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Old March 13th, 2009, 03:22 AM   #16
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Manual

Is here:

http://www.zoom.co.jp/archive/English_Manual/E_H4n.pdf

Others:

Download Manual

This looks like it could be a very useful little recorder. Zoom seems to have listened to their users and outdone themselves on this one.

I wish they had schematic or at least a block diagram. I am trying to figure out if I might be able to plug in an actually useful mic to that tiny, apparently stereo mini jack that has a 2k unbalanced input. Maybe with a transformer...
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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #17
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I have been working with the H4n and unfortunately, it appears to me, that they have removed the track adjustment feature.
Apparently you're mistaken... page 59 in the pdf manual, unless this is something different.

*edit* WAIT! What's MTR? :-\ more reading to do
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Old March 13th, 2009, 01:13 PM   #18
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Bill Busby - I could be wrong, but it appears to me that not all four tracks can be recorded at once with each track having an independent volume control adjustment.

Anyone else who has one of these recorders? Chime in.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #19
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Also, when H4n is set to auto level it will lower input levels according to the highest sound recorded. In other words, if there is a loud clap or if the recorder mic is bumped directly while recording or standby it will lower the input/sensitivity for the rest of that particular recording. It is not like a camera on auto level where the sensitivity will go back to normal levels after a loud noise.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Bill Rankin View Post
I just completed a sync test with my camera and the H4n, and after one hour of record time there is NO noticable difference to the ear. Looking at the timeline waveform the H4n appears to be slower by one or two frames.
Bill, thanks for that report. 2 frames over an hour (if that) means it's not a high-end recorder, but I think that's quite acceptable at the price point.

In fact, if you're not hearing echo between the tracks after an hour, it's probably better than two frames accuracy.

Much appreciated, thanks for running that test!
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Old March 15th, 2009, 02:34 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bill Rankin View Post
Bill Busby - I could be wrong, but it appears to me that not all four tracks can be recorded at once with each track having an independent volume control adjustment.

Anyone else who has one of these recorders? Chime in.
While I haven't tried it yet, the manual appears to state that in 4 channel mode you can record from the onboard mics and the inputs with separate levels for each set of inputs. It also seems to say that in MTR mode you can set separate levels for each of the 4 tracks (see page 56). So, two stereo inputs in 4 channel mode and 4 mono inputs (or combinations of the two sets of inputs) in MTR mode. Problem is the manual is not written clearly but I will report back when I have the opportunity to try this out. John.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #22
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John - check out page 137. It looks like 4 channels can be recorded simultaneously but the "(Stereo 2 tracks)" means it cannot record 4 tracks while in stereo? Or does it mean you can record 4 tracks, but it must be IN stereo mode? Meaning you can adjust sensitivity for internal mics and the inputs together.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Bill, thanks for that report. 2 frames over an hour (if that) means it's not a high-end recorder, but I think that's quite acceptable at the price point.

In fact, if you're not hearing echo between the tracks after an hour, it's probably better than two frames accuracy.

Much appreciated, thanks for running that test!
It might be useful to remember that this test has shown that this particular example of this new recorder is pretty much in sync with this particular camera.
Even if the recorder was absolutely spot on, and the camera 'clock' was slightly adrift, it would still be necessary to adjust the length of the 'correct' recorder audio track to match the incorrect camera one. After all, it's the camera audio that will be in sync with the video, and has to remain the master track -even if it's wrong!

Some of the cheaper audio recorders can require quite a significant amount of resyncing, especially on longer takes, and it sounds as if Zoom have tightened up on their crystal oscillator specs with the new unit -excellent news.

But if your camera is slightly out (and they too only use commercial crystals), it stiil might mean some work in post!!
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Old March 15th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #24
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For those who may not have seen this yet.

YouTube - Zoom H4N digital audio recorder
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Old March 15th, 2009, 05:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Rankin View Post
John - check out page 137. It looks like 4 channels can be recorded simultaneously but the "(Stereo 2 tracks)" means it cannot record 4 tracks while in stereo? Or does it mean you can record 4 tracks, but it must be IN stereo mode? Meaning you can adjust sensitivity for internal mics and the inputs together.
Hi Bill. I had time to muck around with it a bit this afternoon. To answer your questions, 4 channels can be recorded separately in 4 channel mode but only as 2 distinct stereo sources. In other words, you can set an input level for the onboard mics and a separate input level for the other two inputs. Just plug in your mic, ensure phantom is on and use the "mic" "1" "2" buttons on the left front to choose the input and adjust its level. Not explained well in the manual (see below for more on that) but not too hard to figure out by pressing buttons.

