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Re: portable hand field recorders

Just recently I was discussing this with a friend of mine.  He uses
the Zoom, and here's what he had to say about it:

"i got one of those zoom H4 recorders that looks like a tazer. its
pretty useful. but not for incapacitating attackers.

i really like it. its replaced my minidisc. i bought it cause [a
mutual friend] got one and he's really picky about gear and does a ton
of research. for the price, which is less than the roland or m-audio
units, it can't be beat.

it has the usual zoom drawbacks: its not very sturdy and sort of
poorly designed in general, the menu navigation is really bad. i can't
imagine using it as a 4-track, which it does with various amp modeling
and stuff. but for regular stereo recording, it seems fine; just push
the record button once to put it in standby and check levels, then
push it again to start.

if you aren't in a rush, i'd wait for the H2 to come out this summer.
it does away with the 4 track mode and records in surround sound and
its $100 less.

[in answer to a question regarding how easily levels can be set when 
the zoom has  dedicated L/M/H switches on the side (for both the built
in mics and the inputs, which are combo XLR 1/4 inch) those levels are
user adjustable, which involes wading thru the menus. but once you
have them set, you can just use the switch to select between the 3

also it has a built in limiter that i think does a "look ahead" thing.
that function can be turned on or off as you choose. kirk thought this
was one of the real selling points for the zoom, i guess the roland
and m-audio don't do this. there's also a built in compressor.

both the M-audio and roland are just under $400, the zoom is under
$300, i think you can find it for as low as $279, but it's typically
the m-audio has no built in mic, but i think it comes with a plug in
thing. the roland mics point out to the sides, while the zoom mics are
in an x-y sort of configuration which i think gives a better stereo
image. and its the only one with XLR inputs which can be phantom

on top of all that, when you hook it up to your computer, it will work
as a bus-powered audio interface, and it comes with a copy of cubase.

things about it that stink:
clunky design- looks like a tazer, might get you shot.
does not feel especially sturdy.
battery/SD card cover opens in an awkward way. and the SD card is
really hard to get out unless you have fingernails.
menu navigation is awful. really, really bad.
the display is tiny
the unit seems much larger than it should be. it won't fit in your
pocket (comfortably). the roland and m-audio are much smaller.
it has no clock, so the files don't have a useful date on them.

hopefully some of this stuff will be fixed on the H2. i know it looks
to be smaller and does have a time stamp function. i also know it
won't do multi-track recording, but that's probably not a big deal."

Hope this helps.


On 4/23/07, L.A. Angulo <labaloops@yahoo.com> wrote:
> i need something really portable and easy to operat
> like the old portable tape recorders(too bad i got rid
> of my old one) that fits in my hand but digital with
> mic and 1/4" inputs usb options and all the new
> goodies with a good sound without the need of
> connecting x-tra micros or xpensive xtra battery
> charge device to record sounds, rehearsals,speeches
> etc.