I've been using the Zoom H4 for some time for recording dances as well as a
number of other situations, and am extremely pleased with it. The H4 costs
more than the H2, but the H4 has the advantage of having two input jacks
that accept both XLR and 1/4" phone plug connections. I regularly use this
ability to record from the "Tape/CD Out" jacks on the sound board. When
that's not possible the Zoom devices (either one) do a fabulous job with
their external mikes.
You can record at various sampling rates including MP3, standard CD quality
WAV files, plus two levels above that, and it has a built-in limiter and
compressor which I've found quite useful. Using NiMH 2700mAh rechargeable
batteries, I get 6-7 hours of recording time. And, recording at the CD
standard 44.1Khz rate to a WAV file, I can easily fit a long evening of
music on a 4GB SD card with room to spare.
The Zoom H2 is smaller, has four built-in mikes that you can use in twos or
all four for 90 degree, 120 degree or almost 360 degree recording and it has
a standard tripod mount. But, the H2 doesn't have the same inputs and input
control as the H4 (though it might accept a mini stereo mike input...). The
H4 has a clumsy wrap on tripod mount but I've gotten used to it. Both
devices suffer from a WAY too small screen, somewhat awkward controls and
the inability to skip ahead quickly when checking a large file (which is
what I always wind up with at a dance - a 1GB+ file for each half of the
If you are on a Mac and just getting started with sound editing, I highly
recommend the shareware editing program "Fission" by http://rogueamoeba.com
on 11/16/09 11:25 AM, J L Korr at jeremykorr(a)hotmail.com wrote:
I'm looking to say goodbye to the 1970s and replace my analog tape recorder
with a portable digital one. (My 4-year-old can inherit the old unit and play
around with it to his heart's delight.) The digital recorder will be used for
recording at dances as well as recording interviews in my professional life.
I've seen some callers and musicians using small digital recorders, but I know
little about the specific units. I'd appreciate advice on recommended digital
recorders and external microphone attachments, from those of you who have gone
down this path long before me. Thanks in advance!
Jeremy Korr, southern California
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