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Richard Graham



Joined: 10/04/06
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Loc: Gateshead, UK
The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment
      #374488 - 30/10/06 03:24 PM
Bought mine on Friday, and a 2GB card. So far I have used it:

as an audio interface for my laptop when I DJ'ed at an 18th birthday party,

to record my four of my brother's songs featuring acoustic piano playing and vocals, using the built in stereo mic,

to record my 9-month old son's gurglings,

for headphone bass practice, using the Fender Bassman amp modelling,

as a guitar tuner, as a metronome, as an effects unit,

and as a 4-track.

Sound quality is good, including the amp sims and effects. Build quality is solid. As a four track it is fairly easy to use, and will get easier, I'm sure: I've never had a similar kind of device. As a stereo recorder it could hardly be simpler: recording the piano and vocals involved putting it on its stand, and then clicking the record button twice: that was it.

I have not yet had a chance to try out Cubase LE (bundled) or to use it for its phantom power mic preamps, or to use it as an audio input for my PC.

Easily the best £191 I've ever spent on audio gear.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #374498 - 30/10/06 03:44 PM
Wow Richard - where did you get it for that price?

I've got an Edirol R-1, and while it's a neat little recorder, it has one serious flaw for me :

The "input level" on the side is erroneously referred to as "mic gain" in the manual. In fact, there is no control over the mic gain. So, if the sound you are recording is loud enough to distort the microphones (fairly easy when recording a rehearsal with a three-piece "rock" band - my main reason for buying it) then attenuating the input level merely results in a distorted signal recorded to the memory card at a lower level.

I'd be really interested to hear how the H4 copes with a loud source such as a band rehearsing in a small rehearsal studio. If it functions ok like this, I'd be very tempted to flog the R-1 and switch to the H4.


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #374689 - 30/10/06 11:27 PM
Thanks for that fun piece of news!
When you have time to plug in some mics, let us know if you have good gain, phantom power, and not too much noise.


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Richard Graham



Joined: 10/04/06
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #374757 - 31/10/06 08:58 AM
I have not used it to record my band yet, but I'll be doing that this week. We are a loud band. I've read reviews online that say it works fine for band rehearsals. I've always used a Tandy PZM into a Creative Jukebox 3 with good results, but it's fiddly to set up, doesn't always record in stereo properly, and the backlight's gone so the H4 is my solution.

Got it at Sound Control, Mosely Street, Newcastle upon Tyne... Shay Graham (no relation) is your man.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Scramble
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #374834 - 31/10/06 11:52 AM
Sound Control is selling it for £229 on their web site, so you did well to get it for £191 (even £229 is the cheapest I've seen in the UK).


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #374840 - 31/10/06 12:02 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

I have not used it to record my band yet, but I'll be doing that this week. We are a loud band. I've read reviews online that say it works fine for band rehearsals.




Great - if you could report back with how it went in this kind of situation, that would be much appreciated. If it works ok, I think the R-1 will be going on Ebay very soon.

Cheers!


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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #375117 - 31/10/06 09:52 PM
Having read this thread with great interest, I had to go and buy one of these, superb, Ive been looking for something like this for ages to replace my minidisk, the audio interface is a great bonus, the Phantom power works well, I tried recording some acoustic guitar with a small condenser mic, very quiet with plenty signal, a great little tool.


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Richard Graham



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UPDATE: Loud rehearsals new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #376961 - 06/11/06 11:41 AM
Thought I'd let everyone know that the H4 has been tested by Mondongo and found wanting.

The internal mics and/or pre-amps crap out at high volume levels, even with the mic gain set to low. You can set the recording level as low as you like and you hit a brick wall, above which all the transients get clipped. So say if the record meter is peaking at -6, it will be pretty much permanently at -6 while the song is playing, as if you'd put a brick-wall limiter across the inputs. It still produces a useable sound for listening back to a rehearsal, but it isn't a good recording, in fact it's poor.

I tried moving the H4 as far away from the amps and drums as possible, but it was just as bad (possibly worse due to a bass proximity effect from situating it near a wall).

Next week I will try my trusty PZMs in the mic inputs, and let you know the results.

Apart from this the H4 is still an excellent little tool, and I've had a lot of joy this weekend using it as a 4-track. In fact it is more like an N-track, because even when you bounce, it keeps the original files, and you can then load the whole lot into Cubase LE (supplied). So for instance I had 9 unbounced tracks on the song I recorded, you keep bouncing and adding them in the H4, but then load the originals into Cubase and mix to your heart content.

So I'm far from unhappy with it, but I wish Zoom could've made it so it could cope with live heavy metal.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Rob C



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Re: UPDATE: Loud rehearsals new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #376992 - 06/11/06 12:22 PM
That looks remarkably similar to Ant's post about the R-1. Interesting.

--------------------
www.bemuso.com


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mcguirk



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Re: UPDATE: Loud rehearsals new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377002 - 06/11/06 12:33 PM
I've jumped the gun somewhat, and already flogged the R-1.

I was reading the reviews on ZZounds, and a couple of folks on there report good results recording loud rock rehearsals. I can't remember offhand if they mention whether they were using the internals or externals.

Bit of a dilemma, this.

Richard - is it actually distorting, or just hard limiting? If it's hard limiting, I could probably live with it. But the R1 definitely distorts with loud sources.

Maybe you could chuck an excerpt of a recording up somewhere? If that's not too cheeky a request

Edited by ant_chapman (06/11/06 12:35 PM)


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Richard Graham



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Re: UPDATE: Loud rehearsals new [Re: Rob C]
      #377018 - 06/11/06 01:06 PM
Not enough juice for the pre-amps from the batteries, maybe? I could try it with the adaptor, see if it is any better. It'd be handy if there was a built in pad, but it seems not. Maybe a firmware update could fix it, depending on how the thing's put together and where in the signal chain the clipping is occuring. You'd think they would have field tested it with a bit of rock though!

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Richard Graham



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Re: UPDATE: Loud rehearsals new [Re: mcguirk]
      #377020 - 06/11/06 01:14 PM
Quote ant_chapman:


Richard - is it actually distorting, or just hard limiting? If it's hard limiting, I could probably live with it.




It's distortion. Not fizzy distortion, but a severe 'crapping out', not unlike when you used to over-load a cassette tape, if you ever did that: it sounds like analog distortion I think. The recordings are useable for reference, but it isn't good, nice or benificial distortion/limiting.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Rob C



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Re: UPDATE: Loud rehearsals new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377042 - 06/11/06 01:57 PM
I've got one on order. I won't be recording any rockous rawk... but I do sometimes record noisy stuff in the big outdoors. Shouldn't be a terminal problem anyway.

I was wondering of these little beasts share some architecture or even parts that makes this kind of thing happen?

Have you thought of fitting tiny earplugs to the mics?

--------------------
www.bemuso.com


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377061 - 06/11/06 02:27 PM
OK, just for reference - I've put an excerpt of an R1 recording of a loud three piece band from a rehearsal on my webspace :

www.knuckleheads.co.uk/r1.mp3

This is recorded using the internal R1 mics, set to Dynamic mode (although with this kind of source, both modes sound pretty much identical).

I haven't normalised the excerpt, so if you put it into a wave editor you can see the problem with the R1 - the input level pot merely alters the recording level POST the mic preamps. In this case I reduced the input level until the meter looked fairly calm, and all I got was quite distorted music at a low level.


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Doublehelix



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377081 - 06/11/06 02:56 PM
Maybe you could try getting a couple of the Shure in-line pads and using an external mic? This things have a selectable attenuation of 15, 20 or 25 dB, and are very transparent. I use them all the time.







Also, is there a line in feature where you could use external mic pres? This might help for situations where some other option was available.

--------------------
James
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" ~Napoleon Bonaparte~


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Doublehelix



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377084 - 06/11/06 02:59 PM
BTW... I just listened to the MP3 that you posted. It reminds me of the old days (late 70's?) when we used to record our practices with old cassette players with built-in mics and auto leveling.

Truly horrible!!!

--------------------
James
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" ~Napoleon Bonaparte~


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Shivanand
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #377093 - 06/11/06 03:07 PM
I have just ordered one too. I'll be checking it out at band rehearsal Thursday evening and a pub gig Friday evening.

--------------------
"Qui habet aures audiendi audiat"


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James PerrettModerator



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377120 - 06/11/06 04:21 PM
If the gain control doesn't have any effect then it is probably down to the power supply to the built-in mic capsule not being high enough. There is also the remote possibility that you have a faulty mic capsule. It might be worth contacting Zoom to see what sort of sound levels it is designed for. Theoretically you might be able to increase the supply voltage to the built in capsule but this would also increase the capsule noise and would invalidate any warranty. The inability to handle high levels is common with cheap electret mics.

Cheers

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #377239 - 06/11/06 08:06 PM
Quote Doublehelix:

Maybe you could try getting a couple of the Shure in-line pads and using an external mic? This things have a selectable attenuation of 15, 20 or 25 dB, and are very transparent. I use them all the time.







Also, is there a line in feature where you could use external mic pres? This might help for situations where some other option was available.




The H4 can use external mic pres, as it has combo Jack / XLR inputs. The Shure attenuator might help, but this along with always having to use external mics sort of defeats the object of using a supposedly all-in-one solution like the H4.


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Rob C



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #377244 - 06/11/06 08:14 PM
Quote ant_chapman:

...having to use external mics sort of defeats the object of using a supposedly all-in-one solution...




There is a version with stereo U87s, but it's more bulky and it does cost £3,200.

--------------------
www.bemuso.com


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ibliss
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Rob C]
      #377287 - 06/11/06 10:07 PM
Just to be clear - when you say the gain is set to "low" are you talking about the 3-way switch on the side of the H4? I presume the software gain is some kind of digital gain stage (like the level setting on sony MD decks).

H4 is quite appealing, but this sounds a little dodgy!


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: James Perrett]
      #377360 - 07/11/06 03:22 AM
Quote James Perrett:

If the gain control doesn't have any effect then it is probably down to the power supply to the built-in mic capsule not being high enough. There is also the remote possibility that you have a faulty mic capsule. It might be worth contacting Zoom to see what sort of sound levels it is designed for. Theoretically you might be able to increase the supply voltage to the built in capsule but this would also increase the capsule noise and would invalidate any warranty. The inability to handle high levels is common with cheap electret mics.

Cheers

James.




My guess is that it's the first input stage which is not metered. But who knows? I'm sure someone will shortly,


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James PerrettModerator



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jeraldo]
      #377441 - 07/11/06 10:28 AM
Quote Jeraldo:


My guess is that it's the first input stage which is not metered. But who knows? I'm sure someone will shortly,




With an electret capsule the first input stage is the FET inside the capsule - that's why I would guess that it is capsule related.

One thought - do you have phantom power on the H4? If so, you could try using one of those capsule in an XLR plug mics that have been discussed recently.

Cheers

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377456 - 07/11/06 11:31 AM
To answer a couple of points in one go:

the mic input gain switch is set to the lowest level, and then the internal recording level is adjusted seperately.

using external mics IS an option, but obviously reduces the all-in-one convenience of using the H4 in this instance (recording very loud rock bands close up). And will the pre-amps still 'crap out'? If the problem is the capsule, then maybe not.

I still don't know if using the supplied wall-wart makes any difference. If so, then good, but still not ideal. I will try it.

here is a link to an mp3'ed snippet of rehearsal, so you can hear the distortion for yourself. It's mostly when the bass kicks in loud. Eddie plays through a pair of 4x12s using an Ashdown head. The H4 is a few feet from each stack and the drumkit. The distortion was non-existent, inconspicuous, or at least far less bad when it was just drums and guitar at the same levels and distances.

http://www.dtxperience.com/forums/showflat.php?Cat=8&Board=DTXtremeIIS&Num ber=289983&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1

The fact remains that in MOST respects, the H4 is a very very useful piece of kit, at an affordable price, and there's currently nothing like it on the market.

I'm very glad I bought it.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377459 - 07/11/06 11:37 AM
Cheers for the excerpt, Richard. Definitely sounds better than the R-1 to me, so I think I'm still going to get one. Might call Sound Control in Newcastle and see if they've got any stock, as I'm going to be up there at the weekend.


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #377482 - 07/11/06 12:33 PM
Glad it was of use. It also makes me feel better to know that the H4 is much better than the Edirol.

For non-critical listening, the recordings I got using the H4 are ok, and I'd use it again for band-practice recording, with or without external mics.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Doublehelix



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377571 - 07/11/06 03:44 PM
I agree that this clip sound better than the one that was posted earlier... much less distortion, although still present.

Very nice!

Now who is that drummer??? RUBBISH I tell you!!! Burn him!!! (Just kidding!!! Nice job Richard!!!

--------------------
James
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" ~Napoleon Bonaparte~


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ibliss
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Doublehelix]
      #377595 - 07/11/06 04:44 PM
Sorry, one more question - the web site says

"Included with the H4 is a windscreen to alleviate unwanted noise from turbulence and a tripod adaptor that allows easy mounting to a standard camera tripod."

Does the tripod adaptor fit on a mic stand?
Thanks


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: ibliss]
      #377605 - 07/11/06 04:57 PM
No, the tripod adaptor won't attach to a mic stand.

I actually like the tripod adaptor cos I can stick the H4 on a table or a chair or chest of drawers, with a little tripod I got with a cheap digital camera and never used, and I can swivel it or angle it as I like, without having to lug mic stands around. One of the best things for me about the H4 is it is very portable and inconspicuous, I can make recordings or practice bass or guitar in our living room without all the gubbins.

The H4 comes with a couple of bits of velcro that you can use to attach it to the tripod adaptor, but I don't bother because it's stable enough as it is. I'm sure you could use these to tie it to a mic stand.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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ibliss
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377609 - 07/11/06 05:03 PM
Thanks for the reply - have just been browsing 'net and you can get a mic stand adaptor for the Edirol R-9 which looks like it goes from a camera thread to Mic stand threading - I guess this would be compatible with the H4 if I ever felt the need to stick it on a boom stand or something. Probably 3rd party adaptors available too.


