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Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? #2919204 12/02/19 08:20 PM
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I posted about this in the ABF back in August ( Which Zoom recorder (or non-Zoom recorder) to buy ), but I'm finally getting ready to purchase a new audio recorder (so I can record whenever I want, rather than only when I can check out the Zoom from the library!).

I'm sort of stuck on the fact that it seems like the Zoom H4n hasn't been updated in maybe 4 years (?) and I'm wondering if there's going to suddenly be a new product out. So I wanted to see if anyone has any other recorders/brands to recommend. (and just fyi, I'm also not keen to get a video recorder, audio-only is fine.)

I read the PianoBuyer article about portable audio recorders which was posted a few months ago (but the Zoom H4n wasn't reviewed, only the H2). I suppose I could consider the H2, but I originally owned a Zoom H4 (the 2004/2006 model) so that's where my preference lies. In any case, this article kind of cements the Zoom's reputation as compared to other options at this price point ($200 or less), so I'm still leaning toward the Zoom H4n.

But before I pull the trigger, does anyone (TD??) have any recommendations, about the Zoom or any other portable recorder, if you do, please share!

TIA!


Started piano June 1999.
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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2919216 12/02/19 08:54 PM
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Hi ShiroKuro,

There is a ZOOM H6, that is supposed to be superior to the H4n, based on some online reviews. But it is about $100 more than the H4n. I don't have any personal experience with the new ZOOM H6, but I do with the H4n. (Also, I do think you can get software updates on the H4n)

I purchased one of the ZOOM H4n stereo recorders a couple of years ago, and I could tell right off the quality of the audio recording on the ZOOM H4n was a lot better than the audio on the camcorder (JVC HDD Everio 35x), which I was using to record my YouTube music videos. Next, my problem was learning to sync the video file (with audio muted) with the audio file of the ZOOM H4n in my video editing software. Not an easy task.

I said all that to say this... the quality of the audio recording of the ZOOM H4n is pretty good. And, it could be made better with different mics, and better placement around the piano (based on what I've read). Not sure if there is anything newer than the H6 from ZOOM. But I'm pretty impressed with the ZOOM H4n.

Good luck, and Merry Christmas!

Rick


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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2919232 12/02/19 09:52 PM
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I replied over in the ABF, but if you are not going to use external microphones, the H1n might be a good choice, and half the price.

Sam

Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2919295 12/03/19 05:10 AM
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I'd like to throw in Tascam as a brand worth investigating. I have both a DR-05 and a DR44-WL and both were excellent choices for recording my piano. Having said that, I have decided to upgrade both recorders with external microphones. The DR-05 now uses external binaural microphones which are perfect for concert recordings and the DR44-WL now drives a matched pair of Røde omnidirectional condenser microphones and the results are pretty good, some would say even on a professional level.

Last edited by OE1FEU; 12/03/19 05:11 AM.
Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2919301 12/03/19 05:32 AM
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The TASCAM DR40 is really excellent and handles external mics well as well as mid-side recording. This is helpful to capture greater ambience and it's also really good for four track recording with sound on sound.

But recently I invested in a DR70. This does not do sound on sound but handles dynamic mics superbly. For recording on the hoof dynamic mics take no power and give longest recording time as far as power limitations are concerned and the AKG D200 D202 D222 and D224 are as good as capacitor mics and better than any inbuilt mics of any sound recorder.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnTDkj5dYYc was recorded with a pair of D202 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Oy-piyl4w was a test of different mics which led me to test the D202s in use for that recording and found one of them faulty.

Best wishes

David P


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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2919351 12/03/19 09:57 AM
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Thank you for all the comments everyone!

Ok, I did a little bit of reading and comparing the H1, H2n, H4n, H5 and H6.... For my purposes, it sounds like H5 and H6 are overkill. Also, if you're just using the built-in mics, there isn't any audio-related difference between the H4 and the H5.

