sounds that could be caused by handling.
5. Time Stamped Recordings
Having problems sorting through your recording files? The H4n Pro lets you record all of your audio with ease by time stamping them in WAV file format.
6. Recording Modes
The Zoom H4n Pro has three different recording modes namely, stereo, multi-track (MTR) and four channel (4MD) recordings. Each mode offers a different recording experience such as:
This is usually the default mode and makes use of the X/Y microphones, built into the recorder and can also be used with external microphones. This mode is perfect for capturing live audio, particularly dialogue.
If you are thinking of using two external microphones as well as the built in mic simultaneously, the 4CH mode will provide amazing sound for live room and stereo board feed too.
Want to use a sound file that you previously recorded? The MTR mode lets you use the H4n Pro as a studio for four tracks. You can also make use of the effects and functions in-built in order to make it easier for you to use.
Performance wise, the H4n Pro is easy to use and extremely responsive. The new display it has provides information accurately. Sound recordings are definitely clearer and the remote that it comes with makes recording automated and easier.
Like other Zoom recorders, the H4n Pro runs on two AA batteries, (rechargeable or alkaline). Run only on battery, it can last for a total of six hours of continuous recording. The H4n Pro also has a Stamina Mode that offers a total of 10 hours.
It also has an AD-14 adapter (AC) that be used to plug in and charge the H4n Pro with any wall outlet.
All recordings are stored directly to either the microSD or the microSDHC that you are using. The maximum size it can support is 32 GB. It also has a Hi-Speed USB 2.2 port through which you can transfer all data into your computer or other storage device with ease.
File Formats & Recording Time
The Zoom H4n Pro can support recording audio in two file types, namely, MP3 and WAV.All WAV files that are recorded on the H4n Pro can be 16-bit or 24-bit. Their sampling rates can range from 44.1kHz, 48kHz, to96 kHz.
They are also time stamped automatically to make them compliant with Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) allowing for more precise synchronization in the post-production process.
All recordings for MP3 are compressed, which means that before storage, unnecessary data will be removed to make them smaller than WAV files. These are easier to share through uploading and downloading. However, MP3 files can sometimes have a loss of audio fidelity. Luckily, this isn’t very noticeable.
Pros and Cons
At the end of the day, the Zoom H4n Pro has a bunch of impressive features but it also has some areas that we found lacking such as:
- It’s a portable device with premium features not being offered by its competitors
- Hands free recording is possible with the help of a remote control.
- It has 4 different channels, making it easier to use external mics for background and subject recordings that are stored separately and can be combined later on.
- Enhanced noise floor that comes up to -120 dBu EIN.
- Has locking cable connectors (XLR/TRS) that are capable of securing external microphones.
- Comes with free download license to two audio editing software.
- Battery powering can be an issue so you will have to buy the AC adapter which is not included with it and you will have to buy it separately.
- Can still pick up interference if recording near telephones or other wireless devices.
Do you think the Zoom H4n is a good choice for you? Leave a comment to tell us the features you think a voice recorder must have!