Old 01-01-2020, 11:06 AM   #1
dave111
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Default Portable Recorder / Mics

Hi -

I'm trying to figure out the best option for purchasing a portable recorder and mics. I'm mainly looking to record solo piano right now, but I will probably also use it in other situations down the road, such as jazz combo.

I've been looking at the zoom H5 and H6, as well as the zoom F4 and F6 and the Sound Devices MixPre-3 II. For mics, I'm mainly looking at the zoom capsules, the Audio-Technica AT2022 X/Y Stereo Microphone, and 2 Rode NT5 mics with additional omni capsules. I've also considered the Tascam DR-100mkIII.

I'd like to keep the budget as low as possible, but at the max it's around $1,000 for recorder and mics.

I'm wondering how important 32-bit float and getting to 192 sample rate are. If I don't need these, it seems I can be ok with the zoom h 5 or 6 might be better off investing the rest in mics. On the other hand, it might be nice to have the option to use the the zoom f or mix pre as an interface with my laptop when I have it for more serious projects.

I definitely need 2 tracks, but I think I would probably need 3 tracks at the most. I'm trying to balance portability and ease of set up and take down with quality.

Any advice or other options I might consider?

Thanks -
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:22 PM   #2
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I've been looking at the zoom H5 and H6, as well as the zoom F4 and F6 and the Sound Devices MixPre-3 II.
Be advised that location sound recorders like the SD MixPre-3 II use a strange terminology where they include the internal mixdown tracks in their PR... e.g. the SDMP3-II is called a '5 track recorder' but it really only has 3 inputs -- you can use the 3 XLRs or the 1/8th" jacks in combination with an XLR, but not the XLRs + the 1/8th inch jacks. Just mentioning this because I got caught by it. Probably won't be relevant for you.

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I'm wondering how important 32-bit float
32bit is cool, but not at all a feature you need to worry about if you want to save money. It will make no difference in recording quality if you take time to set levels properly. It's a feature for location sound people, mainly, where it's nice to still get a great recording even if you didn't have time to set levels (or made a mistake). For studio-type recording, it's not so important. 24bit vs 32bit isn't just "more bits" it's an unfortunate nomenclature quirk; 32bit is a different type of math, if you will, which in conjunction with hardware tricks makes it so you don't have to worry about setting input gain. Don't think of it as simply "better audio".

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and getting to 192 sample rate
Unless you're recording bats with specialized mics, or slowing your recordings down in a sound design context, 44.1k is all you need and neither you nor anyone else will ever hear a difference between that and any higher sample rate. There is admittedly some controversy about this, and mmmmmaybe 96k is worth worrying about, but certainly don't worry about 192.

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might be better off investing the rest in mics.
Mic choice will definitely make a much larger difference to the result than the recorder. That said, you don't need to spend much on mics either, these days, especially if you just want an "honest/clear" type of recording.

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Any advice or other options I might consider?
The features/specs of the Zoom H4N made me a believer for some years, but I've recently had one of the built-in mics go bad, and buying used units on eBay for parts is strangely expensive now, so I'm hesitant to recommend it anymore. (They have a new version of the H4n out now, so maybe they've improved this, I don't know.) I use the SD-MP3-II for documentary film work, and it's great (despite only being a 3 track recorder, which is a bummer.) A friend uses the DR-100mkIII and likes it.

The differences between the various recorders you should be focused on are number/type of inputs, build quality/longevity/battery life/etc, feature set, interface, quality/orientation of the built-in mics, and noise floor. In terms of the XLR inputs, the "quality of the sound" (besides noise) will be identical. There might be a difference in terms of EMI resistance, but I bet it won't be significant. I would not worry about bit rate, and I wouldn't waste time reading/watching reviews about the aesthetic "quality" of the preamps and how it impacts the "feel" of the recordings; that stuff is likely to be hokum.

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Old 01-01-2020, 01:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply -

haha - not recording bats - One thing I might want to do is stretch edit though, which could involve stretching a note or chord out to 2x or 3x it's value. In this context, I thought the 96 or 192 might be helpful.

I thought the 32 bit float might be helpful in a situation where it's a quick set up and record.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:30 PM   #4
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One thing I might want to do is stretch edit though, which could involve stretching a note or chord out to 2x or 3x it's value. In this context, I thought the 96 or 192 might be helpful.
I'll defer to others' opinions on that. I'd be surprised if 192 vs 96 made any difference in that context. I'd be mildly surprised if 96 vs 44.1 did, too, but not shocked.