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #377785 - 08/11/06 12:54 AM
Quote Richard Graham:

To answer a couple of points in one go:

the mic input gain switch is set to the lowest level, and then the internal recording level is adjusted separately.






First, I don't have one of these, so I'm purely speculating! There is a difference between mic trim and mic gain, and my suspicion is that the first device in the chain can't handle the input, even with the gain and/or trim switch/pot set to the lowest level. (Many pro and consumer kit has had this problem-remember the old Tascam portable DAT recorder?) Maybe Boss includes a detailed spec sheet-if they do, that should answer all the questions.


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jeraldo]
      #377832 - 08/11/06 08:27 AM
Yeah, it would've been nice to have a mic trim switch on the H4, to knock the signal down by 10 or 20 dbs. I think that would have been enough. But I suppose it would have added a few quid to the price. Mind you, it would be a few quid I'd have been happy to pay.

(too many would haves in this post, I know)

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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James PerrettModerator



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jeraldo]
      #377901 - 08/11/06 12:02 PM
Quote Jeraldo:

There is a difference between mic trim and mic gain, and my suspicion is that the first device in the chain can't handle the input, even with the gain and/or trim switch/pot set to the lowest level.




I don't know if you saw my previous reply Jeraldo, but the first device in the chain is the FET in the electret capsule. Cheap electret capsules commonly have problems with high sound levels.

cheers

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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Jim Y
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: James Perrett]
      #378140 - 08/11/06 07:10 PM
Indeed they do...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electret_microphone


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jim Y]
      #378345 - 09/11/06 09:39 AM
I just read the wiki article, where it says that electrets (can) rival condensers in all respects except for low noise. I didn't read where it said they were necessarily poor at recording high SPLs. In fact, the article even says they 'can even have the long-term stability and ultra-flat response needed for a measuring microphone'.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Shivanand
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #378372 - 09/11/06 10:27 AM
Mine arrived yesterday. I only had time for a quick play so I plugged in my MDR-7509s and sat down with an acoustic and recorded a track then some over dubs. The track arm/mute/select system is dead easy to use and makes for quick convenient tracking. My initial impression of the sound quality was very good. Rather disappointed with the tiny display. Menu stuff is a little fiddly, but once the thing is set up for the job in hand it's all pretty simple.

Stereo mode is a doddle to operate, nice friendly (big) record button starts and stops the recording process.

Interfacing with a laptop was painless and quick.

I'm hoping the 1GB SDs arrive today so I can record band rehearsal at 44.1/24 this evening.

Pretty pleased with it so far and haven't even unwrapped the manual yet.

--------------------
"Qui habet aures audiendi audiat"


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Jim Y
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #379372 - 11/11/06 03:38 PM
I see what you're getting at, but, electret types exist because this technology lends itself to low cost mass production; and even though they could be made better, the market at large doesn't require them to be.

I put the Wiki link in to support the fact that there is a FET built into the capsule as the first stage of amplication/buffering. There is only one FET in there, nothing more. The human race has yet to make a single amplifying element that is perfectly linear over it's full operating range. It doesn't have to clip to distort - just moved into a non-linear region by large signal excursions.

Or is the overloading heard with loud music deliberate? To stop people taking these things to concerts and getting bootleg recordings?


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: James Perrett]
      #379421 - 11/11/06 07:49 PM
Quote James Perrett:

Quote Jeraldo:

There is a difference between mic trim and mic gain, and my suspicion is that the first device in the chain can't handle the input, even with the gain and/or trim switch/pot set to the lowest level.




I don't know if you saw my previous reply Jeraldo, but the first device in the chain is the FET in the electret capsule. Cheap electret capsules commonly have problems with high sound levels.

cheers

James.




Quote James Perrett:

Quote Jeraldo:

There is a difference between mic trim and mic gain, and my suspicion is that the first device in the chain can't handle the input, even with the gain and/or trim switch/pot set to the lowest level.




I don't know if you saw my previous reply Jeraldo, but the first device in the chain is the FET in the electret capsule. Cheap electret capsules commonly have problems with high sound levels.

James.




I don't know if you saw my previous reply, James, but I was not talking about the capsule FET or microphone output electronics. I'm happy to know of your experiences with cheap electrets. My experience with cheap electrets has been different than yours. I've used plenty and they've all been good to about 105 dB C weighted. (And the "original" Tandy PZMs with the high voltage batteries would go well above that.) We may have very different experiences leading us to very different judgments about what is loud.

It may be possible that two people have had different experiences. I was speculating on my experience, and said so. I also acknowledged that your ideas may on target, and I said that it might be something completely different.

By any chance do you think your experience and speculation should trump others' experience and speculation?

But it looks to me as if you'd rather quibble over semantics of the term "first input stage". I believe there are very few people who would ever associate the FET converter and microphone output electronics with a "first input stage." Commonly, the term "first input stage" is associated with preamps, mixers, recording devices and the like. I've never heard nor read of microphone electronics being referred to as the first input stage." I think it was clear what I was referring to, and it not some sort of mistake on my part.

I was merely offering an alternate opinion. I thought the boards were a place to exchange different ideas. But then that's just me.

Cheers


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jim Y]
      #379422 - 11/11/06 07:57 PM
Quote Jim Y:

I see what you're getting at, but, electret types exist because this technology lends itself to low cost mass production; and even though they could be made better, the market at large doesn't require them to be.




Partly true, but that doesn't explain why some very high end (read very expensive) microphones employ that technology. Caveat: I'm referring to DPA, which in the past has used the electret design often. I don't follow the line closely, though, so may or not be true anymore. Earthworks also comes immediately to mind, but there may be a size factor there, as well.


Quote Jim Y:

Or is the overloading heard with loud music deliberate? To stop people taking these things to concerts and getting bootleg recordings?




That would be creative, but I think they'd position something on all the inputs to insure distortion, and then I don't think they'd sell. And they'd have to answer the question, "What is loud?" Evidently that question has been asked and answered in some EU countries (witness the flap over the iPod volume).

I'm hoping that manufacturers don't read your post, you never know......

Edited by Jeraldo (11/11/06 08:31 PM)


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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #379426 - 11/11/06 08:09 PM
I'm sorry that you took my posting in that way Jeraldo - I was only trying to point out a techincal fact and was in no way trying to contradict any of your experience. In fact, my experience with the Tandy mics has been similar to yours but I've also used various cheap electret mics that sounded great at low levels but would distort at high levels.

Cheers

James.

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: James Perrett]
      #379432 - 11/11/06 08:23 PM
Quote James Perrett:

I'm sorry that you took my posting in that way Jeraldo - I was only trying to point out a technical fact and was in no way trying to contradict any of your experience. In fact, my experience with the Tandy mics has been similar to yours but I've also used various cheap electret mics that sounded great at low levels but would distort at high levels.

Cheers

James.




Thanks, James. I'm sorry my reply was a bit (?) on the testy side. And I do agree completely, if the very first thing after the capsule is not performing, nothing else will either. And then everything else in descending order. I will resolve to be nicer.

You have my apologies!

Jeraldo


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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380271 - 13/11/06 11:31 PM
I picked up an H4 at the weekend. First thoughts :

Really impressed with the internal mics on field recordings, and even on a bit of voice recording - although a mono mic is almost always going to be more appropriate for straight voice stuff.

My SM57s and Rode NT5s both sound really nice through the XLR inputs. Guitar and bass both sound totally serviceable through the onboard mic models. Tuner and metronome are both an incredibly useful addition.

Am I right in thinking that using 4 track mode is the only way to record a true mono signal?

Band practice on Thursday, so will give that a shot then.


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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #380283 - 14/11/06 12:16 AM
Quote ant_chapman:


Am I right in thinking that using 4 track mode is the only way to record a true mono signal?

Band practice on Thursday, so will give that a shot then.




In stereo mode the H4 will always record a stereo track but you could consider that to be 2 mono tracks.....it's easy enough to discard L or R once the recording is transfered to your computer. But yes, it seems that 4-track mode is the only way you can record a single track. Which restricts you to 44.1/16 of course.

I recorded our band rehearsal last Thursday and the other guys took the mickey somewhat when they saw my new "electric shaver". However, once they heard a few tracks back through my 7509 cans they were impressed.

Friday night I recorded a pub gig we did. We didn't have time for a sound check and I just stuck the thing on a tripod in a corner (for safety) and pointed it at the band. The H4 coped admirably even though we played very loud. It would have benefited from being in a better position but that wasn't practical given the lack of prep time, the pub being packed and lot of bods dancing everywhere. It was a bloody good gig, actually, and it's all captured in 24 bit stereo.

I haven't tried any ext mics yet but that should be interesting. Well worth £229 incl delivery!

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Len
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Shivanand]
      #380378 - 14/11/06 10:13 AM
Quote Shivanand:



Friday night I recorded a pub gig we did. We didn't have time for a sound check and I just stuck the thing on a tripod in a corner (for safety) and pointed it at the band. The H4 coped admirably even though we played very loud.

... Well worth £229 incl delivery!




Hi Shivanand - did you get any distortion when recording the band?

And £229 incl delivery sounds great - may I know which shop gives that price so I can get one too?

Cheers

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Len]
      #380383 - 14/11/06 10:26 AM
Quote Len:


Hi Shivanand - did you get any distortion when recording the band?

And £229 incl delivery sounds great - may I know which shop gives that price so I can get one too?

Cheers




The recording was, IMO, quite remarkable for such an inexpensive device. The built in mics will, I am sure, have introduced some distortion but examination of the 24 bit waveform in Audition showed no evidence of clipping.

I don't know if I should mention the name of the shop where I bought the device here but I'll PM you.

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380530 - 14/11/06 02:47 PM
In the SOS review of the new R 9, the reviewer seems quite happy with its ability to record a rock band rehearsal 'at full tilt'. The R9 also has SPDIF output which, correct me if I'm wrong, the Zoom doesn't? I'd be plumping for the Zoom but for this, but the R9 review certainly suggests it can cope with the problems discusssed here. Any experiences yet?

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #380535 - 14/11/06 02:52 PM
Quote simonplent:

In the SOS review of the new R 9, the reviewer seems quite happy with its ability to record a rock band rehearsal 'at full tilt'. The R9 also has SPDIF output which, correct me if I'm wrong, the Zoom doesn't? I'd be plumping for the Zoom but for this, but the R9 review certainly suggests it can cope with the problems discusssed here. Any experiences yet?




Will be giving the H4 a go at a rehearsal tomorrow night - although I'm not sure how representative it will be as the band is very noisy, and the room is very small.

The R9 is about £70 more expensive than the H4, and doesn't (iirc) have the XLR / Jack inputs, 4 track mode, and some of the other bells and whistles. It's possible that it's more resilient to high SPL signals, but the extra stuff makes the H4 the ideal choice for me.


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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #380540 - 14/11/06 02:59 PM
No the H4 doesn't have S/PDIF but that's not an issue for me as the USB and removable SD card is much more useful.

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #380559 - 14/11/06 03:47 PM
Quote simonplent:

In the SOS review of the new R 9, the reviewer seems quite happy with its ability to record a rock band rehearsal 'at full tilt'. The R9 also has SPDIF output which, correct me if I'm wrong, the Zoom doesn't? I'd be plumping for the Zoom but for this, but the R9 review certainly suggests it can cope with the problems discusssed here. Any experiences yet?




As a previous poster commented, why do you need an SPDIF output when you can transfer your recordings to any USB equipped computer?

As for the 'rock band at full tilt' thing, I think its a shame that my H4 can't cope with Eddie's twin 4x12s but not a disaster. The recording is serviceable, and I could always use my trusty PZMs if I wanted better quality.

In the meantime, I've been using it as an N-track recorder and guitar practice tool, which you can't do with the R9 afaik.

Check out my first demo, recorded entirely with the H4.
http://forums.keyfax.com/user-files/290717-junkyard%20blues%20mix%20with%2 0drums.mp3
That's my daughter on slide guitar!

--------------------
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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380570 - 14/11/06 04:00 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

Check out my first demo, recorded entirely with the H4.
http://forums.keyfax.com/user-files/290719-junkyard%20blues%20just%20the%2 0drums.mp3
That's my daughter on slide guitar!




I think you've linked to the drums-only version, actually


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Huge Longjohns
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380571 - 14/11/06 04:03 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

As a previous poster commented, why do you need an SPDIF output when you can transfer your recordings to any USB equipped computer?






Quite simply because my main recorder (DPS16) doesn't have USB in! (Steam driven I know, but I love it ... We're not all working on computers yet, you know!

Presumably you could stil use the R 9 as an a/d interface with your computer in the same way as the Zoom though, with an external mixer for phantom power etc?ie not for recording onto, just for using as a portable interface with a laptop or something?

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #380587 - 14/11/06 04:36 PM
Quote ant_chapman:


I think you've linked to the drums-only version, actually




Yes, you are quite right, what a dumb-ass.
I've corrected it now.
http://forums.keyfax.com/user-files/290717-junkyard%20blues%20mix%20with%2 0drums.mp3

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #380589 - 14/11/06 04:38 PM
Quote simonplent:

Quote Richard Graham:

As a previous poster commented, why do you need an SPDIF output when you can transfer your recordings to any USB equipped computer?






Quite simply because my main recorder (DPS16) doesn't have USB in! (Steam driven I know, but I love it ... We're not all working on computers yet, you know!

Presumably you could stil use the R 9 as an a/d interface with your computer in the same way as the Zoom though, with an external mixer for phantom power etc?ie not for recording onto, just for using as a portable interface with a laptop or something?




I dont think you can use the R9 as an audio interface, but I could be wrong. But if you don't have a computer, what do you need a USB audio interface for?