What I read about the H1 and H2 leaves me to believe that the H2 would be the better choice if it were between those two products. -- Except, don't ask me why because I just read a billion articles and now I can't remember! whome

Although I don't plan to add external mics right now, I might in the future, so that points me toward the flexibility of the Zoom H4n.

I'm not keen to try the Tascom products -- but thank you to everyone who suggested them. The reviews I've read make me think that the Zoom is the better choice (in this price point at least). Also, I'm more familiar with the Zoom products. I owned the first (?) version of the Zoom H4 and loved it. And I've used the Zoom H4n a few times now (there are two at my university library that can be checked out -- I'm only wanting to buy so I don't have to be restricted by the short borrowing period or compete with students who check out the tech for class projects). But I already know how to use the Zoom, so that comfort level is another point toward the H4n.

So, now I guess I need to decide which bundle... I think I have the adapter from my old Zoom, do you think I could use that with the new one? If so, then I would just need the cable, an SD card and a remote...


Started piano June 1999.
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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2919379 12/03/19 11:46 AM
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At some point you might want to try external mics for superior sound quality. In this regard you are right to lean towards the Zoom H4n.

How quiet the preamps on the Zoom H4n are, I really don't know. If they are noisy then that might impact the sound quality when using external mics.

Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2919413 12/03/19 01:15 PM
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I have the H4n and it has served me well until I moved up to a higher level using a pair of Neuman KM184 condenser mics and an Audient iD44 usb interface. If you are considering an H4n make sure you buy the "H4n Pro" model. It has greatly improved pre-amps.
Ian


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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: Unequally tempered] #2919464 12/03/19 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Unequally tempered
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Oy-piyl4w was a test of different mics which led me to test the D202s in use for that recording and found one of them faulty.


Those are all monaural recordings, something seems to have gone wrong there.

Thanks for pointing me to the newer DR70, looks incredible, especially with the option of hooking it up with dynamic mics. The price shocked me; it's almost to cheap to be of really good quality.

Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920062 12/05/19 08:03 AM
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I went through the same issue . . . which one to pick?! I ended up going with the H2N, I searched eBay and got one with the accessories pack for around $125. the microphones on it were great and a bit more versatile then the H1.

Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920083 12/05/19 08:59 AM
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Has anyone tried recording an acoustic piano or band with one of these using their IOS iPAD?
Seems interesting. Wonder how it compares to a single unit Zoom recorder.

https://www.zoom-na.com/products/handy-recorder/zoom-iq6-professional-stereo-microphone-ios


Last edited by joggerjazz; 12/05/19 09:01 AM.
Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920102 12/05/19 09:24 AM
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ShiroKuro Offline OP
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I know a former forumite who has one, and when he first told me about it (which was 2017 based on when I add it to my wish list in amazon) he concluded that the results didn't make a big enough difference to justify the price. Also, it looks like there isn't a newer model, and a quick look through the reviews on Amazon are not encouraging!

Anyway, all those things combined led me to rule it out.


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920192 12/05/19 12:45 PM
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I have a Zoom H4N and I enjoy mine. I use it for my piano as well as doing scratch vocals when I need too. I picked mine up on eBay 2nd hand for a very reasonable price. At the time, I was looking at buying a pair of Rode NT-1a microphones. The recorder cost less than 1 of those, and it does a decent job. I prefer to record the piano at about 5 feet away from the concave curve on the treble side with the microphones around lid level. This gives me some focus of sound in the recording, but I still get a nice room effect with out too much bounce off of the underside of the lid. I'm recording a 7' Steinway B.

Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920223 12/05/19 02:06 PM
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My teacher told me yesterday I should record myself playing and send them to friends to get used to the idea of playing more in public- something I don't particularly like doing. I recorded myself for the first time when I sold my RX-2 a very stressful experience at least to me particularly because I could only record in 25 second intervals as my iphone memory kept running low. I'm eyeing the Zoom H1. Is that microphone of any good quality? Also what is a quality program for Macs that I can use for syncing video/audio? Thanks in advance.