Quote:
I thought the 32 bit float might be helpful in a situation where it's a quick set up and record.
Yeah, it is good for that. If you're familiar with your mics and pay some attention, it's not a hard thing to set some levels... can take literally like 15 seconds. But if you might be pressed for time and don't want to think about it, 32bit is nice.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:14 PM   #5
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If you have a laptop, I would recommend getting a USB interface, mic cables, stands and mics. I've used many on-location setups and in the end this will be the most time efficient way to go. Less fuss and directly into REAPER. For two tracks, I use the Sound Devices USB Pre2. Have fun!
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:06 PM   #6
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Thanks. Maybe that's the best idea. I think i may just go with the zoom H6 first for quick and easy stuff, and then get a - computer interface / laptop / mic - setup for more serious stuff. For interfaces, I've looked mostly at the apogee element and the focusrite scarlet series. The SD USB pre II looks really nice though!
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:37 PM   #7
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I dunno, I can and do do both and tbh, taking my H4N or PCM-D50 is a dream in portable/live situations. That's due to my also being a performer so I want to be dorking with tech as little as possible. If the recording is the main thing you are doing then not so much a difference but I do like the simplicity.

At band rehearsal, I'm slightly more likely to take the laptop and babyface pro and a couple of mics because there's no show pressure. Then again, I tend to only use a computer/interface when it's actually required, when not, I use the portable(s), then copy the WAVs to my DAW and work with them in Reaper back at home. But again, if you are not the recordist and the performer, I think the computer approach is more attractive/worthwhile.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-02-2020, 10:07 PM   #8
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Thanks - yeah it's a balancing act I guess, depending on the situation. I hadn't considered the babyface, but that seems like another good interface option for the computer.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:39 AM   #9
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Unless the ADC can do better than 24 bits of dynamic range, which it won't, then using 32 bit doesn't actually get you any more headroom.

If the noise floor is say, very optimistically, 120db below full scale when recording at 24 bit, it will still be 120db below full scale at 32 bit.

24 bits is equivalent to a dynamic range of 144db. I'm not aware of any commercial audio gear with ADC's that can achieve that.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:57 AM   #10
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Personally I much prefer recording into a dedicated recorder and then transferring the files to my computer. A laptop is convenient, of course, but unless your laptop is fanless you run the risk of the fan kicking in at some point during a long recording session and if the laptop's in the same room as the mics you might be able to hear it in the recording, especially during pauses in the music; this is probably more an issue for classical music than anything else but it could be a consideration in solo jazz piano too.

The other argument in favor of a dedicated recorder is that it's essentially an appliance: you don't have to worry about software updates introducing incompatibilities or bugs, and it's never connected to the internet. You can turn a laptop into an appliance as well by never connecting it to the internet and using it only to run Reaper, so that's an option. But if you use your laptop for other things, keep it online, and update your OS and other software regularly then the risk of things breaking is a bit higher than if you use a standalone recorder.

The Sound Devices MixPre series allow you to add markers while recording, use an external control surface (only a few models work, so you have to buy one of the ones they support), and add notes and other metadata via the free Wingman app. The downside is the tiny screen and generally lower usability and convenience compared with a laptop.
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:06 AM   #11
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I'm not aware of any commercial audio gear with ADC's that can achieve that.
Not that it's practical here but the Zoom F6 uses dual converters to be able to "capture 32 bit" but it's more about not having to set gain and so on.
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:35 AM   #12
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I agree that decisions need to be made based on the situation at hand. I use an Allen & Heath Qu-16 to record and simultaneously mix sound for the PA system when I play live. To be honest, there isn't that much effort simply plugging a bus powered USB interface into a laptop, but if built-in mics are appealing, then by all means a handheld recorder is the way to go! I've had a few over the years, but I guess their limitations in mic placement has caused me to work around them. My wife has one for radio interviews. I go from grabbing my cellphone for quick commando recording to bus-powered laptop rig to A&H Qu-16 rig to RME Digiface USB rig that can handle 32 tracks of recording, if necessary. Have fun!
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:46 AM   #13
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Typically, I'm just plugging the portable into the mixer which gets mostly vocals/kick, set the level, hit record, come back at the end of the show and hit stop. Then I pull two feeds from mirrorless video cameras on each side of the stage and blend all that together - yep, sounds like a phase nightmare but it isn't and I get a surprisingly good live sound from it. Setting up a laptop on the stage like that would be a total PIA but that's simply my personal situation.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:55 AM   #14
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Not that it's practical here but the Zoom F6 uses dual converters to be able to "capture 32 bit" but it's more about not having to set gain and so on.
Yeah I had the same question and it's the same with the SD-MP3-II -- dual converters, and they intelligently blend the two signals together. IIRC the DR100-MK3 can also do dual-gain recording, but they aren't blended... it's more of a "record at the proper level, and there's a backup at lower gain in case you clip" feature.

