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September 9, 2009 at 12:48 AM #41705AnonymousInactive
I’m looking to purchase the Zoom Digital Audio recorder. I heard they do wonders. Does anybody have any advice they could share with me on which one I should buy? I found the H2 for $179.95 and the H4 for $229.95. I’m doing a seminar in early October and would appreciate any feedback on which one to buy. Thanks everyone.
September 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM #176485
I have four Zoom H2 units and use them all the time. I love them and they do what I need done, efficiently, effectively and 98 percent of the time without a hitch.
I use them for podiums at funerals and other speaking engagements. I use them in the pockets of roving speakers (some who LOVE to move around) with a hardwired mic. I use them suspended, on mic stands, hidden in areas near or around speakers, live musicians, readers at weddings, etc. I use them placed strategically around sections or instruments in music, instructional and band/orchestra performances.
I use the “normalize” feature quite extensively. I also often ingest the audio into my mac system and burn an audio CD, then use the CD aiff files converted with Toast to further adjust, edit and place the audio where needed during the editing process.
Had I initially had the funds to do so, and prices then what they are now for the H4 I would likely go with the higher model due to added capabilities. You can visit the Zoom H2/H4 sites for specific information regarding the differences of the two.
But I have to say I’ve NO regrets going with the H2s and they have constantly saved my bacon. I’ve read and heard of various problems regarding them (somebody somewhere complains about pretty much ANY system in one way or another) from audio “officianadoes” but have not experienced ANY serious problems myself. Only once did I inadvertently do the wrong thing while formatting one of my cards so I can honestly chalk that one up to operator error. I was not prepared with backup, having become overly confident, and during a series of commercial recordings using the H2 as a backup, I messed up. It will not happen again, and I will have extra cards already formatted next time – turn it off, insert new tested card, turn on set it and record. Voila.
You would do very well, most especially for narrative, vocal, speaking tracks, with the lower-priced model.
September 9, 2009 at 1:57 AM #176486AnonymousInactive
Thanks EarlC…much appreciated!
October 21, 2009 at 7:50 PM #176487
Hi EarlC!! I do a lot of live bands and musicians. The first time I used the on-board mic with my XHA1 during a loud rock concert, I messed up not using the attenuator. The on-board is usually 1/2 decent if I am stationary and not at some hi-decible gig. Then I goofed using a sub-out TRS from a soundboard, adapted to XLR, theninto the XHA1, because either the signal was too hot or I did not swith the selector to Line-in (??)… Recently I purchased a small mixer. Not sure if that was necessary.
Anyway, I too am looking at the H4 (latest version) and hope that it grabs even loud gigs well. I just don’t know for certain whether to grab a feed from the soundmixer, and feed 2 ambient mics as well to this H4… say for a rock concert as an example. I see it accepts 4 channels.
Is this overkill or is there a better way? It would be AWESOME not to run around with 100′ of XLR on and off-stage. I need to get the best audio possible with bands, especially when I am NOT going to be fixed using a tripod.
Thanks man, I appreciate your suggestions!
October 21, 2009 at 8:33 PM #176488
Schweers / Star,
Here’s a video with one of the Zoom recorders on a windy day at Hawaii’s North Shore. I have seen and played with the Zoom recorders at conventions since they came out but never was convinced until now.
October 21, 2009 at 8:57 PM #176489
thank you composite1. i will likely get and test one of these to see how well it handles a blasting concert. it seems to do well on the windy beach. still not sure how it handles hi db’s though, and would need to experiment on placement…
i read EarlC’s post just before to NOT to go line in with XLR off the board to the camera. i guess that’s why my audio came out distorted even though the gain was set as low as one or two bars on the display. live and learn. (lucky the camera audiostill works.)
October 22, 2009 at 1:28 AM #176490
You’re welcome. That fuzzy muff made such clean recording possible. Far as ‘running audio inline from mixer to camera via XLR isn’t such a hot idea without a field mixer. The typical audio you get from the mainboard is usually Master out so it’s mixed with whatever the engineer gives you. If you have a field mixer then you can far more control over the sound going into your camera.
During a concert, attenuators are mandatory because there is just too much ‘wild sound’ bombarding your mics. So for your ‘cut cameras’ don’t forget the attenuation and fuzzy muffs.
October 22, 2009 at 3:40 AM #176491
I place them around like audio recording “bombs” picking sweet spots on speakers, next to performers or instruments and setting them accordingly. The 4s are cool, but I’ve really saved the bacon time and again with the 2s and they are sweet for the price.
Another thing I’ve done is dedicate one to the board (these things have a line in) and taken my chances with that as well as using the others for my usual setup. I almost always come out with difficulties from the board hookup. Eternal optimist, I guess. Composite shared some good with you and you know where I stand. Sorry so late in responding, but have been going at it around here last couple of days.
October 22, 2009 at 4:42 AM #176492AnonymousInactive
You mentioned using a hard wired Mic with the H2. What mic do you use?
