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June 2017 Giveaway

Zoom H4n Handy Recorder Reviews

4.5 stars based on 109 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Shaka Dhladhla

    The Zoom H4n changed my workflow when recording on location. Whether capturing performances or field recordings, the H4n shines for a number of reasons: First, the sound quality is amazing. Second, the process of workflow/multi-track recording capabilities are super-simple and efficient. Third, I love the onboard DSP power packed into this portable device. It allows me to consistently deliver great quality audio with extreme efficiency - it's the perfect tool to have in my recording tool belt!

  • Nathan Wall

    I love my Zoom H4n Handy Recorder! I use it on video shoots and for interviews and it has never underdelivered. Wheather I'm using the built-in condenser mics, plugging in a boom mic, or utilizing the lapel mic input, the Handy Recorder captures studio-quality recordings every time. Perfect for videographers, songwriters, and quality recordings on the go. The H4N won't let you down.

  • Aric Brenner

    Coming from a background in sound and environmental design for film, I am very impressed with the Zoom H4n. Its sound quality is spot-on - and best of all, it is ultra-portable and super durable!

  • from March 23, 2015

    Works great!!

    Excellent recording functionality. Power up is quite slow. Overall is worth the purchase and stands up to Zoom quality.

  • from Norman, Oklahoma March 16, 2015Music Background:
    Playing since I was 16, 57 now. All styles, even full Time for years. Now dinner jazz Trio/Quartet gigs suit me best. Wish I could have had this kind of recording option back in the day.


    I still own my H4, 1stGen model, and still use it. But needed to upgrade because Battery function no longer allowed portable use, which I use often to record my small Jazz Trio gig. The H4n is just what I expected. Fantastic! A little different in operation from H4, but after a few YouTube Tutorials that took up where Manual left off, I was Multi tracking, had my first Demo done in a few days. The portable Stereo and 4channel features were very intuitive, I has no problem with those right out of the box. MTR Function is also very cool. I love the copy feature, I kept what I liked and replaced drum track with several different grooves. Easy and fun! Many features like Renaming Projects and general scrolling and selecting were familiar from the H4. Great sound, easy operation and amazing Sweetwater customer service, I am very happy with my upgrade to H4n. ZOOM products are excellent IMO. Sweetwater is a 5 star retailer as well.

  • from March 13, 2015


    Not only did my Zoom H4n arrive ahead of schedule, but the customer service that Sweetwater provides is top notch. Definitely will shop here again.

  • from Staten Island, NY March 9, 2015

    Zoom H4n Review

    Amazing sound quality at a reasonable price! I'm very satisfied with my purchase!

  • from Orange County CA February 23, 2015Music Background:
    3 shows a month

    Does the trick

    It's a great device, you can't get better features and specs for the money. I just press the record button to critique solo acoustic rehearsals, and I've also recorded some tracks to import into my DAW projects.

  • from RI USA February 3, 2015Music Background:

    Zoom H4n

    I bought it because I was going on the Delbert McClinton Blues Cruise. I got it a day before I left and didn't get a chance to read the directions. I turned it on during a show. It has a red light that blinks when the imput starts to clip. I adjusted it down a little and was completely suprised when I heard the sound. It sounded like a professional live recording

  • from NY, NY January 28, 2015Music Background:
    Played guitar as a gateway into live sound

    Soundman Toolbox Must Have

    This is one of those things you must have in your tool bag if you are a live engineer for hire.

  • from auburn, ny January 14, 2015Music Background:
    long time home recording studio, song writer, performer

    great gizmo

    veery nice for onsite recording. great sound. 2 high qual built in condensers and 2 more xlr mic ins. 4 track recording. nice

  • from Orlando, FL December 4, 2014Music Background:
    Composer, Musician, Keyboardist, part-time- bassist and drummer, sometimes guitarist, Audio Engineer, Sound Designer, and all-around pain-in-the-neck

    Perfect for sound design and sampling

    I used to own an H2n -- and I liked it because it was sub-compact and had great-sounding mics. However, the thing was so poorly built that as soon as I dropped it from a height of about three feet above ground, the battery compartment shattered, and I was left with a doorstop. (It wasn't too good for that either -- the steel door that I used it with crushed the remaining plastic into an unrecognizable blob of parts.)

    This H4n, with all of its seeming criticisms, is still by far the best-in-class for portable, quick, and high-quality audio. The on-board mics sound even better than the old H2n, and with the addition of two more XLR inputs, I can do anything that I need to do.

    My need for a reliable, small, light-weight, and high-quality item for recording on-the-go is answered perfectly by this great recorder. I saw a review in which the H6n is touted as better -- but it's also twice the price, and not necessary. If you are trying to capture environmental sounds, single acoustic instruments, and vocals, this is the one to get.

    Just make sure that you have a camera tripod -- as with most of these so called "handy" recorders, handling it will inevitably result in case noise being transmitted through the on-board mics. If you have in-ear microphones, then you can certainly use it to walk around and capture the city, the woods, the mall, or a huge canyon.

  • from Louisiana USA October 1, 2014Music Background:

    Great recording equipment

    This is great recording tool with awesome play back sound but it's a little hard to understand with so many different things you can do with it but I'm taking my time and learning a little at a time.

  • from Oklahoma City September 24, 2014Music Background:
    Professional pianist/organist


    I like it. I think it is the best value.

  • from NY August 21, 2014

    Great recorder with all the options I need

    I had the old H4.... I just got this new one H4n and I am very happy. Very easy to use. clear manual (when needed)

  • from East Tennessee May 31, 2014Music Background:
    Home recording, musician, songwriter

    Perfect songwriting and riff recall machine

    Ok, so now that I'm older, maybe I can blame it on age- part of my practice routine is to at some point, just play- and let whatever happens just happen. Many times I have ran across new phrases or riffs like this. The H4n allows me to instantly capture these fleeting moments that I would otherwise forget, as well as song Ideas. It has been said over and over how great the sound quality is of the H4n. I find the use ability of the controls to also be important, and as with all other areas the H4n shines.

  • from Surprise, AZ April 25, 2014Music Background:
    News Reporter

    Record Level Button has frozen

    I've owned this little device for about 3.5 years now. I loved the sound quality and was able to use it in my part-time gig at an NPR station, which is very particular about sound quality.

    Lately I've been having issues with Record Level - + buttons on the right hand side. They are stuck, and if I touch them, then the display goes crazy. It's no longer under warranty and I have to take to it a shop. The lady told me some of the parts on these are around $250.

  • from FL March 26, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Great Recording Tool

    I found the Zoom H4n lives up to the rave reviews most customers have given it. As a quick means of capturing song ideas it works great. However, the mics and recording quality rival bigger and more expensive machines. Versatile and high value for the investment.

    Highly recommended.

  • from St. Louis, Missouri February 28, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Excellent Portable Studio

    Though this is more than I will need in a portable recording device I am very happy with its ease of set-up and portability.
    It cannot replace a desktop studio system but it's pretty close!

  • from Cleveland Ohio February 5, 2014Music Background:
    35 years recording experience

    wonderful device

    Well I keep finding new things to do with this unit. I went to a hall the other day to get a noise print and some positioning details for an upcoming recording. I downloaded the wav to my DAW and was planning to play some and see what I could get from a raw recording. I found the more I played with the sound the more I kept coming back to the raw wave. This unit is quiet and the built in mics are very nice. Beware of overloading and compression with the unit

  • from New Orleans, LA area January 24, 2014Music Background:
    Singer, songwriter, multi- instrumentalist, recordist

    Just what I needed !

    I am a musician and songwriter. Although I have my own full studio, this device allows me to capture those late night ideas without having to "fire up" the recording computers, pre-amps, mics etc. Also, no more scribbling down lyrics and losing the inspiration. It's easy to use and the great sound quality is better than you would expect for a small device. Consider getting , as I did, a 32 gb sd card, Sweetwater has the best price on these that I have seen. There are smaller devices if you need to put it in your shirt pocket, but for compact pro-quality this does the trick.

  • from Prudenville, MI January 2, 2014

    Great Litte Recorder

    I bought this recorder for recording my sermons at Sunday morning worship services so that they may be posted on our website each week.
    Very easy to set up and use with integral mics or a dedicated XLR. Very pleased with its performance

  • from Flossmoor,IL USA December 23, 2013Music Background:
    36 years music rep

    Zoom review

    We bought the Zoom H4n for our company driver he wanted the clarity
    that the H4N is noted for,

  • from Fredericksburg VA November 18, 2013Music Background:

    zoom, zoom

    The rating could be better, I just haven't had time to fully explore the device. What I've seen so far is great. One minor irritation: I tend to take things out of the box and follow the step-by-step instructions. So happens the first instruction sheet I found wasn't really for the zoom at all. It was for some demonstration software. I faithfully installed the software, realizing after installation and registration that the 30 day clock is running on software that I don't know what it does, don't have time to explore, and consequently will probably never use because the license is probably already expired and since I have only the vaguest notion of what it is supposed to do for me, when I do want that function I will as like as not buy something else. So my tip is don't install the software first like I did.

