I'm looking for a portable recorder to record (high quality) audio on location to use in parallel with video. I've been looking at some RODE microphones, and at the ZOOM h4n (which currently seems most logical based on reviews and budget) but Im' wondering if I've missed anything.

My current budget is £150 - > £200 if its really worth it. Looking for something with headphone monitoring, portability (batteries/rechargeable) and an all in one unit (like the h4n).


3 Answers 3


I really like using my RODE microphones and I think they are great microphones to start out with. What microphone are you thinking of buying? If you are field recording and doing some foley work; I would go with the RODE NTG-3 because it's a great mic for the price! It also captures great dialogue if you ever wanna go on production and boom-op.

I never have used the ZOOM h4n but I have heard really good things about it and a lot of people love them for the quality and the price range.

If you think you will be able to save more money or stretch your budget a little I would highly suggest that you do. I was going to buy the ZOOM h4n but I managed to stretch my budget and get a Sound Devices 702t and I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

No matter what you choose to do, you can still produce great stuff out of both!


I got the h4n rather than a cheaper smaller zoom becauae it has XLR microphone inputs as well as the built-in stereo microphones.

I think it's significantly cheaper because it's an "old" product in consumer-electronics years.

If you are budget-wise, and you didn't mention external microphone need, the $100 zoom might be worth looking at. It's a good size for hand-holding and using as an interview microphone. A co-worker told me about them and how he uses it for that purpose.


The h4n is among the noisiest of it's kind - why it keeps popping up as "the" budget recorder puzzles me somewhat. Of course self-noise isn't everything, but couple it with one of the cheaper RODE battery-powered shotguns and you're in trouble. Check this comparison to possibly find something better: http://www.avisoft.com/recordertests.htm I use the Sony PCM M10, which I think is around 200$. Very low noise, extremely long battery life, but no xlr/phantom power. But I use it with a field mixer that has it, recording to the line-input of the M10. Works great, and is low noise. You could just use a battery-powered phantom adapter with the M10 (or another recorder like it) if you need external mics. Just my 2c.

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