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Zoom H4n
Old 19th August 2011
  #1
Question Zoom H4n

I just got this thing and my god.....the sound quality...absolutly stunning. i got it because it has the 2 +48v phantom powered xlr jacks and i want to gather ambeint sounds for my music. but i cant seem to find out the data on how long you can power one LD condensor microphone on it while using only battery power......2 hrs 4 hrs? its gotta drain that thing hardcore to have to put out +48v when the batteries only give the thing 3 volts lol or however much double a's put out
Old 19th August 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
radeng's Avatar
 

Use an external phantom box. I bring a AKG N66E along when I'm using condensers with the H4N. It's not battery powered, but you can get one that is.
Old 19th August 2011 | Show parent
  #3
Stunning?

I guess everything is relative....
Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Stunning?

I guess everything is relative....
stunning is really not a good enough praise. in 24/96...for example, i recorded my cat meowing and you could hear the saliva smack when the cat opened her mouth to meow, along with every granular bit of her voice that i doubt you could even hear with your ears...totaly blown away by this thing im SO glad i didnt blow 1-3k on a field recorder when this gives me frighteningly awesome resolution for 299 LOL ( ive listened to the 1k-2k field recorders on you tube at 720 and 1080p settings and none of them sounded any better than this thing's stock mics for wide ambeint sounds.......not to me at least.......when i recorded a thunderstorm withthis thing last night it revieled wind chimes in the distance from a lady i know who lives like..2 blocks away.....incredible......i can only imagine how much more awesome ittl sound when i hook up my NT4 to its XLR port......so i cant wait to get it into the field to get some ambeint sounds for my music, but i was just wondering how much recording time one could expect to get with one phantom powered mic plugged in and running off the batteries
Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveybasso View Post
( ive listened to the 1k-2k field recorders on you tube at 720 and 1080p settings and none of them sounded any better than this thing's stock mics for wide ambeint sounds
No matter what the setting, youtube always uses lossy compression.

2k? For that price you could get a 702 which has far superior preamps and A/D conversion. Paired with even a modest XY pair or MS setup it would rip a H4n to bits imo. Don't get me wrong, I do like the H4n. Great price and very handy. I've both heard and done some great work with one. But I'd never go as far as to say it's better than something you can get for 2k.

Worth checking out is this shootout, very well done....

the sound my head makes: handheld recorder shootout-part 1-specs

the sound my head makes: handheld recorder shootout-part 2-listening test

As for battery life while supplying 48v, I wouldn't expect too long.
Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #6
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Corran's Avatar
 

What a joke.

Re: battery life, it really depends on the mic. I have an older H4, and with Earthworks mics I kill even new batteries instantly. With Schoeps it lasts about 1.5 hours. I've used Oktava 012's on movie sets for about 2 hours and still had some charge. YMMV.
Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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Some mics draw near 8mA, Schoeps around 4mA, Oktava less.
Use a dedicated power supply for good results, not to put the recorder on its knees

Matti
Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveybasso View Post
totaly blown away by this thing im SO glad i didnt blow 1-3k on a field recorder when this gives me frighteningly awesome resolution for 299 LOL ( ive listened to the 1k-2k field recorders on you tube at 720 and 1080p settings and none of them sounded any better than this thing's stock mics for wide ambeint sounds
hm. sometimes I really wonder what we have come to. Comparing audio recorder "resolution" (what ever that means) by criteria of image-quality (720, 1080p) on youtube....

This thing popped up in my memory:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKiIroiCvZ0



So I guess whatever recorder sounds best over youtube at SD picture resolution is the next killer machine?! Or will 4k be the new reference audio format?

Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #9
Our OP basso is reporting his enthusiastic reaction to the sound of a piece of kit he actually owns - a useful conversation to be encouraged in our happy group.

You're right, these things do sound very good in headphones and in untreated listening rooms. Playback in a mastering room, however,reveals a number of vices, which is why they shouldn't be used for much beyond reference audio and rehearsals - and the DSLR video crowd do just that.

As was already said, comparing listening tests on YouTube audio is not recommended unless all your audio is destined for YT.

A pair of schoeps into an original H4 lasts me around 45 mins in a rehearsal, using two newish 2450mAh Energiser AA NiMH rechargeables; ocktavas, a little longer. Using the wall wart helps here but the capsules are still not getting the full 48vdc, more like 44. However, time it, plot it and see for yourself.