  • from Tehachapi, CA USA September 26, 2013Music Background:
    The Kazoo

    Good delivery, poor instructions. Giving both recorders to Sons.

    The Zoom products are probably good; however, I expected the Zoom H4 Handy Recorder to arrive with better instructions. Your techs are available on a limited basis and most everything is made in China these days.

    The machine does too much for me and it will not sync with my MacBook pro. I'm not a musician, but wanted something that is smaller than the H4n and have found a Sony recorder for $60 that fits in my pocket. My Son's will enjoy these machines.

  • from Ft. Wayne, IN June 11, 2013Music Background:
    Keyboard, performance director, live/recording engineer, teacher

    Just what I wanted.

    I have been recording. A lot of performances. I hate to put cameras in front of audience. I used to string cables to put mics close to the stage. I put this mic/recorder on a stand up close. The quality is great. Much better than I expected. And I used Final Cut Pro X to sync it with video. It did it automatically in a couple minutes. Really pleased with this solution.

  • from West palm beach, fl USA May 14, 2013

    Great product

    Would buy again does an amazing recording job would be Ed use any other recorder

  • from Coventry, RI USA May 6, 2013Music Background:
    seven years on guitar, banjo and mandolin

    H4n recorder

    I'm a gadget guy. Really enjoyed using this device. The playback sound is terrific. Relatively easy to use. The memory stick was defective and the device would not recognize it. had to buy one.

  • from Rocklin, CA May 2, 2013Music Background:
    Film Director

    Great Recorder

    Excellent quality. I use it with my DSLR for a documentary that I'm shooting as well as interviews for an Infomercial. By using a headphone splitter, I can monitor sound and have reference audio go to the DSLR, and my adapter attaches directly to the DSLR. It fits in the camera bag. Highly recommend...

  • from Oregon April 16, 2013Music Background:
    amateur music person

    Zoom H4n

    Great recorder. Beats lugging 30-40 pounds of tape recorder of the 1960's. On board mics are phenomenal and reach out far. Clear reproduction of sound. When I got the hang of it, it was easy to use. The smallness of size surprised the Mother Superior. With this thing, I'm going places!

  • from FLORIDA April 2, 2013Music Background:



  • from Gainesville Fl February 14, 2013Music Background:

    I haven't used my H4n but I will .

    GOOD OVERALL, DOES A GOOD JOB RECORDING MUSIC IN A LARGE CHURCH. However I'm still trying to figure out how to use it.

  • from February 1, 2013

    Zoom H4n is the Handy Recorder

    For the price this product couldn't be better

  • from California, USA January 15, 2013Music Background:
    Audio for visuals, music composition, record production

    Few flaws, but noticeable ones.

    There's something that happens when something is almost perfect. It makes what little flaws there are really stand out. It's like, "Really? I didn't expect that from you."

    One such flaw is that the headphone out has a little bit too much juice. If the signal is only rarely clipping, it'll sound like there's actually moderate distortion you need to address.

    This can have an annoying affect in a work environment. Today I stopped a shoot to have them re-position the lav mic, because there was a mysterious distortion that I finally tracked down to the mic being busted. No, this was not a simple level-clipping issue.

    And I was right, there was distortion from a busted mic, But when we sat down to review the day's recordings, what I had heard through the headphones as a noticeable distortion was now only a faint distortion that my boss barely noticed. I don't like feeling like I wasted time. So the H4N loses a star.

    Besides that, I just think navigating around the device is slightly (SLIGHTLY) awkward.

    But let me tell you this: the good outweighs the bad by a long shot.

    The preamps are hi-z and will breathe new life into the mics you've been using for years. I've been making music with my Firestudio Project for years, and this guy came along and the preamps completely stomped the Firestudio that is so legendary in the indie music scene.

    The on-board mics sound awesome, and the flexibility of your sample rate, bitrate, multitracking, battery setting, and more make this thing a steal. This thing should be $1000.

    Buy it. You will not regret it.

  • from OH January 10, 2013Music Background:
    nowhere man

    The Zoom Thing

    Its only imperfection is data non-integration
    between all the data recording modes...
    It sounds great but files cannot be shared
    between the modes nor can speed per cent
    (50-150) be processed in all modes.

  • from United States December 25, 2012Music Background:
    An Suffolk County Community College Graduate and Current N.Y.I.T. Film Production Bachelor Degree Student

    My Zoom

    The most excellent portable recording tool for use with limitless possibilities. It records clear and precise and is an asset in any media arsenal

  • from Utica, Ohio November 23, 2012Music Background:
    Multimedia director for church and musician

    Zoom H4n

    Wonderful recording device!

  • from Colorado November 21, 2012Music Background:
    Ex-pro drummer

    Suite my purposes

    I can't say WOW, REALLY GREAT yet this device serves my purposes extremely nicely.

  • from NY October 31, 2012Music Background:
    Pro musician/producer

    Works well

    I only use this as a practice tool so have not truly evaluated its abilities but for my purpose it is more than adequate. It's easy to use and sounds good. The on-board speaker is pretty terrible (and is really only useful to confirm that you have actually recorded) but through mid-level headphones, without particularly carefully placement of the mics, it sounds smooth and sweet. I have been running it at 48k 24 bit and the batteries last longer than I thought they would at that level.
    Could not decide about the number of stars to give because of Sweetwater's hyperbolic descriptions of what they mean but would probably give 4 stars on Amazon.

  • from Atlanta, GA USA October 30, 2012Music Background:
    Musician, producer, songwriter

    Producer, writer, musician

    I have many recorders from studio-in-the-box to mixing boards. This by far is my "Go to" recorder. I convinced my Paster to get one for us for direct recording rehearsals. The quality is prestige very clear and user friendly

  • from usa September 2, 2012Music Background:
    rock n roll, live sound, studio engineer, production sound, post

    Great Recorder, but the mics can break easily

    This recorder works great for anything. I've used it for band practice, sound effects, indoor and outdoor backgrounds, and field production sound. User interface is very intuitive and quick to navigate on the fly. I used quad mode for some forest backgrounds that came out great when mixed in surround. The only reason I give it 4.5 and not 5 is because one of the built in mics broke off when the dog snagged the power cord and yanked it off the table (I blame the dog). The mic housing is plastic and impossible to super glue. The mic is still connected by the wires and still works, but flops all over. I'd like to see some sort of protective structure for the mics, like the Tascam DR40 has. Final thought- Awesome recorder, it blows tascam out of the water in the ease of use category. I would pay up to $50 more if the built in mics were more sturdy. The very nature of a portable recorder entails the possibility of being abused.

  • from Ames, IA August 30, 2012Music Background:
    Music Director

    Zoom H4n Handy Recorder

    Love it, easy to use. Great recording of live events.

  • from Daytona Beach, FL August 13, 2012Music Background:
    Radio Broadcaster

    ZOOM H4N In The Field

    Everything I was hoping for from this unit. I'm in radio broadcasting and I use it "on site" for a variety of purposes from gathering quality audio to match with video we shoot to recording listener comments, to recording remote breaks to email back to the studio for on air. I've also found it very useful for creating my own "on the fly" SFX. I recorded a car engine reving that a car dealer then used in his commercial, ocean SFX, room noise for production use. My only concern, as it's still new, is the "door" for the SD drive seems flimsy and I'm concerned with my high use it will break at some point and I'll have the dreaded "tape it shut" option. Sound quality is awesome. I use it mostly with Shure SM58s but I have used it a couple of times with a Neumann TLM-102 using Phantom power and it sound better than most radio station production studios I've worked in.

  • from Santa Clara, Califoria, USA August 8, 2012Music Background:
    Tech Writer bought one for Drummer

    H4n Zoom more than does the job

    My colleague sold me his (that he also bought from Sweetwater). I liked it so much that I bought one for my brother in law for his birthday. He plays the drums during worship service.at his church in Sacramento, California. I considered the other Zoom models but this one has all the features. He was impressed that it has many good features already built in. He remarked that it has an audio interface, a metronome, a tuner and built in special effects. With this device, he no longer has to ask the sound guy for a favor and give him a copy of the recorded service. He can just record his own copy for later review.

    As far as for my work as a tech writer, I don't need all of the features but the sound is far superior to anything that I have used in the past. The engineers that I interview to create customer facing user guides know that I take my job seriously and it has brought curious glances from time to time when people walk by. It makes reviewing content a lot more enjoyable.

    I also like the idea of having free technical support for 3 years. It is reassuring. I gave my brothe-in-law a gift that he will hopefully enjoy for many years to come.

  • from NEW YOOK July 10, 2012Music Background:



  • from Willits, Ca June 4, 2012Music Background:
    pro musician, recording artist



  • from May 30, 2012

    Moving up the ladder...

    Bought this product for multiple purposes and it is delivering. Great pick if you are deciding between tascam or zoom. Love the build quality. So many tricks to this gadget. This is a product for those who are serious about the quality of there recordings and the ability for the device to do more than just record.