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380668 - 14/11/06 06:27 PM
I do have a couple actually but I don't use them for multitrack recording currently so I don't have a d/a usb interface, only midi/usb. So the Swiss Army Knife of recording technology might tempt me to give proper DAW recording a go without forking out for additional kit. No idea whether the R9 can function like this, the website is a little light on detail and you can't download the manual without registering and all that palaver. But I may have to do it to find out what it can do apart from add reverb (yawn!)

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #380894 - 15/11/06 08:47 AM
Here's what I do. I avoid using the PC at all during the recording process (which is when I want to just bang stuff down without fussing or staring at a screen or dealing with configuration issues, latency etc).

Record four tracks on the H4, and bounce to stereo. Record on the two spares, and bounce again. Repeat until you have as many tracks as you want. Then use the USB connection to pull all the original recorded tracks (not the bounces) in perfect sync, into Cubase LE. Edit, mix and add effects at leisure.

For getting ideas down, it's so much better than recording with a PC. And I can do it almost anywhere in the house.

So far, the H4's '4-track with input effects' mode is the thing I like most about it. I've only ever worked with cassette 4-tracks or PC-based setups until now.

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380901 - 15/11/06 09:00 AM
Yes, sounds great. I think it'd be great to produce a whole album on something like this and really force yourself to make some upfront decisions in the old-fashioned way. If it didn't have the virtual tracks you'd really have to put a serious producer/arranger hat on right at the start.

You can forward bounce four down to two can you? That's pretty fab. I was assuming you had to use it like a real old four track with just four active tracks plus virtuals. I may just have to buy one and do my transfers via the analog outs.

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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #380922 - 15/11/06 09:55 AM
Quote simonplent:

Yes, sounds great. I think it'd be great to produce a whole album on something like this and really force yourself to make some upfront decisions in the old-fashioned way. If it didn't have the virtual tracks you'd really have to put a serious producer/arranger hat on right at the start.

You can forward bounce four down to two can you? That's pretty fab. I was assuming you had to use it like a real old four track with just four active tracks plus virtuals. I may just have to buy one and do my transfers via the analog outs.




When recording, you only have four tracks to play with. Once they are full, you'll need to bounce them down (in mono or stereo), and load the bounced track into one or two of your four tracks. You'll then have two or three more tracks to overdub onto, playing along with the bounce. So far, so much like a cassette 4-track. Keep doing this until all your tracks are down.

But here's the thing. You don't have to worry about how your bounced tracks are mixed (except insofar as you want to overdub using them as a guide). You don't have to worry about squeaks and breaths between notes. You just keeping bouncing (with pristine quality, since its all handled mathematically inside the H4), and adding tracks. The bouncing is handled 'off-line' and usually takes about as long as it would in real-time: you can't tweak levels or panning during the bounce (but you can tweak them to taste before you bounce). This is actually very liberating, because you only interrupt the flow of recording for as long as it takes for the bounce to happen: I usually set up the next instrument during this time. Bounce and overdub, bounce and overdub.

When you're finished recording, all of your original recorded tracks are there, *seperately*, on the memory card, with first-generation quality. Import them to Cubase LE and they will run in perfect sync. The only thing you need to get right to begin with is (a) the sound and (b) your playing. Mixing and editing decisions can come later. This is the way it should be, I think!

I'm sorry if this all seems a bit old hat to some of you, but for me, this way of working is perfect.

--------------------
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380960 - 15/11/06 11:44 AM
Quote Richard Graham:



When recording, you only have four tracks to play with. Once they are full, you'll need to bounce them down (in mono or stereo), and load the bounced track into one or two of your four tracks. You'll then have two or three more tracks to overdub onto, playing along with the bounce. So far, so much like a cassette 4-track.




Well, no, not at all like a cassette 4 track (or indeed my digital 16 track) actually. You can't fill four (or 16) tracks on a cassette and then bounce to virtual tracks or bounce forward. On cassette or tape (or my Akai) you have to keep one or two tracks free to bounce to all the time. Clever little machine, that Zoom chappy!

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380961 - 15/11/06 11:48 AM
PS Just found this: http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/news/news147/index.php

That's the trouble with buying new digital stuff isn't it! It's never quite finished.

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #380972 - 15/11/06 12:06 PM
Quote simonplent:

PS Just found this: http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/news/news147/index.php

That's the trouble with buying new digital stuff isn't it! It's never quite finished.




That link doesn't work for me. What's the gist?

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #380976 - 15/11/06 12:08 PM
Yes I saw that. Doubt I'll ever want to record MP3s but I'll get the upgrade anyway when it appears.

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #380979 - 15/11/06 12:11 PM
Quote simonplent:

Quote Richard Graham:



When recording, you only have four tracks to play with. Once they are full, you'll need to bounce them down (in mono or stereo), and load the bounced track into one or two of your four tracks. You'll then have two or three more tracks to overdub onto, playing along with the bounce. So far, so much like a cassette 4-track.




Well, no, not at all like a cassette 4 track (or indeed my digital 16 track) actually. You can't fill four (or 16) tracks on a cassette and then bounce to virtual tracks or bounce forward. On cassette or tape (or my Akai) you have to keep one or two tracks free to bounce to all the time. Clever little machine, that Zoom chappy!




What I used to do back in the day was record four tracks on an X-15 with Dolby B and then mix down to a good quality stereo hi-fi cassette deck via my little Realistic 6:2 mixer (sounds laughable now, I know!) Pop the tape back in the X-15 and record two more tracks, and do the final mixdown back onto the hifi deck. So working with the Zoom is quite similar in a way. Fill up the tracks, bounce to stereo, and load the bounced track back into the 4-track before adding overdubs. Plus ca change!

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Shivanand]
      #380985 - 15/11/06 12:22 PM
I think I fall on the positive side of the whole firmware upgrade debate. As it stands, the H4 works just fine. I can't say I'll ever need to record at 256kbps VBR, so this issue isn't a problem for me. But subsequent firmware updates might add very useful features or refinements.

Top of my personal wishlist is the ability to record mono files from a single XLR input without having to use 4-track mode. No idea if they'll add it, but at least it's possible.

Of course, if Zoom had released the H4 in a less-than-working state, and tried a bit of damage control via FW updates, then I wouldn't have been happy at all. I'm glad to say this isn't the case.


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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #380987 - 15/11/06 12:23 PM
I used to have an X-15!!! Eeee, them were the days (wipes nostalgic tear from eye!). I also had some diabolical analog drum machine that I can't even remember the name of, maybe an early Dr Rhythm or something? It was blue (I think) with a footprint about the size of a CD.

Oh, back to the question, the Zoom link was about a software fault when recording to MP3. There seems to be a software update you can download to sort it. Try going to Zoom.jp and working your way through to it.

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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #381030 - 15/11/06 01:26 PM
Quote ant_chapman:

I think I fall on the positive side of the whole firmware upgrade debate. As it stands, the H4 works just fine. I can't say I'll ever need to record at 256kbps VBR, so this issue isn't a problem for me. But subsequent firmware updates might add very useful features or refinements.

Top of my personal wishlist is the ability to record mono files from a single XLR input without having to use 4-track mode. No idea if they'll add it, but at least it's possible.

Of course, if Zoom had released the H4 in a less-than-working state, and tried a bit of damage control via FW updates, then I wouldn't have been happy at all. I'm glad to say this isn't the case.




I totally agree with you about the firmware. The H4 works just fine as it is, but I can think of things that could be possibly added using firmware updates: the ability to split the DSP between the two inputs would be most useful (a different amp sim on each instead of an amp sim followed by an effect on both), or else pile all the DSP power into a super amp-sim or reverb, etc (not that the effects are bad as they stand, actually). Or what about the ability to record 'dry' but monitor with FX, and then write back a track with FX added while keeping the dry version?

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Shivanand
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #381036 - 15/11/06 01:32 PM
I think it's a great machine but a larger display and a hardware input level control would be nice.

I don't expect these as a f/w upgrade though.....

--------------------
"Qui habet aures audiendi audiat"


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #381766 - 17/11/06 12:38 AM
So tonight I took the H4 to rehearsal. And I'm blown away with the results. I put the built in mics to the "L" gain setting, and tried my best to place the unit sympathetically (on a tripod, incidentally, which worked really well). I used the PSU - no idea if this gives better performance than batteries in this situation.

The internal mics held up really well in a tiny room with a noisy band.

If I get a chance over the weekend, I'll post up some little clips. Also want to post some voice clips so people can hear what the H4 sounds like with the internal mics, an SM57 and a Rode NT5.


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #381875 - 17/11/06 10:35 AM
I'm guessing that using the PSU has made all the difference: 9V of power to the electrets instead of just 3V from 2AA batteries maybe?

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Len
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #381921 - 17/11/06 11:50 AM
Quote ant_chapman:

So tonight I took the H4 to rehearsal. And I'm blown away with the results. I put the built in mics to the "L" gain setting, and tried my best to place the unit sympathetically (on a tripod, incidentally, which worked really well). I used the PSU - no idea if this gives better performance than batteries in this situation.

The internal mics held up really well in a tiny room with a noisy band.

If I get a chance over the weekend, I'll post up some little clips. Also want to post some voice clips so people can hear what the H4 sounds like with the internal mics, an SM57 and a Rode NT5.




Ant, some clips would really be appreciated! I am glad you are happy with the unit. There really is no excuse for me not to go and get one now

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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Len]
      #382128 - 17/11/06 05:55 PM
Hello Richard Graham:

I think you should write or call Zoom, point them to this forum, and make sure they listen to your file. They'd be nuts not to send you on a promo tour.

Anyway, thanks for posting that file and your comments.


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #382754 - 19/11/06 07:07 PM
Hi all,

As promised, some Zoom H4 recording clips (all originally recorded as 16bit .wav - converted to 192kbps mp3 with Audacity and LAME) :

Short clip of a band rehearsal
Voice clip using internal mics
Voice clip using Rode NT5
Voice clip using SM57

Apologies for the plosives - I don't have a pop shield at home. Also, apologies for the SM57 clip being so short. I think I accidentally discarded half of it in some hurried editing.

Thanks


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #382780 - 19/11/06 08:59 PM
Hi ant-well, you can take the tour as well.

Question: On "short clip of band rehearsal", is this solely acoustically recorded with the Zoom's own mics?

Impressive, however it was done.


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jeraldo]
      #382809 - 19/11/06 10:25 PM
Quote Jeraldo:

Question: On "short clip of band rehearsal", is this solely acoustically recorded with the Zoom's own mics?




Oops - forgot to tag it. Yeah, it was done with the on-board mics.


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #382856 - 20/11/06 02:21 AM
So, after hearing the recent clips posted, it seems there is not problem with high SPLs and distortion. Perhaps the appropriate senitivity switches were not set correctly. There are separate switches for the on board mics and the line/mic XLR combo inputs. For those who are interested, the product manual for the H4 is available at:

http://www.samsontech.com/products/relatedDocs/H4_manual.pdf


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jeraldo]
      #382917 - 20/11/06 10:07 AM
Quote Jeraldo:

So, after hearing the recent clips posted, it seems there is not problem with high SPLs and distortion. Perhaps the appropriate senitivity switches were not set correctly.




Not so, Jeraldo. The switch on my H4 was set absolutely correctly, i.e. at the lowest setting.

Either my band is louder, or (more likely), using the power supply rather than batteries gives an un-distorted sound, or (possibly) my H4 isn't working properly.

P.S. Thanks for the positive comments about the demo!

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #382923 - 20/11/06 10:26 AM
Quote Richard Graham:

or (more likely), using the power supply rather than batteries gives an un-distorted sound




I think this is probably the most likely explanation.

The clip I uploaded was recorded with the mic gain switch set to the lowest setting, and the input level reduced to around (iirc) 85 (100 is the default).


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #382942 - 20/11/06 11:14 AM
Quote ant_chapman:

Quote Richard Graham:

or (more likely), using the power supply rather than batteries gives an un-distorted sound




I think this is probably the most likely explanation.

The clip I uploaded was recorded with the mic gain switch set to the lowest setting, and the input level reduced to around (iirc) 85 (100 is the default).




Still, not really ideal, as a large part of the convenience aspect of the H4 is being able to put it anywhere without trailing wires, and not having to have a seperate power supply with you etc.

I've read in this or another thread that it's possible to modify battery powered devices to use higher voltages... what are the risks? And does anyone know why a device that accepts 9V from a power-supply, should only have 3 volts worth of batteries?

Does anyone think it would be possible to create a 9V battery pack that plugs into the PSU input on the H4? Justy an idea that popped into my head just now. Then, there wouldn't be any need to mod the H4, and I'd have thought it would be safer for the H4's circuits too.

--------------------
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Ay Carumba!
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #382980 - 20/11/06 12:36 PM
Sorry - a bit late to the party here and just catching up with this thread...

Seeing that much of the discussion has focussed on how much volume the H4 can handle, can I just ask about general sensitivity for recording very low level sounds and general ambiences in the field? Is there any inherent noise and how much gain is available etc?

Thanks

Colin

--------------------
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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Ay Carumba!]
      #383045 - 20/11/06 02:50 PM
Quote cwillsher:

Seeing that much of the discussion has focussed on how much volume the H4 can handle, can I just ask about general sensitivity for recording very low level sounds and general ambiences in the field? Is there any inherent noise and how much gain is available etc?




The H4 is excellent for easy sound snapshots. The mics perform very well at the H (highest) setting, and the result at 24 bit / 96 KHz is wonderful, like the "macro" setting on a digital camera.

However, there is a problem when recording at 44.1 and 48 KHz. There is an audible (and visible as a wave form in a DAW) periodic tone (corresponding to the blinking of the H4 access light) on all recordings made with battery power. (This tone may also be there at 24/96, but I cannot hear it.) There is no tone present when using the AC adapter.

Here are links to sample recordings:

1. access light tone 44.1.wav
http://www.box.net/public/xe7yvzpezb

2. access light tone 48.wav
http://www.box.net/public/sobave36ct

ZOOM is aware of this problem which is a design flaw on their analog circuit board (or so they told me). They have been very open about this problem which I find quite admirable in a company.

