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Zoom H4 – Handy Recorder Information January 19, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Podcast Audio Equipment.


I got a tip on a portable recorder that I haven’t played with yet… but that’s no reason to keep you from knowing about it.   You can read the specs from their website just as well as I can type them here, but:

The H4 features 2 condenser microphones configured in an X/Y pattern for stereo recording. It also includes 2 combination XLR-1/4 in. input jacks with phantom power for use with any external mics. It has on-board studio effects such as compression, limiting and mic modeling. An 1/8 in. headphone jack is also provided for monitoring. The H4 records on to Secure Digital (SD) media, a 128MB SD card is included with the unit. With a 2GB SD memory card, the H4 provides up to 380 minutes of recording in 16-bit mode (CD Quality), and 34 hours in MP3 stereo mode.  It also H4 includes a USB mass storage interface to move files to your computer. The H4 provides 4 hours of continuous recording operation from 2 AA batteries. A back-lit, 128×64 pixel LCD provides the visual interface. An AC adapter, USB cable, windshield cover and tripod adapter are also included.  At $300, this sounds like a great little recorder.

Go to the website here.  Pic taken from zZounds.com.

See these other posts as well:



1. Frank Sagevsal - March 9, 2007


Pretty good review with audio samples in .wav and .mp3 format

2. Brad - March 15, 2007

My little review has nothing on the O’Reilly review, but I’ve been using the H4 for a little while now, and I think it’s great for radio producers and podcasters. You can check out my review, with a couple of sound clips here: http://bradlinder.blogspot.com/2007/03/zoom-h-4-review-reporters-recorder.html

3. Jeff - March 20, 2007

Great review… you sum up some of my thoughts as well. I like the comparisons with your other recorders as well… it helps people more than you know. Thanks Brad!!!

4. Brad - March 20, 2007

Thanks Jeff, glad you found it helpful.

FYI, Jeff Towne just did a detailed review of the Edirol R-09 over at Transom, and it looks like he’ll have an H-4 review up within the next few days. From what I’ve read, I’m very glad I went with the Zoom. It’s a bit cheaper, has better quality inputs, phantom power, and sounds better. The only advantage to the Edirol is that it’s smaller and runs longer on a single battery charge.

Here’s that review:

5. Leonardo - April 18, 2007

Recently bench tested the H4 for a musician customer liking the deck’s extensive feature set.

My tests showed significant high frequency audio bandwidth and excessive input noise when battery powered.

See partial review at: http://www.sonicstudios.com/zoomh4rv.htm

These shortcomings MAY be typical (sorry to NOT note test unit’s serial number) with all production runs of H4 models.

Others have noted the H4’s audio sample rate (clock timing accuracy) is way off to cause difficulty if using H4 made recordings in a mix session with more accurately clock-sampled audio.

6. Jeff - April 19, 2007

(thanks leonardo)

UPDATE! – I’ve been using my Zoom H4 Handy Recorder for a month now and really like it. I DO have some time code issues… but I have evidence that suggests it’s only when recording in MP3 mode…? Get this… when I record something for 7 seconds in MP3 stereo mode, though the file size will show an amount, and all players (quicktime, windows media, iTunes, audacity) will show it as 7 seconds long… there is NO sound. Nothing was recorded. In my tests (turning the unit on, hitting record, counting the seconds, and saving the samples from 1 second to 30 seconds. It took anywhere from 11 to 22 seconds for audio to actually be written to the unit. I have no idea why yet, and haven’t found anyone online doing little samples like I am (for loops and background tracks). When I do reach 11+ seconds or so, it writes ALL the data from second zero to the end. Odd, huh?!

Other than that, I’m loving the 1/4 inch and phantom XLR inputs for on the road recording along with the multitracking capabilities.

7. More Zoom H4 Information « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s Blog - April 19, 2007

[…] More Zoom H4 Information April 19, 2007 Posted by Jeff in Podcast Audio Equipment. trackback I’ve been using my H4 for a month now… just one quirk that I talk about in a comment on my last H4 post.  See it another interesting review on the comments from April 18th (Leonardo) and April 19th (Me) at:  Zoom H4 – Handy Recorder Information. […]

8. deryk - June 15, 2007

i’ve played around with both the edirol R-09 and the zoom h4. both are great products. the zoom has more features, but honestly it is much less user friendly than the R-09, which is very easy to use. For this reason alone, I am going with the R-09.

9. Recording Your Podcast with Two Microphones, and ynu5photos « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s Blog - August 25, 2007

[…] I’m not sure what he would have access to when he records (like being able to bring a laptop along)… but I would think that he could do what you want to do with the Zoom H4 Handy Recorder. […]

10. Equipment to Record a Loud Concert? « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s Blog - October 27, 2007

[…] here’s another […]

11. Portable Podcast Recorder - Roland Edirol R-09 « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s Blog - October 27, 2007

[…] 1/20/2007 Update: See also this post on the Zoom H4. […]

12. Ernie - February 16, 2008

can’t seem to figure out how to move song files from the h4 to the computer hardrive…computer doesn’t recognize it??? would appreciate help…thanks, Ernie

13. Pastor Painter dot com » Blog Archive » Audio Sermons - February 21, 2008

[…] is a great article written last year on podcasting devices for those on the road. along with an update on the Zoom H4. I haven’t even tried to google the price: I’m too afraid. Ultimately an MP3 solution […]

14. Rev. Robert Turner - June 9, 2008

What is the price of this zoom H4 ?

15. Jeff - June 10, 2008
16. Jack Arthur Simanjuntak - January 2, 2009

I just got Zoom H4 a week ago and everything is working very well. For me, the audio quality is more than i expected before. I love it !

17. dear - September 13, 2009

If you are looking for a portable audio recorder support windows/mac the Zoom H4 is a choice for cheap price and good quality.Try to read articles from people who used it appropriate to use or just to your satisfaction as. visit (http://zoomh4handyrecorder.blogspot.com/

18. bandsxbands - January 31, 2010

My friend and I were recently discussing about how we as a society are so hooked onto electronics. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don’t mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside… I just hope that as the price of memory decreases, the possibility of transferring our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It’s a fantasy that I daydream about every once in a while.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running R4i DS ccPost)

19. five mistakes - December 9, 2011

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20. ThomasGed - January 13, 2015


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