The Stewart BPS-1 48v puts out 52.4 for over 4 hours with 2 9volt alkalis on one channel only. I use it for flower-pot mics into a Lectro.

An H4n on a stick with a couple octavas, samson sdcs or splits from the stage vocals, running up the pole, in a honky-tonk beer joint, seems an eminiently useful rig for recording rough trade? Different tools for different jobs. Good luck and enjoy the heck out of your new device.
rgds break over, now back to editing...
WalterT
Attached Thumbnails
Zoom H4n-h4-phantom-output-e.jpg  

Last edited by audibell; 20th August 2011 at 09:51 AM.. Reason: Duh!
Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audibell View Post
Using the wall wart helps here but the capsules are still not getting the full 48vdc, more like 44. However, time it, plot it and see for yourself.

The Stewart BPS-1 48v puts out 52.4 for over 4 hours with 2 9volt alkalis on one channel only. I use it for flower-pot mics into a Lectro.
As per phantom specs the 48V have to be within +-4V to comply to the standard. Maximum current allowed is 10mA per channel. Some mics are very close to that (Earthworks for example is famous for being a huge current hog that some recorders can not supply. Multiple mics connected to the same machine not even mentioned.)
Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audibell View Post

An H4n on a stick with a couple octavas, samson sdcs or splits from the stage vocals, running up the pole, in a honky-tonk beer joint, seems an eminiently useful rig for recording rough trade?
Yes indeed... my h4n is on the pole inside the "gig rig" rack behind the mixer... open the lid and raise the pole.. hit record! I slap that thing in 4track mode... it's mics capturing the show and the 2mix from the desk feeding it's line inputs. The usual "bar-mix board feed" that's missing instruments due to stage volume gets filled in by the mics, and the line feed does a good job of drying up the room mics to create something worth listening to. A quick time-alignment of the two after the gig and there you go. It is for album release? heck no... but for artist review or their performance, they thank me for it every time! Plus, it's evidence that my mix was slammin', regardless of what drunken frat-buddy #5 had to say
Old 20th August 2011 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveybasso View Post
stunning is really not a good enough praise. in 24/96...for example, i recorded my cat meowing and you could hear the saliva smack when the cat opened her mouth to meow, along with every granular bit of her voice that i doubt you could even hear with your ears...totaly blown away by this thing im SO glad i didnt blow 1-3k on a field recorder when this gives me frighteningly awesome resolution for 299 LOL ( ive listened to the 1k-2k field recorders on you tube at 720 and 1080p settings and none of them sounded any better than this thing's stock mics for wide ambeint sounds.......not to me at least.......when i recorded a thunderstorm withthis thing last night it revieled wind chimes in the distance from a lady i know who lives like..2 blocks away.....incredible......i can only imagine how much more awesome ittl sound when i hook up my NT4 to its XLR port......so i cant wait to get it into the field to get some ambeint sounds for my music, but i was just wondering how much recording time one could expect to get with one phantom powered mic plugged in and running off the batteries
help me out here
how does the video resolution change the tv audio?

doesnt utube diddle the sound.
of course theirs should sound worse.
Old 21st August 2011
  #13
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The machine is a toy for recording kid's recitals, bootlegging and for supposedly making the user in to a recording guy. It's junk.
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
The machine is a toy for recording kid's recitals, bootlegging and for supposedly making the user in to a recording guy. It's junk.

wow you must have gotten a defective model cause its not junk at all..its amazing sound quality. everyone who has listened to the samples ive recorded so far has been blown away by the sound. so if theres better than that then it lay odds its only marginal...shrug
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldeanalogueguy View Post
help me out here
how does the video resolution change the tv audio?

doesnt utube diddle the sound.
of course theirs should sound worse.

ok, glad to help =)

VIdeo resolution has to do with audio resolution in that the sound quality gets better and better the higher you go...for example 260 360 480 720 and 1080. the sound quality on 1080 is pretty freekin good for you tube so is 720
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
hm. sometimes I really wonder what we have come to. Comparing audio recorder "resolution" (what ever that means) <---- resolution means how detailed the sound sounds....




by criteria of image-quality (720, 1080p) on youtube....<----- the higher the video resolution the higher they put the sound resolution

This thing popped up in my memory:

David Lynch on iPhone - YouTube



So I guess whatever recorder sounds best over youtube at SD picture resolution is the next killer machine?! <-----no, whatever recorder sounds the best at youtubes 1080p HD ( not SD) video resolution is what sounds the next killer machiene because the audio resolution will be at max to match the video resolution...

