Zoom H4: stereo recording in a handheld

Digital recording in stereo is the primary purpose of the Zoom H4, which looks, more than anything, like a pair of binoculars. The pair of studio-quality microphones are configured in an X/Y pattern, so stereo means stereo. Be sure to use the headphone jack, to make sure that you want to record what the H4 is hearing.

The recording is done onto SD cards. A 128MB card comes standard, but you’re certainly welcome to carry a bunch of those or expand to a 2GB card, which allows you more than 6 hours of CD-quality recording and a hefty 34 hours in MP3 mode. You can add to all of that the onboard studio effects, such as compression, limiting, and mic modeling, so you don’t end up releasing recordings of every sound in the known world. Transfer to a PC is done via USB.

We can certainly see the value of adding on the tripod adapter, which comes standard. We can also see the value of carrying around a pocketful of AA batteries, which power the H4 but give you only 4 hours of recording.


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