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I used only the so-called Stereo mode of the H-4. As far as I can tell

Subject: I used only the so-called Stereo mode of the H-4. As far as I can tell
the other mode, 4 Track mode, will not be of much use to me.
Message: 2. 
Subject: I had a bit of trouble with the unfamiliar human interface of the H-4. 
was easy to start recording, pressing the little control just so to stop a
recording was a bit tricky.
Message: 3. 
Subject: I set the level of the built-in mics to the max, and it was barely
adequate. This is not surprising, since the primary users of the H-4 are
garage-band musicians.
Message: 4. 
Subject: I noticed that when the recording mode was set to 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz or
MP3 recording there was an annoying high-pitched intermittent hum or beep on
the recording. I could not hear such a beep when using 96 kHz. This may be
due to a defect in my H-4 rather than a design flaw.
Message: 5. 
Subject: The provided foam windscreen is needed, but it falls off easily. I
essentially had to put it back on every time that I turned the H-4 on.
Message: 6. 
Subject: Fortunately the H-4 remembers its settings when powered off, so you 
have to reconfigure it every time you turn it on.
Message: 7. 
Subject: The built-in mics are rather noisy, but they are better mics than my 
dead Edirol R-1 had. The recordings that I made cleaned up nicely using
Message: 8. 
Subject: There is a Recording Standby state as well as a Recording state, but 
you begin recording you can't pause; you can only stop the recording.

In summary I would give my H-4 a grade of adequate. On a scale from 1 to 10
I would give it a 5 or 6. It's better than my old Edirol R-1, especially
since it has XLR connectors and phantom power.

For a beginner who is going to get one or more good mics I would advice
skipping over the H-4 in favor of one of the better recorders. I am quite
pleased with my Marantz PMD 660, even if it can't record at 96 kHz. For a
beginner who does not have a lot of money for mics right now I think that
the H-4 with its rather good built-in mics might be a good choice. When you
do get a good mic with an XLR connector that uses phantom power you can
still use it with the H-4.

For my application, a point-and-shoot backup recorder, the H-4 is more than
adequate. With the provided tripod connector I could even mount the H-4 onto
the end of my waking stick (which has a camera tripod connector) and use the
walking stick as a monopod for recording. This is not really necessary. I
had no trouble recording with the H-4 hand-held.

Robin Carter
Columbia, SC USA


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