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Old September 29th, 2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Just wondering what's available in the same category as the Zoom H4n? When I got mine they were pretty much the only game. Are there other players in this area now?
-2x XLR inputs
-SD card media
-battery powered
-$200-$500 range?

Thanks!
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Old September 29th, 2011, 05:05 PM   #2
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Roland R-26 has just come out... 2 sets of mics and phantom powered XLR's on the heal.
Previously would have been badged Edirol - if you have seen any of their products R-4, R-44 and R09 were all excellent. More associated with broadcast than the Zoom brand (though I think the H4n has had the market to itself for years, right place, right time for the DSLR revolution).
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Old September 29th, 2011, 05:09 PM   #3
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

The Tascam DR-100 has been a straight up competitor. And now there's the DR-40.

The Fostex FR-2LE is a solid step up in performance and operation, IMO.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 12:38 PM   #4
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Thanks guys, will do some reading up on those.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 06:39 PM   #5
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Good post. It's a question I had been wanting to ask. I have an h4n and hate it.
the set up is sometimes difficult, it seems to have a mind of its own and to my surprise the sound recording using my favorite AT boom mic sounds like it's muffled.

I find it difficult to use, but consider I hate equipment that requires deep thinking, way to many options when all I really want is high quality sound recording in a fast setup.

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Old October 3rd, 2011, 07:52 PM   #6
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

I happen to have here in my hand, the only Roland R-26 outside of the company. So far, so good. It's a bit bigger than a Zoom H4n, the touchscreen is intuitive and zippy. There's big, easy to spin, and fine tune knobs for Input 1 and Input 2 - plus a nice button in between - SENS for Sensitivity - yes, a clean gain stage that is sure to impress. There is also something new called IARC (Isolated Adaptive Recording Circuit), which as I understand it, helps to keep the separate channels discrete with little, to no crosstalk/bleed. I'm amazed at how little noise the recordings have.

Listen for yourself R-26 Portable Recorder: Recording Applications - YouTube

Now who would record six channels at once? Wait until you hear some examples, if you haven't already. Being able to mix a combo of XY mics, plus omni mics plus two XLR inputs, is something I never thought I'd do, but now that I can with ease - and with excellent onboard mics - I am finding myself actually wanting to record the additional channels and use them to layer and add depth. I'm figuring out ways to record differently and place the recorder strategically. Of course I may not use all tracks, but it's certainly nice to have them - especially if you can use them to give the viewer/audience the feeling of "being there".

I'd put this unit on par with the Sony PCM-D50. That was a great, no make that really great recorder which only lacked XLR inputs. Now the R-26 is out to take that title - at the exact same $499 price point. I know a few folks on here have that recorder and love it, I think they're going to love this one too. Jim? Chad?

The only thing lacking in my opinion is a remote - not a huge issue, but if I'm going to be using the built-in mics, I really don't want to risk any handling noise touching the knobs. The holy grail would be an iPad app.The unit also acts as a USB interface so you can feed right into your Mac/PC. Overall, I think folks that are willing to spend the $499 over the Zoom h4n's $299 are going to be happy where the extra $200 went.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 09:13 PM   #7
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Guy nice vid thanks. Now we know why the Tascam R-40 is $199.

Cheers.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #8
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Guy nice vid thanks. Now we know why the Tascam R-40 is $199.

Cheers.
The tests I performed with the Tascam DR-40 came out "good". It comes down to budget. I like knowing that we now have options :

$199 Tascam DR-40
$299 Zoom h4n
$499 Roland R-26

Maybe stick a Sound Devices MM1 or MixPre-D in front of the DR-40 for a nice portable package. Using the Line level input definitely cleans things up on that unit as you hear at the end of this video.


