The Zoom H4n is another versatile digital voice recorder that, while being geared toward musical recording, has functionality lending itself to recording of all types. If you're a budding singer or musician seeking to break into the music industry or a rising professional with a few songs under your belt and you need to record quality demos, the Zoom H4n recorder can help further your career. It has a host of features to make quality recordings for any singer, band, chamber group, soloist and other musicians. It's also good for lectures and voice recordings.

This device has dual microphones for stereo recording. The microphone's XY design helps to block out periphery noises and capture a performance or an interview. Its variable-speed playback ranges from 50 to 150 percent so you can find specific sections of recordings quickly. It has a filter to prevent distortion by reducing background noise such as wind or air conditioning.

The Zoom H4n can connect to musical instruments or other output sources, such as mixing consoles. A jack supports external microphones. This digital voice recorder allows recording on four channels simultaneously by combining the built-in mics with external mics.

You can edit tracks directly on the Zoom H4n by splitting them into parts, optimizing volume levels and by converting WAV files to MP3 files. It has a digitally controlled preamplifier for precise recording and 50 internal effects, including reverb, delay and chorus.

The Zoom H4n has a metronome to keep time during recordings and a built-in tuner to check a singer's pitch. While it's not as compact as other products in our digital voice recorder reviews, this digital recorder is durable. Its exterior is made of rubber for shock-resistant handling to reduce noise. It weighs 9.8 ounces, making it one of the heaviest digital voice recorders in our lineup. It's also one of the largest, measuring 6.2 inches long by nearly 3 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick. Don't let this deter you. These are the dimensions you can expect with a professional-quality device such as this.

It comes USB-equipped to transfer files to a computer. A USB cable is included. It has 4GB of internal storage space and a memory card slot with a 1GB card included. The Zoom H4n has 10 recording folders, which is double the amount of other products on our lineup. Each folder holds 999 files so you can play, sing and record to your heart's content.

Included with the Zoom H4n is a wind screen to eliminate wind noise when recording outside, a microphone clip adaptor, an AC adaptor and a protective case. It has a built-in tripod mount to attach to any camera tripod.

Zoom offers a line of multi-track recorders in its H-series and has become a leader in equipment for musicians. In addition to the H4n, the Zoom H-series includes the H1 and H2 models. The H1 is a much more basic model, which would be a nice option for someone who doesn't need as many extras but still wants a quality sound recording for musical performance or less technical applications like recording lectures and interviews.

While it is a decidedly more economical purchase, the design of the H1 model is also noticeably flimsier. It also lacks such features as the ability to power external mics and split and build subfolders. It also lacks a tuner for guitars and other instruments that the other H-series models come with.

The H2 is more compact than the H4n, but it boasts a distinctive microphone. The H1 crisscrossing XY mics stay fixed for recording at 90, while the H4n can be rotated to record at 90 or 120 degrees.

The H2 has 90-degree microphones in front and 120-degree microphones in the rear. You can record from either side. The front mics will record in a more focused way for personal performances or interviews. The rear mics will be more open to ambient sounds. Activating all four mics together will record 360 degrees of coverage if you are trying to capture the multi-instrumental sounds of a band or orchestra.

You can connect external speakers to the H4n recorder to get a similar 360-degree recording to that of the H2. Since you can arrange external speakers any way you want, this could produce an even richer sound.

Since the company is based in Japan, contacting customer service via telephone is possible but tricky. You can get answers to questions via online FAQs. If you have issues beyond online forums, email is the best method of contact to get answers to your questions.

Zoom H-Series Summary:
9.4/10

If you play in a band, compose music, sing or consider yourself an amateur or professional musician, the Zoom H4n is the device for all your recording needs and is one of the best digital recorders of its kind. Its versatile functions and easy-to-use features, reminiscent of equipment found in recording studios, make it a great digital recorder. It's well equipped to record lectures or classes too if you're a student, and it can handle most any type of audio recording.

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Zoom H-Series

Pros
The Zoom H4n lets you record on four channels at the same time, which makes for high quality, professional recordings.

Cons
This device weighs nearly 10 ounces and is not made to be carried in a pocket.

The Verdict
: 9.43/10

It's a good recorder for amateur and professional musicians with its higher sensitivity and options attuned to the recording industry.