I do a lot of field recordings at high mic settings in low sound level situations. I so enjoy the convenience of the H4 that I will probably hang onto it despite this problem and will just record at 24/96.

Edited by Phillip (20/11/06 02:55 PM)


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #383069 - 20/11/06 03:22 PM
Maybe using a 9v battery pack would fix this problem too? After all, for most 'field' recordings, you are not likely to have a handy AC outlet (although you could record at 96kHz I guess!)

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383075 - 20/11/06 03:30 PM
Alternatively, a future firmware update could maybe let us turn off the access light for low-level 44.1 kHz recording.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383088 - 20/11/06 03:46 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

Maybe using a 9v battery pack would fix this problem too? After all, for most 'field' recordings, you are not likely to have a handy AC outlet (although you could record at 96kHz I guess!)




Perhaps someone would try the 9v battery pack idea which has also been suggested in another forum. It may work fine, but it does reduce the portability advantage of the H4 as well.

True, there are not handy AC outlets in the field, although a vehicle could provide DC power through the cigarette lighter, using an inverter.

My solution at this point is to record only at 96 KHz when on batteries.


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Huge Longjohns
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383090 - 20/11/06 03:47 PM
Well that's rubbish, really, isn't it, to put it mildly? I was literally going to buy one tomorrow so now I won't. Basically what they're saying is that it doesn't work with batteries at the sample rate that 999 out of a 1000 people will use it for. DOH! DOH! DOH!. Well done the Zoom QC dept. Looks like they've made up my mind to buy the R 9 instead!

--------------------
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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383101 - 20/11/06 04:00 PM
I only get this pulsing noise when I use a 2 gig sd card I bought and not with the supplied 128 meg card, the noise is very quiet anyway and inaudible in normal recording,I only noticed this noise when I used some sensitive in-ear phones and even then only in a quiet room with nothing to record anyway.


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #383106 - 20/11/06 04:06 PM
Quote simonplent:

Well that's rubbish, really, isn't it, to put it mildly? I was literally going to buy one tomorrow so now I won't. Basically what they're saying is that it doesn't work with batteries at the sample rate that 999 out of a 1000 people will use it for. DOH! DOH! DOH!. Well done the Zoom QC dept. Looks like they've made up my mind to buy the R 9 instead!




I wouldn't dismiss the H4 so quickly! First off, the beeping will only be audible on very very quiet recordings. Second, if you are recording something that quiet, what is wrong with using 96/24?

For most (musical) uses 44.1/16 is fine. For the rest, there is 96/24. Pas de problem.

--------------------
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Huge Longjohns
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #383161 - 20/11/06 06:11 PM
Quote cwillsher:


ZOOM is aware of this problem which is a design flaw on their analog circuit board (or so they told me). They have been very open about this problem which I find quite admirable in a company.





It would be a lot more admirable if they told us when they were going to ship product that was fixed! So, to sum up, you can't record MP3s or 44.1 or 48k on batteries because of software and hardware issues!

I exagerrate to make a point, but jeeez, it's really not good enough is it for a £250 machine? Are you absolutely SURE you can't hear the noise when you turn up your monitors on a quiet passage?

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Scramble
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383162 - 20/11/06 06:11 PM
I'm tempted, but the other thing that worries me (apart from the beeping noise) is the fact that other people on other forums have reported problems with using 2Gb cards (and I'd certainly want to use a 2Gb card).

Anyone here tested it out much with a 2Gb card?


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Huge Longjohns
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383163 - 20/11/06 06:13 PM
As Homer would say (the yellow chap not the old greek): It just gets worse and worse!

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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #383171 - 20/11/06 06:28 PM
Quote simonplent:

Are you absolutely SURE you can't hear the noise when you turn up your monitors on a quiet passage?




If you mean can I hear the noise at 24/96, I cannot when listening on headphones (Sony MDR-7506) at full volume.

But it's possible that there is a tone there nonetheless present on the recording.

However, at 44.1 and 48, the tone is blatant at high listening volume on very quiet source material and it has an obvious musical note/frequency which makes those recordings useless for anyone who can hear it.


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Len
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383191 - 20/11/06 07:24 PM
This is a real bummer - I was going to get one this weekend but clearly do not want to live with a defective product - and no I do not want to burn up disk space at 24/96!

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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Len]
      #383197 - 20/11/06 07:57 PM
Quote Len:

This is a real bummer - I was going to get one this weekend but clearly do not want to live with a defective product - and no I do not want to burn up disk space at 24/96!




If you can purchase the H4 from a store that will allow returns and a refund, I would strongly suggest you try it out for yourself for a couple of days.

You may not be as bothered by the tone as others are.


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Rob C



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #383207 - 20/11/06 08:25 PM
Quote Phillip:

However, there is a problem when recording at 44.1 and 48 KHz. There is an audible (and visible as a wave form in a DAW) periodic tone (corresponding to the blinking of the H4 access light) on all recordings made with battery power. (This tone may also be there at 24/96, but I cannot hear it.) There is no tone present when using the AC adapter.




Yep... I've discovered this myself after buying one. It's fairly obvious.

I'll be doing the same as you... but it's not ideal. Part of the attraction was the ability to make MP3 recordings and slap them straight online. Not really possible unless there's a fix.

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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Rob C]
      #383283 - 21/11/06 02:35 AM
A user in another forum posted that his solution to the noise problem was an external 8xAA battery pack (using 1.2v NiMH rechargeables) plugged into the 9v DC input. There are no more periodic tones or "beepings" on his recordings.

Obviously not the ideal set-up for a "Handy Recorder", but the upside is that battery life will probably quadruple with the pack.


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Rob C]
      #383286 - 21/11/06 02:58 AM
Quote Rob C.:

Yep... I've discovered this myself after buying one. It's fairly obvious.





Do they all do this? Strange that the SOS reviewer missed this.


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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383301 - 21/11/06 08:26 AM
There is a firmware update due this month that may address this very slight defect, I'm very pleased with this piece of kit and as I don't record the beating of butterfly wings I will experience no problems as it is.


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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383330 - 21/11/06 09:20 AM
There's no mention of 'this particular defect' being addressed on their website, just a driver issue and the MP3 issue. As a previous poster reported, the problem was, according to Zoom, a badly designed circuit. Silence on this topic on their website, presumably because they'd have to recall all the ones they've sold and give a replacement once they've sorted out the design and manufacture of one that works.

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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Scramble]
      #383337 - 21/11/06 09:26 AM
Quote E P Gumby:

I'm tempted, but the other thing that worries me (apart from the beeping noise) is the fact that other people on other forums have reported problems with using 2Gb cards (and I'd certainly want to use a 2Gb card).

Anyone here tested it out much with a 2Gb card?




I use it all the time with a 2GB card (Sandisk). I have had no problems with the card, or with beeping (and I only ever record @ 44.1kHz).

I think certain people are over-reacting slightly!

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383370 - 21/11/06 10:17 AM
"I think certain people are over-reacting slightly! "

my sentiments exactly, this is a great device, if you want pristine audio you will have to spend a lot more money


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James PerrettModerator



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: crofter]
      #383377 - 21/11/06 10:32 AM
It seems that most of the low price portable recorders (like the M-Audio and Edirol units) seem to have suffered from noise issues so this problem should be seen in context. The problem is likely to be either down to the grounding scheme inside the machine or possibly due to insufficient power supply filtering. These require a fair bit of analogue design experience to get right. Good analogue design is something that doesn't seem to come cheap.

Cheers

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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James PerrettModerator



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383379 - 21/11/06 10:39 AM
Quote Richard Graham:



I've read in this or another thread that it's possible to modify battery powered devices to use higher voltages... what are the risks? And does anyone know why a device that accepts 9V from a power-supply, should only have 3 volts worth of batteries?

Does anyone think it would be possible to create a 9V battery pack that plugs into the PSU input on the H4? Justy an idea that popped into my head just now. Then, there wouldn't be any need to mod the H4, and I'd have thought it would be safer for the H4's circuits too.




The external battery pack is probably the way to go. Probably the ideal solution would be to use a rechargeable lithium ion pack from someone like Hawkwoods but they're not cheap and the voltage would be slightly too high. These units possibly use a switch mode power supply to convert the input voltage to the voltages required internally. If it does then it is likely that it has been designed to accept a wide range of voltages but I would want to get hold of more information before I tried any different voltages.

Cheers

James.

--------------------
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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383390 - 21/11/06 11:14 AM
Quote rnms:

There is a firmware update due this month that may address this very slight defect, I'm very pleased with this piece of kit and as I don't record the beating of butterfly wings I will experience no problems as it is.




You've said it may address this defect, could you give us some more info?

I've just done a recording at maximum gain in my fairly quiet office, and as well as pre-amp noise and one side of a very dull telephone conversation two rooms away, I can indeed hear the dreaded 'tone' fairly distinctly when I listen at top volume on my headphones (Sennheiser PX200).

I can't say I'm overjoyed, but let's get some perspective on this. Did anyone seriously expect a £220 piece of kit that runs off a pair of AA batteries to be able to produce noise-free ambient recordings of silent rooms at maximum gain? Let's forget about the 'tone' problem for a moment, what about mic and pre-amp noise (of which there is plenty at extreme gain settings)? If Zoom could have invented a £220 piece of kit with such low self-noise that you could 'record butterfly wings flapping at 100 paces', they would have deserved congratulations even if it didn't also work as a multitrack recorder with effects and a PC audio interface.

I'm sure there are recording solutions out there that will let you record very quiet material with low noise, so if that's what you want to do, fill your boots! It’s never really been on my list of priorities, though of course it would be a ‘nice to have’, in case I ever get the urge. As it is, I've made a bunch of stereo recordings both in and out of doors, and self-noise has never been a problem.

For those who are recording very quiet sources, there is the 96kHz mode, or 9V power from either a wall-wart or a battery pack, so it’s not as if workarounds are not available. I suspect there will still be a fair amount of self-noise, but I guess more power might also fix that (as well as the distorted recording at high volume problem, which for me is far more significant).

I don’t really understand why a defect that only affects a pretty marginal use of the H4 (and with such easy workarounds) should make an otherwise great product ‘rubbish’ (as Simon puts it, mildly)! I’m tempted to say I couldn’t care less about the ‘tone’ problem, but that wouldn’t be true either. I’d be really happy if Zoom could fix it via a firmware update, but I would buy an H4 again tomorrow, even if there was no prospect of a fix. Because it isn’t that much of a problem.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: James Perrett]
      #383397 - 21/11/06 11:27 AM
Quote James Perrett:


The external battery pack is probably the way to go. James.




Thanks James, I've seen a 'battery holder' on Maplins website, for a 9V PP3, with a pair of flying connections that could presumably be soldered to a suitable connector for the PSU input on the H4.

I'd have thought a 9V PP3 would be just the ticket (rechargeable or not) but the ratings in mA hours (550mAh for a Duracell, and only 150mAh(!) for a rechargeable) look pitiful compared to my rechargeable AAs (2700mAh).

So I guess my best bet would be seven or eight AAs, connected in series in some sort of box with a flying lead.

I imagine that as well as better recordings, I'd also get much longer out of eight cells than two, even if they are supplying more current.

--------------------
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Shivanand
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383439 - 21/11/06 12:34 PM
OK it's bigger and heavier but a PP9 battery in a belt pack or pocket could be ideal for extended use in the field.

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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383450 - 21/11/06 12:51 PM
The firmware update is supposedly to address an mp3 problem, wether or not this is related to the general pulsing noise ( I can't call it a beep because it isn't ), I don't know, this remains to be seen.
over the years I've used many portable recording devices, cassette, lately minidisk,both needed external mics and transfer to computer had to be done in real time, this H4 is the best such device I've used, just point and go and copy files over, magic.


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383471 - 21/11/06 01:32 PM
Just read the H4 review in the latest Sound on Sound, where the H4 is described (not once but twice) as 'a Swiss Army knife'- type device!!

A case of 'great minds think alike' ?

I could write for Sound on Sound you know! Any jobs going?

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski

Edited by Richard Graham (21/11/06 01:45 PM)


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James PerrettModerator



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383487 - 21/11/06 01:56 PM
Quote Richard Graham:


So I guess my best bet would be seven or eight AAs, connected in series in some sort of box with a flying lead.





You'll need 6 brand new AA's to give you 9V. Maplin should sell suitable battery holders and connectors. For longer battery life you could consider C or D cells although a great deal of development has been done on AA's to improve their life for applications like cameras and portable music players so the difference in capacity isn't as much as it once was.

Cheers

James.

--------------------
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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: James Perrett]
      #383501 - 21/11/06 02:07 PM
Quote James Perrett:


You'll need 6 brand new AA's to give you 9V.




My AAs are only 1.25 V, so I calculated I'd need 7.2 of them to give me 9V.

Am I going wrong somewhere?

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Shivanand
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383520 - 21/11/06 02:41 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

Quote James Perrett:


You'll need 6 brand new AA's to give you 9V.




My AAs are only 1.25 V, so I calculated I'd need 7.2 of them to give me 9V.

Am I going wrong somewhere?




Sounds like yours are recharge-able batteries. None recharge-ables will give the full 1.5V

I would expect the H4 will be happy with 6 x 1.2V though.

I still favour the PP9 solution.

--------------------
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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Shivanand]
      #383525 - 21/11/06 02:53 PM
Maybe I will try recording my band with a pair of non-rechargeables... the extra half a volt might help headroom a bit.

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Shivanand
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383532 - 21/11/06 03:01 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

Maybe I will try recording my band with a pair of non-rechargeables... the extra half a volt might help headroom a bit.




I know it's not very "green" of me but I always prefer to use brand new non-recharge-ables for critical applications.

I'm going to use the PSU with the H4 for this week's rehearsal.

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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Shivanand]
      #383541 - 21/11/06 03:21 PM
Fair enough. I've had good use of the rechargeables though I must say, they seem to do a very long time before running out! But I never realised they were shy of a quarter of a volt.

