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This review is from: Zoom H4n USB PC Interface Handy Recorder
Pros: -96 khZ, 24-bit WAV recording and tons of options scaling down to low bit-rate MP3
-Amazing sound quality, very nicely balanced pick-up of high and low frequencies. I play baritone saxophone so I can tell when a microphone doesn't pick up my sound correctly, and this one picks it up great.
-4 ch mode allows you to connect two other microphones for surround effects and more options with manipulating your recording spaces to your advantage
-Microphones twist to fan out to 120-degrees for a wider field, or normally set to 90-degrees for a more refined sound space you are looking to capture
*For musicians* -Built-in metronome tool allows you to hear a click-track via plugged-in headphones while you play into the microphone. You can even record the audio while the click-track is playing, and with over-ear headphones you won't hear it on the recording.
-Built-in chromatic tuner tool
-Multi-track recording tool (MTR) with up to 4 separate tracks. Super easy interface, great for recording a four-part a cappella tune, or just laying four tracks down of whatever you want on the go.
-Very mobile, runs on batteries so you don't *need* to be plugged in
-Extras included: wind-guard, USB cable (nice)
-Stamina mode is a setting you can enable to extend the lifespan of your batteries, but in this mode you can only record in a less-than-high quality format and the extra tools and features are unavailable. Easy to turn this setting on or off.
-Functions as an audio interface with a computer, so you can use it with your favorite DAW.
Cons: -Uses 2 AA batteries, so the device doesn't charge while you have it plugged in to a power source. It will run forever while plugged in, but to be truly mobile on the go wherever you will need to bring some backup batteries.
-Battery life is only good and reliable in stamina mode. I never record more than an hour of WAV without fresh batteries or stamina mode enabled, but I like to play it safe. Honestly I just usually keep it plugged in to the power source.
-Maybe it's just my personal device, but using the side scroll wheel to change the speed of the metronome doesn't work very well. Often I will scroll and it will change the tempo by 1 beat per click, then all of a sudden on the next click it jumps up 30 bpm... Also, regarding the metronome, it seems a little excessive to be able to select the tempo down to decimals. I suppose its nice to be specific but no composer in the world uses tempo markings like 120.3 BPM, 98.4 BPM, etc.
-No XLR output, so you can't use the device literally as just a microphone that you might, say, plug into a sound system for your concert. It functions as an all-in-one audio interface exclusively. Might not be a con for some considering that that's simply what the device is, but I would have liked to see the option of using it just as a microphone, and not have to record directly to the device.
-The power cable should be longer. Really. Get an extension cord if you use a tripod for this thing.
Other Thoughts: I've used the Zoom H4n for almost two years recording rehearsals, performances, clinics, concerts, etc. of musical ensembles in an incredible diversity of size. This thing records sound beautifully and accurately, and is extremely versatile depending on what scenario you need it for.
As a musician, I have saved my ears from damage by practicing exclusively with this device. I use over-ear headphones and turn on the microphone, but turn the overall volume down so that I can still hear myself play with the right tone that I need to hear, but overall the volume is low enough that it is not uncomfortable to practice for 4 hours at a time.
This is one of the top handheld audio recording devices out there, and it is affordable. Hands down it is worth the price.
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