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Old October 8th, 2009, 08:03 AM   #16
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I created the other thread regarding levels on the H4N.
I have NOT been able to adjust the XLR input levels independently of each other - they adjust only as a pair - 1 and 2 XLR's.
Right now, after my first experience using the Zoom, I have auto levels OFF, and I use the toggle switch on the right side - rec levels and its this situation that feels wrong. I had a line into the xlr 1 and I could not get the levels down using the rec level button - but listening to the recorded file, it sounds very good and this Zoom saved my bacon on its first day out.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 02:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nicholas de Kock View Post
Adam turn ON the unit and see for yourself, you are only creating doubt on an established fact, make sure you have tried something first before posting it on a forum, these forums are information hubs we rely on. The XLR's are linked and once you use the H4n you will understand what the manual is refering to.
Good idea; I did just that and it appears Bryan is right. In MTR (multi-track) mode you can easily set the two XLRs to different REC levels. I've just done so and I'm looking at it right now. But in Stereo or 4CH mode, you can't; they are ganged together.

If you're unhappy with the built-in mics you can easily plug a different one, mono or stereo, into the EXT MIC mini-plug input on the back without affecting the XLR inputs.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post

If you're unhappy with the built-in mics you can easily plug a different one, mono or stereo, into the EXT MIC mini-plug input on the back without affecting the XLR inputs.
So does this mean you could use one xlr and the mini plug in stereo mode and record two different levels?
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Old October 8th, 2009, 05:42 PM   #19
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So does this mean you could use one xlr and the mini plug in stereo mode and record two different levels?
No. In stereo mode, you must EITHER select the internal mics/3.5mm input, OR the xlr inputs.

To take advantage of all the inputs you need to be in 4ch. mode.

4ch. mode, as some have discovered, by default presents the H4n as a dual-stereo recorder. However, if you closely inspect the menu structure, 4ch mode also enables a "mixer" selection in the menus, that will allow you true independant control of each input, ie. 4ch mono recording.

I wrote about it in this post: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/1073003-post95.html , which was post #95 of the very long initial thread on the H4n, The new H4n recorder
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Old October 8th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #20
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Oh, I get it. Even though there is only one volume slider for each pair, by using that in conjunction with the PAN function you can adjust each side of each pair in relation to the other. Very crafty.
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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
In stereo mode, you must EITHER select the internal mics/3.5mm input, OR the xlr inputs.

To take advantage of all the inputs you need to be in 4ch. mode.
Right. By plugging in an external mic it automatically kills the onboard mics, but of course this would mean nothing if you were using, and had selected, the XLR inputs in Stereo mode. But the plan would work in 4CH mode, as Seth points out.

Personally, I'm not sure I understand what all the fuss is about, since you'll likely be doing all your mixing in post anyhow, no? I mean, as long as it's not clipping and distorting....
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Old October 8th, 2009, 07:10 PM   #21
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I am re-hijacking my thread....

Thanks to everyone for their input and I am glad we have put this question to rest. Apparently the H4n will allow independent level controls in 4channel mode but not in stereo mode. Now before this gets turned into yet another H4n thread I want to get back to the OP. Thank you everyone for the thoughts on the H4n, what other recorders in the sub $500 range would you recommend. How do they compare to something like the Marantz PMD 660? Thanks...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
Budget: $500 or less
Features required:
-XLR inputs with phantom power- minimum 2x (stereo)
-battery and AC power capabilities
-ability to record at least 4hrs at high-quality
-independent channel (input) level controls with metering

Objective: Transitioning to Blu-ray delivery and want to record compatible high quality audio that will sync well with HDV footage without wordclock or TC in (since cams are not sync capable.)

Primary usage: To record supplemental audio from board feeds or external microphones or wireless receiver.

Example of usage: Cams record ambient via shotgun, recorder captures direct feed from wireless lavs or 2 (or more) channels from soundboard with mics on one channel, music on the other, etc.

Background: I have been doing more stage and dance recording lately and have in the past always rented a Marantz PMD-660 and have had good experience with it so far. However, I have reached the point where it makes more sense to purchase than rent and I want to make sure I am not overlooking a better recorder before I move forward. B&H is currently offering the 660 for $469.99. What are your opinions of the 660 vs other recorders in this price range? Thanks!
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Old October 9th, 2009, 03:30 AM   #22
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I don't know how much they cost in the USA but if the dollar price is the same as the pound price (it often is) the Fostex FR2 LE should be within your budget.

I got the original Zoom H4 and really wasn't very keen on it at all. So I sold it and bought the Fostex. I've been very happy.

It's a lot bigger than the Zoom and hopeless if you want to mount it on a camera. But it's very good if size is not an issue.