October 22, 2009 at 5:05 AM #176493
Mostly lapel mics – Sony ECM (or is that PCM) models. I also have set it up with my Azden wireless system with excellent results. I use a couple of Azden handhelds hardwired to it, and wireless, and I have a Sennheiser shotgun (cannot remember the model No. off top of my head but it isn’t the more expensive ones.
A lot depends on what you want to record – instruments, vocals (a combination usually, I know) close mic, ambient, general background sounds, speakers. Most of the mid-range mics and the longtime Shure faves work well. I am not as happy with the intensity of the electret (condenser) battery powered mics – too sensitive. Probably dynamic mics or shotguns – the shorter ones.
Sweetwater sound, guitar center, musicians friend and Sam Ash are good places to check out. Also B&H Photo Video. Prices are all over the board, but you probably do not want to purchase the low-end jobbies at Radio Shack. Stick with brands such as Sure SM57 & SM58s longtime favorites.
The Audix i5 is a good dynamic instrument mic I have used. They run about same as the 57-58 in the $100 range. I have one Electrovoice RE-20, but you’re talking close to 5 bills for that one. I’ve got/used other stuff but those are pretty much the ones I’ve plugged into the H2 – adapters of course.
October 22, 2009 at 1:41 PM #176494
Thanks to both EarlC and Composite1 – I will experiment much the same Mr Earl, running a combination to this H2 or H4 (if the H2 has XLR in, tho I do have a Peavey unit that switches up RCA, TRS, and XLR ins and outs with a db cutter) and I can then pull sound to it using mics, boardmix and/or direct sound to the Zoom… You said you connect lapel mics, that’s interesting. It hadn’t occured to me! (You know sometimes it’s all about how MacGuyver we can get!!) Perhaps lapel mics are easier than handhelds placed on mic stands, if I can figure out a way to set them up. My fear is people knocking over micstands, as I don’t have a “crew” keeping an eye on things. (All the interns seem to want to fetch coffee for the television stations!! I am still looking for these ambitious interns, LOL! Believe me, I have work for them – and a good one would score big-time with me!)
Anyway, this gig in NC seems to be off as the artists failed to respond in over a week and I took another (local) assignment. I guess $600-700 was too much for a 3 1/2 one-way trip to shoot a full show with pro-audio and 2 cameras. (Plus editing and DVD.) They haven’t even paid the balance of a work completed (not shipped, tho I cannot use their product). I think I will begin asking for full price at the start of a job – a story for another thread. Meanwhile, the new gig will be a band also… I do a lot of them in Roanoke, VA. And so it is always my greatest concern to capture good audio.
Thank you both again for addressing the H2 and H4. It’ll be a worthwhile peice of gear I think.
October 22, 2009 at 5:46 PM #176495
The Zoom H2 does not have XLR. You’ll have to adapt to that one. The H4 does, but for the price I opted to adapt to the H2 mini inputs.
October 22, 2009 at 7:18 PM #176496
10-4 earl… might bewiser to afford 2 of the h2’srather than 1 x h4… makes sense. thank you again!
October 23, 2009 at 2:12 AM #176497DanParticipant
Well I can vouch for the H4 – I have recorded in lots of nice studios and I think the H4 can capture an acoustic performance as good as any. Its really quite amazing. I have a few songs on my home page like “crowd in the palace” and “everything begins” that I recorded with the H4.
November 8, 2009 at 7:40 AM #176498vanlamParticipant
I have the H4N, and I love it. The built-in mic is surprisingly good and using it with an external mic is even better. Haven’t used any of the extra features (USB interface, etc), but nice to know they’re there.
February 4, 2010 at 11:01 PM #176499AnonymousInactive
Thank you for starting the post! Where did you find the H4n for $229? I am looking for a good deal on a new H4n from a trusted reseller. I saw B and H is selling it for $299, but I will rather try to find it for cheaper. If anybody else knows of a good price for the H4n, please let me know on this post.
February 5, 2010 at 1:50 AM #176500six2735Participant
I have been using the H2 for about 18 months now and I love it.I patch it into our audio mixer at our church usingthe aux out for a tape recorder (has a separate vol. control). also use the limiter on the H2 plugging the mixer intothemic. input. A 4Gig SD card (HC) gives about 7 hrs of recording time @ the 44 Khz setting in stero mode.
February 5, 2010 at 3:11 AM #176501AnonymousInactive
I don’t recall exactly where I found it for that price. It was 4 months ago. I have four H2 recorders and love them. They work wonders. I hope you can get a deal on them! Good luck
February 5, 2010 at 3:25 AM #176502AnonymousInactive
Thank you for responding Schweersup! Why did you go with the four H2 and not the H4n?
February 5, 2010 at 4:09 PM #176503AnonymousInactive
Both Zoom Recorders work great, but for the price, you can’t beat the Zoom H2. I use it to capture all the sounds, you might otherwise not pickup from your camera mic. A great investment for anyone wanting to add to their recording assets.
February 6, 2010 at 1:12 AM #176504AnonymousInactive
What makes the Zoom H2 better than the Zoom H4n?
February 6, 2010 at 2:56 AM #176505
The H2 is not “BETTER” but for the investment, compared to the cost of the H4, a person needing more auxiliary audio tools can economize and not experience a major compromise in performance.