--------------------
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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383550 - 21/11/06 03:35 PM
A bloke on another forum has reported using a battery pack consisting of 8 AA NiMH rechargeables as working fine, so this is the way to go if you can be bothered, Also Zoom have apparently suggested that SD card brand may make a difference, the Viking 2 gig. card I have is the cheapest I could find, perhaps a better card may solve this or lessen it at least, there is a list of confirmed media on the Zoom website. http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h4/index.php


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: crofter]
      #383552 - 21/11/06 03:39 PM
Quote rnms:

A bloke on another forum has reported using a battery pack consisting of 8 AA NiMH rechargeables as working fine, so this is the way to go if you can be bothered, Also Zoom have apparently suggested that SD card brand may make a difference, the Viking 2 gig. card I have is the cheapest I could find, perhaps a better card may solve this or lessen it at least, there is a list of confirmed media on the Zoom website. http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h4/index.php






I got the best SD card available from the shop (Bonsers of the Bigg Market, Newcastle). A Sandisk Ultra II 2GB. £55 quid.

--------------------
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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383566 - 21/11/06 03:59 PM
Well, I've just checked again with the 128meg. SD card that came with my H4 (Mediafo), and there is no pulsing sound what so ever recording at 44/16, however If I put the 2 gig. card in the sound is there but as I say I can only hear it in a quiet room and with sensitive in-ear phones


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John Willett
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383567 - 21/11/06 04:00 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

I got the best SD card available from the shop (Bonsers of the Bigg Market, Newcastle). A Sandisk Ultra II 2GB. £55 quid.




I have heard (from Cunnings Recordings at the SBES show) that the SanDisk Ultra II are about the best cards around for Digital Audio.

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Jeraldo



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Batteries new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383598 - 21/11/06 04:50 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

Fair enough. I've had good use of the rechargeables though I must say, they seem to do a very long time before running out! But I never realised they were shy of a quarter of a volt.




NiMH batteries-the AA, AAA, etc., are nominally 1.25, or, more commonly 1.2 volts. However-the more recent types will *usually* dramatically outlast their conventional counterparts, because they store much more energy. Also, they suffer very little voltage drop until they're out of charge. And, the batteries can deliver far more current on demand-say, charging a flash. More conventional batteries will drop through the 1.2 volt value long before the NiMH start to drop voltage.

The 2300-2500 mAh are much more difficult to charge. Even with "smart" chargers, they often are not completely charged, and therefore often seem to offer no real advantages. (And some smart chargers only measure battery temperatures.) With more modern batteries, often the best way to charge is the oldest way-a time based charger, delivering less energy, over a much longer charge cycle-say 8.5 hours. And as everyone who has used them notices, it takes 4 to 5 charge cycles before they start performing to their specs. They loose about 1% of charge per day when not used.

There are a few types, by Ray-O-Vac and others, that include some electronics in the batteries, with the idea of providing even faster charge times. There have been reports from users saying that the electronics in those batteries either fail, or "confuse" the device being used, and thus end up damaging the device.


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Len
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: crofter]
      #383716 - 21/11/06 08:50 PM
Quote rnms:

Well, I've just checked again with the 128meg. SD card that came with my H4 (Mediafo), and there is no pulsing sound what so ever recording at 44/16, however If I put the 2 gig. card in the sound is there but as I say I can only hear it in a quiet room and with sensitive in-ear phones




This is very interesting - anyone else find that if you use the stock 128meg card there is no defect?

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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Len]
      #383774 - 21/11/06 11:17 PM
Quote Len:

This is very interesting - anyone else find that if you use the stock 128meg card there is no defect?




I have found the same pulsing tone problem with the supplied 128 MB card.

By the way, I believe it is just as valid a use of the H4 to "record butterfly wings flapping at 100 paces" as it is to record a spotty wanker flapping an electric guitar at 6 inches, or to save for posterity yet another singer-songwriter making yet another dreary 4-track demo to post on the web.

Especially since butterfly wings may soon be in short supply, but there appears to be no end to the other species.


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #383827 - 22/11/06 02:04 AM
Quote Phillip:



I have found the same pulsing tone problem with the supplied 128 MB card.

By the way, I believe it is just as valid a use of the H4 to "record butterfly wings flapping at 100 paces" as it is to record a spotty wanker flapping an electric guitar at 6 inches, or to save for posterity yet another singer-songwriter making yet another dreary 4-track demo to post on the web.





I agree, and I think what is acceptable depends on the nature of the problem-is it a defect or a limitation? For example, the H4 is a very inexpensive device. What might be "normal" for such an inexpensive device would include noisy analogue and mic preamp circuitry (though the H4 seems much better than it should be), or limited features (again, though, the H4 is surprisingly versatile), or that the sound be subjectively "small," as the SOS reviewer mentions, or that the interface not be the same as that on a device that costs three times as much, or that it wouldn't support 8 Gig SD cards, or that the case is plastic and not titanium or aluminum, or that the XLR combi terminals are plastic and not metal, etc.

What is not acceptable, though, involves things like "beeps, whistles, tones," and that sort of specific thing.

There is a big difference between a product that has *limitations* due to the economics of components, and a product that is *defective* from bad or mistaken hardware and software design.

It's a breakthrough product that has been limited by bad design and/or mistakes rather than inexpensive components. Don't they field test these things? (A rhetorical question-nothing seems field tested these days!)


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #383861 - 22/11/06 08:41 AM
Quote Phillip:



By the way, I believe it is just as valid a use of the H4 to "record butterfly wings flapping at 100 paces" as it is to record a spotty wanker flapping an electric guitar at 6 inches, or to save for posterity yet another singer-songwriter making yet another dreary 4-track demo to post on the web.




Whoa there! Slightly testy response! I never said that nobody should make recordings of butterfly wings, just that maybe if you need want a device that is suitable for doing so, maybe you shouldn't be buying a unit with 4- track capabilities, amp-sim and reverb FX, and USB audio interfacing built in, and instead buy (maybe) a good high-end specialist recorder.

A Swiss Army knife is a knife after all, but I doubt if Gordon Ramsey would complain that it was no good for filleting a steak.

P.S. I don't have spots, but the rest of your broadside is scarily accurate! Ouch!

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383873 - 22/11/06 09:06 AM
Well the BBC don't even record minute animal sounds, next time you see an ant trudging through the snow on a nature documentary, your actually listening to some bloke with rubber gloves on, prodding a bowl of custard powder, the audiophiles out there will not be pleased with this device but are they ever content with anything? , it's called a "Handy recorder" not a "bullshit, record a gnat taking a piss in super stereo, you can hear every drop, overpriced,titanium bollocks, recording apparatus". And Handy it is.


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Scramble
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383895 - 22/11/06 10:03 AM
While some people might be over-reacting, my concern is merely whether this or the Edirol is the better buy (or whether I should wait and spend a bit more on the mythical Fostex FR2 LE, should it ever appear).

So I'm not going to go off on rants about how appalling Zoom is. Seems like a great product to me, with a couple of minor flaws. I just want to know whether, on balance, it comes out as better value than the R09.


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jeraldo]
      #383916 - 22/11/06 10:41 AM
Quote Jeraldo:

I think what is acceptable depends on the nature of the problem-is it a defect or a limitation? ...

What is not acceptable, involves things like "beeps, whistles, tones," and that sort of specific thing.

There is a big difference between a product that has *limitations* due to the economics of components, and a product that is *defective* from bad or mistaken hardware and software design.




I take your point Jeraldo, and the distinction is a good one. Personally I consider the beep to be a 'fly in the ointment', and is obviously a 'defect' by your definition, but at the levels of gain we are talking about, the noise from the pre-amps is bad enough to make the recording very 'rough' in any case: you wouldn't be making 'serious' recordings with these settings, even without the beep.

If pre-amp noise is an acceptable limitation, it's arguable that the beep is simply a different variety of electronic self-noise, albiet one that could have been avoided. It's not a great argument, but added to the fact that there are simple workarounds, and that you wouldn't want to work at those levels anyway, and that the H4 does what it was designed to do very well, and the fact that it is definitely 'budget' and not even semi-pro gear, and the fact that it is great value for money (as long as you want the features it has, and don't need the features it doesn't have) and it's hard for me to see why people are wailing and gnashing their teeth. Unless its just that they thought that the H4 was the answer to their prayers, and then it just turned out to be too good to be true.

--------------------
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John Willett
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Scramble]
      #383928 - 22/11/06 11:09 AM
Well, there is another inexpensive alternative that is really good.

The Nagra Ares-M - sells for around £500 I think - and it's a NAGRA.



Small, handy and high quality.

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Shivanand
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383929 - 22/11/06 11:21 AM
Quote Richard Graham:

..it's hard for me to see why people are wailing and gnashing their teeth. Unless its just that they thought that the H4 was the answer to their prayers, and then it just turned out to be too good to be true.




Quite. There are other much more "pro" and much more expensive options for those who need them. I was happy to buy something at a "pocket money" price that I can take on foreign business trips to record all sorts of things from local languages to samples of unusual instruments and musicians and not have to worry too much about it being stolen or damaged. Finding that it also makes a fair fist of recording my band both live and in rehearsal is a bonus.

I'm very happy with it.

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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: John Willett]
      #383933 - 22/11/06 11:33 AM
Quote John Willett:

Well, there is another inexpensive alternative that is really good.

The Nagra Ares-M - sells for around £500 I think - and it's a NAGRA.



Small, handy and high quality.





This does look very good and is probably excellent,you do have to pay much more for small increases in quality but I couldn't justify the extra £300, the H4 does it for me and I'm a happy bunny


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: crofter]
      #383949 - 22/11/06 12:04 PM
Quote rnms:

This does look very good and is probably excellent,you do have to pay much more for small increases in quality but I couldn't justify the extra £300, the H4 does it for me and I'm a happy bunny




It's horses for courses isn't it? No doubt the Nagra has superior sound quality, and especially for quiet sounds, so it should please the people who want to record such. Thanks are due to John Willett for letting them (and us) know about it.

Regardless of the price difference, the Zoom does a whole lot of other stuff that the Nagra doesn't (which doesn't make it *better*, just more useful *if* you need those facilities (which I do!))

I don't have much info on it, but I don't think I could use the Nagra for practicing and recording my bass or electric guitars, or for making my 'dreary singer-songwriter' demos to post on the web, or for recording my electronic drums, or as an audio interface for my laptop (whose on-board sound is like listening to jungle at night time, even at normal levels) or as a guitar tuner blah blah blah.

Which deosn't make it wrong for John to tell us about it. Hopefully the moaners and the gnashers will now do a bit of research, find that the Nagra is what they want, and buy one.

They can then sing its praises on this forum, instead of slagging off a perfectly excellent piece of kit which (presumably) they don't own and have probably never even tried out.

--------------------
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383953 - 22/11/06 12:14 PM
The reason for posting the NAGRA link was to add another affordable small and portable flash recorder to the list.

Sound quality (being a Nagra) would be the best of the lot, of course.

It is, however, NOT a direct alternative to the Zoom H4 as it is over double the price - but it is worth considering where a small and portable high quality recorder is wanted.

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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: John Willett]
      #383984 - 22/11/06 01:26 PM
Agreed. I've heard of Nagra, and their reputation is excellent. For me the major difference isn't so much the price, as a totally different feature set. Despite its name, being a 'hand-held' recorder is only one thing the H4 Handy Recorder is useful for. "Jack of all trades and master of none" it may be, but it is sufficiently good at everything it does, to be an excellent overall, the whole being more than the sum of the parts.

--------------------
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Huge Longjohns
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #383996 - 22/11/06 01:45 PM
Quote rnms:

Hopefully the moaners and the gnashers will now do a bit of research, find that the Nagra is what they want, and buy one.

They can then sing its praises on this forum, instead of slagging off a perfectly excellent piece of kit which (presumably) they don't own and have probably never even tried out.




This is an unnecessarily aggressive and frankly rather silly post. I count myself amongst your Moaners and Gnashers, although I thought I was trying to be fairly lighthearted about it but Hey Ho. Put simply, I was looking forward to buying a Zoom but this thread has started to convince me otherwise and I am disappointed accordingly. But isn't it funny how people will always fight to the death to defend something they've already bought rather than admit that the product may be less than it's cracked up to be? Even when the MANUFACTURER states that it isn't quite there yet and has some failings to be ironed out? Whether these issues are big or small depends on your point of view.

And let's not be silly: nobody expects the H4 to rival a piece of pro kit over double the price, but I don't think it's too much to expect for a product to perform in the manner the MANUFACTURER intended. Do you? Without resorting to battery packs, workarounds, listening back on crap monitors etc etc

Are you honestly saying you would still have bought the H4 if you'd have heard about all these issues beforehand? I have been lucky/unlucky enough to hear about all these big/small issues via this thread. There have been enough concerns raised here to make me think twice about buying one. That I may not become the owner of this 'perfectly excellent' piece of kit immediately is my problem, not yours, so why get so wound up about it?

Cheers.

--------------------
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it is time to pause and reflect" Mark Twain


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Richard Graham



Joined: 10/04/06
Posts: 3022
Loc: Gateshead, UK
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #384031 - 22/11/06 02:58 PM
Quote simonplent:


Quote rnms:

Hopefully the moaners and the gnashers will now do a bit of research, find that the Nagra is what they want, and buy one.

They can then sing its praises on this forum, instead of slagging off a perfectly excellent piece of kit which (presumably) they don't own and have probably never even tried out.




This is an unnecessarily aggressive and frankly rather silly post.




Unlike, I suppose, the post (not yours) about how people who don't use the H4 for ultra-quiet recordings are a bunch of dull singer-songwriters and spotty guitarists? Ot the post (yours) where you say "that's rubbish, isn't it, to put it mildly", or the where you say 'As Homer (the yellow guy, not the Greek) says: it just gets worse and worse'. Or the one where you 'exaggerate to make a point', by saying 'So, to sum up, you can't record MP3s or 44.1 or 48k on batteries because of software and hardware issues!' (none of which is actually anything like close to being the truth, I've done all of those things, without updates, with excellent results).

