My steady companion: The Zoom H4n Pro

In today’s post, I want to talk to you with my very last old friend that I got. I somewhat counted and got like 16 old instrument-buddies, and this one is also a special one to me that I still own to this very day.

When it comes to Hi-Fi field recordings or tingling ASMR recording sessions, this is one of the most found fundamental

and basic tools. I’m talking about the Zoom H4n Pro Recorder.

Zoom H4n Pro Mobile Recorder


Why field recordings?

Field recordings can add depth to your track in general.

Either you’re a hardcore fan of a band and just want to record every show of a band’s gig indoors as well as outdoors, or you just want a high-end podcast device, this is for you. As many other mics, you can use it for streaming on your Twitch account or simply recording your voice or your instruments. Consider the fundamental concept behind this mic. It was never intentionally built for recording everything in front of the mic. It has a 90° – 120° recording angle.

If you look fora pure vocal or instruments recording microphone, I highly suggest that you take a look at my cardioid-mics-post from the last time.


My background history so far with this mic:

I purchased this mic around 8 years ago. It cost me 350,00,-€ approximately at the time when it was new.

Used it for recording industrial plants, rural areas and fields where farmers planted corn or radish or other vegetables like that. There were certain current wires that crinkled very faintly when it snowed and rained and the wind blew. I loved those sounds so I was forced to record them.

I also used it for a lot of vocal stuff, which was in retrospective, not a good choice, but that’s why I am here today and why I want to “warn” you, why you shouldn’t use these kinds of field mics for such recording sessions. A big minus on this very model is its boot-up time. It takes approximately 45 seconds to boot up.

So if you want to sample a recording of a certain train and you run 5 seconds into your room to grab your mic and you turn it on and wait till it boots up and you just want to record… the train will be long gone. Three quarters of a minute are darn long when every millisecond counts. This is a big downside and if I’d ever buy a field mic again, I would highly focus on the boot-up time. So far my memories are fond with it and yet brutal when it came to essential recording moments.

There were quite a few moments when I chose my smartphone over my field recording mic, since it took me 2 seconds to start recording. With a big minus in quality of course.


Specs, side facts, longevity:

Good, perfect, excellent. Just kidding. I can report that this mic lasted under my regime for 8 years now. Let’s hope it lasts a little longer for future use. You can plug in 2 external mics which makes it possible for you to record in 4 channels. It got build in speakers for playback and cut correction tools. Not to mention you can switch between .WAV & .MP3 and some strange other unknown format nobody ever had heard of. What makes the microphone so enticing is its ability to add real-time compression, a stamina mode, a setting which asks you what kind of battery you use in order so the hardware knows how long it can run with this kind of batteries.

You can use it as a mic for your PC/Mac by connecting it with your device, which gets its power through the cable or you carry it around for recording, which demands battery power. If you select .MP3 in the lowest possible quality you can record of course way longer than if you chose .WAV quality for instance.

You’re able to switch between 16 Bits and 24 Bits in recording quality. Which is a solid industry standard for proper headroom in editorial mixing and mastering process in the end. I don’t know the lowest possible quality, but 96 kHz is like the maximum of possible recording quality. That is quite an astonishing lot. I got as always the older MK I version while there is already a MK II version out there. Considering the fact that some glitches got corrected and it’s half the price now, it is an alternative that you should really consider if you want to get into beginners field recording equipment.

Don’t read this like product placement or bad advertisement…

Rather, read it as somebody who is reveling in old fond memories of a mid-teen Millennial. The recording mic is able to run with 32 Gigabytes. But it needs an SD or SDXC card in order to save on the card. Consider this. Or you might have an adapter from SD to SDXC. Nowadays most devices need a MicroSD to run. This one is in that category very old school.

You got two mics on the upper end. Both record mono and add themselves together as stereo. You can decide in which angle the act upon your recording-preferred style.

For instance, 120° is good for recording an orchestra, while 90° only covers a small band from a closer distance.

With its ability to withstand 140 dB SPL, you are able to record an airplane starting. Now isn’t that cool?

It has a special grip which allows you to direct the source that you want to record or if you want to put down the mic

in a 45° angle. It is up to you.

Fond memories, but a lack of information is still going on…

Even though I know my one or two bits about mics, I can’t ensure you 100% satisfaction. That would be a total lie and I wouldn’t feel good about telling you lies in such a dire topic. No. If you know when you will record what at an especially triggered point of time, then this mic is for you. If you’re dependent on an instant recording, rather check out a faster mobile recorder. Some smartphones nowadays have even decent mics. See you next time guys. =)

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