Hi to you all, I just picked up a zoom h4n recorder and i noticed that when using the onboard stereo mics the right channel is a LOT hotter than the left one. Is there a setting to change this or did i get a faulty unit? Please help me out because if thats the case i should return it before next week. Thanks,

5 Answers 5


Glad to hear I'm not the only one. This is an issue with some of the new Zoom H4n's. I had the same problem. I ran a line in of tone from my pro tools rig to confirm and as suspected, the right channel was about 3db hotter than the left. No matter what mode I was in. I took it back to where I bought it here in Canada (Long and McQuade) and they sent it out for repair. It was after the 30 days otherwise they'd probably just exchange it on the spot. I got a loner while it was out for repair, parts were replaced and it's as good as new.

If you didn't want to send it out for repair... The new firmware update allows for independent gain control for each channel. You could always just adjust the right channel. But if it were me.. out of principal I'd get the faulty hardware fixed.

Hope that helps.


Hi, Don't own one, but just browsing the manual here. The M/S Matrix option isn't on is it? And you're definitely in stereo record mode?

  • Im n stereo mode for sure. It even displays a red led in the front of the unit above the stereo settings. When i enable the ms stereo matrix (i have to enable 1/2 link first) i have decent level on both channels, but i get the same signal in both channels. Eg, not stereo. When ms stereo matrix is off (disabling 1/2 link) i get the huge gain offset between channels i spoke earlier of.
    – GMatijas
    Dec 28, 2011 at 1:33
  • In stereo mode do you have 'MIC' selected as input? (Sightly confusing labeling, I would've assumed that would be for external mics!) Try recording in (multi)mono and see if one mic is still not gaining properly. I would guess that if they were still not matching then it's a hardware problem. Dec 28, 2011 at 3:06
  • Yes, i have MIC selected as input in stereo mode. In mono mode the two channels are mixed so i cant tell if its a hardware or software problem, as both channels display the same level. I should note that im not talking about a few dB mismatch. Im talking about a huuugeee difference.
    – GMatijas
    Dec 28, 2011 at 3:32
  • Understood about the mono, but is there a multi-mono mode, so you could see the difference of each mics discrete signal? Beyond that, I'm unfortunately out of ideas. A Google search (as I'm sure you've already done) doesn't show any similar reports, so I imagine it's an unfortunate hardware fault. Hope you get it resolved soon! Dec 29, 2011 at 1:32

I have the same problem (Left mic is at least 12db hotter than right mic). No solution found, I'll compensate the levels after recording in an audio editor, and get the unit replaced as soon as I can. Disappointing...


I've had mine for a while (almost three years, now), and I noticed I had that problem about two years ago. I chalked it up to wear (and it might well be), but it's good to know that it's an occasional problem with the H4n.


I just bought on two days ago. Zoom - H4N. 2/11/2016.. I noticed this same issue and am returning the unit ASAP. I get nearly half the levels on one mic than the other. I dont want to do the firmware update. I might just spend the extra $ and get the 5. Even then I will try it out in the store before I walk away with it. I am reassured to hear your experiences and disappointed in the product. I hope I can find a good one.


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