I am very low on money and needed 2 months to decide whether I buy a zoom H2n. I bought one, but now I am unsure if it was the right choice. There is a cheaper zoom H1n and a more expensive H4N. Does it make a difference in the quality if the same boom mic or levalier mic is used with each field recorders ?

P.S.: what features make the price difference ?

1 Answer 1


Out of the three, the H2n is the newer model, so has a few extra features than the others (in-built M/S and 4 chan recording). It might have quieter preamps than the rest, too - perhaps somebody who's compared them directly could confirm that. What it doesn't have, however, is XLR inputs and the ability to provide phantom power to an external mic, which is where the H4n comes into play - and why this model has a higher price point.

If you're planning on using an external shotgun mic which needs phantom power and XLR ins, you'll either need to just get the H4N or figure out another way to power the mic and interface it with the mini-jack inputs of the other devices.

I wouldn't get too hung up on bit-rates and sample rates; they all are capable of 24 bit/96k recording, which is enough for pretty much any task. The difference is more to do with the quality of the preamps (the cheaper H1 is noisier/hissier than the others) and ability to interface and phantom-power external mics.

  • brilliant, within a short text you answered all the questions I was searching for for days. What is " loudness of a preamp" I do not know this concept ? Sep 10, 2015 at 17:44
  • When I say a preamp is 'quiet', what I mean is that the preamp in the unit imparts less of its own noise onto the signal. A cheaper unit would probably be noisier and add some degree of hiss to the audio. Whether this is actually a problem depends on what you're using the recorder for, of course; you'd get away with a bit of noise recording dialogue or voice-overs, but for, say, nature recording, where you're recording really quiet sounds, even a small amount of hiss would be a problem.
    – Azz
    Sep 11, 2015 at 3:52
  • Does the noise from the preamp emerges because the box it is in is vibrating or is it some kind of intereference on electrical level ? Sep 11, 2015 at 7:57
  • It's the noise inherent in the circuitry, nothing to do with the enclosure/box. All preamp circuitry generates some degree of noise, even very expensive units - but, generally speaking, more expensive units will be quieter, noise-wise, than very cheap ones.
    – Azz
    Sep 11, 2015 at 9:38

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