Let’s take this product:
- US + International: Zoom H4N Handy Portable Digital Recorder
- RO: ZOOM H4n – Dispozitiv portabil de inregistrare audio (card SD – F64 OR Reportofon Digital Mobil Zoom H4N, Negru/Argintiu – eMAG.ro
which looks like this, after about one year of hands-on experience:
When reading this review, please note the circumstances I use the product:
- I am at a conference, I need to do multiple things at once (photo + video + pay attention to what is happening at the event), thus I film / photograph / record audio on auto, I don’t stay in front of the machine all that much, so I need to have some freedom.
- I tend not to care for my products a lot, and I am a bit clumsy.
- I push products to their extreme, I force things, I push things, I drop things. Thus, I look for products who are more prone to resisting to my (unwanted) powers).
- I have quite some experience in event recording, on these areas: photography / video / audio. See some reviews I made here.
- The current review will probably amaze you on how little emphasis I put on the quality of the product itself. The thing is, I know little of my equipment, and I know even little-er on other similar equipment. So, while I can tell you my equipment is good or not, I can’t make evaluations such as “it’s the best in his class”, or “this is a best buy”. Despite my experience with documenting events, I’m a beginner in hardware testing. So, take this review as it was meant to be – in no way to save you from reading an actual review from a reputable web site about the product. You should do this! Instead, my review is focused on giving you some feed-back you might get in other places.
- If you think it is impossible to read a detailed review about an external microphone, without any other comments about the recording quality, other than “it’s OK”, you are wrong. This is that kind of a review!
The videos I made about the product:
- What are my needs? I need to connect both a video camera and the external microphone to an electrical outlet. The problem is that the cord of the H4N is just too small for my needs (I measured it after I made the video and it’s around 170 cm, something like that. This is the biggest problem I have with the product. It’s a thin cable, it could have been easy to make it longer.
- This is what I bought: Prelungitor BRENNENSTUHL 141819, 3 prize, 5m, negru | ALTEX; and these are similar, but not relevant enough, products: Prelungitor HAMA 30391, 3 iesiri, 1.4m | ALTEX and, also: Prelungitor HAMA 30392, 3 iesiri cu buton, 1.4m | ALTEX.
- Also, I have an USA – EU adapter (VCT Electronics VP11B Grounded Europe Adapter – USA To Europe Heavy Duty Adaptor Plug German Schuko, or this one: 20112 6A 2-Round-Pin Plug Power Adapters – Black + Silver (125~250V) – Free Shipping – DealExtreme), but the problem is the plug from H4N doesn’t stay all that well when connected.
- I like the box the product comes with a lot.
- I might have some problems with the fact that the microphone has some plastic covers right at the top. And those are important, they protect the microphone, but they seem fragile.
- One can press some buttons on the H4N accidentally, and this might cause the sound recording to get no signal (details in the video).
- Also, to record something you have to press REC two times to both send signal to the video camera and record an audio file. If you start the recording at a time which is not right, you have to press 3 times to start recording again. It’s too much.
- I didn’t allow the microphone to work on level auto, because it made the average volume too low (I’m no expert in this, so I might be wrong with this).
- The speakers of the H4N are very poor.
- I don’t especially like
- You can find audio cables with various length to connect the product to a video camera. Examples: 3.5mm Male to Male Audio / Video Black Connection Cable (910cm) OR AM to AF OFC USB 3.0 High Speed Extension Flat Cable – Black (100cm) – Free Shipping – DealExtreme OR USB 2.0 Male to Female Extension Flat Cable – Black (150cm) – Free Shipping – DealExtreme OR 3.5mm Male to Male Extension Audio Cable – Black (500cm) – Free Shipping – DealExtreme. I bought about 6 cables like this. I did ran into some problems with 10m cables, at times they didn’t work anymore.
- A product you might be interested in: small tripod search on Amazon.com.
- When I work at a conference, I always save a backup audio file on the external microphone, not to depend on the video camera only).
Some official product photos: