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#1 2010-03-11 19:39:53

PapaTom
Senior Member
From: Syosset, New York
Registered: 2006-04-20
Posts: 169

Zoom Portable Digital Recorders?

This is a bit off-topic, but I figured SOMEBODY out there has to own one of these for capturing licks, etc.  I'm primarily interested in the H4, which has two auxiliary mic inputs.

I would be using this to record voice-overs on the fly (i.e. testimonials and interviews to be edited into full productions later).  I would hardly EVER use it to record music (so he says NOW) so I don't need incredible dynamic range.

My question:  The price of this recorder seems so out of line with everything else available to starving musicians these days (you can STILL buy a drumset for $399???) and I wonder if it's really that much better than the $39 voice recorders you can buy at Staples.  I've used one of the office store cheapies with a Shure SM58 mic crammed into the 1/8" jack and it produced some pretty impressive results.  Of course, I'd like to avoid having to use three adapters to connect my mic... 

So, should I put the H4 out of my head, or should I go out and buy one and hope that business picks up again soon?


Me with my first ukulele, a Junior Beatles model, in 1966.  After Mom threw it down the stairs in a fit of rage, I became a drummer for life.  At age 43, I bought my second uke...

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#2 2010-03-11 20:29:36

alvee33
Honoured Member
From: Renfrewshire, Scotland
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1355
Website

Re: Zoom Portable Digital Recorders?

I'm gonna move this into the Recording section if thats ok, PapaTom.


Is anything really made up of zeros and ones??

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#3 2010-03-11 22:14:07

Doug_Smith
Moderator
From: Western Oregon,US
Registered: 2008-07-22
Posts: 1076

Re: Zoom Portable Digital Recorders?

Hi Tom,

  Actually most digital recorders will do a pretty good job of recording mono inputs and retaining fidelity.  You're correct in using a good microphone however... it's that old garbage in garbage out thing again.  Most of the "cheap" recorders record good but have low quality input and output devices, but if you are transferring the digital recording to some other device for editing and output (something that does not have a 1" speaker) they can do a good job for a small budget.

  I've used an XLR to 1/4 short adapter and then cut down to 3.5MM (1/8") and used a long small coaxial cable to connect mine and have no real complaints.  The WAV files are then transferred into Audacity or Reaper for editing and have been impressed with the results.  So it just comes down to what your needs are and how deep your pockets are at the moment.

Have fun & Take Care;
Doug


"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

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#4 2010-03-12 10:20:53

tony eaves
Senior Member
From: north wales. uk
Registered: 2008-11-23
Posts: 167

Re: Zoom Portable Digital Recorders?

Hi Tom,
I have a boss micro br, which great for recording music, but you can record voice on the in board mic, it will have much more fumctions than you require, but you can pick them up on ebay for around £100.
TonyBlue


man is the dream of the doliphin

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#5 2010-03-12 13:11:21

PapaTom
Senior Member
From: Syosset, New York
Registered: 2006-04-20
Posts: 169

Re: Zoom Portable Digital Recorders?

>>>>I've used an XLR to 1/4 short adapter and then cut down to 3.5MM (1/8") and used a long small coaxial cable to connect mine and have no real complaints.<<<<<<

My problem with chaining together so many adapters (I do the same XLR to 1/4" to 1/8") is that there is always strong potential for things to get loose and break up the signal.  The episode that inspired this post occurred a few weeks ago.  I had finally gotten an interview with someone I might never get another chance to speak with.  I brought along my laptop, my SM58, and the aforementioned parade of adapters.  About five minutes into the interview, I realized that the adapters were not holding tightly and that I had either no audio at all or a horrifying screech noise coming over the wires.  Fortunately, I had my little SONY digital running as a back-up, but otherwise, the whole thing would have been a bust.

As I said, I probably will not use this recorder very much for music, so I don't need GREAT fidelity.  Mostly, I need reliability.  The $39 SONY (actually, I think my last one was more like $29) is not really designed for high-quality audio, but it's always there when I need it.  So once again, the question is, do the higher-end digital recorders really make  THAT much difference for non-critical audio like voice interviews?

Last edited by PapaTom (2010-03-12 13:12:15)


Me with my first ukulele, a Junior Beatles model, in 1966.  After Mom threw it down the stairs in a fit of rage, I became a drummer for life.  At age 43, I bought my second uke...

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#6 2010-04-02 14:00:36

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 2977
Website

Re: Zoom Portable Digital Recorders?

PapaTom... are you still considering this?  From what I've read (and this is a generalization), the recorders in the "under $100" price range all record about the same... the more you pay the more you get as far as file size, overall recording time, different file types, ease to connect to a computer, battery life etc.  Once you get close to $100 you're getting better mics and such.  I was looking at these, and at recording interfaces... this is for music but I wasn't looking for anything overly special.  In the end however, I thought about what I might want down the road.  The H4 looks like it's quite the recording powerhouse, and priced as such.  In fact, I'd say it's priced like what it actually is, a computer interface with built in mics... more than just a personal recorder.  I told my husband what I was looking at, and I think he's planning on "surprising" me with an H2.  Compared to other recorders at it's price range... it's got a LOT of other features that make it really stand out.  The H2 has 4 mics where all the others at this price range (that I found) have 2 ... it can hook directly to the computer and double as a USB recording interface (or rather, like a USB microphone).  It comes with a lot of accessories that the others in this $$ don't come with (an AC adapter is a biggie as buying these for other units cost between $25 and $50).  I'd say... for what you're looking to do the H2 would be more than enough (it's more than enough for what I want to do... but has the ability to go further if I so choose).  In the end, if you want uber awesome sound you're still looking at making all those connections with ANY hand held recorder that I've seen (except the H4 with those xlr inputs... I think that's the ONLY thing that really stands out to me for my needs as well as your needs, especially with what you say about not wanting to chain adapters).

Anyhow... let me know if you're still looking, if I do get the H2 I'll do a little voice recording for you to hear the quality for yourself.  I think listening to "real" people do tests on these makes a big difference rather than just what you hear on the company's websites.  I don't have a mic, so I won't be able to show the sound compares once you put a mic in ... but I think the idea here with the H2 is that you won't HAVE to.


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#7 2010-04-04 13:55:59

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 2977
Website

Re: Zoom Portable Digital Recorders?

Well... my husband did get me the Zoom H2 yesterday... I haven't really done much with it yet, hopefully I will get some time today ... I did however read the manual front to back.  This thing does WAY more than I thought it did!  I think the only thing it doesn't do is upload directly to the internet!  Ha ha!  FYI... the one thing I did record was my voice and I was BLOWN AWAY with the quality!  I was in the living room with cartoons going on the tv... I was able to set this up with a few button pushes so that it heard my voice and it BARELY picked up the background noise... I think if I'd have put the wind screen on (because I had the mic close to my mouth) it would have gotten rid of the little bit that was there... and audacity would have easily gotten rid of it.  I AM IMPRESSED and I haven't even really used it yet!


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#8 2010-04-04 14:42:16

wlbaye
Honoured Member
From: Black Hills So Dak
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1267
Website

Re: Zoom Portable Digital Recorders?

That's exciting,

I am not sure if the H2 is like the Q3 or not, but if I clap my hands when I am gonna start it sets the audio levels better at the start. Sometimes if I don't do that It will start out real loud for the first beat or so till it gets the levels set. It seems kinda weird that something so small can do what it does .

Now your lead guitar players will have to get in the action and lay down some tracks for you smile

Have Fun,


Later, Wayne P

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