I wish they would publish some specifications. Sadly Samson makes some
junk, several pieces of which I own. I'd be suspicious until there's an
> The Zoom H4 is the latest entry into the low-price field recorder
> sweepstakes. Read about it here
> The Zoom H4 has several features to distinguish it from low-cost
> competitors like the Sony MZ-RH1 minidisc recorder, the M-Audio
> Microtrack 2496 CF recorder, and the Edirol R-09 SD recorder.
> To start with, the H4 has a street price of $300, cheaper than its
> Next, the H4 has decent quality mic capsules built in. They are set
> up in X/Y fashion at one end of the recorder, similar to the approach
> Sony took with its PCM-D1 model.
> If you prefer external mics, the H4 has two combination XLR/7mm phone
> jack inputs, not the smaller and less durable 3.5mm TRS mini-jack used
> in the other recorders. The H4 can provide 48V phantom power for pro
> mics as well.
> The Zoom H4 records WAV files up to 24/96, too.
> Last, when attached to your PC via USB 2.0 port, the H4 can act as a
> digital audio interface (like an external sound card) for recording
> direct to PC disc. The other recorders can transfer the files they
> recorded by USB, but can't act as a sound card.
> The H4 is powered by two AA batteries, which provide about four hours
> of recording time. Files are stored on Secure Digital flash memory
> cards. The largest capacity Zoom recommends is 2GB, but some owners
> report that the H4 recognises 4GB SD cards.
> The Zoom H4 is somewhat larger and heavier than the competition, but
> can be held in and controlled by one hand (ok, a large hand).
> Zoom H4........70 x 153 x 35 mm...volume 375 cc...190 g
> Edirol R-09....63 x 102 x 29 mm...volume 186 cc...146 g
> M-Audio 2496...57 x 105 x 29 mm...volume 174 cc...147 g
> Sony MZ-RH1....84 x 85 x 15 mm....volume 107 cc....96 g
> Zoom does not publish information about the H4's self-noise. It
> remains to be seen how noisy the pre-amp section is. At this price
> point I'm not expecting miracles.
> Another weak point of the H4 is that the "tape transport" controls for
> playback are via a menu rather than by buttons dedicated to play,
> pause, rewind and fast forward. Fortunately, there is a large button
> to start and stop recording without using the menus.
> As the name suggests, the H4 is a 4 track recorder. Just two tracks
> can come from mic inputs, however. The other tracks are played back
> from the H4's Secure Digital card. This lets a garage band mix vocals
> with previously recorded instrument tracks, for example.
> Even though the multi-track recording feature will have limited value
> to nature recordists, it might be fun to try to build a composite file
> of nature sounds like waves at the beach from recordings taken close
> to and far from the shore.
> The H4 is available now in limited quantities. I'll post links to
> sample recordings as I find them.