  • from United States May 28, 2012Music Background:
    Musician, Singer, Songwriter

    The Name Says It All

    This is a handy device, I'm sure, I can't wait to use many of its features. I'm using it very simply right now, just hanging it in an open space and recording me and my guitar. Its recording capabilities are almost too good, as I can easily hear the neighborhood noises when recording in my garage. I now need soundproofing.

  • from Queen Creek, Arizona May 23, 2012Music Background:
    Semi pro and hobbyist

    Zoom H4n Handy Recorder

    This recorder works well. I use it primarily in a home studio setting and have been playing over 50 years. Digital recorders have been a challenge for me and I have sold several due to the complexity of multiple button functions which baffled me to no end. I think the manual could be a little clearer in some respects and would rate 5 stars if it were. I have been able to achieve acceptable recordings with this unit which were well received by others. I like the unit.

  • from Tyler, Texas May 8, 2012Music Background:
    Executive Producer, Tyler, Texas

    ZOOM H4N

    Best field recorder I have ever used wih my HDSLR Video Camera and I will buy a third one very soon. I truly believe in the H4N. Makes life easier in HD Video Production. Zoom keep up the great work. I bought 2 of them and love them both. NO COMPLAINTS OR WORRIES HERE.

  • from United States April 27, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician,I play guitar,bass,keyboards,mandolin,and more.

    Zoom H4n

    This is an amazing recorder.Especially when your doing recording outside or in a club.I was also happy with the 4trk.This is a great practice tool when your trying to learn song.You can slow it down or speed it up.Without effecting the key of the song.

  • from Palm Beach Gardens, FL USA April 2, 2012Music Background:
    Muscian, Recording Hobbyist

    Excellent Recorder

    I was amazed at the recording capabilities of this little wonder. I am still only getting used to all the features, but already in my first recordings have found that the H4n handles my recording needs with ease. The remote is a bit less practical as it is not wireless. It would be nice if the optional remote was wireless. But the H4n deserves a resounding 5 out of 5 for it's stellar performance.

  • from Ventura, Ca March 25, 2012Music Background:
    TV/Film Composer

    Best REcorder out!

    Have no clue how they did it, but with a little mic stand, you can take this out on location for Live Movie Sound. I used it to sample instruments, Foley, sound efx. It rocks the absolute best. It even survived Yosimite Falls!! Took it there to record the water fall sounds. Amazing the playback put me exactly where i was. IF you have a DSLR movie use it for location sound.. If you wat to record a live band it rocks. Nothing bad to say here..

    Thank you Sweetwater and Nick Church for selling me this. Best purchase for recording and value all year.

  • from Raleigh, NC March 21, 2012Music Background:
    jazz & classical guitar 50 years, some piano, mostly solo

    amazing device

    Amazing device, especially for the price. Quite intuitive to operate, even for an old guy. sound quality I think is really surprisingly good, kind of amazing really. I have had a couple of other mixer/multitrack recorders that had more capability but had to have the owners manual out every time I wanted to do anything, and they were much more money. I wanted this recorder just to record new riffs or tunes that jumped into my head--piano and guitar. It has worked great for that. I also like the fact that I can organize my music by simply using separate flash cards, which with cassette tapes of old was a nightmare. All in all a great piece.

  • from Fort Wayne, In. March 19, 2012Music Background:


    Fantastic, and there's not much more to say. The quality of the condensers is fantastic, the fact that I can plug in two additional channels is fantastic, and all of the easy to use features are fantastic. My first attempt at use was capturing a local concert, and the stereo condensers combined with a single input off the mixer sounds amazing. I can't wait to try it with some of my other mics, I'm sure it will be fantastic. I truly am blown away that i can get this great of sound this easy and this small. Thanks to my sales rep Jorge F. ext 1341 for the recommendation. I love and take it everywhere.

  • from Lynnwood, WA USA March 13, 2012Music Background:
    Guitar for years and years

    Zoom H4n

    Very powerful unit - many functions but hard to navigate. The basic function of recording is doable, but it's a very complicated device. I suppose if you are a sound technician, this is a five. It's a four to me becasue it's complicated.

  • from Asheville, NC March 8, 2012Music Background:
    electronic, percussion

    After 2 1/2 years of using it

    After 2 1/2 years of using this beautiful piece of equipment, here are a list of few things that I've experienced issues with. I won't list the positives pluses as most of the other reviews already cover that to a great deal. Things to watch out for, when field recording, the machine picks up any slight tap on the machine, and it gets recorded and while it's not loud, it gets annoying after a while, but it can easily be pulled out with a sound editor. So be careful to use headhones that are short cords that won't hit the body while walking and to not slide your fingers on the body as that gets picked up during recording. The windshield on the machine comes off far too easily, but does block out a great deal of wind, and the mics aren't protected in case of a fall. A design mistake from Handy that could've easily been taken care of. If the windshield didn't come off so easily, it could've been a potential protection for the mics, but once the H4n slips and falls, the windshield comes off which is a shame. While the body is sturdier than its predecessor, the H4, it still feels a little flimsy to me. That could be improved with more metallic or stronger but still cheap materials used for the body. The machine is a wee bit bulky, and the design could more grip prone, and a little bit smaller, not much smaller, just a wee bit smaller :). Often, when field recording I'd like something not so obvious in my hands, particularly when recording crowds or people.
    The process of deleting recordings could be easier, and could be done with one touch, and avoid having to jog and toggle between menus. Naming files could be done with more ease well. Far too many steps to do that.
    Other than that, I loove this machine, with all of its little issues and design mishaps, it delivers wonderfully. It's a wonderful investment if you ask me. I could go and on about how good this machine, but all the other reviews already cover that.

  • from Idaho February 27, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Professional Cinematographer

    Zoom H4n

    The H4n is the bomb! Right out of the box we did a live recording of 2 acoustic guitars and 2 vocals (melody & harmony) with the onboard mics. The result was perfect for referencing what we were going to record. While filming, the audio we picked up using the H4n with a shotgun mic on a boom pole with a xlr cable to recorder was most excellent. Using a clapper board to sync up audio in post worked perfectly. I did a year of research on the H4n before I made the purchase and it is everything I expected it to be. Huge range of uses! I have already recommended the H4n to many friends.

  • from California January 12, 2012Music Background:
    Musician, Composer, Producer, Studio Owner

    The Holy Grail of Portable Recorders

    I'm not sure what I can say that hasn't already been said by the resounding chorus of voices who rightly acclaim the virtues of the H4N, except to add my voice in saying that it's just about perfect for my needs in every sense. If you're inclined to do your homework in order to make an intelligent purchase, you've probably already checked out the H4N's specs, and you know whether it has the features you want. If so, then your principal questions probably are these:
    1. Is the recorder is easy to use? (A big fat YES)
    2. Is it well-built, and therefore likely to be durable? (Ditto on the YES thang)

    Now, I should mention that I seldom take the H4N into the field, so I can't comment on its ability to stand up to heavy use, day after day. But after nearly 18 months of use at home and occasional field use, I'm totally convinced that the H4N is a solid, durable recorder that will give many, many years of reliable service.

    My principal use for the H4N is to capture ideas when I'm sitting around jamming on one of my instruments, or whenever inspiration strikes me. Additionally I wanted something that would record live events (gigs, lectures, interviews, etc.) without lugging mics and other gear around. (BTW, the onboard mics are of surprisingly good quality. In fact, I haven't needed to use external mics…and I'm VERY picky about microphone quality.) I also wanted a recorder that can do multi-tracking with some decent on-board DSP effects for those times when I'm away from home and I don't have access to my studio. The H4N wins big on all counts there as well.

    Another major plus is the fact that the H4N comes with its own external power supply. Units whose power supplies are sold as an "extra" accessory drive me up the wall…a mindlessly stupid idea and a serious deal killer for me. So, kudos to Zoom for including the power supply.

    Gripes? I'm hard-pressed to think of any. The only thing I could ask for would be a better case...meaning, one that has a cushioned liner, and is also big enough to accommodate the power supply, and maybe a spare set of AA cells. The plastic case that comes with the unit provides plenty of protection against everything but the shock of a fall (...although I haven't done a drop test, nor do I plan to). Also, the latch on the case has a tendency to come loose (it's fixable by bending it toward the case when it's open).

    But these aren't even gripes, really. I'm TOTALLY satisfied with the H4N, and if anything happened to it, I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.

  • from Chicago, IL January 11, 2012Music Background:
    RF Development Engineer & Musician

    Really excellent performance.

    I was thoroughly surprised at the ease of use and quality of the recordings while using this recorder. Portability and setup is quick and the micstand adapter makes it easy to position right where one would want it. The remote (purchased separately) has all the important functions and eliminates any handling noise during recording. Very pleased with this product.

  • from January 4, 2012

    Zoom H4n

    recorded concert live with zoom of front for stereo, a wireless mic to the amp for the middle channel, and the mic on camera for the back channel. easy surround sound.

