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Old October 17th, 2010, 08:56 PM   #1
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Zoom H4N vs. Tascam DR-100

Hi there,

I have finished with my research. I do not currently have the need to make a choice, but I just wanted to open a 'Versus' thread about these two sound recorders only for the Joe who is in the middle of the same research. Yes, there is plenty of stuff here about them, but no post ONLY about these two.

I have a Rode NTG-3 and I finally got a Tascam DR-100 over the H4N.

Why?

These were my key points to go with the DR-100:

* Separate Line out and Headphone outputs.
* Dual battery source (AAs and rechargeable Lithium battery)
* Ruggeder built.
* I do not have the need of 4 channels.
* External dial (manual) levels wheels (no digital through menu) for your XLR inputs.

You might have different needs and the H4N will work best for you. But if anybody wants to ask or add more information about these two or their differences please feel free to add.

The independent Joe filmmaker (such as myself) will definitely appreciate it.

Cheers!!
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Old October 18th, 2010, 02:08 AM   #2
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I exchanged my Zoom for a Tascam for the reasons you enumerate -- especially the battery and manual level controls.

The Zoom also had a laughably bad instructions manual and the other thing I found annoying was that it seemed too musician friendly, built in metronome etc.

I couldn't however say which had better audio, they both seem great to my ears.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 12:45 PM   #3
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FWIW, I concur with Ben's findings. Based on my experience with Tascam and Zoom products, but without ever having used either specific model, I would choose the Tascam.. if having four discrete tracks is not an issue.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #4
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While I am sure that both units works perfectly well for double system audio recording, some things I like better on the zoom:

The ability to input line level through the XLR connectors
The ability to record at 24 bits 96khz vs 48 on the tascam
The fact that the AC adapter is included and not optional like the tascam
The ability to record 4 tracks of audio (Very handy!)

Definitely, the ability to set the gain independently on each track on the tascam is a huge plus as well.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 03:09 PM   #5
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My research has led me to a Marantz Professional 661 with the (significant) Oade modifications, which I will buy over a Zoom H4n or a Tascam DR 100.

Others mileage, as they say, will vary.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 03:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard D. George View Post
My research has led me to a Marantz Professional 661 with the (significant) Oade modifications, which I will buy over a Zoom H4n or a Tascam DR 100.

Others mileage, as they say, will vary.
That's quite a bit more money isn't it?

Btw, it's true the Tascam doesn't have AC adapter. But it charges off any USB port, which I love. And my Droid charger works on the Tascam lucky for me.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 06:14 AM   #7
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Any usb port... Good to know.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 11:21 AM   #8
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Here is a useful comparison. Note the Sony that is rated higher than the Tascam, for not much more cost.

Portable Recorder Reviews
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Old October 19th, 2010, 03:18 PM   #9
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I think that's old pricing, I paid a lot less than that from B&H.

Also, I can't remember if the Zoom has this feature, but the TASCAM has a red idiot light to indicate peaks as well as the regular screen level bars. I do appreciate them.

Anyone know if the firmware giving the Tascam 96hz is out yet?
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Old October 19th, 2010, 09:52 PM   #10
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Awesome info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
I exchanged my Zoom for a Tascam for the reasons you enumerate -- especially the battery and manual level controls.

The Zoom also had a laughably bad instructions manual and the other thing I found annoying was that it seemed too musician friendly, built in metronome etc.

I couldn't however say which had better audio, they both seem great to my ears.
Well Brian, that is nice to know. I haven't have the chance to try the H4N or the DR-100 before purchase. So, I based my decision purely on what I have read on line.

I feel I made the right choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
FWIW, I concur with Ben's findings. Based on my experience with Tascam and Zoom products, but without ever having used either specific model, I would choose the Tascam.. if having four discrete tracks is not an issue.

Very much indeed.... ;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Philippe Archibald View Post
While I am sure that both units works perfectly well for double system audio recording, some things I like better on the zoom:

The ability to input line level through the XLR connectors
The ability to record at 24 bits 96khz vs 48 on the tascam
The fact that the AC adapter is included and not optional like the tascam
The ability to record 4 tracks of audio (Very handy!)

Definitely, the ability to set the gain independently on each track on the tascam is a huge plus as well.
That is great to know since I had not have the chance to play with the H4N. I am sure is also a great device as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
That's quite a bit more money isn't it?

Btw, it's true the Tascam doesn't have AC adapter. But it charges off any USB port, which I love. And my Droid charger works on the Tascam lucky for me.

Hey Brian,

Yes the Marantz Professional 661 is more expensive and according to my research, it seems to be a (slightly?) better bet than these two (in terms of quality). However, there is another thread about that device and these two. I opened this one just because I wasn't able to find a specific thread about these two devices only. My budget set a limit and the 2 devices fitting that budget were these 2.

Have a nice week you all!!
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 09:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
I think that's old pricing, I paid a lot less than that from B&H.

Also, I can't remember if the Zoom has this feature, but the TASCAM has a red idiot light to indicate peaks as well as the regular screen level bars. I do appreciate them.

Anyone know if the firmware giving the Tascam 96hz is out yet?
The Zoom will flash yellow at -6dB and then red at 0db for clipping. These indicators are on both the unit itself as well as on the wired remote. This is very handy when I am recording band concerts with the Zoom mounted up on a tall stand.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard D. George View Post
Here is a useful comparison. Note the Sony that is rated higher than the Tascam, for not much more cost.

Portable Recorder Reviews
Hey Richard, that recorder review page is really handy! Thanks.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 06:19 AM   #13
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We've had some glitchy behaviour with the Tascam. In a couple of instances, files have been corrupted. Also, the battery life of the Tascam is atrocious. Finally, it is cheap plastic. The 1/4 screw mount in the rear broke after only a couple of months. So we no longer use it and have returned to using the Zoom H4N. My only problem with the Zoom is the high noise floor. But for the event work I do it's not really an issue.

I think it's time something better came along though! Neither the Zoom nor the Tascam are even close to being pro units.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 07:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Andersen View Post
...I think it's time something better came along though! Neither the Zoom nor the Tascam are even close to being pro units.
You have to at least double the price before you get to something that is even close to an entry level professional quality unit. While you can do professional work with consumer gear - sometimes - it is still true that you get what you pay for.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 12:34 PM   #15
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As Steve points out, these are not pro level field recorders, and an SD 702 is a huge leap in cost for a pro level recorder from this level.
With that being said, I have used the the relatively inexpensive H4N effectively many times as a field recorder being fed from an SD 302.

All the Best!
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