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Zoom H4 Handy Recorder
List Price: $494.99

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Product Description

The Zoom H4 is more than a handheld recorder - it's a simple way to record high quality audio. It's a full function stereo recorder capable of a wide range of recording rates, from low grade MP3 to 24bit/96K wav files. It also can be used as a portable 4 track recorder AND a USB interface. The built-in microphones & two combo jacks connect your favorite microphones or instruments -- including condensers with 24. 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. And to move your recordings to a PC or Mac, the H4 includes a USB mass-storage interface. Records 24-bit/96KHz digital audio as well as MP3s, with bitrates up to 320 Kbps Two combination XLR-1/4 input jacks with phantom power Onboard studio effects compression, limiting and mic modeling 1/8 headphone jack provided for monitoring Includes 128MB SD card Up to 380 minutes recording time with 2GB SD memory card Up to 34 hours recording in MP3 stereo mode Combination high-impedance phone inputs for vocals, guitars, bass or keyboards Built-in guitar amp modeling equipment to the Zoom G2 Records directly to your computer as a USB audio interface Comes bundled with Cubase LE - 48-track Digital Audio Workstation software Up to four hours of continuous recording operation from 2 AA batteries

Whether you're recording a live performance, a podcast, a class or workshop, a rehearsal, a songwriting session or even a sizzling performance of your band, the H4 has more recording tools available than any device ever made. Weighing a mere 6.7 ounces (190g), the H4 puts a remarkable amount of recording power in the palm of your hand.

Many uses of the Zoom H4 portable stereo recorder
Underneath its sleek exterior are built-in studio effects such as compression, limiting and mic modeling. Use the combination XLR-1/4-inch inputs for external mics, guitars, bass or keyboards. Also onboard are Zoom's most incredible microphone, guitar and bass modeling, accurately reproducing the tone of the most famous microphones and amps ever made. Audio can be recorded as WAV or MP3 files and moved to a computer via USB for easy editing, mixing and mastering.

True stereo imaging:
Stereo recording is often accomplished by using two microphones in a V-shaped set up that faces the performer. While this method will result in good stereo separation, responsiveness for the area directly in front of the mics will be low, causing problems with depth perception and imaging. The Zoom H4 uses an X/Y configuration where the two microphones point inward at a crossing angle. This allows the recorder to cover a wide area, and at the same time capture sound sources in the center with perfect clarity and definition. Phase differences between left and right channels are also eliminated because sound is picked up simultaneously by both microphones.
The Zoom H4 offers true stereo image recording
Absence of phase differences ensures natural stereo imaging

24-bit/96 kHz linear PCM format and MP3 recording:
The H4 allows 24-bit/96 kHz linear PCM recording in WAV format, resulting in excellent transparency and definition that exceeds the sound quality of CDs. This is great for capturing the nuances of an acoustic instrument while preserving the ambience of the recording location. Or record directly as MP3 files for longer recordings that still provide excellent sound quality.

Secure Digital (SD) Media
The H4 records on Secure Digital (SD) Media cards. These widely available cards boast an amazing amount of recording time in a small package. And unlike tape or disc media, mechanical vibrations do not affect recording quality. With a 2GB SD memory card, the H4 can provide up to 190 minutes of stereo WAV file recording in 44.1 kHz/16-bit mode or as many as 34 hours when recording at 128 kbps in MP3 stereo mode.

Combination XLR-1/4" Inputs
The H4, with its two phantom powered XLR-1/4" input jacks that support direct connection of external microphones, is the solution to an infinite number of recording situations. You can also use the H4's Hi-Z rated phone inputs for direct connection of guitars, bass, or any other line-input device.

