Zoom H4 Field Recorder

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by jeffhef, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. jeffhef

    jeffhef Member

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    I sprung for one of these this week. So far I'm pretty pleased. Pretty easy to use. It's a gfood thing cos the manual sucks. So far I've used it as an interface into the computer and to do Stereo and Multitrack recordings using the built in mic's. The Auto Gain function is pretty good for quick stuff.

    I'll be doing a recording of a full band tonight. I'll try to post some samples over the weekend.

    jeffhef
     
  2. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    Cool man! I love mine! if you have an Questions, I'd love to help you out, I know what you mean about that manual!!!
     
  3. EataPeach

    EataPeach Member

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    I'd like to hear more about this recorder.. Pros/Cons...I like that gain control you mentioned...

    I'm in the market for one presently.
     
  4. jeffhef

    jeffhef Member

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    The band recording came out crappy. Don't think it was the recorder's fault. I was going to record my son playing his Friday night gig at the church. When i got there the guitarist had cancelled so they asked me to play to help out.

    Well...I couldn't set it for auto gain because you have to get a sampling so I set the gain by what the manual recommends for a live band. Then I hit record and went up onstage to play without experimenting with placement or anything. Gain was WAY out of wack and basically most of the recording is heavily distorted. Also, I noticed someone standing in front of the unit during most of the set.

    Oh well...I'll try again later this week.

    jeffhef
     
  5. jeffhef

    jeffhef Member

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    I shopped around a lot and read a lot of reviews. This one just seemed to have a lot more capabilities than any of the others in the price range. Being able to run external mic's with XLR's AND use it as an Audio interface is just way beyond anything else I've seen.

    The multitrack recording is pretty easy to get the hang of. It's pretty straight forward. I've read a lot about the display being too small. Ok...it's small but not THAT small. I'm 47 years old and have to wear reading glasses. But even without my reading glasses I can see most of what I need to see.

    But the manual DOES suck. It's extremely disjointed and unclear in many areas. If you've done ANY recording you're gonna be able to figure this thing out pretty quick. If not...post questions here and one of us can help.

    I believe once I've gotten a few basics down I'm gonna be extremely pleased with this unit.

    jeffhef
     
  6. EataPeach

    EataPeach Member

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    Jeff,
    When recording in 4 track mode,is it track 1/2 in stereo,and the externals considered 3 and 4,giving you 4 tracks recording at once?
    Have you used it to record acoustic with just the built in mic?

    And yes,using it as an interface is a huge selling point.
     
  7. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    You can do 2 things when recording in 4track mode.

    There's a "stereo link" option that lets you link channel 1-2 and/or 3-4 thus using either each mic for each channel, or each input for each channel.

    I was thinking, the best way to record a band would be to run mics through a micromixer to adjust volumes and panning, then go out to the H4 in stereo mode to record it.
     
  8. Jason Myers

    Jason Myers Member

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    Been considering one myself. Carry on please:munch
     
  9. jeffhef

    jeffhef Member

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    Yes. I have used it to record acoustic with the built in mic's. I thought it worked great doing that. I can post a sample if you'd like.

    jeffhef
     
  10. EataPeach

    EataPeach Member

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    Jeff..
    Would you please?

    Thanks!
     
  11. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    I can help you out, I have 3 songs here you might enjoy giving a listen too.

    Junk - Paul McCartney
    pretty heavy ammount of echo on double tracked acoutics
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=758446&songID=6339482

    12 string acoustic test, just some noodling
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=758446&songID=6321549

    Slide demo - 70's beginner guitar
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=758446&songID=6525769

    Someone who paid attention to themselves could easily make em sound better, I just sat the H4 on a table and slid up close to it until it was loud enough!

    Hope it helps a bit!
     
  12. EataPeach

    EataPeach Member

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    Hey Thank for that!

    If it sounds that good "just sliding up to it",then thats a cool thing.

    What would you guys say about its ease of use?
     
  13. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    A bit of a learning curve, but if you attack it with a positive attitude and don't give up on it, it'll be great.
     
  14. EataPeach

    EataPeach Member

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    So I can record myself playing my reso,using the built in mics together(stereo) right in front of my guitar,and then have a room mic recording at the same time?
    Then ...copy a track to the fourth un-used track ,and add effects to it ? Pan accordingly etc???

    Thanks again
     
  15. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    Unfortunately, the H4 is limited to recording a max of 2 tracks at a time, either both mics at the same time, or both inputs at the same time.

    Personally, I record most everything in mono. to do what you want to do, you would need mics plugged into the inputs, with tracks 1/2 stereo linked (simply to ensure that both inputs are recording, rather than have both inputs record to a single track) and have one mic on the guitar and another for room.

    If you'd like to go even further into detail, you can purchase a micromixer with 2 outputs (left and right). You can use the inputs on the micromixer for as many mics as you want. mix levels and panning on the micromixer, and send the outputs to the inputs of the H4 and record it in stereo mode!

    Making any sense? or should I go to bed????!!!
     
  16. EataPeach

    EataPeach Member

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    Makes sense,and thanks for the info.
     
  17. jeffhef

    jeffhef Member

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    Looks like a good acoustic sample's already been posted so I won't inflict my playing on you.

    The multitrack recording I've done has been using my acoustic just fooling around to get the hang of it. I recorded one track then played it back and recorded a second & third track along with it. I used a set of headphones to monitor the playback.

    I'm going to try again tonight to record a live band. Any hints from anyone on how to get the best recording? The setup is this...

    Everything is mic'ed and going through the mains. Bass is direct and comes out the mains and subs. Guitar amps are mic'ed in a seperate room so no stage bleed. My main concern is that the drums will overpower the mains since the drummer plays pretty hard. He is behind a plexi shield however.

    I'm thinking about setting up beside one of the side fills to get mostly the house mix.

    I could come off the board but would really like to experiement using the internal mics to see what kind of quality I can get. SHould I use one of the mic emulations? How about effects?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,

    jeffhef
     
  18. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    in my experience recording bands with an H4, I'd suggest usign the low gain setting, with the input level below 100.

    Don't use the limiter. It won't clip, but you'll hear a weird pulsating sound throughout the recording if ever you get close to peak, and it sounds just awful.

    Best you can do is get everyone to play their loudest for a second to let the H4 set it's level automatically. As long as no one goes over their loudest (If that were possible) you shouldn't hear clipping.

    I don't recommend using the mic models, they simply color the sound.

    Later, you can use Cubase to add compression to the track or whatever to balance things out and whatnot
     
  19. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    Can you use this thing to record rehearsal without plugging anyone into the unit? How about placement, do you need a stand?
     
  20. Totally Bored

    Totally Bored Member

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