  • from Los Angeles (now) January 4, 2012Music Background:
    3 decades of composing and engineering.

    Everything I get from Sweetwater improves my skills

    Even though this isn't 'pro' equipment, I used the Zoom H4n to sample something for an album I composed and engineered. Worked perfectly and saved me a bundle - thanks to the advice of my Sweetwater Sales Rep, Austin Moss. They are simply the best. They know what they're talking about - they're musicians, too... fantastic people. The best vendor there is.

  • from Carmel, IN December 26, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Needs true line inputs

    This is a fabulous device that is easy to operate and has some features I'll probably never use. Straightforward, menu-driven comprehensive operation. The only criticism I have of this device is that it lacks a true line input. The XLR and 1/4" TRS input connectors will accept signal up to -10 db. If you have line levels up to zero or +4 db, you need to pad down the input--something that isn't always easy. A great improvement would be to have a mic/line switch on these inputs. Besides, line input shouldn't be run through mic pres as is the case here.

  • from Hollywood , CA December 23, 2011Music Background:
    Composer, Pro Musician, TV animation sound, Film/Comercials

    Great little recorder

    This thing is awsome. At first it seems a little confusing then jump in and the menus are intuitive. Did not have to even use the manual.
    The Threads for mounting it on the mic stand is the bomb.
    Batterys last a long time, sounds warm and like a some great tube mic comming through a Neve board. Get a big memory card you will need it! because this is one item that gets used allot. I even use it for sampling weird instruments.

    Only a minor thing, they should make the plastic case a little bigger or even make a leather one.
    This is a must to add to your studio. Blows away Tas-scam! With Sweetwater behind it and Nick Church as your sales rep... well no one can even touch you!

    You will not regret this purchase!! Well worth the money and made tough.

  • from Provo, Utah December 13, 2011Music Background:
    Student musician and recording student

    Zoom H$N

    Great customer support. The product works just as expected. My only complaint is the learning curve using the cubase software.

  • from November 7, 2011Music Background:

    Love it. cant stop using it

    I loved it. i never really tried other recorders. but I was impressed of the quality. very easy to use.

  • from Athens, Ga. September 12, 2011Music Background:
    National Recording Artist

    I've made 11 Eps on the ZOOM H-4

    This is an incredible device! I'm a national recording artist with over 20 years experience and 40 plus albums. I write about 40 songs a year. As a huge believer in the beauty and energy of home recordings,, I decided to use the Zoom H-4 as the basis for a series of Americana Eps; I was so amazed and impressed by the capabilities of the H-4 that I started releasing a new EP every 4 months. Thank you, good folks!

  • from Jacksonville, Fl September 7, 2011Music Background:
    Producer, Director, Engineer, Musician

    Zoom H4n is Awesome!!!

    The most important things I always consider when purchasing something like this is, will it get the job done and will it be obsolete tomorrow? First, it absolutely gets the job done more than I actually expected. The chance of it becoming obsolete in the near future is remote at best. It is a solid unit that performs flawlessly. I use the extra XLR inputs for video production and it syncs nicely to my cameras for foley work. The audio is pristine and accurate. I am glad I purchased the remote because the built in mics on this unit are extremely sensitive. One push of a button and it is recorded on tape forever. The remote takes care of that. My only complaint about this unit is the operations manual. It is basically worthless. You'll find much better instructions and tips searching the internet. It's almost like everything was lost in translation, making no sense to the new user. That being said, I still highly recommend the H4n.

  • from Santa Monica, CA USA August 31, 2011Music Background:
    Hey guys, not all of your customers are recording music.

    So far so good

    Really, too soon to give an informed opinion. I will say the ergonomics of this recorder are extraordinarily good, definitely better than, say, the original Edirol.

  • from Grosse Pointe, Michigan August 25, 2011Music Background:
    Band leader - small group jazz and big band

    Digital Recorder Amazing!

    This this is a easy to use as anyone can imagine! I have recorded both a jazz quintet and big band, LIVE, with much success! Still learning the more advanced features, but this thing is a dream!!

  • from Viginia August 3, 2011Music Background:
    Live Sound Engineer, Hobbyist

    Easy to use and great quality

    My experience with this device has been very good. The interface is simple to use and the quality of recording is excellent.
    Also, the onboard MP3 converter is extremely handy for day to day recordings where quality is not important (meetings, personal notes etc.)

  • from Lima, OH July 27, 2011Music Background:
    Pastor of Worship Arts, ethnomusicologist

    Zoom H4n

    Amazing stereo imaging, excellent sonic response from something that costs less than one good mic? Believe it. And the controls are intuitive too! Super simple, excellent for field recordings (I am an ethnomusicologist) - great for quik demos or to capture a musical idea before it is gone. I recommend at least a 4GB SD card.

  • from St. Francisville, La USA July 20, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Zoom H4n is an Outstanding Recorder

    As a musician I have had the opportunity to record in many recording studios, some of which are considered the best in the country. The Zoom H4n is like having one of those studios in your hand. The quality and features of this small recorder are totally amazing. If you buy one, you will be totally impressed what it can do.

  • from MO USA July 9, 2011Music Background:


    I had heard lots of great things about the Zoom H4n Handy Recorder, so I decided to get one. We tried to order it through a local music store first, but we waited ONE WHOLE MONTH and they still didn't have it in! So, after lots of waiting, we decided to order it through Sweetwater Sound. We placed our order, and when we got home from the library that day, we found a message left by a Seetwater employee saying that our order had been acknowledged and the order should be there the first of the next week. What's more, IT WAS NOT A RECORDING! We had never gotten a personal call from any internet shipping company before. We were very impressed. It arrived even sooner than the employee had predicted. It works GREAT! The morning I took it out of the box I decided to skim over the manual to see what it had to say. The manual was so complicated, though, that I could hardly gather anything from it. So I decided to risk it and try to record something. I turned it on, recorded something, played it back, and was soon able to record high-quality sound just like the pros! The Zoom is so self intuitive that I have hardly even touched it since! Every thing about it is just AMAZING! If you are looking for a practical, cheap, and easy way to start recording pro audio, I highly advise the Zoom. The Zoom H4n is absolutely worth the money it takes to acquire it. A WONDERFUL tool!

  • from New Paltz, NY USA July 6, 2011Music Background:
    Live Engineer, Songwriter, Fiddle, Hobbyist, Student, etc forever..


    I was lightly surprised to discover this unit was as good as it was. I've used it in a pinch as USB audio interface. I've used it in the middle of the woods to record harp on top of a mountain. I've used it as a multitrack do get an easy mix of room mic, kick and bass. It really is versatile and worth every single penny.

  • from Indiana June 13, 2011Music Background:
    student, musician

    Love this little guy but......

    This recorder is excellent, EXCEPT!! if you are trying to get a line level output signal from a mixing console. I wanted to get a live recording from one of my friends bands and this is what I found. The site claims "With its Hi-Z inputs, you can record guitars or other line output sources such as mixing consoles. "

    Unfortunately, that's a very misleading description. Guitars are not line-level, yet it mentions "guitars or other line output sources such as mixing consoles."

    This is where Zoom really screwed up on the H4n. The truth of the matter is that the H4n cannot accept line-level signals without lots of padding and doctoring. Forget what the Zoom website says, and go by the real-world experience of those who have used this device.

    The H4n cannot take true line-level in. You need to get in-line Line-to-Mic attenuators that take at least -40dB from the signal, ideally -50dB. Feeding line-level to the H4n's inputs risks damaging the pre-amps. I've heard this complaint from others on forums.

    This it the only real complaint I have about this recorder. The x y placed condenser mics are great.

  • from Miami, FL May 14, 2011Music Background:


    There is a problem with the Zoom H4n DIVIDE function and it is NOT an isolated instance.

    The problem is as follows: As you probably know, when a file is divided two new files are created, for example STE 001A and STE 001B. The problem is that a loud popping/spike sound is added to the end of file STE 001A where the file has been divided. Some units work fine at 16 Bit depth but NOT at 24. Other units have the problem at BOTH bit depths. The problem also occurs dividing Mp3 Files.

    A total of FIVE units tested all had the problem (2 tested by me, 1 tested by the Sweetwaterrs Tech Support, and 2 units tested by Samson Technology Corp., Zooms USA Distributor who forwarded sound clips of the problem to Zoom Tech Support)

    Zoom has been made aware of the problem and will hopefully have a Firmware fix but as of Firmware Update 1.72 it is not yet fixed.

    I have had my eye on the H4n for several years. Prior to purchasing I not only read every review on Sweetwater, Musician's Friend, Amazon, and Harmony Central, I also read through several online Zoom H4n User Forums, the Zoom H4n User's Guide and website and never once found any mention of a problem on something so basic as the DIVIDE function.

