Hey guys! I tried searching the many questions about these handhelds, but I have a specific question:

Has anyone done tests or has anyone tried out various handhelds to know which one sounds the best when using the XLR input w/ phantom power on a condenser mic? Essentially, a pre-amp shootout.

The one I'm eying right now is a Tascam DR-40 or the Zoom H4n. I've got a Zoom H2n right now and I want to upgrade to one which allows me to use a better mic for on-the-fly interviews and such.

Anyone have any suggestions as to the best sounding XLR input on these types of devices or do they sound similar enough that quality doesn't really matter?

p.s. I have a contact at GC Pro and other such retail stores that could possibly get me some test units of the top contenders out there and I can do a battery of tests with them and I can post them up for ya'll to hear if anyone's interested.

p.p.s. Come on, Rene, surely you've done this sort of thing already, right? :)

  • ha. I have not, thought I'll advocate for the PCMD50-Deneke PS2 rig. what's the intended usage? – Rene Nov 21 '11 at 19:49

These may be helpful:



I've been using an H4n for a while, and needless to say I'm not too much of a fan anymore (I'm on a the verge of shelling out for a FR2 LE box) - than again, I'm pushing the H4n well beyond it's "practical" limits with trying to record Mojave desert ambiences, Wind, Foley, and small device beeps like Bluetooth headsets among other things. I've heard good things about the R26, and at least one recording I heard of quiet door squeaks sounded quite clean using the internals, heard nearly no hiss. But unfortunately I don't know enough about it to say one way or another about going for it.

And FYI these observations and usage of the H4n is based on various instances of using the internals and tying in my Rode NT4 for outboard situations.

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I don't really use handhelds myself anymore, though I started out with an old M-Audio Microtrack (still collecting dust in the studio :-)), but I'm actually looking for something too now for collecting covert restaurant-, airport-, and happening-abiances as well as any other amb where you don't want your victims aware and commenting (not to say piss off guards and such...). I've found this site. Perhaps not exactly fresh I'd guess (can't find any date on this article), but still pretty good I'd say!


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The R26 XLR inputs are quite ok. Not as quiet as a SD/Fostex FR2 or Tascam 680. But not at all bad. I have yet to find enough time to set up a proper comparision.

The internal mics however leave a lot to wish for... Lots a hiss...

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