H4 Handy Recorder

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The H4 is shorter than a pencil.

The H4 Handy Recorder is Zoom's handheld digital audio recorder, featuring built-in condensor microphones in an X-Y stereo pattern.[1] Recordings are stored on an SD card (128MB supplied), or via a USB cable to a computer running digital audio workstation software (Cubase LE supplied).

Basic 4-track recordings are possible in the field, easily accomplished with the built-in mikes. Each of two additional input ports accepts XLR or 1/4 inch cables for external mikes or instruments.

The H4 records in either of two modes, stereo or 4-track. In stereo mode, the user has the option of WAV or compressed (MP3) format. With a 2GB card, up to 95 hours of speech-quality recording is possible, or 3 hours of CD-quality music.

Stereo mode[edit]

In stereo mode, the user has a wide choice of sound quality, with lower quality also taking much less room on the storage card. Only 44.1 kHz 16-bit recordings can be imported into 4-track mode. All stereo recordings share a single folder, and on playback are sequenced as one continuous output stream (no hesitation or pops between files).

Stereo recording is done through the on-board mics or by external inputs. Each input port accepts 1/4 inch or XLR plugs. A single musician can record himself playing guitar or electronic piano, while singing.

4-track mode[edit]

Four-track recordings can be made one or two tracks at a time. When recording in stereo, only tracks 1 & 2 or tracks 3 & 4 can be chosen. WAV recordings made in stereo mode can be imported into a project folder.

When recording, on one or two tracks, the other tracks may be played back simultaneously (see multi-track recording).

Each track can be individually panned, to create a stereo image.

Any or all tracks can be mixed down to a stereo bounce file. This can be the last step in mixing, or an intermediate step down to free up other tracks.


Bruce Bartlett wrote:

  • The Zoom H4 is more flexible than competing units, but as a consequence, it requires more button pressing to operate.... In general, the H4 is harder to operate than dedicated stereo recorders but offers more features.[2]


  1. "In crossed X-Y miking, two cardioid mikes are placed one across the other ... with their elements as close together as possible.... The advantage of crossed X-Y miking is a more pronounced stereo separation than available from a stereo mike." [1]
  2. http://www.proaudioreview.com/pages/s.0035/t.514.html

External links[edit]