I assume also that the latest Zoom must be a lot better than the original as so many people seem to like it.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #23
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FWIW i just picked up a H4n NEW for 267.00 today. Purchase the remote control for an additional 30 bucks...
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Old October 12th, 2009, 06:52 PM   #24
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Right. By plugging in an external mic it automatically kills the onboard mics, but of course this would mean nothing if you were using, and had selected, the XLR inputs in Stereo mode. But the plan would work in 4CH mode, as Seth points out.
I don't think this is accurate. I was just testing a microphone in the Zoom H4N the other day and I accidentally recorded the Onboard microphones. The "MIC" button was lit up on the front panel, I had to manually select the "1" button beneath the "MIC" button in order to get the feed from the XLR microphone.

As I recall, the Zoom H4N had defaulted to the onboard mics, but it is possible that that was the last state selected. However, I have no batteries in my Zoom H4N so I am guessing that the onboard mics are selected by default.

***

Which brings me to another question: Which rechargeable AA Batteries do you guys find to be the best or the most reliable? I have never purchased a rechargeable AA battery in my life.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #25
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You're talking about onboard mic vs. XLRs. We were talking about the 1/8" EXT MIC minijack on the back vs. the onboard mics, not the XLRs. Plugging anything into the minijack kills the onboard mics. If you were in Stereo mode and had selected mic rather than INPUT 1/2 as your source, or are in 4CH mode, plugging an external mic into the mini jack would kill the onboard mics. If you had selected the INPUTs as your source they would still work and no matter what you did to the mini-jack; nothing would change.

Last edited by Adam Gold; October 12th, 2009 at 09:04 PM.
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Old October 13th, 2009, 08:22 AM   #26
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Ahhhh, I see. I didn't know that because the main reason I got the Zoom H4N was to record XLR microphones, so I haven't even looked at the minijack.

I am going to get around to testing some of my minijack mics with the Zoom H4N at some point.

I really don't like the placement of the minijack, it doesn't make sense to me. I have my Zoom H4N mounted on a tripod at the moment (nice) but getting to the minijack is not possible while it is. It seems that it needs to be standing upright or something similar which I think is precarious, but that is an entirely different conversation!

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Old October 13th, 2009, 08:57 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
Thanks to everyone for their input and I am glad we have put this question to rest. Apparently the H4n will allow independent level controls in 4channel mode but not in stereo mode. Now before this gets turned into yet another H4n thread I want to get back to the OP. Thank you everyone for the thoughts on the H4n, what other recorders in the sub $500 range would you recommend. How do they compare to something like the Marantz PMD 660? Thanks...
661 is a better choice than 660.
How about get a Sound Devices MixPre (or Shure FP24), and you can take any even compact pocket recorder and lower cost.
When you get feed from the board, you don't really need XLR input.
When using wireless lav, you don't need XLR.
With a smaller pocket recorder, you can hide it to your subject.

When you really need phantom power, and XLR input, get the MixPre, and you can feed both your camera with XLR output, and feed your pocket recorder with line out (unbalanced, 1/8" jack).

With MixPre, you get prestige microphone pre-amplifier, you get decent limiter. Much better than any recorder in this price range. Well, it is more than 500 for a new one, but you may get good chance to save some on ebay. (I got FP24 for less than 400, and paid 160 for a Tascam DR-1. Sony PCM-D50 could be a better choice, but pricer.)

My 2 cents.
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Old October 13th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #28
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I really don't like the placement of the minijack, it doesn't make sense to me.
Yeah, it's silly. I think they expect you to use the adapter and a regular mic stand, rather than just mounting on the tripod.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 12:02 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Anthony Ching View Post
661 is a better choice than 660...
I have looked at the 661 too and am not sure it is worth the price difference. What, in your experience, makes it a better choice than the 660?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Ching View Post
...How about get a Sound Devices MixPre (or Shure FP24), and you can take any even compact pocket recorder and lower cost...
Sound devices Mix Pre = $665
Zoom H4N = $299
sub total = $964

Marantz 660 = $469
that is a savings of $495 or 106% savings, not sure I am understanding where the lower cost comes in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Ching View Post
...When you get feed from the board, you don't really need XLR input.
When using wireless lav, you don't need XLR...
In my experience you do need XLR when getting fed from the board.
My wireless receiver uses XLR. I have tried trading out with a 1/8 mini and always get noise.

Anthony, thanks for your thoughts. If you could clarify on any of these points it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old October 14th, 2009, 10:35 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Yeah, it's silly. I think they expect you to use the adapter and a regular mic stand, rather than just mounting on the tripod.
I've been using my mic stands for mics so a spare tripod tripod works very nicely for the Zoom H4N, which I was worried about knocking on the floor when I was laying it on a table.

The minijack placement is really my only gripe about the Zoom H4N (So far) and it really doesn't bother me much because I specifically purchased the H4N as a double-audio phantom-power recording solution for XLR microphones.

I still need me some rechargeable AA batteries, what do you use?!
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