Posted by: Paul | April 2, 2010

The Long Weekend, & Zoom H4N

I love 4 day weekends. And this is the only free one we get! Easter, and indeed religion of any kind, mean absolutely nothing to me. As far as I’m concerned, “he died for our Public Holidays” 😉

Not much planned, just family visits and chilling out. And we all got a rare lie-in this morning as I got up to change Adam at 6am and then, miracle of miracles, he went back to bed until gone 8! And he’s having a nice long nap this afternoon too! I feel like I’ve won some kind of competition.

Anyway, something Pro-Audio related today at long last – this week I took delivery of a brand new Zoom H4N handheld recorder. My new location kit is now more or less complete (short of buying a decent shotgun mic which I am considering should a lump sum drop out of the sky). It’s a great little recorder. I’ve used many different ones in my time but this one fits the bill of my must-have requirements:

Excellent sound quality
Dual XLR mic inputs
Decent quality in-built stereo mic
Backlit display
Robust build quality
Supplied with a decent bundle (case, media)
Runs off as few batteries as possible!

It ticks all those boxes but the clincher for me is the fact that the device is powered by just 2 AA batteries. 2! Unheard of in a recorder in its class. It even has a ‘Stamina’ mode which restricts recording options in order to extend the battery life even further. Brilliant. The equivalent Marantz (PMD670) takes EIGHT! The battery life of the previous model, the PMD660 which I had been using for the past few years, is pretty atrocious – unless you used expensive Duracells you were lucky if you got two hours recording out of it. And Duracells only extended it to three hours. But the 660 was a workhorse and pretty much indestructible, the build quality was very high.

So I’m looking forward to testing it out properly over the weekend. We live in a fairly quiet place and I’m thinking about starting a catalogue of birdsong sounds – garden birds are about in abundance at the moment and I’m increasingly noticing individual birds singing in isolation. Occasionally very useful in sound design, or possibly for sale to an effects library.

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