Edirol R44 vs Zoom H4n at DVinfo.net

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Old August 23rd, 2009, 03:41 PM   #1
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Edirol R44 vs Zoom H4n

I plan on buying a digital recorder soon and need some advice. I'm looking at either the Edirol R44 or Zoom H4n. I shoot mainly events, from school plays to weddings. Key points that's are important to me is: quick access to volume controls, easy monitoring, good pre-amps, "great" fully automatic level control, (limiter, compressor?) for when I can't monitor audio myself. I have been leaning towards the R44 from day one however the H4n looks very attractive and the recently introduced Zoom R16 digital mixer (44.1) looks pretty sweet too. I guess my real question is which unit would make a better professional field recorder? Is the price of the R44 justified? I've read a substantial amount of reviews on both units, I'd like to hear from people that use both, I don't want to spend $950 (R44) when I can get by with $400 (H4n).

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Old August 24th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #2
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Anyone...?
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Old August 24th, 2009, 01:24 PM   #3
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The Edirol is a more professional recorder. 4 XLR mic inputs with decent preamps, switchable Phantom pwr., S/PDIF & RCA line in/out. ect. Front end level pot attenuation w/limiters. In addition it's more robust and would probably last much longer than the Zoom if it's gonna get banged around on location.
It's more than twice the price of the H4n, but you get what you pay for.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 12:04 AM   #4
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The Edirol is a more professional recorder. 4 XLR mic inputs with decent preamps, switchable Phantom pwr., S/PDIF & RCA line in/out. ect. Front end level pot attenuation w/limiters. In addition it's more robust and would probably last much longer than the Zoom if it's gonna get banged around on location.
It's more than twice the price of the H4n, but you get what you pay for.
I agree with most of this. However, the H4N has switchable Phantom power and limiters as well.

Like Rick said, if you can afford the Edirol, get it, but if you're going that route, might as well spend the money on a tascam then.

I have the H4N and for what you seem to need, I think it'll do nicely, especially since the H4N has front end monitoring, Limiter or Compressor & automatic level.

personally, as an audio guy, I'd NEVER EVER use automatic level control due to the fact it will sound unnatural in most situations.

Anyways, good luck!
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Old August 29th, 2009, 04:47 AM   #5
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Sean I haven't considered Tascam yet, why would you advice it over the R44? I totally agree with you on the automatic controls however situations arrive that require the feature and having something that does it well is always a plus.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 06:53 AM   #6
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Sean I haven't considered Tascam yet, why would you advice it over the R44? I totally agree with you on the automatic controls however situations arrive that require the feature and having something that does it well is always a plus.
One big plus for the Tascam is that it accepts composite video or blackburst from the camera and will slave its sample clock to it so that you don't get audio and video that drift out sync over long takes.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #7
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To clarifiy, The Edirol has front-end limiters and individual Phantom power switches. The H4s limiters are digital. Phamtom pwr. is global, which may or may not be an issue for some. The H4N is a nice recorder though. The Tascam is great for sure, having to ability to 'gen. lock', if you can live with two tracks and probably more robust than the Edirol.
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Old August 30th, 2009, 02:32 PM   #8
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r44 vs H4n

In some situations the 10-30sec pre record of the R44 can be priceless.
For in the field bag use the R44 is good but thr H4n is unusable. You can not ride the levels smoothly too on the H4n. The H4n has better built in mics that can be handy.

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Old September 3rd, 2009, 12:05 PM   #9
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Thanks for everyone's input, always appreciated! I will be going with the R44, my conscience is soothed :)
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 12:57 PM   #10
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Kind of off topic question here,

Does the H4n have the same drifting problems as the H4 for long form video?
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 08:08 PM   #11
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I can't find specs of H4N anywhere. Noise? THD?
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Old September 4th, 2009, 04:26 AM   #12
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A consideration for any recorder to be used for audio for video is whether it supports recording in uncompressed PCM (wave) files at 48kHz.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 01:31 PM   #13
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A quick update: I placed my order for the Zoom H4n today at the reduced of $299 it's a steal! With the money I saved I bought two quality microphones and a few extras. I think Edirol should read their market better, a price reduction on the R44 would have swayed my purchase. The Zoom offers very close competition at a fraction of the price, I could not justify the price vs real world value.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 02:28 PM   #14
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Does the H4n have the same drifting problems as the H4 for long form video?
I haven't had any drifting problems but I'm mostly running short (~10 minute) video clips. On the one occasion where I synced to a continuous hour there didn't appear to be any drift.

I really like the H4n except for one big annoyance - you can't set the levels of the two XLR inputs independently, there's a single level setting which applies to both. I don't know what they were thinking.
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Old September 25th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #15
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Evan that is very annoying, for the price though I guess it's not a deal breaker. I want to put a mixer between my inputs and the H4n, I want to move away from fixing audio in post as it's extremely time consuming, hopefully a good portable mixer & signal processor will do the job.
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