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Old October 4th, 2006, 11:46 PM   #1
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Zoom H4

I've just heard that the Zoom H4 has been released. Has anyone got their hands on one yet? If so, I would be very interested in hearing about it before I get one sent to the Middle East. It's an expensive and time consuming business to send things back if they don't work or don't work to spec, or are just rubbish.

Cheers

Ian
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Old October 13th, 2006, 05:18 PM   #2
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Anyone try one of these yet?
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Old October 27th, 2006, 01:01 AM   #3
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question for Zoom H4 owners

Have you tried or considered trying to hook up an H4 to your cam and recording straight to tape with the Zoom plugged into the mic/line-in of the cam and thus taking advantage of the H4's built-in mics?

e.g. If this works I could then walk out of a music gig with two recordings: one on miniDV with the help of the H4 mics and one on the H4 itself and not have to worry about synch'ing them in post?

Is something like this possible and/or worthwhile? If so what would I need to make the connection?

Thanks for any help~

Mike
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Old October 27th, 2006, 07:08 AM   #4
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Don't have one (yet) but you can dnl the manual here

http://www.samsontech.com/products/r.../H4_manual.pdf

it's a pretty complex piece of gear, but search the manual for "monitor" - sounds like you can leave the monitor function turned on while recording. Your camera would very likely either need to have a line level input option (headphone output is too hot for mic input) or (second, inferior choice) get a couple of inline attenuators (Radio Shack used to sell a mini plug version that was 30 dB attenuator) and feed the headphone signal into your external mic inputs of the cam.

HTH... Steve
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Old October 27th, 2006, 08:22 AM   #5
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I have had one for about 2 weeks now. I also have an Edirol R-09 and just sold my Microtracks to compare it to.

The built in mics are very good and have gain sensativity options (L/M/H) on the outside of the unit. There are also 2 additional switches for audio gain for both CH1/CH2 if external mics are used.

The preamps in either L or M are petty darn quiet. Noise is noticable at the H setting, but I personally would never be that far away form a subject to ever want to use the H gain setting.

The internal mics acan also be changed (via menu) to take on the characteristics of several well known mics as well (5 in all).

I preffer the internal mics on the H4 over the R-09, due to the fact that you can set the gain levels for sensativity which reduces the noise as well as the fact that the R-09's mics are too omni for my taste and pickup too much ambiant noise.

The dual XLR/1/4 inputs are very quiet, and do supply true 48v phantom as well (24v is also available if needed instead). You set phantom power via the menu (OFF/24v/48v).

Speaking of quiet, the H4 also gives you theoption to turn of the bult in limiters/pre amps to help prevent audio clipping, due to sudden increases in soound level. Althoiuh as we all know, we should be doing a level check before recording to make usre we get the best audio possible.

Also you set your record levels in the menu (not external), this is the only shortcoming of the unit. Level setting for internal mics are dual setting (not independant) and setting external levels are done independantly L/R (not dual control). As I said there is no external level setting capability on the unit, but with the use of the external Gain settings, it might not really be needed. Also if you really are concerned about this then you could leave the level setting menu up while you are recording.

Speaking of recording. You record simply by pushing the record button once (for standby) and again to start recording. To stop recording, simply push record again.

You can set the unit to hold by prssing down on the menu button and hold for a second then the unit "Key Lock" and you can't change sme settings on the unit (like stop recording), press and hold again to release "Key Lock".

If you wanted you can also do audio pass through via the H4's 1/8 Line out port. So you could pass a signal to your camera via the "Line out" of even feed the "Line out" to your wireless to your camera. The "Line out" also seems to be after the H4's pre amps, so the audio signal is pretty quiet. You can also use the "Phono prt" the same way, but the "Line out" port seems quieter to me.

The unit is pretty solidly built with the exception of the menu button, which feels kind of flimsy to me and a bit awkward to move and navigate the menu with.

Anyway, that's my quick review of the unit for you all. All in al it might currently be the best of the small sub $400 recorders aout there and being $100 less than the R-09 (which is still a great unit BTW. Easier to record with, better menu, more external audio control) and Microtrack doesn't hurt either.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 08:29 AM   #6
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MIchael,

THanks for the review of the H4. I use a sound devices mixpre and would like to buy the H4. Is there anyway i can bypass the H4 preamp and just use the recording feature ? How is the H4's analog to digital converter? is it pretty low noise ?

thanks
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Old October 27th, 2006, 08:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Strongfield
MIchael,

THanks for the review of the H4. I use a sound devices mixpre and would like to buy the H4. Is there anyway i can bypass the H4 preamp and just use the recording feature ? How is the H4's analog to digital converter? is it pretty low noise ?

thanks
"Is there anyway I can bypass the H4 preamp and just use the recording feature ?"