Also, put me down as a "never use a laptop for live or on-site recording you're playing in unless you really need to" guy. Sometimes (often, even) you really need to, but I avoid it if I can. Too fiddly to set up, too fragile, and the software/OS situation is either too delicate or a lot of work to make non-delicate.

Counterpoints: the Zoom H4n for example, if it loses power while recording, loses the entire recording (and it's unrecoverable even through low-level forensic software). (I assume/hope the SD device and similar wouldn't have that issue.) Also, SD cards are less reliable, in my experience. If I'm just the recordist, I'll take a laptop because a fiddly setup isn't such a big deal, and I trust the system more.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:58 AM   #15
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I have a Zoom H4n and a Sound Devices 744T and the 744T is a HUGE step up in sound quality. It is also on another level price wise too though.
Sound Devices have a solid reputation for reliability and sound quality for good reason. They are built like tanks too.

If it was my choice, I'd make no hesitation in going with the Mix Pre III. I don't think you'll regret it!

For mics, the Rode NT5 pair would be a solid decision in my opinion. I have my eye on a Rode Soundfield NT-SF1 Ambisonic mic right now. Rode recently purchased Soundfield and I've heard really good things about the NT-SF1, their first Soundfield release since the acquisition.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:00 PM   #16
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Counterpoints: the Zoom H4n for example, if it loses power while recording, loses the entire recording (and it's unrecoverable even through low-level forensic software). (I assume/hope the SD device and similar wouldn't have that issue.) Also, SD cards are less reliable, in my experience. If I'm just the recordist, I'll take a laptop because a fiddly setup isn't such a big deal, and I trust the system more.
Yea, does it do that for WAV as well? I think it does. It actually happened to me a couple of shows back (someone kicked the AC adapter loose mid show). As far as SD, my attitude is changing but mostly because I have a number of 128 GB micro SD cards that I use for audio and video and none have failed me yet - I've been using the crap out of those things and a couple years ago I tracked drums/bass for a 12-song CD and the only issue I had was it slowed way down when it got close to 90% full.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:03 PM   #17
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I have a Zoom H4n and a Sound Devices 744T and the 744T is a HUGE step up in sound quality.
Could you be more specific? I.e. just noise floor or more than that? Actually, if you can mult a mic into both for an A/B that would be awesome, but I know that's asking a lot. I'm just surprised that there's much audible difference at all, to be honest, besides noise floor. Like I say, I have the H4n and I use a SDMP3-II for a job and I don't hear much/any difference.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:06 PM   #18
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Yea, does it do that for WAV as well? I think it does.
Yeah I was recording to WAV for that one... kind of a heartbreaker. :-)

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It actually happened to me a couple of shows back (someone kicked the AC adapter loose mid show).
Same thing here. I unplugged it without realizing it was recording. Actually, now that I think of it, it may have even been stopped but needed to be powered down before it closed the file? That can't be right. Anyway, yeah, now I get nervous about it, and always have charged batteries in the thing even if plugged in.

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As far as SD, my attitude is changing but mostly because I have a number of 128 GB micro SD cards that I use for audio and video and none have failed me yet - I've been using the crap out of those things and a couple years ago I tracked drums/bass for a 12-song CD and the only issue I had was it slowed way down when it got close to 90% full.
Yeah I don't mean to suggest that they have poor reliability, but I've had one or two get weird and I just trust an SSD more.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by clepsydrae View Post
Could you be more specific? I.e. just noise floor or more than that? Actually, if you can mult a mic into both for an A/B that would be awesome, but I know that's asking a lot. I'm just surprised that there's much audible difference at all, to be honest, besides noise floor. Like I say, I have the H4n and I use a SDMP3-II for a job and I don't hear much/any difference.
I probably won't get time to create a direct A/B test anytime soon but the 744T is much cleaner noise wise, has better frequency response and the preamps sound significantly more detailed and open, especially at higher gains. The difference isn't small to my ears.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:25 PM   #20
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I probably won't get time to create a direct A/B test anytime soon but the 744T is much cleaner noise wise, has better frequency response and the preamps sound significantly more detailed and open, especially at higher gains. The difference isn't small to my ears.
If I can borrow the SDMP3-II from my employer I'll post an ABX...
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:39 PM   #21
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I have a Zoom H4n and a Sound Devices 744T and the 744T is a HUGE step up in sound quality. It is also on another level price wise too though.
Sound Devices have a solid reputation for reliability and sound quality for good reason. They are built like tanks too.