Quote simonplent:

But isn't it funny how people will always fight to the death to defend something they've already bought rather than admit that the product may be less than it's cracked up to be?




It might depend more on whether you've actually *tried* the piece of gear in question, or just read about its shortcomings on a forum somewhere. If you look at some of the posts I made much earlier in this thread, you'll find that I indentified and publicised much bigger problem (for me) than the beep: the lack of mic headroom when recording a loud band, using the batteries. How does that fit in with your theory of people 'fighting to the death' to deny that there are any problems with the H4?

Quote simonplent:

And let's not be silly: nobody expects the H4 to rival a piece of pro kit over double the price, but I don't think it's too much to expect for a product to perform in the manner the MANUFACTURER intended. Do you? Without resorting to battery packs, workarounds, listening back on crap monitors etc etc




Now who's being silly? Nobody mentioned having to 'listen back on crap monitors' (or if they did, I missed it: did someone *really* say that? Or did you make it up?). The battery pack was in case you absolutely couldn't use mains power and wanted the extra headroom for loud music, though it would also fix the beep 'problem' in case you didn't want to record at 96k. But it is *such* a simple 'workaround' to record at 24 bit 96k, that it hardly qualifies as a workaround at all, involving nothing more than pushing a single button.

Quote simonplent:

Are you honestly saying you would still have bought the H4 if you'd have heard about all these issues beforehand?




Yes yes and yes indeed, that's exactly what I'm saying. 'All these issues' don't amount to a hill of beans as far as I'm concerned. BTW what do you mean 'all these issues'? Do you mean the one I raised about the microphone headroom, or the other one about the beep that you can only hear if you whack everything up full? Or the one that's been fixed by a firmware update (one particular mp3 rate not being available, not something that would have made a happoth of difference to me in any case.)

Quote simonplent:

I have been lucky/unlucky enough to hear about all these big/small issues via this thread. There have been enough concerns raised here to make me think twice about buying one. That I may not become the owner of this 'perfectly excellent' piece of kit immediately is my problem, not yours, so why get so wound up about it?




Hee hee, *me* get wound up? This from one who flaps like a large lasses shirt if someone mentions a miniscule fault on a piece of kit he was *thinking* of buying?

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski

Edited by Richard Graham (22/11/06 03:08 PM)


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mcguirk



Joined: 08/09/04
Posts: 619
Loc: Wendover, Bucks
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #384048 - 22/11/06 03:27 PM
Quote simonplent:


Are you honestly saying you would still have bought the H4 if you'd have heard about all these issues beforehand?





I can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly would have.

I need my H4 for recording rehearsals, as a portable USB audio interface, as a sketchpad for ideas, and as a field recorder for various non-critical (in the broad scheme of things) material. Suits me fine.

If I was a film or video sound recordist, I doubt the H4 would have even been on my longlist.


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Huge Longjohns
long-serving member


Joined: 10/04/03
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #384079 - 22/11/06 04:31 PM
Richard, if you took offence at any of my posts I am genuinely sorry. However, I don't particularly like being called a moaner or a gnasher (whatever that is, apart from Dennis's dog) because I choose to disagree with someone's opinion, strongly held as it may be. Hence the 'defending to the death' comment. As for being a girls blouse (XL) well, I've been called a lot worse things, but I'm not sure this otherwise very interesting and useful thread benefits from this kind of personal abuse.

Cheers.

--------------------
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it is time to pause and reflect" Mark Twain


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Richard Graham



Joined: 10/04/06
Posts: 3022
Loc: Gateshead, UK
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Huge Longjohns]
      #384093 - 22/11/06 05:04 PM
Alright Simon, point taken. I didn't find your posts offensive, I was just suprised at the level of hostility towards Zoom, and the degree of upset a couple of niggly and very minor problems could cause. Of course being called a spotty guitarist or a dull singer songwriter is another issue, but that wan't you!

I'm sorry for calling you a big girls blouse.

PAX

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12390
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #384116 - 22/11/06 05:48 PM
My reading of this thread has been very positive for the H4 - much better than the competition and cheaper as well.

The points mentioned seem very small in comparison.

At this price I would go for the H4 unless I had the money for the Fostex FR-2LE or the Nagra Ares-M; I certainly would not look at anything else in this range.

But the Sound Devices or Nagra-D .....

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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Phillip



Joined: 20/11/06
Posts: 15
Loc: Washago, Ontario
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #384246 - 22/11/06 11:48 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

Of course being called a spotty guitarist or a dull singer songwriter is another issue, but that wan't you




I am sorry if your feelings were hurt, Richard. My remarks were not specifically directed at you but rather to point out to the forum in general that uses of the H4 other than one's own should not be sneered at with remarks about butterfly wings, or sidelined with statements like: "a pretty marginal use of the H4".

That statement is a misconception. Just look at the Zoom webpage for the H4: http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h4/index.php

There are ten photos of recording suggestions ("H4 Usage Examples"). One of those ten photos shows the H4 making a nature field recording of a stream. That is, the Zoom company considers that 10% of the H4's potential users could be making field recordings. That is not "a pretty marginal use of the H4".

Quote Richard Graham:

but at the levels of gain we are talking about, the noise from the pre-amps is bad enough to make the recording very 'rough' in any case: you wouldn't be making 'serious' recordings with these settings, even without the beep.




That is another misconception. Click on the "H4 Usage Examples" and look at the text for the field recording photo. It reads: "FIELD RECORDING Stereo Mode, WAV(16bit/48kHz) Built-in Stereo Mic, Hi-Gain".

You can see that Zoom itself considers the Hi-Gain setting suitable for field recordings. Furthermore, they suggest the 16bit/48kHz setting, not the 24/96 which field recordists are now confined to as the workaround for the beeping/tone-pulsing problem. (Note that there is no external battery pack attached to the boom in the Zoom nature recording photo!)

It does no good to become defensive about equipment. Everyone here wants the Zoom H4 to succeed. No one is "slagging off a perfectly excellent piece of kit". Please remember that the Zoom company itself admits that this noise problem is a design flaw. Here is a direct quote from their helpful email reply to me:

"We have figured out that the noise problem is caused by the analog circuit board layout...Noise was available because battery does not apply enough to load change. So noise is disappeared when you use a supplied AC adaptor."

This is an actual defect. Maybe only important for 10% of users, but no less real for that.

I for one am keeping my H4 (so far). But the noise problem is like having a spot on the lens of a camera. It's a real drag.

"Out, out, damned spot!"


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Richard Graham



Joined: 10/04/06
Posts: 3022
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #384386 - 23/11/06 12:06 PM
Quote Phillip:

Quote Richard Graham:

Of course being called a spotty guitarist or a dull singer songwriter is another issue, but that wan't you


I am sorry if your feelings were hurt, Richard. My remarks were not specifically directed at you




Since I've already made light of your dig at us spotty guitarists, your apology is not necessary. I'm not that sensitive: I was just reminding Simon that the aggressive and silly (his words) posting, started way back on this thread.

Regarding Zoom's promo picture of someone recording a stream, I doubt if that would require the gain up on full as well as the mic setting at high. Most of the streams I'm familiar with would take the low-level beep as well as any pre-amp noise in their stride, but in case you are recording a much quiet trickle rather than a babbling brook, why not record at 96k, as you've already suggested? It isn't ideal, but it hardly consigns the H4 to the dustbin, and you don't need a battery pack.

My 'aggressive, silly' post was a reaction to the people who were implying or explicitly saying that the H4 was "rubbish", that in the H4, Zoom had released a duff product, one that didn't work etc. It is still my opinion those posts were histrionic blurts.

The butterfly's wings remark (which wasn't my own) was flippant, which is why I put it in quotes when I used it as a kind of short-hand for 'people who want to record very very *very* quiet sources'. I never knocked or ridiculed those people, only suggested the same workarounds as you did yourself (96k, battery packs) or alternatively, that the H4's pre-amps may not be up to snuff for this kind of work (regardless of the dreaded beep) and that they might need to look for a more specialist recorder. Each to his own I say.

What I do find objectionable is people with no experience of the H4, repeatedly and somewhat hysterically posting that it is no good. Being called a spotty moaning singer-songwriter guitarist, while deeply hurtful , at least has the virtue of being true.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Phillip



Joined: 20/11/06
Posts: 15
Loc: Washago, Ontario
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #384450 - 23/11/06 02:19 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

Regarding Zoom's promo picture of someone recording a stream, I doubt if that would require the gain up on full as well as the mic setting at high.




You are missing the point. What you may think are the proper settings may not be someone else's. (In this case, you are even contradicting the manufacturer.) It is not for you to prescribe for others how to record because you wish to defend your position about how great the H4 is. Others may have more experience than you in the matter of field recording. In fact with digital recorders in particular, one needs a very high gain setting on a quiet source.

Quote Richard Graham:

why not record at 96k, as you've already suggested? It isn't ideal, but it hardly consigns the H4 to the dustbin




Again, your response is over the top. The H4 is not being consigned to the dustbin. But it has a defect which is probably affecting the recordings at 96kHz as well. The effect just isn't as obvious. And when you are recording in the field, you might become short of SD cards and therefore need the extra recording time of 48kHz.

The design flaw of the H4 is a problem to recordists with realistic requirements. Even Zoom itself intended its product to fulfil those requirements, not that its potential customers "need to look for a more specialist recorder".

Quote Richard Graham:

The butterfly's wings remark (which wasn't my own) was flippant




Exactly. And for anyone looking to the forums for help with a very real concern, it was not helpful.

Quote Richard Graham:

Each to his own I say.




Right on. Let us respect each other's needs from this recorder, but look to find solutions together. Richard, you are the moderator of this forum, and you can set the tone.

Edited by Phillip (23/11/06 02:22 PM)


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Richard Graham



Joined: 10/04/06
Posts: 3022
Loc: Gateshead, UK
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #384976 - 24/11/06 05:07 PM
Quote Phillip:

You are missing the point. What you may think are the proper settings may not be someone else's. (In this case, you are even contradicting the manufacturer.) It is not for you to prescribe for others how to record because you wish to defend your position about how great the H4 is. Others may have more experience than you in the matter of field recording. In fact with digital recorders in particular, one needs a very high gain setting on a quiet source.




Of course you need a high gain setting for a quiet source. I don't understand why you think I was prescribing for people how to record, I was just saying that most of the streams I know of are loud enough to drown out the beep and any pre-amp noise, *if* you chose not to record at 96k. I then said it may be a quiet stream, in which case, recording at 96k would make more sense. I never claimed to be an expert in field recording. Maybe that's why I don't understand why digital recorders (in particular) need more gain than analog ones . I always set the gain so that the recorder peaks at about 80% for digital, or nearer 100% for analog. I don't think i contradicted the manufacturer either: I don't see how they would know exactly how loud a stream is without measuring it, any more than I can. All they can do is guess, same as me. Does Zoom's advice *really* say the gain always needs to be right up at 100% when recording streams, regardless of how noisy the stream is?

Quote Phillip:


Quote Richard Graham:

why not record at 96k, as you've already suggested? It isn't ideal, but it hardly consigns the H4 to the dustbin




Again, your response is over the top. The H4 is not being consigned to the dustbin.




Not by you, maybe. But Simon said the H4 was "a bit rubbish", and basically said it doesn't work or words to that effect. Rubbish that doesn't work is usually consigned to the dustbin: so I don't think I've been over the top (I'll ignore the fact that you say I'm being over the top *again*, becuase I don't know exactly which other bit of what I've said, you think is "over the top"). To me what is "over the top" is calling the H4 "rubbish", saying "DOH DOH DOH" and claiming that it doesn't work and that you are taking your custom elsewhere, before you've even heard it. Alternatively, saying this
Quote Phillip:

record a spotty wanker flapping an electric guitar at 6 inches, or to save for posterity yet another singer-songwriter making yet another dreary 4-track demo to post on the web.



*might* be seen as an "over the top" reaction to somebody lightheartedly caracaturing you as "wanting to record the flapping of butterfly wings at 100 paces".

Quote Phillip:


But it has a defect which is probably affecting the recordings at 96kHz as well. The effect just isn't as obvious. And when you are recording in the field, you might become short of SD cards and therefore need the extra recording time of 48kHz.




You might indeed run out of memory, so you could buy another 2GB memory card (or even two), for around £20. Again, not ideal, but cheaper than buying a Nagra.

Quote Phillip:


The design flaw of the H4 is a problem to recordists with realistic requirements. Even Zoom itself intended its product to fulfil those requirements, not that its potential customers "need to look for a more specialist recorder".




I'm not saying that it isn't a design flaw, just that there are workable workarounds, and that such a cheap and versatile piece of kit would not have been my first choice for pristine field recordings of very quiet sources. Advertising bumf is advertising bumf, after all, and to be fair, you *can* still do what they say you can do with it (at 96k). But apart from the low-level beep, there is a level of pre-amp noise which I would find unacceptable if I was recording very quiet sources (as I would expect there to be from a piece of budget kit).

Put it another way: if I required top-notch guitar amp modelling a la Guitar Rig 2, that would be a 'realistic requirement' too, but would I be justified in complaining that the amp models in the H4 are not nearly as good as those in Guitar Rig, even though the Zoom is *also* a standalone 4-track / stereo recorder / audio interface with microphones, and not a specialist piece of software that does just the one thing and costs nearly twice as much? Do you think it would even be *realistic* to expect a 'Guitar Rig' level of performance from the Zoom? What if I could get a 'Guitar Rig' type sound by recording at 96k instead of 44.1? Would i say "that's not good enough, it should sound exactly like a real Marshall stack when I record at 44.1 as well", or would I just go and buy another memory card and be bloody glad that such a facility exists?