Or will 4k be the new reference audio format?<----- dont know what your getting at here but ive heard clips from $3000 recorders in AMBEINT situations, outside, and they dont sound any better than what ive been able to capture on the h4n. ive listened to both clips very closely and i just dont hear $2500 difference..its just so marginal its not even worth the extra 2,500 bucks at all

...
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #17
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Corran's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveybasso View Post
ok, glad to help =)

VIdeo resolution has to do with audio resolution in that the sound quality gets better and better the higher you go...for example 260 360 480 720 and 1080. the sound quality on 1080 is pretty freekin good for you tube so is 720
Uh no.
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #18
Just to clarify, audio quality does increase on YouTube as you watch at higher resolutions. However, that is just YouTube. You can make a 1080 HD video with low-res sound and you can make a teensy video with high-res sound.
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #19
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Uhhuh, yes to that uh

Matti
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #20
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Objectively, OP has come onto a board which has a large group of professional recording engineers with long lists of professional releases to annouce that he is blown away by a $300 recorder. That does not make the $300 recorder a really good one. It just makes it the best that OP and his buddies have heard. That does not mean much. Nor do I suspect that any of the folks who earn a living with their gear will be going out and buying the Zoom for anything other than an amusing toy.


Simply put: if a $300 machine could do the work of a $3000 machine, no $3000 machines would be sold, would they? Unless the folks who are pros are dumb and deaf. Not bloody likely.
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Objectively, OP has come onto a board which has a large group of professional recording engineers with long lists of professional releases to annouce that he is blown away by a $300 recorder. That does not make the $300 recorder a really good one. It just makes it the best that OP and his buddies have heard. That does not mean much. Nor do I suspect that any of the folks who earn a living with their gear will be going out and buying the Zoom for anything other than an amusing toy.


Simply put: if a $300 machine could do the work of a $3000 machine, no $3000 machines would be sold, would they? Unless the folks who are pros are dumb and deaf. Not bloody likely.
for me the only thing to learn from this thread is that you do not need to spend 3000$ on a recorder when you plan to play your sound over youtube.

I fully agree with that. In fact even an H2 would do for youtube releases. so you can save another 150$ !
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Objectively, OP has come onto a board which has a large group of professional recording engineers with long lists of professional releases to announce that he is blown away by a $300 recorder. That does not make the $300 recorder a really good one. It just makes it the best that OP and his buddies have heard. That does not mean much. Nor do I suspect that any of the folks who earn a living with their gear will be going out and buying the Zoom for anything other than an amusing toy.


Simply put: if a $300 machine could do the work of a $3000 machine, no $3000 machines would be sold, would they? Unless the folks who are pros are dumb and deaf. Not bloody likely.
Perhaps is it a case of the market the OP is working in wouldn't support the extra costs of top of the range equipment.
In the region I'm in there are about 6 location sound people, 2 have the top end gear like fully optioned SD788t and top line radio mics etc. And charging accordingly. The others have middle of the range equipment, and are working most of the time but charging a little less.
Who is right?... 1 day / week @ $600 - $700 or 4 days / week @ $350, people need to be aware of production budgets or they can price themselves out of work due to over capitalization on gear.
If the costs of freelance operators become to high some companies just buy a couple of cheap radio mics and do away with the soundo... and the product shows it.

As the saying goes "Horses for courses".... BUT are they any less professional?
Old 21st August 2011
  #23
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The OP was looking for data on battery life when powering a LDC. The reason this data isn't published is simply because different mics are going to draw different amounts of current from the recorder. It is thus not possible to state a one-size-fits-all battery life spec.

My gripe with these recorders is that the specs say they can make 24-bit recordings, but the ones I've tested only record 16-bit samples and pad them up to 24 bits. This can ultimately affect your S/N ratio depending on a number of factors.

If the recordings you get are satisfactory to you, that's what matters, despite any blanket statements made by people who have never even held one in their hands.
Old 21st August 2011 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldeanalogueguy View Post
help me out here
how does the video resolution change the tv audio?

doesnt utube diddle the sound.
of course theirs should sound worse.
YT changes up their formats without a lot of notice, so this may not be current, but they have been using different audio compression levels for different video playback streams.

Even the higher quality has been only 128 kbps AAC, though.