  • from Greensboro, NC May 11, 2011Music Background:
    Weekend Warrior - Guitarist

    Hard To Live Without

    I've used this unit for about 18 months now for recording band rehearsals and I couldn't be happier with it. People are always amazed at the quality of the recordings I get from it. For rehearsals, I record off the PA into channels 3/4 (running the board in stereo) and then use the built-in mics to capture the sound live - I mix the two together in GarageBand for a great image of what we sound like on any given song.
    The only thing you have to know about this wonderful device is what SD card to use - you must use a Class 6 type card or higher - anything lower and you run the risk of losing recordings. I've got a 4GB card in mine and I can easily capture a 3 hour rehearsal run in 4 track mode. Works great for intimate acoustic stuff too - I can't say enough good things about this recorder. I wish I was this happy about every other $300 bucks I've spent ;)

  • from Louisville, KY April 30, 2011Music Background:
    Bassist, composer

    Quite Likely The BEST Value Out There

    I've spent the last couple weeks trying to wrap my head around what a wonderful recording tool this is for songwriters. I am subject to get an idea at any time, literally, and having this close by has enabled me to ensure that almost no idea escapes without the chance to audition it thoroughly.

    I've carried small voice recorders around for years, but with the H4n, the ability to record multiple tracks is an advantage that can't be overstated! So now, if I hear that slick horn riff over the top of that grooving bass line, I can immediately hear how they interact musically. Laying a vocal melody over that is a snap as well. So versatile! It also has the 'typical' stereo mode common to most hand held recorders, but this goes farther and has the ability to record in simultaneous 4-channel mode as well! That's awesome.

    The screen is large, with a good amount of information and very responsive meters. You can always tell exactly what's going on even from several feet away. Takes a minute to 'boot up', but then it responds instantly to button functions. Buttons are laid out in a nicely intuitive manner too. Deep configuration, including effects, even a metronome. How cool is that?

    All this would mean little if it didn't sound good, and this thing sounds amazing! Recording jam/practice sessions on bass, guitar or some synth thing sounds so clean and pure and captures what you're doing perfectly. Zoom definitely didn't skimp on the mics in this thing. But even if you don't like those, just plug in your own and you're there.

    It takes a bit of time, maybe an hour or so if you just focus on it, to get used to the interface and functions, and contrary to a few reviews I've read here, I found the manual quite helpful and still refer to it from time to time.

    DO NOT, however, expect this to be the convenient little pocket recorder; It is rather bulky. However, I don't think it was intended to be your typical pocket recorder. For that reason I won't take any stars away for the size and weight. If you like devices that just "feel" well made, this will give you a warm feeling, and if you know Zoom products, you know that it IS well made. High quality stuff here.

    So, versatility, features, sound, quality, ease of use, it's all here. The price might seem a little high, but I think it would be very hard to get more for your money than this. I'd say if you're looking for something more than just a typical voice recorder for capturing lectures, sermons, etc. definitely take a hard look at the H4n, and if there is any way possible, go ahead and spend the money.

  • from northern MI March 16, 2011Music Background:
    acoustic guitarist, singer

    simply perfect...

    The amount of fuctions inside this little contraption is awe-inspiring - the Normalize function has to be the most useful tool ever. As an acoustic guitarist/singer/songwriter, I just love this thing!!! I carry it with me in my guitar case and record in amazing clarity anywhere I may be (although I would recommend a much better windscreen). The only downside is using Cubase... just because it's Cubase. The instructions have much to be desired, but there is an amazing forum that helps out (as well as some youtube videos). All in all, it's very intuitive and I'm so glad I did my research!

  • from January 11, 2011

    Great bang for your buck.

    I was given this recorder in a kit for school. Lots of options for such a small device. Great way to get your feet wet in the audio production field.

  • from Atlanta Ga. January 7, 2011Music Background:
    Live Sound, Pro Musician, Hobbyist.

    I cant see how I lived with out it

    Im a singer song writer, guitar player, beat maker, and videographer.

    First: as a stand alone recorder this thing is great on its own. I lay down a track with my guitar in four track mode using the stereo mics. Both mics will record to one track so I can lay down a rhythm and a lead and lay down my vocals and harmony on the other two tracks all in time using the metronome. I can then bounce it down in stereo to free up two tracks for a beat I made in nanostudio on my Iphone for a fully portable stable studio. It lets you mix eq add effects and the project file system in multi track mode works allot like using V-tracks on the Br recorder line from roland. The mics make vocals sound nice so much so when Im on the road I use them to record vocals into my lap top with vary nice results with some light eqing. That brings me to the next thing.

    Second: as a computer sound card this thing rocks. The digital preamp is so clean with lots of head room. Add a compressor or some other effect to sweeten up your front end sound and you can make the sound quality amazing. I have recorded two songs now in a hotel using the on board mics a pop filter the unit came with and again with some light eqing I got some great results. Letting my friends listen to it they thought I went to the studio though Im sure the experts would have picked up on any flaws as they always over critique every thing.

    Third: Im a film maker shooting interviews on location, documentaries, and music videos with a canon 60D. I use the h4n as a camera mic and its insane. For interview I use four track mode two record from the two on board mics and the two inputs for my wireless lapel mics all into the stereo input on my canon. it work great and you can independently adjust the levels between the on board mics and the inputs. witch is great sense its all being recorded to the camera video.

    Last the h4n is a unit that has covered me in areas I would have had to buy other equipment for. Its a recorder both stereo and four track, a sound card, and good all around mic. If all this can help you GET IT NOW. I'v used sweet water for years and they just work. Now unless I need it that day they are the only ones I will buy from. One: no tax and two: they are the most helpful out of any one I'v got gear from.

    All in all I highly recommend the H4N. Get One.

  • from Indianapolis, IN October 25, 2010Music Background:

    Zoom H4n Handy Recorder

    I love this recorder!!! I wish they would have designed the power cord so it could be plugged in from the bottom side instead of the bottom of the recorder. If you wish to let it stand upright by itself, you can only do that running battery power. The cord would be in the way sticking out of the bottom of it.

  • from Hampton, VA October 12, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Musical Director, Musician


    I truly love this piece of gear. The clarity and recording field is beyond any other tool I have used. The built in mics are second to none. It is an essential part of gear for the gigging musician. Never again walk away without having a copy of the on the spot creativity during a show. I love it and will never give it up>

  • from Dover, Delaware September 12, 2010Music Background:
    Classically trained pianist, drummer and electronic music creator(hobbyist)

    Zoom H4n has many grat functions but needs a better case

    I love the H4n! I tested the product at a local church and the sound quality was pristine and accurate. I really like the xy configuration mics which defeats the phasing affects. Battery life is pretty good but to get better battery life, I use the stamina mode which only works at 44.1khz/16bit and you'll get approx, 11 hours. You can also record in the mp3 format and wav files ;There's many choose from.
    I usually make recordings on classical pieces and my own creations before playing at receptions and restaurants The audio playback is close to studio quality.
    The screen is bright and adjustable through the system menu. (The screen is like the advertising picture, very clear and a nice bright orange.
    The memory is an SD/SDHC. I now use a 16gb SDHC card which can give up to 51 hours in MTR (multitrack recording mode, using my mp3 setting.) and a whooping 226 hours in stereo mode.
    However,the included plastic case isn't suffice for protection. Less than a week I dropped the H4n while still being in the case, and the cover for the sd card was slightly damaged. Not a big deal though.
    This is a great recorder but the mics themselves can be damaged because there is no cage to protect them but with proper care and a better case (You can by one better from Sweetwater) I'm confident that this product will last..
    I highly, Highly recommend the zoom h4n!

  • from Denver, CO USA August 5, 2010Music Background:

    A nice versatile unit

    Very good for the price point. Lots of options. The internal mics are actually good. The bad is the battery life when using phantom power. The preamps are noisy when using external mics. Useless mic stand accessory. Get a dedicated mic stand accessory. Good for recording the audio from a mixer at a music gig, as long as you observe the levels or get a pad to knock down the volume going in.

  • from Seattle, WA August 4, 2010Music Background:

    H4N Review before I ever receive it!

    How can I rate this before I've ever received it in the mail? Because I've had an H4 for a few years now and absolutely love it. I take it to every gig and either plug into the board or stick on a mic stand. My only wishes for it have been the ability to plug in XLR's and also be able to play it back just to check levels without headphones or having to plug it into a device. But, in addition they have added the ability for me to get a board mix and ambient sound? Plus, it was hard to see that tiny screen sometimes. It's now got to be a 6 star unit as it was already a 5 star.

    Nice job.

  • from Panama June 17, 2010Music Background:
    Recording studio, field recording, music produccer

    sound swiss knife

    This hande Recorder is cool, is like a swiss knife, you should have one, when you know it wont have a ready to use.
    is interesting, I'm surprised, very useful, to include tuners, guitar effects, XLR connections and1/4, you can record four tracks in multitrack mode and 4 4ch mode also tracks using two inputs and two stereo microphones that brings to field recording, etc etc etc. H4n zoom offered with a quality product at value for money, give more for less, use it for two days and will understand, you have one.