Quote Phillip:


Quote Richard Graham:

The butterfly's wings remark (which wasn't my own) was flippant




Exactly. And for anyone looking to the forums for help with a very real concern, it was not helpful.




Why pick on this one "unhelpful" remark, when the thread is full of helpful stuff (some of it contributed by yourself, some from others)? It RNMS who originally made the remark about butterflies:
Quote RNMS:

There is a firmware update due this month that may address this very slight defect, I'm very pleased with this piece of kit and as I don't record the beating of butterfly wings I will experience no problems as it is.



Pretty inoffensive stuff isn't it? Especially compared to your reaction, the one about "spotty wankers with guitars" which I've quoted already in this post. Please read through it again, though, before moving on to your last point about 'tone'.

Quote Phillip:


Let us respect each other's needs from this recorder, but look to find solutions together. Richard, you are the moderator of this forum, and you can set the tone.




Though I originated this thread, I am not a moderator. Having said that, I don't think my tone has been inappropriate. I think it has been (mostly) very moderate, making light of insults, and mildly chiding people who have jumped off the deep end. I'll admit that I started to get a bit impatient with Simon's flapping. So I think I *did* set the tone already. Of course it's other people's prerogative to change that tone.

I don't think we are getting anywhere fast with all this, to be honest. What started off as an (I hope) informative thread about a piece of kit which I am (still) enthused with, has degenerated into "it's crap/no its not" and "you're slagging me off/you're over-reacting". Shame.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Phillip



Joined: 20/11/06
Posts: 15
Loc: Washago, Ontario
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #385345 - 25/11/06 02:38 PM
Quote Richard Graham:

Does Zoom's advice *really* say the gain always needs to be right up at 100% when recording streams, regardless of how noisy the stream is?




No, Zoom claims that it is possible to use the high gain setting of the H4 at 16 bit/48 kHz in a field recording application. (I think we're all capable of going beyond thinking that Zoom intended all field recordings to be recordings of streams just because there is a picture of a stream!)

However, because of the design flaw, we now know it is not possible to do this, i.e., high gain at 16/48, without there being the beeping/pulsing-tone on the recording.

Quote Richard Graham:

Put it another way: if I required top-notch guitar amp modelling a la Guitar Rig 2, that would be a 'realistic requirement' too, but would I be justified in complaining that the amp models in the H4 are not nearly as good as those in Guitar Rig




You would be justified in complaining if Zoom had claimed as much. That is what is meant by "realistic": i.e., we are requiring of the Zoom H4 only what the Zoom H4 is advertised as being capable of. But there is a design flaw, admitted by the manufacturer, so the H4 is not capable of performing to its own advertised features and specs.

This is not a complaint about a feature that the H4 does not have. This is a problem that Zoom did NOT intend to be present in their product.

And this is my last post on the subject. I don't think I can be any clearer about what the problem is. But I don't think you'll admit to it.

I look forward to Zoom fixing the defect in their next version of the H4.

Quote Richard Graham:

I don't think we are getting anywhere fast with all this, to be honest. What started off as an (I hope) informative thread about a piece of kit which I am (still) enthused with, has degenerated into "it's crap/no its not" and "you're slagging me off/you're over-reacting". Shame.




Exactly.


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Jeraldo



Joined: 10/09/05
Posts: 2338
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #385520 - 26/11/06 01:57 AM
Quote Richard Graham:

I just read the wiki article, where it says that electrets (can) rival condensers in all respects except for low noise. I didn't read where it said they were necessarily poor at recording high SPLs. In fact, the article even says they 'can even have the long-term stability and ultra-flat response needed for a measuring microphone'.




I didn't slog through the whole article. Electrets are capable of very low noise. And in fact, they are capable of extremely high SPLs. They *can* have a charge much higher than a conventionally designed phantom power capsule polarization. Modern charged diaphragms will not loose charge. Many modern measuring mics employ electret technology.

It's another case of getting what you pay for.


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Jeraldo



Joined: 10/09/05
Posts: 2338
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: John Willett]
      #385521 - 26/11/06 02:35 AM
Quote John Willett:

My reading of this thread has been very positive for the H4 - much better than the competition and cheaper as well.

The points mentioned seem very small in comparison.

At this price I would go for the H4 unless I had the money for the Fostex FR-2LE or the Nagra Ares-M; I certainly would not look at anything else in this range.

But the Sound Devices or Nagra-D .....




The Nagra wouldn't suit anyone looking at the H4. It has one external mic, which is mono. It has *one* (!??) XLR in, and the product literature suggests it be used with a high quality dynamic(!). The stereo mic in is on a mini jack. They include a "stereo clip on mic," but it must not be great because they offer a "higher quality" clip on mic.
Specs: No appreciable difference in noise and S/N ratio.
Stereo line XLR ins. H4:yes Nagra:no
Stereo mic XLR ins. H4 yes Nagra: no(has one for suggested mono dynamic)
External mic H4: stereo. Nagra: mono
Four track and bouncing ability/download source tracks. H4: yes Nagra: no
"USB mode": (Device appearing as an external drive) H4:yes Nagra: unknown
Memory Card: H4 uses SD. Nagra: I couldn't determine if there is *only* internal memory of 1 gig, or if using cards is possible. I didn't see any mention of use of removable memory.)
Speaker: H4:no Nagra: yes
Price H4 $300 Nagra: $1000

The list goes on.

As for the FR-2LE. This is not an option, because the product is not available. Fostex release date has been extended several times. In the US, its price is not yet determined (by Fostex), so no orders may be taken. No one I know has had a prototype unit long enough to evaluate. It, too, may beep, squawk, whistle, sing, and more. Remember that its predecessor, the FR-2 had several operational issues before Fostex offered a software update.

I would throw another product in to the mix. It's the Tascam flash recorder. It's out, and there are no operational complaints. But it is three times the cost of the H4, has only one external mono mic, and is about three times as large. And it's "limited" to uncompressed formats. It does have FireWire connectivity.

The H4 is a killer product. I'm sure there will be some *practical* DIY workarounds for its problems. And Zoom may come up with some fixes-even software fixes for hardware problems (Apple users will be accustomed to this!).

In it's current state, it seems to be working better than both of the Marantz recorders.

I'm planning on getting one just for personal use: Beside all the intended "musical" uses, it has a legion of other uses as well. Right now, it won't serve my professional recording needs, but it will be a very handy creative and convenience tool.

Now if they would only add a video screen..................
Oh yeah, and maybe a camera or video input..........

Having trouble recording butterfly wings? Get closer! Or put the thing in front of a parabolic reflector.


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Jeraldo



Joined: 10/09/05
Posts: 2338
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #385528 - 26/11/06 03:48 AM
Quote Phillip:



However, there is a problem when recording at 44.1 and 48 KHz. There is an audible (and visible as a wave form in a DAW) periodic tone (corresponding to the blinking of the H4 access light) on all recordings made with battery power.

ZOOM is aware of this problem which is a design flaw on their analog circuit board (or so they told me). They have been very open about this problem which I find quite admirable in a company.





Phillip: Thanks for the posting of those clips. In the US, Zoom is distrubted by Samson, and they are anything but open about this problem-quite the opposite. Just curious who you wrote or talked to.

Thanks for posting the clips.


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Phillip



Joined: 20/11/06
Posts: 15
Loc: Washago, Ontario
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jeraldo]
      #385628 - 26/11/06 02:02 PM
Quote Jeraldo:

Quote Phillip:



However, there is a problem when recording at 44.1 and 48 KHz. There is an audible (and visible as a wave form in a DAW) periodic tone (corresponding to the blinking of the H4 access light) on all recordings made with battery power.

ZOOM is aware of this problem which is a design flaw on their analog circuit board (or so they told me). They have been very open about this problem which I find quite admirable in a company.





Phillip: Thanks for the posting of those clips. In the US, Zoom is distrubted by Samson, and they are anything but open about this problem-quite the opposite. Just curious who you wrote or talked to.

Thanks for posting the clips.




Hi Jeraldo,

I emailed to the Zoom Company from their website:

http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/contact/02.php

and they were kind enough to respond.

Yes, Samson has been quite unhelpful about this problem.

Quote Jeraldo:

Having trouble recording butterfly wings? Get closer! Or put the thing in front of a parabolic reflector.




The "trouble" is that butterfly wings don't really make a beeping/pulsing tone when they flap.

Edited by Phillip (26/11/06 02:04 PM)


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #385715 - 26/11/06 06:06 PM
Quote Phillip:



The "trouble" is that butterfly wings don't really make a beeping/pulsing tone when they flap.




Yes, but they make this horrific flapping noise!


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Len
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #385799 - 26/11/06 10:16 PM
Lots of discussions about this and other issues at:

http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewforum.php?f=15

Read em and weep/laugh

--------------------
www.youtube.com/leonardngmusic


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Richard Graham



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #386672 - 28/11/06 05:34 PM
Quote Phillip:

And this is my last post on the subject. I don't think I can be any clearer about what the problem is. But I don't think you'll admit to it.




Argh! I already *did* admit there was a problem, right back where I tested the thing and said I could hear the very quiet beep at maximum gain settings, using headphones full up, among a load of other electronic self-noise. That's exactly the problem you are talking about, isn't it?

It is perfectly clear to me that your expectations of the H4 proved to be greater than the reality of it, whereas I expected a lot from it, and as it turned out, got even more, because I use it to record MUSIC, not SPARROWFARTS.

Obviously the fact you are disappointed isn't your fault, so it must those danged Zoom marketing people with their pictures of streams and so on.

So forget about the workarounds and invest your energies in complaining about the spotty wankers with guitars, dreary singer-songwriters, and the like. I'm sure you'll be much happier.

--------------------
"if you don't have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul" - Bukowski


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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #387383 - 30/11/06 12:06 AM
Quote Richard Graham:

Argh! I already *did* admit there was a problem, right back where I tested the thing and said I could hear the very quiet beep at maximum gain settings, using headphones full up, among a load of other electronic self-noise. That's exactly the problem you are talking about, isn't it?




No. no. no. The problem is that the H4 has a design flaw.

Quote Richard Graham:

It is perfectly clear to me that your expectations of the H4 proved to be greater than the reality of it, whereas I expected a lot from it, and as it turned out, got even more, because I use it to record MUSIC, not SPARROWFARTS.




I just expected the H4 to operate as advertised.

Gosh, some MUSIC sounds like SPARROWFARTS. We may be using the H4 for the same purpose, really.

Quote Richard Graham:

Obviously the fact you are disappointed isn't your fault, so it must those danged Zoom marketing people with their pictures of streams and so on.

So forget about the workarounds and invest your energies in complaining about the spotty wankers with guitars, dreary singer-songwriters, and the like. I'm sure you'll be much happier.




Gee whiz, what happened to all that POSITIVE ENERGY ACTIVATES CONSTANT ELEVATION ?

Seriously, Richard, I love the H4. I'm using it at 24/96 and going through SD cards like they were potato chips (crisps).

I'm sorry if I seemed to be too down on the H4. I hope you are having as much fun as I am.

This is where I could say "But I only wish that..." but I won't. This is getting

Edited by Phillip (30/11/06 12:07 AM)


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arn



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Posts: 132
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #388532 - 02/12/06 01:42 PM
http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=7173&sid=f7530f82b6231a592744 0a9461b32338


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mcguirk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: arn]
      #388815 - 03/12/06 04:23 PM
Quote arn:

http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=7173&sid=f7530f82b6231a592744 0a9461b32338




In case anyone misses what this is referring to, it's the new 1.10 firmware in English for the H4 :

http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=7173&sid=f7530f82b6231a592744 0a9461b32338

Personally I won't touch it, as I don't have any problems with the machine at the moment. Someone on that zoom board says he thinks there are timing problems since he updated - no idea if he's right, but I don't want to mess with it if it's not broken.


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Jeraldo



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: mcguirk]
      #389002 - 04/12/06 06:26 AM
Does anyone know what's going on with the issue involving the beep and the activity light? And exactly which bit depths, sampling rates, and formats are affected?

At any rate, the workaround for that is a mains power supply or a battery pack?


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JosephR



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Jeraldo]
      #389284 - 04/12/06 05:23 PM
Can anyone finally quantify this "beeping" in terms of real numbers?

(Even rough values would do but at the moment because i'm still a bit perplexed to how much of a problem it really is).

At what settings does it occur, how high's the gain got to be and how loud's the beeping?

Is the beeping permanently there, and only masked when a louder sound occurs, or is it only at certain gain levels?

I am still seriously considering buying one as there's nothing even vaguely comparable in the price range, although i have been slightly put off by this thread.

I realise the "beeping" problem only occurs when it's running on batteries but i would want to use it to go harvesting samples and so i would want to use it on batteries from time to time, (although i doubt i'd ever be recording a butterflies wings flapping with it...but maybe the odd spotty guitarist )

So can someone, or a few people, finally summarise the problem into a meaningfull appraisal because, (with all due respect to all concerned), this thread has descended into hysteria at points and the reality seems to have got lost somewhere in the middle.

Thanks in advance, (and no offence to anyone intended!),
J


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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #389303 - 04/12/06 05:45 PM
As far as I'm concerned, this is not a beep as such, when you have excessive gain on the mics, and in very quiet surroundings, when recording there is an interuption in the background hiss causing a pulsing when the disk access light switches off and on, this would only be a problem when recording very quiet sounds and is inaudible when recording anything of any volume, the noise is not present when recording with the power adapter or with batteries at 96k.


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Rob C



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: crofter]
      #389334 - 04/12/06 07:54 PM
I'd describe it as a very high faint whine, audible with all but the lowest gain and in sync with the access light.

I understand the card size is also implicated.

I don't think the 1.10 VBR fix is related to the so-called 'beep' issue because it's not just on MP3s.

I haven't conducted a full set of tests with different cards, resolutions and power sources because I can't be arsed. The way I see it is this: if I want a clean sound with a big card and battery power I can use 24/96. If they fix the whine all well and good - I'd really like to make MP3s to go straight online.

