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Author Topic: Looking for alternatives to zoom h4n pro with better built-in mics  (Read 496 times)

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Offline saberpoder

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Hello there!

I'm looking for a portable sound recorder to carry on with me and record field sound samples to use in music production / sound design / maybe some shorfilms audio. I've had pretty bad experiences with the ZOOM H4N pro: the first two times I bought it, it was malfunctioning brand-new and I had to give it back, and the third time, when I finally got a working one, I was quite disappointed:

-the built-in mics aren't that good, and I was getting quite a lot of noise when trying to pick some quieter sounds outside. I don't know if I'm asking for too much for this budget, but I would like to know if someone has other experiences with other recorders in the same price range. I do have a shotgun mic but I can't carry it 24h: I'm looking for something handy and with a nice sound quality / nice built-in mics, as I'm always travelling light.

-the recorder itself is not what I would call handy. it weights "quite a lot" (I haven't tried other alternatives thought, so maybe this is the standard), it barely fits in any pocket or bellypack (that's okay but could be better), and the worst: it takes ages to switch on. Whenever I hear something interesting I would like to be ready to record it almost inmediatly, and this is quite a bummer in the H4N pro.

-it's really taking too many batteries too fast. this is not the most important but it is quite relevant if you have to carry twice the weight because of always having new batteries to replace the empty ones.

So, my question for out there: does someone have any other experiences with portable recorders? Something in the same price range (+-50), with nicer built-in mics, handier than the h4npro? I don't need any fancy stuff like interfaces / 4ch rec, just a pure field recorder.

Thanks to everyone!

Offline ycoop

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Re: Looking for alternatives to zoom h4n pro with better built-in mics
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 04:16:31 PM »
I’ll take a stab at this, did a fair bit of research in searching out a handheld recorder for myself, though my needs were different.

You might want to consider the Zoom H2n. It’s small, but still has 5 mic capsules for different recording situations, though I can’t speak to their quality from personal experience. Judging by a quick YouTube video I pulled up, it boots in under 2 seconds. (https://youtu.be/hUI4Sprbt5g). If you need phantom power for your shotgun mic you’d have to go with an external pre-amp.

While it doesn’t have a built in mic(s), you might consider the Zoom F1 ($200), and purchase one of Zoom’s modular capsules which you can find for around $70. I know that may be beyond your budget, but the F1 seems like a nifty little recorder. At that price you might want to consider something else, others probably know more about that price range.

All said and done, handheld recorder internal mics generally won’t be great, and tend to have noisy preamps.

Hope this helped.

Offline saberpoder

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Re: Looking for alternatives to zoom h4n pro with better built-in mics
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2018, 07:48:37 PM »
Nice, thanks for the advice! The h2n was already in my considerations, it looks like a pretty solid unit and the internal mics sound decent as far as I can tell. I have also thought about some tascams (dr-05 or rather dr-40v2 with xlr inputs) or even about the new Roland R-07, as I've seen it's getting quite nice reviews. I will definitely consider the zoom f1, the device + XY capsule gets around 275 €, so it's quite over my budget but could work somehow, and the fact that you can upgrade and get the shotgun capsule in the future is an interesting feature.

Anyone out there with some more info or suggestions for nice built-in mics portable recorder? thank you

Offline IronFilm

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Re: Looking for alternatives to zoom h4n pro with better built-in mics
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2018, 10:48:42 PM »
I'd look into a dedicated recorder such as the Tascam DR60Dmk2, especially if you'll be using it for films as well like you mentioned. Then get a XLR mic for it.

For the longer term it would be a better investment.

Otherwise if all you care about is built in mics :-/ Then get something cheap like the Tascam DR05 or Zoom H1n.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 10:50:22 PM by IronFilm »

 

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