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Re: Zoom H4 for laptop looping

Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2006 10:06:16 -0600

> Just thought I'd throw out a plug for the new Zoom H4.  It works as  
> a great 2x2 audio interface for Mobius (it has some built-in  
> effects I haven't tried yet, but will work in audio-interface  
> mode), and the other features make it ideal for collecting found- 
> sounds or putting together rough song ideas on the fly.  The built- 
> in stereo condenser mic has really impressed me so far.  I expected  
> it to pretty much suck for the price, but I've been getting some  
> excellent acoustic guitar recordings with it.
> Anyway, for the price, I'm really happy, so I thought I'd pass it  
> along.
> --Josh

Someone posted and asked about latency. I just picked one up this  
morning to check out, and may have some information to share.  
Regarding the option to use the H4 as an audio interface the software  
drivers are bad news. So bad actually that I would rather say that  
the H4 is not usable at all "as laptop sound card". I tested it for  
hours and although I used the largest available buffer I could not  
get a clean sound from it. Not on Mac with OS X and not in Windows XP  
with the dedicated software drivers. I'm glad I don't have to review  
it in a magazine because the marketing of it is partly misleading.

But the H4 is great for other purposes - just forget about that audio  
interface dimension - like for example the stereo recording and the  
effects. Good guitar sounds in there  (Some people might want to use  
it as a four track porta studio as well). H4 is also awesome as a  
USB2 based SD card reader. And it rocks as a portable field recorder.  
I like it so much that I decided to buy one as a replacement for my  
old portable DAT recorder.

And I did actually find a place for it in my laptop looping rig - as  
a mic pre amp, merge box and input reverb unit :-)  I feed the H4  
with one acoustic flute mic and one line level EWI synth clarinet.  
Then I put a simple stereo cable from the H4 into the PCMCIA sound  
card Echo Indigo i/o on my lappy. That's a minimal set-up that sounds  
decently ok. Two instantly connected instruments of which one is  
electric and can be used for heavily distorted sounds that would not  
be possible with a microphone.

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen
www.boysen.se (Swedish)
www.looproom.com (international)
http://tinyurl.com/fauvm (podcast)