Most of us can afford two, or four H2 recorders, rather than spending the extra to obtain that many additional H4. And, for once the value vs quality of the H2 warrants making a multiple-unit purchase decision.
February 6, 2010 at 2:14 PM #176506CvilleParticipant
I just ordered two of the H2 units from B & H because I could get two for the priceof oneH4. I’m looking forward to testing them out.
February 6, 2010 at 3:06 PM #176507AnonymousInactive
EarlC couldn’t have said it better. Purely economics for me. I can purchase additional H2s for the price of the H4, plus the H2 functionality meets and in most cases, exceeds my requirements. I use it with every recording project now because I have the guarantee of additional good quality audio recordings without worrying about potential wireless interference and/or on-board camera mics which tend to pickup some “click” or noise. H2s (and H4s) are great because they can be used as out of sight recorders. Perfect for closeup audio of the bride and groom with pastor, while hidden at the alter. The quality has been pretty good for my use too. Once you learn to use the gain control (for different environments), you’ll soon realize you made a sound investment.
February 9, 2010 at 10:47 PM #176508AnonymousInactive
I did purchase the H2 for myself but also ordered two H4n’s for the video crew I work with. After watching composite1’s demo video of the H4n, I’m SO glad I ordered those for the crew!! What an IMPRESSIVE demo! THANKS for sharing that. The H2 works GREAT for what I use it for (360 audio off a boom or table), but the H4n has those XLR inputs that the crew uses. Can’t say enough about the Zoom products. So, depending on your application, you can’t go wrong with either of these.
February 9, 2010 at 11:35 PM #176509AnonymousInactive
I am not here to divide the masses on the H2 Vs the H4n. I am here to figure out what tool would be the best investment for a sound recorder that will pay dividends for my business. I am personally leaning towards the H4n, because it has XLR Inputs and it is phantom powered. Yes, I have been in the business for awhile now, and Yes you can call me a XLR SNOB! I just do not want to mess with adapters and making my system of operating a weak link. I want to keep it simple and have a good work flow. I have been reading different opinions and experiences for both of them. I saw this really good review that pretty much summed it up for me. The reviewer said the H2 is good for recordings that are not very loud, because the pre amps clip every time. I also have read in other sites that the pre amp is not that strong. The H2 is good for vocal, string ensembles and speeches. The reviewer also said the pre amp is much better on the H4n by far and it won’t clip like the H2 does. Plus I like the design of the H4n a lot better than the H2. I liked that it is rugged and not plastic or flimsy. I may be biased because I drive a Rugged Jeep Wrangler. What I may do is get both, but I may just go for the H4n. The one advantage the H2 has over the H4n is that it is smaller, so that may be something to think about. Here is a link to that review: http://www.wedvidpro.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6704
Thank you for your time,
February 10, 2010 at 2:33 AM #176510
What’s the argument or point – get the one(s) you prefer and know that overall the Zoom products are good to have and use. If money were NO object whatsoever and I could purchase as many as I wanted and needed, and could utilize them all for all my productions, well, then I’d buy all H4s. Money being an object, and wanting as many as I could get, I went with the H2s.
February 10, 2010 at 3:35 PM #email@example.comMember
I’ve used my H4s for a couple of years and they work well enough. My advise for older folks is to pack a flashlight so you can read the tiny print in the info window. My wishes to Zoominclude a link to my laptop for quickly viewing options and making adjustments – if needed — at the shoot. I also have found that my long Zoom wav files (1 houror more) are about 1 1/2 second longer or shorter (can’t remember which) than my Sony DV camera sound. The work-around, of course, is to adjust the length in Sound Booth or cut the Zoom sound into short segments before dropping in the timeline.(Cutting works better for me.) This problem exists on battery or wall power and only exists when Zoom filesare compared to Sony DV files. (My Zoom recorders sync exactly with each other.) Has anyone else experienced this sync problem with Zoom?
February 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM #176512
I see there’s a debate growing about ‘H4N’s vs H2’s’. Like Earl implied, there’s no reason to debate. With the H4N for more money, you get more features. Many of which you might not have the need for. I’m seriously looking at getting a pair but the H2’s price is verrrry attractive, but the features on the H4N are what I need for what I do. It would be simple to put adapters onto an H2 (I always keep adapters just in case) so I my pride wouldn’t be hurt to use Mini-to XLR adapters though they can be a pain sometimes. It really depends on both what you can afford and what you’re trying to do.
Here are some links to more product demos for the H4N
or the H2
February 16, 2010 at 11:53 AM #176513AnonymousInactive
to advice me the model of device to adapt H2 for XLR input with phantom powered? (if it is possible, of course)
April 30, 2010 at 12:52 AM #176514
I finally did get one of these Zooms. I got the H4 was because I can run a mixer with 2 XLR outs to the recorder.
kuvirkot, you might need a separate unit to power your mic. or run it through a mixer that has a phantom power switch. you’ll still need to switch to Hi-Z i think and use an adapter to plug your line into the H2, if i’m not mistaken.
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