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nick60

Zoom H-4

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I am looking to record my practicing and when the wife an I play together. It looks like the zoom is a nice unit. How is the sound quality and how is the included software?

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I like it, but getting a good sound when recording violin is tricky. I do not think it is the machine but rather the nature of the violin. Other instruments like guitar are easier to record. Position and room dynamics would need some consideration. Of all such devices, I think the H4 is the only one that is literally a four track recorder with punch in/out editing and effects like reverb, though these features might not be of interest to some.

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I don't have the H4, but I do own the H2.  It's really a good

value for the money ($199.00).  You can read reviews of the

Zoom recorders at zzounds.com

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My concern with the H4 is that it uses an X/Y mic arrangement (the crossed pair style you see in the pictures). This is great for recording ensemble work, but has the potential for "hole in the middle" sound with solo violin, since both mics are pointed away from the center. The H4 also has a reputation for horrible ergonomics.

I've been trying to make a decision on a flash recorder myself and just don't have enough to go on, but I lean toward the Zoom H2 or Edirol R-09.

The H2 seems to have M/S (mid-side) mic'ing that includes a mic capsule pointing toward the center. I have use an old Sony M/S mic for years, starting with cassette and now with my CD recorder, and have been happy with the results. I've bought more expensive mics trying to improve on the sound, but have not been successful (for my purposes). The H2 gets reports for good sound and much improved ergonomics.

I think the Edirol R-09 must use A/B spaced pair mic arrangement. This has both mics pointing straight forward. It gets good reports for sound quality.

I am no pro, so am only reporting what I've been able to find. GMM22 is absolutely right on the money about the difficulty of getting good sounding recordings or violin. A good sounding room is more than half the battle. I'm a fiddle player and after much experiment have had to make some unusual choices to get a sound that I like in recordings. I'll try to post a sound file later so you can hear what I mean.

Perhaps Allen will comment here. I believe he is a recording engineer and I know that I would value some knowledgeable guidance.

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These (H4) are the talk of the town here in the UK.....I know a few people keen to get one ASAP.

Don't know much yet...but it looks really good...as long as it has inbuilt reverb, it should be ok for recording Violin.

Keen to hear more!

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At the risk of sounding like a cheapskate -- which I am -- I recently discovered that my digital camera can make sound-only recordings. I, too, was contemplating buying a digital recorder for my own use, as I had grown tired of the poor sound-quality of my cassette recorder.

I have a Pentax Optio 5 megapixel camera, intended for still photos, but will take videos as well. In the manual, under voice recording, are the steps needed to use the camera as an audio recorder. This creates .wav files on my SD card. My .5 gig card claims to hold 17 hours of sound files.

I can then transfer the .wav files onto my Mac, via the card reader, and into iTunes. From there, I can listen to it on my computer, or burn it onto a CD for the stereo.

Or, I can change it into an mp3 file, and post it on the internet. I have one such recording on my fiddle hangout page at --

http://www.fiddlehangout.com/m...out/music.asp?id=2032

It was a quick trial while sitting at my work bench, but seems to catch the jist of what I played at that time.

If you have the proper flash player, you can click on the tune title (Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine). If not, you'll hear nothing, or a quick 'chipmunk' version. In that case, you can try the download button and listen to it with your computer's media reader.

It is by no means super stereo quality, but it is adequate for listening to my mistakes, and I think the sound quality is superior to my cassette. So if you're looking for great sound-quality of the Zooms (which I'd like to try some day) this is not for you. But, if you're cheap and just trying to improve your playing, you might look at your digital camera and see if it could work.

Ken

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Mark Crabtree wrote: "I had assumed the OP was looking for better sound quality which is not all that easy to get even with something like the Zoom."

He may well be, and I did not intend to derail the thread. But, he did use the words 'practice' and 'wife and I' which seemed an intent towards informal recording. I've heard some output from these recorders, and they are impressive, but when recording in your living room, in a concert hall, or a jam session, you do have the limits of the surroundings and instrument placement. So, do you get that much more for your money with a digital recorder? I don't know, and I'd like to hear other folks experiences.

As a cheapskate, I do like the idea of one piece of equipment, which I already own, being recruited into a new use. Someone intending to purchase a rather expensive piece of equipment might want to see if what they already have could serve adequately.

Ken

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I would like decent quality. But I also would like to have it conveniant. I dont know if I want to have mics stands and cords running all over the living room. I do like the 4 track feature with the H-4. Has anyone use Cubase (the supplied program)?

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I have used it very lightly, but for what its worth, it seems respectable and is probably more than adequate for most first time users. However, at some level, opinions do not help. Take any product, exceptionally good or exceptionally bad, and you will find opinions both in favour and against. I guess one takes an average of thought. My checking seemed to show reasonable acceptance of Cubase. Bear in mind, the bundled version is unique. It is meant only for sale with hardware such as the H4, and has some differences, so it is a bit tricky in comparing information to most internet references to Cubase.

If you have not used recording software before, I think you will be quite happy with its performance.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
nick60

Has anyone used Cubase (the supplied program)?

I have cubase and use it to produce multi-track recordings. I'm guessing that it's bundled in so you will put your tracks directly off the zoom onto the computer.....import the audio into cubase to further enhance or add other things. Cubase is not hard to use (even easier if you only play around with audio, not midi tracks). I produced a complete album (latin/jazz) using cubase to record backing tracks, then played electric violin over.

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I own a H4 and absolutely love it. The recording quality is pretty impressive, any bit as good or better as a mini disc with the Sony condenser mic but way faster and easier to use and a massive amount of more options. The two handed menu system operation can be quite confusing to start with but once you get the hang of it its not that bad to use.

The main reason I chose the H4 over the other brand/models is because of the two extra mic inputs with phantom power and the multi track ability though I have yet to use this. With the latest firmware it now supports 4GB cards and you can split tracks on the unit without a PC which I found really handy if you want to record one long session and sort it out afterwards.

Probably the biggest point that I dislike is no inbuilt stand mount, the mount that is supplied is a plastic clip on tray that is held with two thin velcro straps and it is only for camera tripods and not mic stands. So if you want to mount it securely on a stand you have to fit this dumb tray first which sort of ruins the feel of it all.

There is a really good review on the H4 here

And a comparison review with the Zoom H2 here.

Oh of you get one and want a decent slim protective case I found a Sony PSP case in a local hi-fi store that is perfect.

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