Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another Zoom H4n Horror Story?

There's a lot to like about the Zoom H4n. For $300 you get a small, compact recorder than can record four tracks simultaneously (using the two onboard mics, and two XLR inputs) and it has good sound quality.

BUT, lately it seems that all I hear are professionals putting it down; not for it's recording quality, or even that you can't adjust gain for the channels independently. It's that the device has a habit of corrupting tracks - i.e. they are unreadable - if it runs out of batteries or otherwise stops recording "unexpectedly."

The latest is a post by Anthony Quintano at Quintano Media who got some corrupted files and says they weren't caused by low batteries; though a respondent suggested that he might be using the wrong SD cards with the device (something owners of the H4n might want to check

Philip Bloom doesn't like the H4n, and at a recent workshop recommended the Tascam DR100; because it also has level controls for both channels.

If you already own the H4n, should you ditch it? Probably not, though for those once-in-a-lifetime shoots, or if the camera isn't close enough to get backup audio, you might want to have a second recording device going just in case.

Quintano Media: Zoom H4N corrupt files for no good reason...

Amazon: Zoom H4n Handy Portable Digital Recorder
Amazon: Tascam DR100 Portable Digital Recorder

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