I want to buy a portable recorder for my birthday tomorrow to record sound fx. My budget currently is 12000 Rs. here in Mumbai which is enough for Zoom H2N which interests me because of its surround mics and M-s recording, but im interested in Zoom H4n which costs 18000 Rs. cause it has XLR inputs.

My neighbour has a Hayabusa bike which i want to record and renting an H4n is very expensive...almost 2000 Rs. for a day, while a boom mic and Rode blimp cost only 500 Rs. a day...

So im thinking what to buy? Will H2n help in my beginner recordings of the Hayabusa? or shall i save some more money and buy H4n?

I just want to start off on the field recording thing without waiting any longer or too many complications. I have used a H4N before and liked it, but its bulky too.

Are the H2n's inbuilt mics any good?

Any other good recorders in my budget?

Also major question is if i buy a H2N now, can i add in a small preamp for boom/condensor mic to provide phantom power and give its output to Zoom h2n's line it? Will it be costlier than an H4n solution?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Aural Chef,

I too was looking at the H4n (among other things) but ended up getting the H2n. I have to say that IMO the H2n is the handier of the two for field recording with the potential for surround recording (which for me is sometimes useful) or the MS, which can be recorded in Raw Mode for later decoding, which again for me is also useful.

While there are no XLR connectors (minijack only) it is still possible to connect another mic (or pair) -- although it is consequently more limited in terms of connectivity with other 'pro' mics etc…

The sound quality is quite good - if a little on the 'bright' side for my ears - and it probably won't stack up too well compared to more serious rigs, but with that said, (Soundfiled mic and Sound devices recorder anyone?) the H2n is definitely at the value end of the scale and with a bit of post-processing and care in the recordings - wind and handling noise can especially be a problem in field situations ( I also got the accessory kit (on sale) mostly for the popfilter and 'mic stand adaptor' and use that combo with a rycote softie I already had for handling in the field - the results are usually quite usable and sometimes excellent.

Wether this is the optimal mic to record your friends bike with, I 'm not sure, but for a low-cost unit to do recording where accessibility might be an issue and quick setup is required, this thing is very useful.


While the Zoom recorders and all those of the same echelon are mot the same as a Sound Devices or FR2, I strongly believe somethig which either Jay or Tim mentioned, which is that the best recorder is the one you have on you (in the same vain that the best mic for the job is the one in your hand). I started out using an H4n and rven though I've since outgrown its capabilites for what I record, it saved me so many times by giving me a means to record in general versus hearing the world go by without a means to capture at all. Even now I still use my trusty iPhone in a pinch and it's proved valuable. So what I'm getting at is that regardless of what recorder it is, espeically when you're on a budget like this, the worst "offense" would be not to have a recorder at all, even if it is an H2.


My low cost solution was to buy a Sound Devices MixPre-D to use with my iPad3: http://sonicskepsi.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/ipad3-♥-mixpre-d-♥-auria/ Hope this helps!

  • Dont have an ipad to begin with...and wont find this product in India – Aural Chef Jan 3 '13 at 12:30

i love the shit out of my H4N, WITH the redhead. It's really a necessity, because the included filter does suck. It's not useless, I have it on a dynamic mic in my basement as a quick and dirty pop/breath filter for non-serious recordings.

The h4n is certainly no sound devices, but as was mentioned before, it's certainly an alternative to having no recorder. I had a previous gen H2, and I did love it, but when I saw the flexibility with the H4n and the inputs, I had to jump. Don't think just mics, think about putting contact mics into there! then you can get the very decent onboard mic sound with some huge body resonance! Turns an oven into a 10 ton walking mech!

Good luck.



I have been scouting the net like crazy and it says H4n doesnt have line inputs and people using XLR inline attenuator pads while capturing live performances from mixing consoles, etc.

so now im looking at Tascam Dr40....

anyone got any experience with it? Hows the mic preamp quality compared to the "noisy preamps" of H4n?


I think its out of your budget, not sure what an 'R' is in pounds £, however I am very happy with my Tascam dr-100

  • The Tascam Dr 40 costs around 19000Rs. which i think is way higher than the conversion of 200$ + taxes – Aural Chef Jan 7 '13 at 10:31

I have the Tascam DR40 and I like it a lot. I have used the H4n, and I think the preamps are pretty similar in quality. I use an external preamp (Naiant tinybox, which is handmade to spec by a cool guy in Atlanta), and that makes a huge difference. This setup, with various mid-range mics, has gotten me great results, and is extremely portable. Obviously, I'm looking forward to the day when I can buy the fancy, mouth-watering equipment, but until I have work that will pay for it, I'm content to use this setup.

  • Hi The H4n doesn't have pro line in like the DR40, also i have read that the DR40 goes out of sync during long usage... how did you find it? – Aural Chef Jan 7 '13 at 10:32
  • I haven't noticed this to be the case, but to be honest I haven't tried to sync any long recordings up with video. The one thing that I've been frustrated with is if you're using it in 4-track mode at 96 khz, it sometimes clocks out and stops recording. The firmware upgrade solved the noise problem when using phantom power. – Reed Jan 7 '13 at 21:04
  • For lack of line inputs, i could add a DI box with attenuation later for H4N.... Im now getting the DR40 and H4N at the same price....DR40 is not cheap here...so which one should i choose? – Aural Chef Jan 8 '13 at 9:00
  • That I can't say. I have been very happy with my DR40, but if they cost the same, it's probably a tossup. Either one should be able to get you good audio if used properly. – Reed Jan 8 '13 at 22:12

Tascam Dr100mk2 Cheaper and better pre's. Though no 4 chan recording. Also, better build and longer battery.

  • hi Mike, How are the internal mikes' quality on the Dr100 mk2? Im getting a good deal on Amazon, way cheaper than available here in Mumbai. Initially i plan to use the internal mics and Line ins to record my jigs, ambiences and sfx. Do you think a firmware upgrade will allow 4 ch recording? How is it compared to DR40? Im not finding any dealer on Amazon who ships to India. So seriously considering DR100. ZoomH4n is a no no for me now after reading in depth reviews online about its THD, preamp noise, etc. – Aural Chef Jan 9 '13 at 22:57
  • They're ok though not really usable outside. maybe on a table inside and no wind. handing noise makes them kinda tough. I always use a better mic through the xlr inputs - this is the preferred way to record quality audio. The idea of built in is great, in practice a whole unit cost of 300 means skimping on something - usually it's mics. I use a rode nt4 with the rode blimp. great option too, you can take the line out and plug it into a dslr if you'd like for better audio there as it's mixed with the video – mikevarela Jan 11 '13 at 3:38

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