Fran
Old 22nd August 2011
  #25
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Let's not pretend that this thing is good. This junque is the scourge of real recording people. Mopes will use these instead of hiring someone.

Let's quit pretending.
Old 22nd August 2011 | Show parent
  #26
Quote:
Let's not pretend that this thing is good. This junque is the scourge of real recording people. Mopes will use these instead of hiring someone.

Let's quit pretending.
Thank you!
Old 22nd August 2011 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Let's not pretend that this thing is good. This junque is the scourge of real recording people. Mopes will use these instead of hiring someone.

Let's quit pretending.
Have to agree !!!!! ..... BUT is it better to have the best gear in the world and minimal work OR give the client (or Mopes as you call them) what they want at a price they want and earn a living?
Maybe the answer is buy a H4n, stay in the loop and educate the client to better quality and in time they will move up the quality tree.

Regardless of what you think "Mopes" pay the $$$$$
Old 22nd August 2011
  #28
I don't think anyone in their right mind would pay a dime for a recording with a Zoom. If they would, they wouldn't be the kind of clients that would sustain a living wage. You might be ablt to get 40-50 bucks to record a piano recital, but no professional ensemble could take this seriously.

I personally charge what my clients can afford (I should be charging much more), and even on a tiny concert there is around $10,000 worth of equipment on hand. To have a long time client say "We're not going pay the couple hundred you charge for a concert recording because such and such has a Zoom recorded and has offered to do it for free" is not only insulting, but displays an underlying ignorance of both the client and the so-called engineer who is whoring his services and stealing work from people who spend time and money learning and practicing their craft, and delivering far superior results.
Old 23rd August 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
Have to agree !!!!! ..... BUT is it better to have the best gear in the world and minimal work OR give the client (or Mopes as you call them) what they want at a price they want and earn a living?
Maybe the answer is buy a H4n, stay in the loop and educate the client to better quality and in time they will move up the quality tree.

Regardless of what you think "Mopes" pay the $$$$$
Sir,
The client is not the mope. The person using the Zoom is the mope here.
Old 23rd August 2011 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
I personally charge what my clients can afford (I should be charging much more), and even on a tiny concert there is around $10,000 worth of equipment on hand.
And all this equipment just landed on your lap like that? No.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
To have a long time client say "We're not going pay the couple hundred you charge for a concert recording because such and such has a Zoom recorded and has offered to do it for free" is not only insulting, but displays an underlying ignorance of both the client and the so-called engineer who is whoring his services and stealing work from people who spend time and money learning and practicing their craft, and delivering far superior results.
This client would:
a) Never do this sort of thing, we BOTH, heck no, everyone here knows that.

b) Run back to you as fast as possible after hearing the Zoom recording.

Or not... in which case... He/she got what he/she wanted.

Throwing xxx amounts of gear is not the solution, nor a criteria to judge recordings. If it's up to the job and the required result in terms of quality, THAT's a valid criteria.

Now, Poor Poor Davey might be just a youngster, getting his first portable recording thingy, and being happy with the results. Heck, a H4n with it's tiny 'condensers' sounds a truckload better than the "secondhand-made-in-china-SM58-rip-off-full-of-spit" he maybe had before!

And I'm sure, this thing will teach him a lot (If he takes the right road) and adding a pair of external sdc's really allows one to make decent (not pro, not ****ty neither) recordings of, like you say, the local music school's recitals, and anything else that comes along, for yourself, so you learn.

Because that's the thing: before you had the 10.000 quid of gear, you had what? Maybe nothing, like me, and how did you learn? By having the luck someone else took you along maybe, allowing you to look, and listen, and don't touch anything. And roll all the XLR's and shove every bloody heavy flightcase in that van whilst they we're relaxing... (That's what I had to do...)

Well, being able to play around with a H4n recording anything that comes along, might be slightly more appealing for today's youth. Once they 'get it', they'll learn the additional things.

What I want to say is, things have changed, and having stuff to record things does make you a recordist/recorder, by the sheer definition of the it!
And with recordists, you've got the same thing as with those who play instruments: a bloke who just bought his first electric guitar is a guitarist, but not necessarily a musician...

Davey, don't curb your enthusiasm, but let the wise words said in the many posts above linger in your mind. You might not like the reactions for now, but there will come some time that you'll look back to that, and get it!

Go out, have fun, learn, and record, listen, and take care of your ears!!

Paul

PS: Batteries run out fast on the H4N with phantom....
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