Features:
  • Metronome: 5 sounds (Beat: 0/4 - 8/4, 6/8, Tempo: 40.0 - 250.0BPM)
  • A/D Conversion: 24bit, 128times oversampling
  • D/A Conversion: 24bit, 128times oversampling
  • Signal Processing: 32bit
  • Recording Media: SD memory card (16MB-2GB)

Customer Reviews:

  • Nice unit
    I bought this recorder upon a recommendation of some friends on a forum I frequent. It was purchased mainly to record acoustic and classical guitar practice sessions. The internal microphones are very sensitive and pick up very well. I haven't tried external mics on it yet. The ability to record as an MP3 file is very convenient and easy to send over the internet.

    Things that would improve the unit include:

    It would be nice to have a built in speaker for preview. There is a standard iPod sized earphone jack you can plug in to for preview and playback, but other than that, you have to take the card out and connect it to your computer, etc. to listen back.

    Removing the SD card is difficult due to the placement right between the batteries. It's hard to get ahold of the card. You also have to open the battery compartment to get to it and the batteries are loosely mounted so you cant use gravity to help with the card or the batteries fall out. Both minor annoyances.....

    All in all, it is a nice unit and worth the money. It has MANY features I will probably never use but the quality of recording for my use is exceptional....more info
  • Great Recorder too few tracks
    This is a great recorder. A little complicated to use unless you mix sound and effects; I don't use the effects much, the recording quality is great. It is important to know that you can only record 2 mono tracks simultaneously, or 1 stereo track. I wish it had more input tracks for recording, but I knew this going into the purchase so I am very happy with it....more info
  • Good for what I wanted it for
    I bought the H4 a couple years ago because I wanted an affordable four-track recorder. It is and is not ok for that. I think for multi-tracked recordings (i.e., I play all four tracks one at a time) this is not the best device. However, using it as a stereo device for field recording has worked well. I was replacing a worn-out minidisk, and this was the best I could find. I still kind of like the minidisk (Sharp) better in some ways, but the H4 does have good sound quality with the built-ins.

    I'm not an electronics geek; I'm a nearly-60 female who likes to tinker with stuff and who is reasonably computer literate. The h4 had way more "features" than I would ever want; what I record is brass instruments (like a brass quintet) and occasionally strings. So I don't need or want guitar effects and find having to pay for those features a pain.

    The screen is hard to read. The manual is decipherable but only with study. I've never understood why they don't just take the time to get it in English instead of translated whatever language it is. Like, why don't they want to make it easy to use for people who are not electronics geeks? Maybe the rest of us would like to be able to figure it out too.

    All that said, the recording quality with the built in mikes was better than I expected; even the tuba recorded well. It is not professional sounding but you need a $10k mike to get it professional sounding. It did not sound any better with my $400 stereo mike, so I just use the built-ins. I used a tripod from about ten feet away from the quintet.

    The files transfer easily to my Mac and I can put together what I want in Garageband and even cut a CD if I want.

    I'm not concerned about the flimsy-ness of it; I'm old enough that I don't expect it to take a beating. It is frustrating to try to read the tiny little screen that is not well defined or lit for older eyes.
    ...more info
  • My first recorder - working well.
    This is my first handheld recorder. Been thinking about buying one for a long time. I haven't been using this one for long but it's up until now at least met all my demands.

    ...more info
  • He likes it!
    My finace had been researching & fantasizing about a Marantz field recorder for a while... so when Christmas came I had that in mind. That price range drove me to check out the Zoom instead, which seemed to delight him just as much. After about a month, he's happy and constantly surprised by that little machine's capabilities. So far so good. ...more info
  • Great, cost-effective, digital recorder
    I've been very impressed with this H4 recorder so far. Contrary to what some other reviewers have said, I found the interface VERY easy to use, and very intuitive, once I started using it. I looked at the book for ~1 minute prior to use, and was immediately up and running with no further assist.

    Before purchasing the H4, I read a number of the reviews comparing this product to its competitors, which include the Edirol R-09. I was concerned because those reviews made it sound like the interface on the H4 was kludgy and/or difficult to operate. In the end, I decided to purchase the H4 anyway because, a) all reviews said the sound quality was great (which is really most important IMHO), and b) it was at least $100 cheaper than the competition. I figured, if the sound quality was good, I could figure out the interface. Fortunately, I've been pleasantly surprised by both.