If it was my choice, I'd make no hesitation in going with the Mix Pre III. I don't think you'll regret it!

For mics, the Rode NT5 pair would be a solid decision in my opinion. I have my eye on a Rode Soundfield NT-SF1 Ambisonic mic right now. Rode recently purchased Soundfield and I've heard really good things about the NT-SF1, their first Soundfield release since the acquisition.
I wonder how it compares to my pcm-d50 - I noticed a very small noise floor difference between H4N and D50 but I considered it negligible between those two when I tested, unless I had to record very low-level sources. I want to hate the H4n but I don't seem to be hitting situations where it becomes noticeable and I'm not quite deaf yet.

Why do I have both? Because I lost the PCM-D50 for two damn years and got the H4N to replace it, then two weeks after getting the H4N I found the Sony.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:45 PM   #22
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Yeah I don't mean to suggest that they have poor reliability, but I've had one or two get weird and I just trust an SSD more.
Not sure if it helps, but I found there's a lot of weirdness if you don't format them before each new use. For some background, I video most of our shows using two Sony A6400s on each side of the stage - I usually end up with 200+ GB of 4K video total all going to two micro SDs (per show), pretty amazed they work as well as they do. At least with the Sony's thank goodness, if they lose power, you don't lose the file; which is good because it doesn't split the files, aka one set might be a single 75 GB file.
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Old 01-03-2020, 03:15 PM   #23
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Not sure if it helps, but I found there's a lot of weirdness if you don't format them before each new use.
Good tip, thanks.
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Old 01-03-2020, 03:20 PM   #24
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Dave111, I just re-read your original post and I wouldn't hesitate getting the SD MixPre3 II. Zoom's customer service is a joke. You can call Sound Devices in Wisconsin and talk to people that are passionate about their products. I have nothing to gain from this statement, but I have had to deal with Customer Support from both. With Zoom...nothing. With Sound Devices- clear and concise support over the phone. That's all...Have fun!
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Old 01-04-2020, 07:25 AM   #25
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I wonder how it compares to my pcm-d50 - I noticed a very small noise floor difference between H4N and D50 but I considered it negligible between those two when I tested, unless I had to record very low-level sources. I want to hate the H4n but I don't seem to be hitting situations where it becomes noticeable and I'm not quite deaf yet.

Why do I have both? Because I lost the PCM-D50 for two damn years and got the H4N to replace it, then two weeks after getting the H4N I found the Sony.
Ha! That's just typical timing!!
Regarding the H4n, I quite like it. That's the main reason I've kept it despite purchasing the 744T later on. I do find the most difference between them to be at higher gain settings. The 744T keeps it's detail and openness at higher gains whereas the H4n tends to lag a bit when pushed.
I've obtained some decent recordings with the H4n but I'll grab the 744T 90 percent of the time.
The limiters in the 744T and the meters make field recording so much easier. I was recording a thunderstorm with the 744T and had the gains pulled back for loud claps but I didn't anticipate almost being struck by one REALLY close strike! The 744T limiters prevented any clipping but I still got the full impact of the closeness of that strike and it sounded incredible back in the studio. The other bonus was that I could really crank up the gain later in the studio in the very low level sections of ambience between the thunderclaps and there was still plenty of detail there and no noticeable preamp hiss or converter noise.
Those are the sort of circumstances the H4n would fall short in.
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If I can borrow the SDMP3-II from my employer I'll post an ABX...
That will be interesting to hear.
If I do get a chance soon, I'll see if I can put something together between the 744T and H4n. I can't promise anything with my current schedule though.
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Old 01-04-2020, 07:43 AM   #26
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I've been looking at the zoom H5 and H6, as well as the zoom F4 and F6 and the Sound Devices MixPre-3 II. For mics, I'm mainly looking at the zoom capsules, the Audio-Technica AT2022 X/Y Stereo Microphone, and 2 Rode NT5 mics with additional omni capsules. I've also considered the Tascam DR-100mkIII.
Whatever you do, DON'T get the H5 if you think you may at any time use it as an interface, IOW, recording on location directly into Reaper. The audio is noticeably inferior due to a design flaw which doesn't exist in the other Zoom units. Zoom acknowledged this years after the release and say they have no plans to fix.