Maybe the next video I should make should just have all 3 of these recorders with the same mic? Maybe show an inexpensive field mixer like the the PSC DV Promix 3? Opinions?
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Old October 4th, 2011, 02:27 PM   #9
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Guy can the Tascam R40 record 4 channel at the same time? built in mic with external mic at the same time, if so do you have any idea how long the battery will last?
Thanks.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 03:35 PM   #10
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khoi Pham View Post
Guy can the Tascam R40 record 4 channel at the same time? built in mic with external mic at the same time, if so do you have any idea how long the battery will last?
Thanks.
Hi Khoi, Thanks for asking. Yes, the Tascam DR-40 has a "4CH" mode which allows you to record the Built-in mics + 2 External Inputs through the XLR/1/4" ports.
The battery life depends on if you are using Phantom Power. There are 3 AA's which will provide up to 18 hours of power. You can also use a USB power source. I'm not sure how long the batteries will last with 48v phantom on - over 2 hours in my testing so far.

On the Roland R-26, you have 4 AA batteries, still testing the life on this one. I did just buy the recommend "Pedal power" which is an external Sanyo lithium ion battery designed for guitar pedals, but recommended on the Roland site- should get 50 hours outta that!
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Old October 4th, 2011, 03:46 PM   #11
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Thank you very much Guy.
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Old October 7th, 2011, 09:11 AM   #12
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

The R-26 specs say +4dbu nominal or +24dbu maximum. What do they mean by nominal?
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Old October 7th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #13
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
The R-26 specs say +4dbu nominal or +24dbu maximum. What do they mean by nominal?
"Nominal" == "standard" or "normal" operating level, the optimum signal level for which the circuits were designed. +4dBu is the nominal studio line level; -10dBv is the nominal consumer line level.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 08:51 AM   #14
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

A wee bit more cash but I went from the H4N to the Marantz 661 and love it, so much easier to use, more professional in every way and batteries last much longer if you need them.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 02:00 PM   #15
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Re: Zoom H4n alternatives (with XLR in)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Cochran View Post
I happen to have here in my hand, the only Roland R-26 outside of the company. So far, so good. It's a bit bigger than a Zoom H4n, the touchscreen is intuitive and zippy. There's big, easy to spin, and fine tune knobs for Input 1 and Input 2 - plus a nice button in between - SENS for Sensitivity - yes, a clean gain stage that is sure to impress. There is also something new called IARC (Isolated Adaptive Recording Circuit), which as I understand it, helps to keep the separate channels discrete with little, to no crosstalk/bleed. I'm amazed at how little noise the recordings have.

Listen for yourself R-26 Portable Recorder: Recording Applications - YouTube

Now who would record six channels at once? Wait until you hear some examples, if you haven't already. Being able to mix a combo of XY mics, plus omni mics plus two XLR inputs, is something I never thought I'd do, but now that I can with ease - and with excellent onboard mics - I am finding myself actually wanting to record the additional channels and use them to layer and add depth. I'm figuring out ways to record differently and place the recorder strategically. Of course I may not use all tracks, but it's certainly nice to have them - especially if you can use them to give the viewer/audience the feeling of "being there".

I'd put this unit on par with the Sony PCM-D50. That was a great, no make that really great recorder which only lacked XLR inputs. Now the R-26 is out to take that title - at the exact same $499 price point. I know a few folks on here have that recorder and love it, I think they're going to love this one too. Jim? Chad?

The only thing lacking in my opinion is a remote - not a huge issue, but if I'm going to be using the built-in mics, I really don't want to risk any handling noise touching the knobs. The holy grail would be an iPad app.The unit also acts as a USB interface so you can feed right into your Mac/PC. Overall, I think folks that are willing to spend the $499 over the Zoom h4n's $299 are going to be happy where the extra $200 went.
Now I have been fairly happy with my H4n, but after hearing the examples of the Roland R-26, all I can say is WOW!
Now this was recorded in a sound stage, but still the fullness of the X/Y + Omni mics are rather impressive. I might have to pickup one of these and sell off my H4n after hearing these examples. I can especially see the Roland R-26 coming in handy for my band recordings.

BTW Guy, can the Roland R-26 record using the XLR inputs and the built in mics as well?
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