Overview: The Zoom H4n Handy Recorder is a portable 4-track digital audio
recorder with two analog inputs, two built-in microphones, and a stereo mic
input. The H4n can record in either WAV or MP3 onto SD memory cards. A 1.9"
backlit LCD screen (128 x 64 dots) shows the input levels of all four tracks, and lets you
maneuver through the menu with ease. The unit comes with a wind screen, music production software, a 2
GB SD memory card, AC adapter, and a USB cable. The entire kit stores safely in the supplied
hard plastic carrying case.
Main Inputs: The H4n has two main inputs with
combo connectors that can accept either XLR or 1/4" balanced or unbalanced phone
cables (or TRS--Tip-Ring-Sleeve). The connectors use the industry
standard "Pin 2 hot" protocol on the XLR, and "Tip hot" protocol on the TRS
connectors. The inputs can handle both mic-level and line-level signals with
ease, with internal switching contacts automatically detecting the signal type.
If you are using high-quality
condenser (powered) microphones, a simple menu option provides Phantom Power
(+24 or +48 volts) to the main inputs.
Built-in Microphones: The H4n has two built-in microphones
in an X/Y configuration. The mics can be rotated to change the angle from 90° to 120°
for a wider stereo image. In addition, a stereo 3.5mm input lets you connect an
external microphone or line-level source.
Outputs: The H4n features a 3.5mm unbalanced line output,
located beneath the LCD display. It allows you to send a stereo signal to a
camcorder or other device. A 3.5mm headphone jack with a dedicated volume
control on the side lets you monitor your recordings in real time, or
privately listen to playback. A Mini-B USB port (2.0 Full Speed compatible) provides a digital output of either a stereo mix or the individual input signals.
File Types: The Zoom H4n can record in two different basic
- WAV: WAV files are uncompressed. In Stereo Mode, the
H4n can record in any of three sampling rates (44.1kHz, 48kHz, 96kHz) and
two bit depths (16-bit, 24-bit). (In 4CH mode, only 44.1kHz/16-bit, 44.1kHz/24-bit, 48kHz/16-bit, 48kHz/24-bit
are available.) WAV files are automatically time-stamped, making
them compliant with the Broadcast Wave Format (BWF). This allows you to
precisely synchronize the audio with on-screen action in video post
- MP3: MP3 files are compressed to reduce file size,
making them easier to store, upload and download. You can record only stereo
files in MP3. Available bit rates for recording MP3 include: 48kbps, 56kbps, 64kbps,
80kbps, 96kbps, 112kbps, 128kbps, 160kbps, 192kbps, 224kbps, 256kbps, 320kbps
or VBR (variable bit rate).
Recording Modes: The H4n offers three recording modes:
- Stereo: In Stereo mode, you can select 2 different
inputs, either Input [Mic] or Input  and Input , and operate them as
one stereo file. This mode is convenient to record live performances,
acoustic instrument, voice, lecture, or a subtle soundscape. By engaging the
Stamina mode, you can extend the life of the batteries, but you can only
record or playback in WAV 44.1kHz/16-bit and MP3 formats.
- 4CH: In 4CH mode, the unit records two stereo WAV
files: one stereo WAV file for the built-in microphones and one stereo WAV
file for the inputs. This allows you to record both live sounds from the
built-in mic and direct instruments via the external inputs simultaneously.
- MTR: In MTR mode, you can record tracks in Mono or
Stereo from Input , Input , or the internal microphones. You can
combine them with tracks recorded in other modes or overdub additional
tracks. This mode allows you to record using effects, overdub recordings,
and use previously recorded sound files.
Recording Media: The H4n records audio directly to SD and SDHC memory cards up to
32 GB. A 2 GB SD card is
included. Using a 4 GB SDHC card, you can record approximately 6 hours 20 minutes of audio at
44.1kHz/16-bit WAV or 68 hours at 44.1kHz/128kbps MP3.
Auto-Record: The H4n can detect when the input level
surpasses your pre-determined level, and can automatically start recording from
the recording standby position. You can independently set a start level and a
stop level. Likewise, you can set the recorder to stop recording automatcally
once the input level goes below a pre-determined level.
Pre-Record: When Pre-Record is engaged, the H4n will
continuously record in the background while you wait for an event to begin.
When you hit the Record button, the recorder keeps the previous two seconds
and adds it to the beginning of the file.
Mixer: In 4CH mode, you can use the mixer to adjust the
playback level and pan settings of two stereo files.
Effects: The unit has two effects modules, including
compression/limiting, low-cut filtering, modulation, reverb/delay, and amp
- Preamp Module: The Preamp Module offers multiple
guitar, bass, and mic preamp effects.
- EFX Module: The EFX Module has compressor/limiter
effects, modulation effects, and delay/reverb effects.
Musical Tools: The H4n offers some tools designed to help
- Tuners: The recorder can be used as a standard
chromatic tuner to help keep everyone in tune. In addition to chromatic,
there are other tuning modes such as guitar, bass, open A, open D, open E,
open G, and DADGAD. The tuner can be calibrated between 435 Hz to 445 Hz in
1 Hz intervals. The input source can come from the microphone or the line
- Metronome: The built-in metronome provides audible cues
to help you set and keep the tempo. The metronome can provide a pre-count of
1 to 8 beats, or a special pre-count. The tempo can be set between 40 and
250 beats per minute by 0.1 bpm. You can also adjust the level (0-10),
pattern (0/4--no accent, 1/4 to 8/4, and 6/8 time signatures), and sound
(bell, click, stick, cowbell, or Hi-Q).
- Karaoke: Music files can be converted into Karaoke form
for recording vocals or additional guitar sounds over those files. You can
apply center cancellation to the karaoke track, as well as change the key.
Variable Pitch/Playback Speed: You can adjust the playback speed in a
range from 50% to 150% of normal, in increments of 5%, without changing the
pitch. In addition, you can raise and lower the pitch of the playback without
effecting the playback speed.
AB Repeat: The AB Repeat function allows you to continuously
and repeatedly play back a portion of the track. You can set marks at the
beginning and ending of the desired portion.
Mounting Options: The H4n comes with a microphone stand
adapter that allows you to mount the recorder to a standard microphone clip. It
also comes with a 1/4" threaded tripod mount. With an optional hot shoe adapter
(found in the
APH-4N accessory pack), you can mount the recorder to the top of a DSLR or
Power Requirements: The H4n is powered by the supplied AD-14
AC adapter. When AC power is not available, you can run the recorder on 2 "AA" batteries,
either alkaline or rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH).
Battery life with alkaline batteries is typically about 6 hours. You can switch
the unit to Stamina mode when using batteries to extend the continuous recording
time to 11 hours. In Stamina mode, the H4n can only record and playback in WAV
44.1kHz/16-bit and MP3 format.
USB/Cubase LE 4 Software: The H4n comes with the USB/Cubase LE 4
software on DVD-ROM. It is compatible with Windows Vista/XP and Mac OS X.