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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: Jethro] #2920229 12/05/19 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
My teacher told me yesterday I should record myself playing and send them to friends to get used to the idea of playing more in public- something I don't particularly like doing. I recorded myself for the first time when I sold my RX-2 a very stressful experience at least to me particularly because I could only record in 25 second intervals as my iphone memory kept running low. I'm eyeing the Zoom H1. Is that microphone of any good quality? Also what is a quality program for Macs that I can use for syncing video/audio? Thanks in advance.


You can sync audio/video on a mac using garageband or imovie, both of which come with the mac. imovie seems easier to me. And Audacity also works on the mac for manipulating the audio first. I use a zoom H4n to record audio, trim it with audacity, and sync it with video from a cheap digital camera with imovie.

Sam

Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: Sam S] #2920244 12/05/19 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by Jethro
My teacher told me yesterday I should record myself playing and send them to friends to get used to the idea of playing more in public- something I don't particularly like doing. I recorded myself for the first time when I sold my RX-2 a very stressful experience at least to me particularly because I could only record in 25 second intervals as my iphone memory kept running low. I'm eyeing the Zoom H1. Is that microphone of any good quality? Also what is a quality program for Macs that I can use for syncing video/audio? Thanks in advance.


You can sync audio/video on a mac using garageband or imovie, both of which come with the mac. imovie seems easier to me. And Audacity also works on the mac for manipulating the audio first. I use a zoom H4n to record audio, trim it with audacity, and sync it with video from a cheap digital camera with imovie.

Sam

Ok thanks. I will video off a bridge Canon camera and possibly the zoom H1. I don’t know if it will make a big audio difference between the H4.


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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920251 12/05/19 04:19 PM
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If you're considering the H1, how about moving up to the H2? You should be able to get one for about $50 more. The H2 is said to be much better for music because of the mics. My impression from everything I've read is that there probably is a pretty big difference between the H1 and the H2, but maybe less of a difference between the H2 and h4 (just in terms of recording using the built-in mic).

Either way, good luck!


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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920280 12/05/19 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
If you're considering the H1, how about moving up to the H2? You should be able to get one for about $50 more. The H2 is said to be much better for music because of the mics. My impression from everything I've read is that there probably is a pretty big difference between the H1 and the H2, but maybe less of a difference between the H2 and h4 (just in terms of recording using the built-in mic).

Either way, good luck!

Sorry, I meant H1n. I already own 3 other mics, 2 behringers and a Samson that was supposed to be comparable to a Shure58. I used the Behringers in a recent video recording of my RX-2 and could not get a good sound out of them, but that was probably my fault as I probably didn't know what I was doing. I don't want to spend too much on any more mics. I think the H1n looks like a good quality recorder and fairly inexpensive but easy to use. The H2n I think just adds more channels. I'm going to pair this thing to a Canon SX60 (guess how many times I've used that or my expensive telescope and hundreds of dollars of lenses). GAS is not just limited to digital pianos unfortunately.

Last edited by Jethro; 12/05/19 06:21 PM.

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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920287 12/05/19 06:41 PM
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Quote
I think the H1n looks like a good quality recorder and fairly inexpensive but easy to use. The H2n I think just adds more channels.


IIRC the H1 (or H1n) has different hardware (the built-in mics) from the other versions, which I thought I read made a pretty big difference and was the reason why a lot of reviewers recommended the H2 (or H2n), not just because of the channels. But at this point I've lost track of all the comparison articles I've read! :P

More to the point, it sounds like you have way too much gear! laugh Getting the very simplest one makes a lot of sense!


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Re: Zoom vs. other portable audio recorders? [Re: ShiroKuro] #2920295 12/05/19 07:15 PM
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So, nobody gives a [censored] about monaural recordings presented as something that you should get.

Remarkable.

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