You should be able to bypass the Pre's buy leaving them turned off in the menu. but the audio from the balanced ports are pretty quiet so I don't know if the Mix Pre is necessary.
I use a PSC Promix 3 filed mixer for live events (recitals. plays), I take 2-3 inputs, mix down, and feed one channel to a recorder and another to my camera via wireless or cabled. I haven't had the opportunity to try this config with the H4 in the field yet, as I generally use this setup for recital work, not wedding work.

"How is the H4's analog to digital converter? is it pretty low noise?"

I haven't had the opportunity to use the unit as a converter, as I generally don't have much need for that use currently. But I would assume it would be pretty quiet based on the the operation of the unit.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 09:22 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the good info Michael. I was especially glad to hear you describe the audio signal of the H4's line out as "pretty quiet". It definitely sounds like a nice little unit for the price.

And thank you Steve for the manual link--much appreciated!

~Mike
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Old October 27th, 2006, 04:32 PM   #9
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Michael,

When you bypass the on-board Pre amp, Do you have to use XLR or the 1/4 inch jack input ??

I read the entire user manual online but i didnt see where one can bypass the internal recorder's pre amp. Can you confirm this for sure that i can bypass the recorder's internal preamp before i place my order ?

Thanks Again
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Old November 1st, 2006, 12:15 PM   #10
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Zoom H4

I am thinking of using the zoom with one of my mixers, and sending it line level, so I can mix with the pots on my board, and just use the H4 instead of a dat....has anybody tried to do that?? I cant find any info about whether this gizmo will take balanced line in from a mixer....it COULD make a nifty addition to my eng kit if it could do that...
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Old November 1st, 2006, 12:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Leone
I am thinking of using the zoom with one of my mixers, and sending it line level, so I can mix with the pots on my board, and just use the H4 instead of a dat....has anybody tried to do that?? I cant find any info about whether this gizmo will take balanced line in from a mixer....it COULD make a nifty addition to my eng kit if it could do that...
Steve the H4 can take either a line or mic feed, via the built in XLR/1/4 Ch1/CH2 inputs on teh bottom of the unit.
When taking a "Line in" feed from a mixer or board, it's best to set the audio gain on the H4 to prefferably L (low) or M (medium).
If you wanted you could either send your mixed audio to one or both channels via XLR. Since you are using a mixer with decent pre amps or limiters (I gather) then clipped audio shouldn't be a problem.
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Old November 1st, 2006, 02:29 PM   #12
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Zoom H-4

thanx for the advice...
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Old November 1st, 2006, 02:30 PM   #13
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Zoom H-4

thanx for the advice...I just ordered one, they seem to be flying off the shelves...I'll have it by friday, and will use it over the weekend as described with my ENG-44 as a front end, so to speak....I'll let everyone know how it works. In fact, I may post some samples on my website for folks to download....
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 11:48 AM   #14
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Zoom H-4

Well, the nice folks at Zzounds shipped my H-4 yesterday, and I got it this morning, a full day early....
heres the preliminary results, since I have not gone out and field recorded...but I did want to address the conjecture regarding sending line level audio to this gizmo.

There are input selectors in the menu, basically "input" which is the rear XLR pair , and "MIC" , which is the on board XY stereo pair of microphones. With the input gain set to "L" (for "low", I selected the XLR's as my inputs and sent line level from my ENG-44.....lo and behold, the audio was pretty distorted, even at low levels ( < -24 db).....then I set the ENG-44 to send MIC level, sent tone, and reset my input level on the H-4, turned off tone and sent program (Garbage playing "Special"...yeah , Shirley, you're totally hot)....and there ya go, perfect audio....I recorded the track onto the SD card at 320 KBPS, played it back on my system via my SANDISK reader, and could discern no audible difference from the original track, except a slight lowering on overall loudness.....obviously, my efforts at avoiding over-mod by judiscious setting of tone/levels worked nicely...
so, bottom line, this device does NOT have a TRUE line level in, but rather has a mic level in ONLY ,with varoius ways of setting gain in IE.: h-m-l and manual adjustment of level...this is fine for me, since my mixer has mic/line switchable outputs...for those of you using boards and field mixers that have no such facility, you will have to pad your input...not a big deal really, I got a pair of HOSA variable pads in Boston for $24 , and they can be set to -10/-20/-40, so plenty of pad....you may also wish to note that SENNHEISER engineers claim that all padding should be done right at the recording device's input, to avoid raising the noise floor, so you really should plug the pad right into the H-4 inputs, then cable to that. well, there ya have it...I am going to do some test recordings with my pair if MK012's and then I'll let everyone know how that goes....
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 04:55 PM   #15
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Steve,
I'm also considering the H4 - being fed from a Sound Devices 302..
You mentioned that you selected the XLR inputs, and sent line level.. Did you use 1/4" TRS connectors, or XLR connectors..? My understanding was that the inputs could accept either Mic level on the XLRs, or Line level on the 1/4"... is that not the case..?
Thanks. Rgds, Ross.
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