Zoom H4nSP
Zoom H4nSP

H4nSP, Portables Aufnahmegerät/Multitrack from Zoom in the H4 series.

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content in English
YuriW 29/07/2014

Zoom H4nSP: Produktbewertung von YuriW (content in English)

"Good and practical"

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I work with videogame soundtracks and bought a used Zoom H4n to record ambiences and outdoor sounds in general. Mine one has a pretty nice plastic case, an AC adapter (but can run on two AA bateries as well) and an USB cable, and I've bought a separate 16gb SD card to use with it.

It has two condenser microphones, two extra inputs for additional mics (which can be phantom powered) or line DI/sources, and you can use all these 4 channels at once. It records wav files (up to 24bits and 96kHz) and mp3's. The usb cable is not only to transfer files to your computer, but can also make the unit work as a regular audio interface, nice resource.

Besides that, it has a few built-in effects (compressor, amp simulator, delay, etc) that are not good (you might wanna use them to plug your guitar and practice with a headphone... might) and a small speaker that is usefull to have a quick listen to a file and make sure that everything is working fine (of course, you can also do that with a headphone). The construction is robust and it looks like it could handle some hits and falls with no problems.

I don't have much experience with portable recorders, but I can say that the pre amps on the H4n are not as good as the ones from a regular audio interface in the same price range. But they are not awful either: you can get some usable sounds from the stock mics and some very usable sounds if you use a couple external ones. I usually end up always boosting a little top end and cutting a little around 200Hz, 300Hz from the files recorded with the H4n.
One thing I really like is that the stock mics can be twisted to open up the angle of the stereo XY recording, from 90° - good for stereo instrument recordings - until 120° - good for my ambiences because they sound large and fill up the stereo spectrum nicely. Being able to do it without any other mic is really handy.

I don't really like the little screen and think that navigating through the unit's functions could be easier. Anyways, you can still learn how to use it and get your work done.

Overall, even with its problems I think that the H4n is a good product, that does its job well (which for me is to record stuff out of the studio, but you can easily find other applications) without taking much of your money. If I had to buy another portable recorder I would probably look around for other models before just to make sure that there is something better around nowadays (I would trade the effects for better pre amps without thinking twice, for example), but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't find anything as good and as practical as the H4n for this price.