Zoom's official response: https://imgur.com/a/pQQn1P9
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:25 AM   #27
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Whatever you do, DON'T get the H5 if you think you may at any time use it as an interface, IOW, recording on location directly into Reaper. The audio is noticeably inferior due to a design flaw which doesn't exist in the other Zoom units. Zoom acknowledged this years after the release and say they have no plans to fix.


Zoom's official response: https://imgur.com/a/pQQn1P9
Never liked the sound of the H5 as a audio interface. Now I know why.

The sound quality of the H5 as recording unit is very good.

I love this device.

Recording with 4channels can only be done @ 44,1/48k, also the useful backup recording option when overloading the input.
I mostly record mix output 2ch @ 96k. Field recording with external mic.

Does the H4n Pro not have the same converters as the H5/H6?
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Old 01-10-2020, 05:55 AM   #28
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the zoom r16 is marketed as a portable recorder (among other things) and it is possible to power it with batteries, so I guess this is true. I used mine as my main interface so I don't have much to say about it as a portable device, though the built in mics are actually pretty nice, though very room dependent. If you're doing multi-track and "bouncing" stuff (moving it onto the 9th-16th tracks), it gets quite finnickety and awkward, which may be quite off-putting.

one thing to consider is that when you are powering it by USB, it doesn't have enough oomph to phantom power - i'm not sure if this is the case when powering it with batteries too. still, it's not too difficult to carry the power supply around too (and even when you're on the move, you can usually find a plug socket).
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:36 AM   #29
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I wonder how it compares to my pcm-d50 - I noticed a very small noise floor difference between H4N and D50 but I considered it negligible between those two when I tested, unless I had to record very low-level sources. I want to hate the H4n but I don't seem to be hitting situations where it becomes noticeable and I'm not quite deaf yet.

Why do I have both? Because I lost the PCM-D50 for two damn years and got the H4N to replace it, then two weeks after getting the H4N I found the Sony.
Just wondering if you have the H4n or the H4n Pro? Mine is just the basic, first gen H4n. If you have the Pro version, that could explain our differing experiences.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:08 PM   #30
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What I don't understand is why the H4N's are holding their resale value so well...

I bought mine on eBay five years ago for like $75, like-new condition, which included cables/charger, the normal plastic case, a fancy carrying case with built-in speakers, the wind screen, cold shoe mounting bracket, probably an SD card, etc.

Nowadays, five years later and with better/newer competitors on the market, they are selling for $50-75 broken, just the unit, no power cable, etc. I don't get it... has the market reversed that much since 2015? $75 was a pretty good deal back then, but it wasn't crazy good.

One of my built-in mics is bad and I've been watching eBay for like a year waiting for a for-parts H4n that I can salvage a mic from, but they always sell for $50+ and I'd sooner just by a couple new electret capsules and slap 'em in there. (Come to think of it, maybe I will.)

My only guess is that people have cottoned on to the fact that they are repairable by cobbling parts together, so they are maybe frankensteining them back together and selling working units, thus the increase in cost for broken units?
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:51 PM   #31
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Just wondering if you have the H4n or the H4n Pro? Mine is just the basic, first gen H4n. If you have the Pro version, that could explain our differing experiences.
I'm assuming it's the original since I got it in 2010? Not really sure, I've never really kept up with them.

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What I don't understand is why the H4N's are holding their resale value so well...
Well, vlogging and DSLR/mirrorless camera video has exploded over the last 5 years is my possible guess. Attaching it to the top of my Nikon D7500 @ band practice was a great combo for video and audio for example. When I got it, it was because I didn't want to burn another 500.00 to replace my PCM-D50 so price drives a lot of it too with its feature set.

My biggest beef was trying to use the two extra mic inputs, in all cases things like a live band/drums was too much for the preamps, I have the same issue with my Zoom H3-VR built-in mic array but worse, it's more designed for 360s and more nature related levels (I assume) and there is no way to get the gain down low enough to keep it from clipping madly even with the limiter on - or the limiter is doing it's job and it has to do so much is the same difference as clipping lol. That's a bit annoying to be honest because I planned on using the H3-VR for live music (to go with my 360 cameras) and that's pretty much out of the question.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:35 PM   #32
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I'm assuming it's the original since I got it in 2010?
Yeah the *Pro and H4n mkII just came out recently-ish.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:02 PM   #33
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Default I found this worth watching:

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Old 01-21-2020, 04:37 PM   #34
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Ok, borrowed the SD MP3-II and did a comparison with my old H4n.