  • from Elizabethtown, NY June 6, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist and occasional performing musician

    So much you can do with the H4n

    This is such a handy tool for anyone who wants to do recording, especially for musicians. It is really four tools in one: an excellent quality digital recorder, a practice tool for musicians (with the ability to slow down playback to half speed), a digital four track recorder to capture your moments of inspiration, and an audio interface when you want to record directly to your computer. It is a great tool in a very portable package. You can do anything from recording nature sounds in the back woods to producing your own multitrack recordings on it. The batteries last several hours, and with an 8GB SD card I have over 12 hours of recording time available. The pros: It is easy to learn to use the basic functions; the recording quality is great; the build quality seems quite good. The built-in mics are great. The built-in effects in the MTR mode are pretty good. And you can bounce tracks for even more depth to your recordings. The cons: there is a jog wheel you click when you want to select a menu item, it is a little sensitive so sometimes trying to click I will scroll and select the next item instead. Also, while you can slow down the playback in stereo mode, I wish you could also do this in the multitrack mode. But these are minor quibbles, overall this is an amazingly versatile tool that you can carry with you anywhere. Well worth the price.

  • from Fort Wayne, IN USA May 7, 2010Music Background:
    Voice Actor, Audio Engineer, Recording Engineer

    Fantastic at what it does, but not solidly built at all

    This is the best field recorder perfectly out, and I've never been happier, but I'd like to point out that it's built pretty terribly. I've had two, and out of the box, both stubbornly refuse to re-charge properly. It is set in the correct battery mode. Apparently this is a known issue.
    Even though the microphone mounts are advertised as metal, the microphones themselves are made of extremely flimsy plastic. The entire body is much the same. The cover over the SD card is made of plastic so thin and flexible that I often pop the SD card out through the door!
    In today's day and age, a common complaint is that something is bad as a computer and good as a paperweight. To be honest, I see this product as very much the other way around.
    It's fantastic at recording, but it's a terrible paperweight.

  • from Belews Creek, NC USA March 21, 2010Music Background:
    Musician, Recording enthusist

    Really Nice

    I am usually disappointed with my purchases due to reviews that leave out some critical piece of info. Not this time. This is a really nice recorder with impressive recording abilities. Listening to my first live recording at church using only the recorders mics blew me away like the first time you see a high def TV. it roughly the size of your extended hand, minus thumb, which is honestly very compact considering the inputs, controls and display. The back is threaded so you can attach it to your camera stand which is nice or you can use the supplied adapter for to use a mic stand. I bought this recorder to help making quality spot recordings for instrument practice at home with plenty of options for recording inputs. It's pricey, but quality does not come cheap. Sweetwater's customer service was first rate! I will definitely be giving them more business.

  • from Baja, CA, Mexico March 16, 2010Music Background:
    Sound Engineer

    breathtaking, but only as good as your noise floor

    I wrote a review when I first received this unit, now a year later I have to update it.
    The H4n is amazing. The built in mics are breathtaking. I was a little disappointed with my small venue recordings and even more disappointed with my large venue recordings because the bass wasn't crystal clear and the recordings sounded a little muddy. Due to inexperience I blamed the recorder. Recently some friends built a little sound insulated gig room and invited me to mix for them... so I got to use the H4n in basically a studio environment. The pros may laugh at this, but I can't see you getting a better, more clear and accurate recording with anything but the highest end mics... these are utterly amazing! I have material that is as clear, present, dynamic, accurate as any studio take.
    So where did my complaint about my small and large venue recordings come from? The high noise floor. In those live settings what we think is quiet is really pretty loud, especially for an instrument this sensitive. Any movement, whispers, activity, system noise is picked up by this machine.

    I stuck it in the middle of a grand piano just last night for a concert... breathtaking recording, but it picked up people in the venue reading their program during the performance as they moved the paper around. The mics are that sensitive. You can hear every nuance of every note on the piano. The stereo field is perfect, the recording I
    got is riveting, penetrating, encompassing, amazing.

    If you want an utterly breathtaking machine, this is it. If you want breathtaking recordings you have to do it in a quiet environment with a low noise floor. If you have a quiet room for your gigs and if your music is good your recordings can be studio quality. I am picking up tracks that are amazing!

  • from Frankfort, IN March 5, 2010Music Background:

    The Ultimate Field Recorder!

    Ive never written a review before. However, the H4n is such an awesome product that I decided to take the time to write and say how happy I am with it!! Ill start by saying this was one of the best purchases Ive made. The H4n is an exceptionally well designed product with a very well thought out feature set and very good build quality. It goes just about everywhere I go.
    Im not an impulse buyer (I shopped for three years before I finally purchased my Taylor 810), but the H4n so impressed me I purchased it less than a month after it was released. Ive had it for almost a year now and I like it at least as much as I did the day I got it.
    I had been looking for a stereo field recorder, but I didnt want to spend a few hundred $ on a single use product. I have a MOTU 8pre for my project studio, but I was wanting a more portable, bus-powered interface. I had looked at 4 trk recorders, but I couldnt justify the cost for my use. When the H4n came out advertised as a stereo field recorder with mp3 recording capabilities, multi-track record mode AND a two track, bus powered computer interface, it didnt take me long to decide THIS is what I needed.
    It was. On everything Ive used it on, it has performed VERY well, and along the way Ive discovered uses I did not even have in mind when I purchased it. It excels as a field recorder and Ive used it for recording everything from jam sessions to church services to concerts with very good results. Ive used the built-in mics to record myself singing and playing the guitar simultaneously with very passable results. Ive even recorded grand piano tracks with the built-in mics and I was very impressed by the sound.
    As a multi-track recorder, it is extremely simple to operate. 1. Execute a new project folder. 2. Select either the built-in mic or one or both of the XLR/TRS inputs. The input buttons glow red when selected. 3. Select one or two of the four track buttons. These buttons glow red when armed to record. 4. Press Record (which then glows red) to monitor your record levels. 5. Press Play to begin recording to the armed tracks. 6. Press Record to insert markers, press Play to pause, press Stop to stop recording. When you plug it into your computer the tracks show up as discrete audio files that are very simple to load into your DAW of choice (for me, that means Logic) for further editing.
    I have not used it as extensively as a computer interface, but the when I have, it has performed flawlessly with my MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard. It functions as a 2 in/ 2 out, 24 bit 48/44.1 khz bus powered interface. Set-up is idiot proof.
    This little recorder has become such a standby I broke the bank and purchased the RC4 remote and SKB hard shell case. Money well spent.
    Two of my favorite features: #1. In all modes, when an input clips, the red light for the input flickers. It makes it easy to see, even in the dark, when your input is distorting. If youre lucky enough to have the optional RC4 remote, the input lights on it glow yellow at -6 db and red at 0 db. #2. The H4n doubles as a SD card reader for transferring data, pics, etc. Very handy.
    One year after its release, there is not another recorder on the market that can touch the feature set of the H4n at ANY price. Would I buy it again? You betcha!!!!!!

  • from Cottonwood, Alaska February 24, 2010Music Background:
    Pro musician, electronics tech, luthier

    A lot for the dough

    I just unboxed this unit and have to say it's worth all the raving especially at this price. This is the first portable recorder I have owned since my mini disc went caput after taking it through airport security several years ago and it's miles ahead of that spinning technology. The built in mics are rather amazing sounding on my acoustic guitars and vocals and it has an easy user interface for people who just want to hit record and go.

    I bought this to do just that. Capture of rehearsals is a breeze. We'll be taking this to some out of the way places to record live and it seems perfect for that. The XLR combo jacks will let me take some real mics along and that's the feature that finally convinced me to give this recorder a try. The built in effects are just icing on the cake. The only little thing I don't like about it so far is the little jog wheel with it's push in function. It's easy to have your finger roll off of it when your pushing it in, which can result in the wrong function being selected. But that's a pretty small issue.

    The Cubase LE4 was a little hard to register and get going but with the included quick start guide and careful reading of the on-line instructions at Steinberg's site I managed to boot it up and record some test tracks in usb mode without having to call tech support.

    All in all this little wonder would work for a lot of different projects including ENG and film where smpte is not required. Now it's a piece of cake to record in my living room again! Whoopee!

  • from February 10, 2010

    I like it!

    I dont write many reviews but I was so impressed by this device that I decided to give it props.

    Despite how feature rich this thing is, it is amazingly easy to use. I glanced through the handbook that comes with it, and I was off and running.

    After recording a few songs using the balanced inputs and then using the built in compression mics, I listened back and 2 things hit me: 1) how intuitive the menu system is; and 2) the clarity and detail of the recordings.

    This unit gets a big thumbs up from me.

  • from Richmond VA February 8, 2010Music Background:
    Sound recordist, boom operator

    Great buy

    I bought this item last spring. And have used it on various means. One thing i find it useful is for field recording. The small onboard mics, are great for wides. The battery get sucked down very fast if its powering a mic that needs phantom power. For field recording using shotgun mics that need phantom power, id suggest using a field mixer into into the XLR inputs. The XLR inputs are a huge reason to buy it over most of the other portable recorders. Anyway the quality is great and it has alot of different modes and effects. For the money its the best.

