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Thread: Zoom H4n - Any opinions?

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    Zoom H4n - Any opinions?

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    So I'm thinking about buying the Zoom H4n. Just home recording guitar, vocals, and piano. I've seen lots of good quality recordings of instruments but was wondering if they were good for vocals too. So yea if you have a zoom h4n or know about them just tell me more about it please

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    Personally, I think the thing rocks! However, I would plug a mic into it for recording most things. It's not that the stereo mics suck, I just have better ones for most purposes. That's one of the best things about it- you can plug any mic into it, including ones that need phantom power. It's a versatile little workhorse..

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    Ok so i dont have any mics. What value in dollars do you think I would have to spend to get a better quality mic than the ones already on it?

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    I would recommend this:

    Marshall Electronics MXL V67G | 8thstreet.com | Call 1-800-878-8882 | Most Orders Ship Free!

    And it's not so much that the mics on the H4n aren't that good. It's more that a stereo pair of small diaphragm condensers wouldn't be my first choice for vocals, although they're pretty good on acoustic guitar or general stereo recording, like a choir. For a single voice, I would be more likely to choose a larger diaphragm mic. If your room has a fair amount of background noise, you might do better with a dynamic cardioid mic, such as:

    Sennheiser E835 | 8thstreet.com | Call 1-800-878-8882 | Most Orders Ship Free!

    or:

    Shure SM58-LC | 8thstreet.com | Call 1-800-878-8882 | Most Orders Ship Free!

    You can find either one of those out there used for a lot less money.

    If you have access to ebay, there are a lot of used dynamics out there that would work fine. Although discontinued, there are a lot of these out there, and they are among my favorites:

    AKG EMOTION D770, D 770 MICROPHONE -NICE! | eBay

    There's a "buy it now" for $60, and they can often be found even cheaper. Good luck-Richie

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    Ok thanks a lot. Yea I usually see people who use the zoom h4n use outside mics for vocals and I never knew why. But how can I tell if my room has a lot of background noise? Its fairly small but has no parallel surfaces.

    EDIT: Oh and I will be moving into dorms very soon and so do you think that would have lots of background noise or no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tropical View Post
    Ok thanks a lot. Yea I usually see people who use the zoom h4n use outside mics for vocals and I never knew why. But how can I tell if my room has a lot of background noise? Its fairly small but has no parallel surfaces.

    EDIT: Oh and I will be moving into dorms very soon and so do you think that would have lots of background noise or no?
    Reasons to use an external mic- First, in 4-track mode, you can use an external mic *and* the onboard mics, and then use either or both in the final recording. Second, you can use better mics (if you have them). Third, you can use *different* (not necessarily better) mics. Mics are tools. If they all did the same thing, recording studios would have 100 mics, all the same. That would be like a hot babe with 100 identical dresses. Lastly, you can put the mic where you aren't, and you can push the cool buttons on the Zoom without having the onboard mics record your button-pushing, and generalized handling noise. Note that the external remote control (accessory- not included, as a rule, about $20) helps with that too. For instance, you can use the handle as a mic stand adapter, using the onboard mics as drum overheads, and put 2 dynamics on kick and snare,record all 4 tracks, and control the H4n from across the room.

    And as far as dorms go, they are *the worst*, especially those 1970's prefab boxes. Bizzillions of loud people with their tunes. But- I'll give you a couple of useful tips. First, try recording acoustic guitar in a stairwell of a dorm at about 04:00 in the morning (I don't recommend The Who at that hour - don't ask how I know that :-)). The natural reverb can be astounding. Next- if your school has a music dept, they will have practice rooms, which are generally better prepared acoustically than most random spaces. Take a music class or two, or just talk to the Profs. At about 02:00AM, when most of the music students are asleep, there can be quiet time. And then you get a good room and peace and quiet.

    How do you know if your room is noisy? I'll tell you. Put on a set of cans (headphones), plug them into that Zoom. Set it on a tripod (another useful accessory) so you are not hearing handling noise, and crank it up a bit. What you are about to learn is that you live in a world with noise you never even dreamed of, because you're not a dog. You can't hear the high frequencies that Rover can, but you're about to have hearing as sensitive as his, or more. Mics pick up *everything*. It's what they do. When I had a recording consultant doing a shakedown cruise on my first studio, I knew I had the right guy when Aidas put on the cans and says, "Jesus, what's that noise? It sounds like a grandfather clock!- Oh...lose the watch." You're about to live in a world where you can hear a cat walking on a pile carpet. Give up the idea that you can get rid of noise by electronic razzle-dazzle after the fact. Your first mission is to find a quiet place to record that sounds good. Good luck. We'll be there for ya'.

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    i love mine with one major clause , if you want to play and sing at same time , the effects you put on you guitar will be on your vocals , only way round this is to record seperate , but if like me you film , you cant do this ,, its a shame zoom cant sort this instead of a single blanket effect being able to add effects seperately would be great

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