Recorded to 24bit on both devices, gains at normal hot-but-not-too-hot levels. Accidentally left the SD in 48k and the Zoom in 44.1, but I don't think it matters (if anyone objects, let me know.) [my mistake: they were both in 44.1k] No manipulation at all besides level matching. Forgot to push the input levels to test what ReaDave described.

You can download A.wav and B.wav to compare them; I recommend my ABX comparator. You can loop specific sections to compare just one instrument at a time, and then run an ABX of 10-15 trials on that section.

(If those links don't work, try these: A.wav B.wav )

Suggestion: if you are going to listen critically to these, don't post findings that refer to specific files, as it biases others. Just do the comparison and post non-specific stuff and/or "I'm ready to report" when you're done. Once everyone does that, or if nobody has done so in a few days, I'll post which is which.

The files are a selection of different instruments and mics.

1: guitar -> CAD VX2 -> mic power supply -> splitter cable -> devices
2: melodica -> CAD VX2 -> mic power supply -> splitter cable -> devices
3: whistle -> CAD VX2 -> mic power supply -> splitter cable -> devices
4: mandolin -> AKG C535-EB -> phantom power box -> splitter cable -> devices
5: banjo -> AKG C535-EB -> phantom power box -> splitter cable -> devices
6: piano -> homemade ribbon -> cloudlifter -> phantom power box -> splitter cable -> devices
7: my dulcet tones -> Roswell Aurora -> phantom power box -> splitter cable -> devices

I think they sound darn near identical. My room has too much ambient noise to compare noise floors, but I assume it's safe to assume the SD will win in that department. I was able to distinguish (95% confidence, something like 85% accuracy) on the guitar, and I got 3/4 on the whistle, but I was at a loss for everything else, and frankly I may have only gotten the guitar because of a .1dB difference in level or something like that.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what you all think. Maybe I'm just deaf. :-)

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Old 01-21-2020, 04:53 PM   #35
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I'll post back in a bit but chrome for some reason made these .rf64 files and the app complained when I tried to load them, since it kept the handle open to the file, I had to close the ABX tool, rename to .WAV then reload FYI.
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Old 01-21-2020, 04:58 PM   #36
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I'll post back in a bit but chrome for some reason made these .rf64 files and the app complained when I tried to load them, since it kept the handle open to the file, I had to close the ABX tool, rename to .WAV then reload FYI.
Thanks -- I update with alternative links that might work better for folks...

Also, I just did another round at high gains and will post that in a few minutes...

Also, those SD recordings were at 44.1k not 48k as I had thought, so that's all groovy.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:01 PM   #37
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Do I click Play X Again to switch (or not)? Is that what randomly chooses?
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:05 PM   #38
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Do I click Play X Again to switch (or not)? Is that what randomly chooses?
When you start the ABX, it plays X. You can then use the green play buttons next to A and B to play those, or play X again to listen to that again, etc. Once you have decided which it is (whether X is A or X is B), you click the appropriate "choose" and then you get a "play next X" button to go to the next trial.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:26 PM   #39
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Can't tell enough for it to matter to me as in not much better than chance. I find myself wanting a burrito for some reason though.

As far as your .1 dB concern, see if you can reliably tell here:

https://www.audiocheck.net/blindtests_level.php?lvl=0.1

I'm at chance by .2 dB.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:44 PM   #40
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Yeah I can barely hear .5 in that context... but if I double a "real" audio item across two different tracks, lower one by .15dB, loop a small section, and tilt my head just so :-), I can tell which is louder after I've scrambled the track order (with the items off screen so I can't subconsciously cheat.) I have to put all of my attention on minor things, like milliseconds of sibilance, and loop it many times, and switch back and forth many times, etc., but I can get it right every time. (Just confirmed.)

That's why I thought I may have gotten the 95% on the guitar via level differences... I started by level matching the two tracks by ear, and then I put a loudness meter on it to check and I was within .2 on each instrument pairing, usually around .1. But that may not be close enough for this kind of listening, if the "rules" allow repeated listening to microscopic sections over and over... if I'm trying for a high score I just focus in on sibilance and listen for differences. Even .15 can give it away... feels like cheating, though.
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