  • from Chattanooga, TN February 6, 2010Music Background:
    Turnkey production & agency

    Amazing Stuff

    Toying with the idea for well over 2 years, I needed my studio room for other purposes. I was torn: dynamic mic vs. condenser, acoustics, noise floor, you name it. But less than 15 minutes out of the box, I had recorded voice tracks for two radio commercials. Blew me away. 10x cleaner, egonomic...didn't even use download. Just plugged the SD card into my desktop with CEP. Couldn't be easier. Results speak for themselves. Station personnel commented immediately. Now that room is available for alternate use. The RE-20 rejected any spurious noise I was worried about. I love it!

  • from Israel November 28, 2009Music Background:

    The more I use it the more I fall in love.

    Wow this thing rules. I recently used it for a whole song. Recorded drums in four channel mode. Those mics make stunning overheads. channels one and two for kick and snare, guess which mics I used. Afterwards I loaded those tracks onto my MAC. I used cubase which came with the unit, Awsome. The rest of the song the zoom was my interface. It sounds so nice, I racked up about 32 tracks. Good work Zoom.

  • from Palo Alto, CA November 23, 2009Music Background:
    Professional recording engineer, producer, BMI publisher and composer.

    Great recorder, with some caveats

    I've had the Zoom H4N for a little over a week and can report that, overall, it is a great recorder. Using the included handle, I set it up in front of my Taylor 810 Ltd Edition acoustic. I also plugged the Taylor into one of the line inputs and recorded a bit of playing in 4-track mode. I was blown away when I imported the tracks into Protools and adjusted the playback levels. The electret condenser mics combined with the direct input sounded great, with little to no added noise.

    I also did some archival recording using only the line inputs running off the unbalanced RCA tape outputs on a couple of Mackie mixers. Here is where I had issues. Even at the lowest input settings (0.1 on a scale of 0.1 to 100), the peak overload lights would flash and the files would be distorted on loud portions. And this is with the Mackie showing peaks of +4 or so on the meters. The preamp inputs were being overdriven, regardless of the record settings. Not good. I ended up making a pair of attenuation cables using resistors inside Switchcraft 1/4" plugs to knock down the level. This did the trick but it seems like Zoom missed the boat on this one. I have had similar issues with the M-Audio recorders as well.

    I read through the manual and it seems there is a lot this little recorder can do. I'm not sure I'll ever use the different DSP plug-ins, amp simulations, or karaoke functions, but they are there.

    All in all, a great sounding recorder when you can tame the line input levels. I have not tried outboard mics to see if there is any issue using the XLR inputs.

  • from Massachusetts November 20, 2009Music Background:

    Great System!

    Had Cakewalk on PC for years but this little gem has really changed everything! The 4 track mode takes a little time to get to know but I was using this the same day I got it. Outstanding microphone! Make sure you get 2 things - Card is way too small! Buy as large as possible if you are remotely using. wma to MP3 converter software...oh and rechargeable batteries!

  • from New City, NY September 9, 2009Music Background:
    Recording Enginner, Songwriter, Guitarist

    Handiest music tool I've ever purchased.

    I can't say enough good things about the Zoom H4n. It does so much, and it does pretty much everything very well. Firstly, I find the menu system very intuitive, and I easily found my way around with only a few glances at the manual when I wasn't sure what something was or how to do something. But the quick access controls are all there and very well placed. MTR Mode (Multi-track) is surprisingly easy to use. Often on smaller devices doing stuff like multi-track recording can get tedious very quickly and impede one from getting anything done. Not so here. It's real quick and easy to start layering up tracks and demoing songs wherever you might be. At home, in the car, on vacation, at work (don't let the boss catch ya), etc. I also find MTR mode to be an excellent practice amp, especially for bass. I use it either with headphone, or plug it into my stereo for practice. It has a number of amp models built into it, SVT sounding especially good for bass. There are many for guitar as well. Sound quality for recording is awesome for acoustic guitar with the built in mics. I haven't use external mics for anything yet, but I have tested it with my Blue Bluebird and it worked very well. I keep finding new uses for this tool/toy/gear. It's great. Speaking of accessories, the plastic case really is very simple, but it's quite a brilliant thing to have included. It allows you to toss the H4n into a cable bag without any fear of damage. The included windscreen isn't great, but it definitely helps. The mic stand adapter is also very simple, but a brilliant little tool. I even use it for my camcorder sometimes because it's the same size thread. Seriously, I could go on and on about this thing, because it does everything you want it to do, does it well, and continues to reveal new uses for itself. They packed a lot under the hood with this thing. In my opinion, if you are looking for a field recorder that caters especially to musicians, you cannot go wrong with the H4n. Nor will you get as much as this offers from any other brand/model.

  • from Cleveland, OH / Las Vegas, NV July 13, 2009Music Background:
    Music producer hobbyist, aspiring professional in film audio and music production

    Great Recorder For The Money!!!

    Im a hobbyist music producer/writer and in college for Audio Production. I ought this thing to help me with recording sounds for projects. For that type of use, just pair it up with whatever shotgun mic(the reason i was considering this recorder more heavily was because of the 2 xlr/balnced line inputs, which i couldnt find any other recorder that had the) youre using and youll get an amzing sound. Excellent preamps. Easy and diverse interface. I also use this sometimes to overdub guitar on instrumentals Ive made on my computer. all you ahve to do is make a MTr(multitrack) session on the recorder, then drop your file into that folder from your computer. (note: you must make the session on the recorder first! my only problem with this device, really). Its mics are pretty goodand come out very clear. Depending on what youre using them for, thay can work pretty well. Especially for the road. If you can afford it and ahve a use for portable recorder, this is the one to get.

  • from California June 19, 2009Music Background:
    Serious amateur rocker; sound engineer; video producton.

    Great too for video!

    I video school plays and other events with up to three cameras. With the advent of HDV, if don't get 48/16PCM anymore (like I did the DV); I would run mic cables under the seats (etc.) so I could get better sound with close mic'ing (using Rode NT4 and NT5 mics). Lots of cables, lots of opportunity for "whoops" as kids run around, etc.

    With the Zoom H4n, I can use the high quality internal mics (maybe not as good as the Rode NT4, but quite good none the less) for a center X/Y, with variable angle, and place a pair of NT5's extreme left and right (with the omni capsule) to catch audio in the wings, as well as "extreme" stereo.

    Recoding in 48/16PCM WAV, the files go right into Final Cut Pro, no fuss, no muss, and as long as you use on cam mics for "sync" (clapper or other sharp sound is essential), I'm synced with video in a few minutes.

    Great product: the 4 channel operation, phantom power, SDHC flash card capability, and decent compressor/limiter ( at least as good as "auto gain" audio on my cams), I get high quality audio tracks with a minimum of fuss.

  • from Baja, CA, Mexico June 6, 2009Music Background:
    Live Sound Engineer

    exceptional unit

    Zoom H4n Review

    I bought this unit to replace my laptop and audio interface. I wanted something easier to carry around and set up, and I wanted to get away from ASIO issues and drop outs in my recordings. I live in Mexico and mix and record about 11 hours of live services a week. We have a lot of dynamic worship here; I love being able to capture it at its best.
    I think the H4n is a genuinely well crafted instrument worth every penny. The built in mics (BIMs) aren’t perfect but are pretty close to amazing for what they do. Yes, they give a perfect stereo image; listening to a recording puts you right back in the soundstage; breathtaking. They pick up all but the lowest grinding bass. They don’t capture everything perfectly flat in my opinion but they do capture everything. With a pass of EQ you can get your recording to match what you heard pretty darn close. I cannot detect ANY self noise from the BIMs. In the raw I don’t think you’d be able to cut a CD from recording any live performance and think it was perfect, but you can get material that is very high quality and well worth listening to and well worth sharing and using for reference material and performance evaluation. Bottom line, the BIMs are impressive and do a much better job than I ever dreamt they could.
    The wind screen, an extension cable for headphones, and the remote are all necessary. Any touch to any part of the unit while recording with its BIMs sounds like a building falling on top of it. Any breeze sounds like a tidal wave washing over it.
    The remote comes with an extra extension cable in addition to the 6’ cable attached to it. Nice touch Zoom. The buttons on the remote don’t have good feedback. What were they thinking? The remote has tiny indicator lights to let you know if you’re recording or in standby. Very nice touch.
    Beware the mic clip adapter!!! It’s the grey thing that lets you use a mic stand to hold the unit. Great idea! All the music we play has content that rattles cabinets and shelves and walls and usually buildings. Even with homemade foam isolation pads the unit pics up lots of vibrations when mounted on a mini tripod and set anywhere in the sound booth. Mounting it on a mic stand takes care of the issue completely. But… first off, the adapter is too small for the average mic clip. I had to wrap mine with a thin piece of leather before it would sit snugly in a standard mic clip… only to find that the glue they use to hold the top of the adapter (the part screwed into your expensive and most valuable H4n) to the cone part doesn’t hold! I found this out when I went to adjust my unit in a mic clip while it was 6’ above a concrete floor and the unit with the top part of the adapter came off in my hand. The glue they use doesn’t hold. I used PVC primer and pipe dope for black plastic pipe and fused the parts together for life, just like Zoom should have done. Again, beware the mic clip adapter!
    If you need a power supply with a longer cord the Tascam PS-P520 power adapter works perfectly and reaches about 12’. Identical connector, same voltage and polarity, twice the rating, twice the cord reach.
    For recording I use the unit mostly in the 4 channel mode. Along with recording with the BIMs I am recording a direct signal from a soundboard or from a dedicated recording mixer which comes off a soundboard and has a house mic signal and other mods worked into it. As a direct signal recorder it’s perfect. Direct signals seem a little hot for it and so I use much lower settings for recording, around 7 out of 100. The recording level controls work perfect for me, I am sure I can record any level of signal through the BIMs or direct inputs without clipping. I cannot discern any loss of material when using even the lowest settings.
    The direct input recording quality is perfect. Perfect.
    I have not used the unit with external mics.
    I haven’t used the unit as a computer interface but I did install the ASIO drivers and hooked it up once using Cubase. It was recognized perfectly and I am confident it would work flawlessly as an interface.
    One thing I don’t like is that when I record in 4 channel mode I don’t think there’s a way to monitor either the BIMs or the direct inputs separately… you monitor the sum of them mixed. I would love to monitor either/or and not both.
    If you didn’t know, you can either record two separate stereo tracks (BIMs on one stereo track, direct inputs on the other; independent levels) or you can record the sum of them to one stereo track of which you can control their levels and pans in the mix independently. Very nice!
    When recording in 4 channel mode you have to record in WAV format, CD quality. It’s only when recording in 2 channel mode where you can choose to record in lower bit rates or other formats such as MP3. With a 16 GIG SDHC card you get over 12 hours recording time in 4 channel mode, WAV CD quality. I have no complaints here! The machine continually displays remaining recording capacity while recording. Nice touch, again.
    Firmware updates are simple once you get past the poor translation of the manual. I believe this is the only thing you’ll need the manual for, everything else is perfectly intuitive. Nice job Zoom.
    If I had one request it would be for a 15 band EQ on the BIMs. I think everyone in the world would customize the profile of what they wanted to pick up with the BIMs, and would be more than delighted to record with them. I believe it would make the unit twice as appreciable for most people.
    Data transfer is perfect and fast.
    The unit automatically starts a new file once it reaches the 2 GIG limit for any file while recording. It does this pretty quick. Merging these files is nearly seamless, leaving an audible tick but no discernible gap, I believe the tick is editable to nil.
    Watch out for Hosa 1 / 4 “ connectors. First time I used Hosa cables I could barely get them disconnected from the unit… it took way too much force to remove them. The unit doesn’t play well with Hosa connectors. Other makes fit perfectly.
    In closing: I reviewed everything out there. The Sony PCM D-50 probably has better BIMs. Nothing else holds a candle to this unit for build, recording quality, features, accessories, and user interface. That’s my opinion. That’s where my money would go again if I had to replace it. I probably spend 50 plus hours a week with this unit or the music I record with it; I sincerely appreciate every minute of it.

  • from Whitsett, NC USA April 27, 2009Music Background:
    Musician, Race Car Driver

    Couldn't ask for More

    I have this unit and am Very Happy with the Quality of the unit. It is easy to learn, just follow the manual and you are ready to go. I have used this for 5 different Jobs and it does a fantastic job recording. I had the Boss Micro BR and was happy with that but someone stole it out of my truck, Anyway this is a better unit than the Boss. I do recommend this if you are in the market.

  • from Texas City, TX April 21, 2009Music Background:
    I play here and there. Lots of recording.


    This is really nice, great sound quality, many features. I do think the H4 is a bit easier to use. This one has a bit more of a learning curve. You can't beat the sound. It is much more solid/sturdy then the H4 or H2. I like it

  • from Boulder, CO USA April 16, 2009Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Recording Engineer

    Fabulous Portable Recorder for Musicians

    Having previously owned several digital portable digital recorders in the past that failed to live up to their marketing hype I was somewhat skeptical regarding the new Zoom H4n. However since the feature set seemed ideal and Sweetwaters return policy generous I decided to give it a try.

    So it arrived yesterday and I immediately slipped in a PNY 8GB SD card and recorded my beloved Kenny Hill Master Grade Crossover 14 Nylon String Guitar with the Mic axis set to 90 degrees. I recorded various songs at 24bit by 96khz and 24bit by 48khz. I was BLOWN AWAY by the detailed and accurate recordings I achieved so easily with the built in Mics. All the nuances were there with near no coloration and the ambience was crisp and forward. The internal Mics are very respectable and the noise floor is LOW.

    With the H4n I can record my Acoustic Guitars most anywhere without dragging around alot of extra gear and get great recordings ready to be Mastered. Just load tracks into my Protools DAW and add the finishing touches.

    The only caveat I can see is the 4 Track Mode runs the Stereo Mics and Both Line Inputs at once. My guitars have Mono Passive Preamps so I will have to split that mono signal into a stereo signal to capture both Mic and DI (blend). I can hardly wait for the Remote.

    All in all this has to be one of the best purchases I have ever made. Well worth the money. If you are a musician this thing is a God Send.

    Highly Recommended.

  • from Jasper, GA March 24, 2009Music Background:
    Semi-Pro Musician, Home Recordist and Hobbyist, etc..

    I Really Love This Thing!!

    I'm really taken by surprise at how wonderful this thing sounds!!! I tell ya, If I had an extra computer, It would make a Great Audio Interface as well. There doesn't seem to be the latency issues that I've had with another interface(which will remain nameless). Unfortunately, I only have one computer and it is pretty tied up doing other things!! But I can dream! Kudos to Zoom for such a well thought out Device!!

  • from Jasper, Georgia March 21, 2009Music Background:
    Semi-Pro Musician and Singer, Home Recordist and Hobbyist,etc.

    Another Great Recorder From Zoom!!

    I have to say I'm very impressed with this device!! I also have an H2 that I'm still quite crazy about. But this is definitely quite a few steps up from the H2! The new on board mics sound fantastic!! The digital pre-amp sounds out of this world when I plug my Rode NT1-A Condenser into it. So far, I've worked with the Stereo and MTR Modes. Maybe someday I'll get to better utilize the 4 Channel Mode(My current situation seems too cramp for that). I need to start gigging again. LOL! I think I may have to definitely get the Edirol Mic Mount and the Zoom RC4 Remote to help me get cleaner recordings. Yep, I'm blown away again! Keep it up Zoom!!

  • from Dallas / Fort Worth March 20, 2009Music Background:
    Recording Engineer


    I know it sounds to good to be true... I mean, this 4-track just does too many things and has too many options to be good, right? I know that's what I thought when I bought the earlier version (Zoom H4), but I'm telling you this little recorder ROCKS!

    Every issue I had with the old H4 has been addressed with this new H4n! There's SO MANY possible applications for this thing. If you're into audio, video, or journalism in any way YOU NEED to get one of these! I've been using it to record music for the most part and the sound quality is amazing for such an affordable piece of gear (I almost wish I could keep this thing as a secrect). Just buy it.

  • from calgary, alberta March 13, 2009Music Background:

    Solid Machine

    An excellent recorder. I plugged a boom mic/lav combo or film work. I used the 48khz and 24bit setting. Excellent clean recordings and the quality gives much more expensive recorders a run for their money. Im trying to find out the best batteries to use with the unit since i have phantom power going on both channels.
    The unit is small and very well built. Im satisfied.

  • from March 3, 2009Music Background:
    Musician, amateur recordist.

    The most useful recorder for musicians.

    I ordered the H4n the same day it arrived at Sweetwater and three days later (USPS) I received it. ZOOMed across the Caribbean for little shipping money.

    It is top-heavy without the batteries, not so much with them. It feels very solid, well build and heavy overall, definitely not a toy. The manual, in English is well ilustrated and spaced, but the English in it reads like a cheap translation from Japanese. So be prepared to read the same paragraph a few times to get the meaning. ZOOM needs to release an updated version revised by a native English speaker.

    Luckily the H4n is quite intuitive. After batteries and a quick firmware update I tested the unit with a classical guitar. I was blown away by the quality and the sensitivity of the mics. I was about 3-4 feet away and was getting a very hot level. Very detailed as well.

    I later downloaded the latest ASIO driver from ZOOM Japan and tested the H4n as an audio interface to Sonar5. The driver is made by CEntrance, famous for their quality audio drivers. And it showed. The recordings in Sonar were great, without the dreaded crackles and other artifacts common with cheap usb audio implementations. Very easy to setup. It is usb bus powered in this configuration. I liked the way it connects from it's power-off state upon plugging the H4n to a pc: It boots without any button pressing, asks you for the usb mode (Audio I/O v.s. Mem Card Reader, and it connects. No menu drilling at all.

    There are many other features, not tested yet, but so far I'm very satisfied.

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