Stereo recording mode is only for stereo but there is a built in MS matrix so you could record MS and have the box decode it for you, nice feature.

In addition, in MTR mode it appears you can record in stereo with the onboard mics and use the inputs as separate mono sources but it would be fiddly. It seems you have to start with a "project" to make MTR mode work properly. You then would have to record one mono track or your stereo track and then track alongside the already recorded track. I think they've attempted to set this mode up for overdubs but I'd never use this in my world, would be nice if they would upgrade it so you could set levels for all 4 tracks independently but that might be asking a lot for such a cost effective package. I didn't actually record anything so I can't speak to the mic pre's but I will report back as soon as I do.

As far as clock goes, no one should be using this for a sync recorder, it's not designed for that and you will be sorely disappointed at some point down the road. Do a search for "sync" or "drift", plenty has been written here recently regarding recorders and sync.

On another note to anyone who is considering this recorder, this has to be one of the worst manuals I have ever had the displeasure of attempting to decipher. The Zoom H2 manual is written better. This one appears to have been written by someone in a Zoom foreign office who believes their English is perfect...either that or they used Google translator, it's that bad. John.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #26
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I use these for wedding speakers and singers. My sync is usually only5 to 15 minutes long it works perfectly for me.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 03:48 PM   #27
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Bill how does the H4n handle loud spl levels.
I see that the H4n doesn't have switchable Gain pads (L/M/H), like the H2 does. So I was wondering how improved the onboard pres are at handling loud spl levels like micing a PA stack at a wedding reception. I wanted to use the H4n in this manner,

—Attached (clamped) H4n to mic stand facing away from PA stack towards crowd.
—Use a pair of Rode M3 condenser mics with the internal -25db pad switched on plugged into each XLR port with one recording the PA tweeter and one recording the PA woofer. —Then face out the H4n and use the onboard mics to record crowd reaction.

I ask because the H2 handles loud spl levels horribly, unless you turn the onboard gain to L (low). And even that is iffy at a reception where I am miking the PA,s. the audio then either gets muddy, where teh highs are cut down considerably, or the audio can still clip, with that annoying unrepairable electronic chirping sound.

I used to own the H4 a few years ago but don't remember how they handled loud spl levels, I vaguely remember them handling them better.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 04:25 PM   #28
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I have not used the inputs with mics to record audio, but I have used the onboard mics to record from a loud DJ speaker (sitting ontop the speaker) at a reception and it recorded good audio with the one time adjustment I made at the beginning of the reception. I checked the VU meters on the recorder about 5 or 6 different times and never had to adjust sensitivity.

I have used the XLR inputs with the output of a sound board. Again, set the sensitivity and let it go. Part of the audio was 'out of bounds' (I'm not an audio guy) on the waveform, but it is still very useable. Only needed to lower the volume slightly.

I am very happy with the recorder with the exception of being able to adjust each track independently. As it turns out, I don' t seem to need that feature.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #29
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Zoom H4n or Marantz PMD661?

I'm in the market for a recorder and I've been reading good things about both of these. The Zoom is quite a bit cheaper but I heard a sample of the Marantz and it sounded better than the Zoom sample -- which may have been due to any number of variables other than the recorder itself, of course. But samples are tough to find.

For the (probably) small number of people who know both, which would you recommend?

I do indie filmmaking and corporate videos and dialog ends up as the majority of my audio.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:44 PM   #30
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I'm in the market for a recorder and I've been reading good things about both of these. The Zoom is quite a bit cheaper but I heard a sample of the Marantz and it sounded better than the Zoom sample -- which may have been due to any number of variables other than the recorder itself, of course. But samples are tough to find.

For the (probably) small number of people who know both, which would you recommend?

I do indie filmmaking and corporate videos and dialog ends up as the majority of my audio.

In my opinion, the H4n does a very good job for most of my applications which is weddings so far.
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