    I find the H4 easy to use, and the sound quality is great for the price. The only thing I would like is, a finer adjustment control on the mic level for input. The simple L/M/H switch is ok, and great for making fast setups, but I'm wondering what it would be like to be able to have more control over these mic levels. (On the other hand, a) I love the cost of the H4 compared to competitors, and b) if I did have more control, I would probably spend more time fiddling with the levels, and less time actually recording...) If you're looking for a great, portable, easy to use, and low cost digital recorder, I would recommend the H4. (Oh, and don't forget, it comes with Cubase also.) If you would like to see one of my examples of using the H4, I have a video at [...] that was recorded using the H4. I recorded the video using a logitech pc camera, and the audio on the H4, and then combined them using Windows Movie Maker.

    ...more info
  • This was everything the seller said it would be! FANTASTIC - CLEAR
    In the words of our sound dude- "This is NPR clear" - in reference to the absolute background silence & perfectly clear voice clarity on the radio station NPR!
    Easy to use, and reliable....more info
  • Frustrating Control Buttons
    I purchased the recorder primarily to use as a sketch pad and practice tool. I liked the idea of having multiple track recording capabilities. Unfortunately, the product did not work for me. While trying to record multi-track I found the control buttons to be sticky and non-responsive in a random sort of way. As a result I just couldn't get the hang of using them. That made working through the menus difficult and frustrating...the last thing I needed when trying to make a recording. I ended up returning the item. ...more info
  • Zoom H4
    As a musician, I have found this handy recorder to be a very fine recorder with multiple resources for recording. It is also has many resources that you find in good recording studios which you can use to make quality stereo and 4 track recordings. It is very important that one read every word of the instruction manual many times in order to understand this device and make good use of all its resources. The quality of the recordings I have done so far is excellent....more info
  • Not Hard To Use and An incredible Tool At An Insane Value
    This is great. I easily link up to sound boards when I'm on tour. To do everything that it does, it of course is pretty complex with buttons, but it was easy to pick up and I actually like how the buttons work after using it for a few minutes. I can see the screen fine. The windscreen fell of and got lost. That was the only bad thing on it. I need to go buy a new clown nose. I wish I wouldn't have waited so long to get this....more info
  • Good all around performer
    The Zoom H4 has performed very well for me in recording live music sessions. The quality range of 3 wav levels and 1 mp3 is good. The features are excellent but the controls are very compact and take a good deal of getting used to.
    The only downside I feel is the short battery life. Using 2 AA alkaline batteries I can get 2-3 hours of recording time and then the recorder dies while there is still a lot of juice in the batteries for other applications. So I presently have a collection of about 50 AA batteries which are still good for running toys and flashlights but don't have high enough voltage for the H4. This is a small inconvenience - overall the unit is excellent....more info
  • Good Buy
    The H4 is totally cool, did few live recordings and some rehearsals all came out great with good quality. the transfer to my computer is easy and i can cut and paste with my Logic.

    The only problem i had was to upgrade thru the Zoom web site. I have a Mac and i couldn't do it, had to upgrade on my Dell and than continue my work on the Mac. I was trying to contact the Zoom support but no help, they didn't even know what i was talking about, the first time, and than they stopped emailing me!...more info
  • Zoom H4 Handy Recorder
    This is a great product. It produces results that rival a recording studio when you use the direct inputs. The microphones do not produce studio quality sound reproduction but if you connect a couple of Shure SM58 microphones you can get close. This recorder is small and easy to use after an hour or so of familiarizing yourself with the manual....more info
  • Zoom h4
    The H4 offers high quality recording, and it does not distort with loud noise (drum set, etc). It is very easy just to pick up and record with. You can literally just turn it on, hit record, and go. You don't have to worry about accidentally recording over any saved material or anything. Play back is a breeze too; very self explanitory.