--------------------
www.bemuso.com


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JosephR



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Rob C]
      #389358 - 04/12/06 09:17 PM
Quote:

The way I see it is this: if I want a clean sound with a big card and battery power I can use 24/96. If they fix the whine all well and good - I'd really like to make MP3s to go straight online.



Thanks for that, i think you've just sold it to me, although i'm not a fan of 24/96, (because i can't hear the difference on my monitoring chain but my HD notices it!).

The recordings posted earlier were surprisingly good quality, for a "crappy", cheap (in my budget), portable recorder...especially considering they were using the "in-built" mics too!

Compared to some recordings i got using the internal mics in one of these bricks, it was like Neuman to Behringer, (ok a mild exageration, but you get the point)! I wasn't over awed by the Marantz in anyway, it was ok, but not worth the price. It kind of reminded me of a nasty old cassette deck really, although i have to confess i wasn't worried walking the streets with it on display because any potential mugger wouldn't even expect to get a bag of smack for it

I'm not sure if the .mp3 problem's been solved by the new firmware update or not, but i think i'd rather encode them myself after editing anyway so it's not something that'd worry me but the beeping/whining noise is/was.

Thanks for you replies


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Ay Carumba!
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #389364 - 04/12/06 09:24 PM
My apologies everyone, it was all my fault! I raised the question of how the H4 performed with low signal levels (high gain) and take full responsibility. Honestly...I leave you guys for five minutes...

Joseph - It's worth listening to Philip's audio examples back on page 2 (if you haven't done so already) for a good indication of the noise issue. For me, playing back at full blast through headphones, the beep doesn't appear to be too much of a problem though it may well depend on your source material and where you intend to use it. I just felt that the pre-amp hiss was more intrusive and would render a file unusable (just) before the beep becomes apparent - I think Richard may have made the same point.

Shame they can't just write a fix to turn the access light off, or at least stop it blinking while in record mode?

Following Jeraldo's rather pertinent comments about the Nagra (which I still haven't checked out yet), I'm still rather interested in this little device.

Thanks for your input everybody.

Colin

(PS for Joseph - Ahh you've heard them then!).

Edited by cwillsher (04/12/06 09:25 PM)


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Rob C



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: JosephR]
      #389776 - 05/12/06 03:58 PM
Quote JosephR:

I'm not sure if the .mp3 problem's been solved by the new firmware update or not, but i think i'd rather encode them myself after editing anyway so it's not something that'd worry me but the beeping/whining noise is/was.




Here's the 1.10 update notice

I don't think this is firmware as such, just a system update.

The beep/whine is the same after the udate.

--------------------
www.bemuso.com


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Tor



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #392492 - 12/12/06 01:38 PM
Quote:


"We have figured out that the noise problem is caused by the analog circuit board layout...Noise was available because battery does not apply enough to load change. So noise is disappeared when you use a supplied AC adaptor."




To me this sounds like what happens is that the current drain is uneven and the peak drain is enough to cause the voltage to momentarily drop.
If so, the effect should get worse with older batteries. It could also be that the problem can be remedied, or at least reduced, by changing to batteries with lower internal resistance, that is, batteries that can provide more current before the voltage drops. It would be very interesting if somebody who owns the device tried Lithium AA batteries, which are supposed to be able to sustain higher drain.


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Rob C



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Tor]
      #392496 - 12/12/06 01:43 PM
Good tip Tor... thanks, I'll try some variations... nothing to lose.

Welcome to the forum!

--------------------
www.bemuso.com


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Tor



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Rob C]
      #392516 - 12/12/06 02:27 PM
Thanks for the welcome Rob, I found the forum while looking for user experiences with just the H4.. the forum looks nice, so I'll probably keep frequenting it.


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N.icholas



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #394087 - 15/12/06 03:46 PM
I emailed zoom re the problems reported

"Hi,

I am interested in buying one of your H4 recorders, however I would be grateful if you could give me an update on a couple of problems I understand are apparent with the current release:

1. When recording with the internal batteries there are noise problems on the recording which I understand is caused by the analogue circuit board layout to which the battery does not apply enough load charge. This is not apparent with the external adaptor.

2. There is a problem with some MP3 recordings ( software fix)

The first problem is of most concern.

Could you advise me if this problem is being fixed in new releases and if so when will these be availbale in Uk shops and also how I would identify that a model is one with the revised circuitry,

thanks for your help"

and got this reply

"Dear Sir,

Thank you for your inquiry.

Unfortunately, the first problem cannot be solved by firmware updates.
Also, we do not have a plan to change the analogue circuit design at
this
time.

With regard to the second problem, we plan to release a software
updates.
http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/news/news150/index.php
However, we have figured out the following problem on the current
system
updater;
If an error occur during the version up process, a newer system is
installed
incompletely.
In this case, the H4 won't start up again.
So, we are preparing a new system updater fixing this problem.
It will be released on our website about the middle part of January.
We are really sorry for the delay, but please be kind to understand.

Sincerely yours,
ZOOM Corporation."

I think its great they got back to me and are honest - won't be buying one yet!

--------------------
Nick


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Rob C



Joined: 10/02/03
Posts: 8434
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: N.icholas]
      #394098 - 15/12/06 03:59 PM
Quote N.icholas:

However, we have figured out the following problem on the current
system
updater;
If an error occur during the version up process, a newer system is
installed
incompletely.
In this case, the H4 won't start up again.
So, we are preparing a new system updater fixing this problem.




I didn't have any problem... and it does warn about that, but obviously you need to update using mains power and banish all pets and children from the room. It runs fairly quickly so you don't need to tiptoe about.

--------------------
www.bemuso.com


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N.icholas



Joined: 10/05/04
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Rob C]
      #394107 - 15/12/06 04:12 PM
I don't think they said it will necessarily happen

"If an error occur ....... the H4 won't start up again."

--------------------
Nick


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crofter
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #394109 - 15/12/06 04:12 PM
I didn't have any problems with the update and I did it on batteries, I down loaded it from the Japanese site before it even appeared on the English one


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Rob C



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: crofter]
      #394113 - 15/12/06 04:19 PM
Belt and braces, that's me... no trousers, just belt and braces.

--------------------
www.bemuso.com


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N.icholas



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: N.icholas]
      #394122 - 15/12/06 04:26 PM
It is this part of the reply that is of most concern

Quote N.icholas:


we do not have a plan to change the analogue circuit design at this time.





But I'm sure they will get round to it - possibly with a new model in the future!

--------------------
Nick


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Tor



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: N.icholas]
      #394147 - 15/12/06 05:11 PM
I broke down and ordered one, beep or no beep!


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JosephR



Joined: 23/01/06
Posts: 204
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Tor]
      #394251 - 15/12/06 09:02 PM
Quote:

I broke down and ordered one, beep or no beep!



Just got mine today, so long as the beeping isn't a problem at 24/96, i can live with it.


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grahawk



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #394353 - 16/12/06 09:27 AM
Over on the Zoom Recorders Forum http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/index.php people are making external battery units which seems to be solving the beeping problem.
http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=7221


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Phillip



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Loc: Washago, Ontario
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Tor]
      #396208 - 20/12/06 02:49 PM
Quote Tor:

It would be very interesting if somebody who owns the device tried Lithium AA batteries, which are supposed to be able to sustain higher drain.




I've tried Lithiums and also a new battery type called Panasonic Oxyride, but the dreaded beep tone is still there.


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Tor



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #396434 - 21/12/06 10:44 AM
Ah, thanks for the report. I got my unit yesterday but I haven't tested for the beep tone yet. Anyway, as long as there are workarounds..

I found another "problem" but I'm not sure I can blame the H4.. the first thing I did to test it was to set it in stereo mic recording mode and do some acoustic guitar fingerpicking, then listen to the playback through headphones. The sound quality was great, but I could hear some not very nice clicking and thumping noises in the mix. It turns out that when I'm playing I sometimes accidentally hit the soundboard with a finger, and there's other noisy stuff in there too. I had no ida! My technique sucks majorly and I didn't know until I tried recording myself, I've never done that before. Argh..!


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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Tor]
      #396482 - 21/12/06 12:58 PM
Quote Tor:

I could hear some not very nice clicking and thumping noises in the mix.




Are you talking about the dreaded thumping noise?!


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Pat
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Richard Graham]
      #396504 - 21/12/06 01:39 PM
Hi dudes - slightly OT, but nevertheless...

@ H4 owners...

I bought one of these usints last night, and it seems to do what it says on the tin, working fine etc. I'm generally pretty happy with it as a purchase (I bought it to do some basic 4 track recording elsewhwere for when my girlfreind is using the living room of our 1 bed flat to watch telly/read/do anything that can be disturbed by noise or makes noise (i.e. basicly all the time.... ), meaning I cant use my main set up)

So anyway, it works nicely, has good sound quality for my purposes, and the added bonus of 24/96 if I need it (which is why I chose it over the cheaper boss micro BR).

The only thing bugging me is that most of the buttons give a reassuring "click" when you press them, apart from the record button (which works fine apart from this)

I thought about this, and reasoned that maybe the click woul introduce mechanical noise or something... I dunno - So here is the question for H4 owners -

Do your record buttons "click"?


Ta


Pat


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Tor



Joined: 12/12/06
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #396518 - 21/12/06 02:27 PM
Quote Phillip:


Are you talking about the dreaded thumping noise?!



Nah, this was simply produced by bad right-hand technique on my side.. when fingerpicking my right-hand fingertips sometimes knock the soundboard and it was very easy to hear in the recording.. but I was completely unaware of my sloppiness until I listened to the recording! So this thumping noise isn't the H4-generated one (which I haven't heard so far, but I haven't done any "silent" recordings yet). My impression of the H4 itself is very good so far.


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Tor



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Posts: 15
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Pat]
      #396522 - 21/12/06 02:29 PM
Quote Pat:

Do your record buttons "click"?



No.


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Phillip



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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Tor]
      #396548 - 21/12/06 03:16 PM
Quote Tor:

Quote Phillip:


Are you talking about the dreaded thumping noise?!



Nah, this was simply produced by bad right-hand technique on my side.. when fingerpicking my right-hand fingertips sometimes knock the soundboard and it was very easy to hear in the recording.. but I was completely unaware of my sloppiness until I listened to the recording! So this thumping noise isn't the H4-generated one (which I haven't heard so far, but I haven't done any "silent" recordings yet). My impression of the H4 itself is very good so far.




Just kidding. The only dreaded thumping noise I know of is the one the rabbit inside the battery makes.


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Ay Carumba!
member


Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 827
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Phillip]
      #400805 - 04/01/07 07:41 PM
I just thought I would chip in for those still sitting on the fence. After much deliberation, rooting through forums and reviews and listening to audio samples I went out and bought one on Saturday.

I have to say this is likely to become my most-used piece of equipment bar the Mac and have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the onboard mics. Ok, the self-noise isn't the lowest of the low and it is kind of plasticky but this device has so many applications and if you're careful with placement and levels it's really no problem at all.

I keep mine firmly attached to a mini tripod (came off a Digital Camera magazine cover) and have achieved a very nice test piano recording just by standing it on the very edge of the closed lid, pointing down at the hammers - I would rig it properly for a serious recording as it was picking up the release of the dampers too much in that position but the quality and tone were great. Got a very workable sound on drums too and of course it is permanently attached to me as I scour the house and outdoors for new sound effects.

Haven't done anything quiet enough for the beeping 'beeping' to bother me yet but I still wouldn't regret this purchase. I don't really even have any need for the 4-track and guitar features but they're there if I ever do and it might even save some room in my gig bag when I need an audio interface for my laptop.

Got mine with a 2Gb card for £225. This is the bargain of the decade for me.

Colin


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Alex A
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Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Ay Carumba!]
      #452573 - 26/04/07 04:59 PM
We all know a H4 Mk2 must be on the way eventually and I will be very happy to snap one up.

All of you Mk1 purchasers - thanks for road testing and beta testing the product for me! How a recording device with such an obvious design flaw can be put into mass production is beyond me!

To be honest, the H4 could cost £100 or £400 and I would still consider the noise unacceptable either way - I have worked in the electronics business and effective QC should deal with this problem.

The solutions - eating up card space with 24/96 recordings on a £200 recorder (*definitely* overkill with the internal mic) or buying an external battery pack for a PORTABLE recorder that is already much bigger than the Boss Micro BR seem like outrageous solutions.

You "pro-Zoom H4 even with the flaw" guys should all write reviews for SOS. The reviewer missed this flaw but how SOS to notice the flaw and then say "Well, for the price, what do you expect?"

The price of the components has nothing to do with this. They could have built the device for the SAME money without the flaw. So accepting it "for the price" is just LAME.

Faulty electronics products make me really angry!

Alex


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crofter
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Loc: Weardale,North Pennines
Re: The Zoom H4 is the Swiss Army knife of recording equipment new [Re: Alex A]
      #452781 - 27/04/07 06:59 AM
Quote Alex A:

We all know a H4 Mk2 must be on the way eventually and I will be very happy to snap one up.

All of you Mk1 purchasers - thanks for road testing and beta testing the product for me! How a recording device with such an obvious design flaw can be put into mass production is beyond me!

To be honest, the H4 could cost £100 or £400 and I would still consider the noise unacceptable either way - I have worked in the electronics business and effective QC should deal with this problem.

The solutions - eating up card space with 24/96 recordings on a £200 recorder (*definitely* overkill with the internal mic) or buying an external battery pack for a PORTABLE recorder that is already much bigger than the Boss Micro BR seem like outrageous solutions.

You "pro-Zoom H4 even with the flaw" guys should all write reviews for SOS. The reviewer missed this flaw but how SOS to notice the flaw and then say "Well, for the price, what do you expect?"

The price of the components has nothing to do with this. They could have built the device for the SAME money without the flaw. So accepting it "for the price" is just LAME.

Faulty electronics products make me really angry!

Alex



Well, while you've been sitting around waiting for perfection,(it'll be a long wait), we've all been out making some great recordings.


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