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Old July 12th, 2010, 04:02 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,310
Zoom H4n epic fail.... has this happened to you?

The facts:
H4n used Saturday morning recording audio. Downloaded audio off 2GB card. All is good.
Recorded audio Saturday night. Go to download audio... there are NO files, and NO folders on the card. Looks blank, but Properties say there are 700mb used on the card. Tried it on 3 computers (2 PCs, one Mac), no luck.
Today, ran Easus data recovery program, which dragged up 290 files off it, including PDFs from 2 years ago (despite multiple formating), and multiple 4GB unknown files (despite it only being a 2gb card!!!) However, of all that only 1 audio file from the event can be found, it is 90mb, 8 minutes long, and messed up... there should be at least an hour on it. Messed up in the sense that every 10 seconds or so, the audio is broken for 10 seconds, then continues on. The broken 10 seconds is a repeat of the last 10 seconds, only seems to be from chanel 3 and 4 (was recording in 4ch mode).

Anyone have any thoughts on this? I'm stumped. The only possible explanation I have is that ninjas swooped in and swapped the card when no one was looking.

Also, does your H4n go through a set of batteries every 30 minutes?
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Dylan Couper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 12th, 2010, 08:58 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 2,101
Sorry to hear that Dylan, sounds like a disaster. I have been using my H4N for over a year now, have never encountered anything like that. Was the card originally formatted in the H4N? Or did you just pop it in and started recording? I treat my SD cards the same as my P2 cards, once material has been dumped off of it to two separate drives, I format it in the device that will be recording to it. Never ran into an issue doing this.

A set of batteries in my H4N is good for between 90 and 120 minutes, 30 minutes is pretty short. What kind of batteries?

BTW, overall, I am not very enamored of the H4N, it is what it costs, a mediocre quality so-so recorder that is cheap. I knew what I was getting into when I bought it. If I ever make enough money, it will be replaced by a Sound Devices 702. If you really want quality and reliability, you have to pay for it. The H4N is a cheap recorder and it sounds as if the reliability is not that great, although I have been lucky so far. My H4N did tip over while it was mounted on the shoe of my 5D MKII, it cracked the glass front cover, but Zoom wants a good chunk of change to change out the glass so to heck with it, it still works, why put more money into this thing?

Dan Brockett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 12th, 2010, 09:17 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 291
I had a very similar outcome on a CF card in a Canon EOS camera. Turned out to be a bad CF card. They don't last forever...and SD cards seem prone to failing due to shock (dropping). Always good to have a backup plan...
Greg Bellotte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 13th, 2010, 08:58 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Burlington
Posts: 1,976
Your battery life is very short. Do you have the backlight on constant? What type and brand of batteries? Phantom power on with external mics?
While something could be wrong with your H4n, I would be more willing to bet it's a problem either with the SD card itself or with how much it's been used in the past or how it was formatted after your successful recording Saturday morning.
How did you format the card? In the computer or in the H4n? I always try to avoid formatting anywhere except in the device that will actually use the card.
The cards are vulnerable to static discharge and also to fingerprints and dust on the contacts.
I've never had a problem with a recording on my H4n, but I did with my H4 with an incompatible card (very high speed) and later with some cheap cards that showed problems with several different devices.
In both those cases it was the cards and not the devices that were causing the problems.
Jay Massengill is offline   Reply

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