    I agree with all of the usual complaints (SD card tough to remove, jog wheel kind of hard to use, and the whole unit feels a little flimsy. I also found out that when using phantom power, you have to power both mic inputs. So you cannot use a dynamic mic and condensor mic at the same time. Not too big of a deal, since the built in mics do a fine enough job.

    I have had a terrible time getting Cubase to work right. It was frustrating downloading drivers over and over agian, only to keep getting new error messages. No instructions are included for Cubase, so you pretty much have to figure out how to use it on your own.

    Overall, it's a great unit. The short comings do not take away from the fact that this is truly an amazing piece of equipment. Amazon seems to have the best price on it too :-)...more info
  • zoom h4
    I own the H2 and the H4 is a better machine though it is a bit harder to work the menus. The condensor mics get a better vocal sound than the H2. I record a quartet of eletric guitars, bass and percussion live, no P.A. and get a good sound for mp3s to put up on the net. Both are good but I wouldn't spend the extra if you don't need the cubase software....more info
  • Excellent high quality product
    The recorder has the ability to record in surround sound and can record a voice from across the room. It is not the easiest to operate, but includes a detailed manual. Small enough to fit in your pocket but not so discreet looking if you are trying to hide it from the conversation. I saw it online for $100 more and checked Amazon.com and bought it. It was a wise purchase....more info
  • pretty darn good
    This product does exactly what I want it to with one exception: it does not have rechargeable batteries. It takes two AA batteries and it really eats them up. Other than that it's terrific. I would suggest taking a little time to get to know it before recording anything really important; how to position it so that it picks up what you want it to, etc. The foam mic protector is also a bonus. I purchased this device to record ambient/environmental sound and conversations. I have not yet used it to record music (I *believe* it has some sort of multi-track function?). For my purposes, with the exception of the batteries, it's pretty perfect....more info
  • Zoom H4 review
    Great handy little device, very easy to use. I just used it this past week for recording audio to the short film I was involved in making. Uploading files into computer took about 20 minutes, but that could be due to the file sizes. I recommend this recorder for anyone interested in audio or wanting to learn more about audio....more info
  • Zoom H4 Recorder
    I have found the Zoom H4 recorder easy to use, and the recorded sound to be excellent....more info
  • Zoon H4 is Handy
    After reading all the reviews on Amazon we decided to go ahead and order the H4 Recorder. We are not experienced recorders, but found the Zoom easy to use. Read the "fast setup" and you know enough to record. Take 10 minutes with the manual and you can record well. Take another 10 minutes and you can get what you recorded off the SD card. The zoom achieves a high quality recording without additional mikes and no bulk. The buttons are easy to use and the screen is large considering the size of the recorder. Only thing we did find annoying is when you remove the SD card the power supply is interrupted to the recorder and sound settings have to be reset (takes about 10 seconds). I would recommend this to anyone with the need for a GOOD digital recorder....more info
  • weird package but great features and sound
    I read all the reviews before buying this thing and at first i was worried of some of the problems people were having with it. Mostly firmware related, a lot has been fixed, they ship with version 2.2 and gripes like level setting memory,card problems,and conversion errors are gone. Battery life with 2500 maH batteries was 6 hours! 8 gig cards do indeed work. Batteries are in a crappy place and if you need to swap your card, THEN you do lose your settings...=( menu while funky was rather easy after a while. Headphone volume could be better. usb 1.1 sucks audio quality at the 96khz with built in mics are really clear phantom power mics work great. And it does actually record at 96khz. a reviewer previously said it doesn't......more info
  • Good product but not compatible with my powered condenser mics
    I bought this product from a friends recommendation and reading reviews. It is the only small (hand held) digital stereo field recorder of these types with XLR external mics connections. I bought the unit so I could plug my DPA powered condenser microphones using the XLR connections. The Zoom comes with phatom power but the DPA's have there own preamp and power supply which is a higher voltage system. I am getting distortion even when the input gain is turned down. The signal coming from the mics is at line level. These powered mics don't seem compatible with the Zoom H4...more info