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Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40

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Peter BurgerZoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 14, 2012 at 7:55:10 am

Does anyone has some first-hand experience with those two mobile recorders?
I worked with the Zoom before and was quite pleased with the quality.

What I'm most interested in, is the difference concerning recording with external microphones and grabbing audio signals from a mixer. So the internal mics are of lesser concern for me.

Thank you in advance! Any opinion much appreciated!

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

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Anders LarsenRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 14, 2012 at 8:27:49 am

Hi Peter

I have no first hand experience, but Nofilmschool.com has a pretty extensive comparison article that might be of intrest to you:

http://nofilmschool.com/2012/04/audio-recorder-roundup-h4n-zoom-vs-tascam/


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Peter BurgerRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 14, 2012 at 8:32:37 am

Thank you, Anders!
A comparison like that, was exactly what I was looking for. Much appreciated!

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
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Anders LarsenRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 14, 2012 at 2:49:54 pm

You're welcome. Happy to help.


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Declan SmithRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 14, 2012 at 3:45:55 pm

I recently was in the same position, however I am interested in quality of the microphones. I decided to spend a bit more and go for the Roland R26, on spec, but mainly because it can record 6 channels, and has nice big level controls. I received it last week and it's the first product I've bought in a long time that excites me more now I have it. It's simple awesome. Rigged feeling, easy to use and absolutely crystal clear sounds. I have yet to plug an external mic in though!

Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
After Effects CS5.5/ FCS3 / Canon 7D / Canon XL2 / Reason / Cubase

"it's either binary or it's not"


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Peter BurgerRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 14, 2012 at 9:46:45 pm

Thank you Declan!
Really interesting product. Well, I think I'll have to ponder if it fits my budget...

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
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Paul KagawaRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 21, 2012 at 3:34:02 am

I've used both and like some things about the Tascam, especially the the line/mic switch, the locking XLRs, and light weight. One problem with the Zoom is that the mic inputs are very sensitive, and I've had several occasions where the audio from a mixing board distorted because I couldn't lower the input enough. I thought the Tascam would be a good solution because it has a mic/line input switch to attenuate the signal.

But I ran into a separate problem with sync drift on the Tascam after an hour of recording. You can see the details here: http://wp.me/p2gorK-1I

So I still use the Zoom, but run the signal through a Shure portable mixer first so I can get a real mic level output to the Zoom.

Hope that helps

--Paul Kagawa

Website: http://www.paulkagawa.com
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Peter BurgerRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 21, 2012 at 11:10:05 am

Thank you, Paul!

Very valuable information! Thank you for posting! Had to shoot some band-concerts and theater performances in the past and was planning for future jobs to get audio directly from the mixer into the recorder instead of the cam and do syncing in post... So, maybe it won't work as perfectly as I hoped for with the Tascam... bought it last week...

But most of the time (99% of my jobs), I'll be using the recorder as an external audio device with my DSLR or Sony HD cam for shorter videos, interviews and stuff... So I'll have clips no longer than max. 4-5 minutes.

As you wrote, the line/mic switch is a blessing and the locking XLRs are extremely important for me when in the field.

Sound quality (from what I tested so far) is very good - very low noise for a recorder of that price.

So, thanks again! Much appreciated!

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
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My german blog
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Paul KagawaRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 21, 2012 at 3:15:56 pm

Peter, for short runs the Tascam should be fine.

The other issue I had with it was a write fail to an SD card. I had set it up to write a new file every 1gb automatically, but the first time it tried to save the file it said something like "Write Error - Press Enter." When I checked later there was a file name but no data, so I lost about an hour of the recording. (Details here: http://wp.me/p2gorK-17)

After that fiasco I would use a card that is certified by Tascam, and test it a lot. You can get a pdf of their Tested Media List here: http://tascam.com/product/dr-40/downloads/

I now routinely use XLR Y-cables and simultaneously record to the camera as a backup, even with the Zoom H4n.

Best of luck with your projects.

--Paul Kagawa

Website: http://www.paulkagawa.com
Blog: http://www.paulkagawa.com/blog
twitter: @paulkagawa


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Peter BurgerRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 21, 2012 at 8:55:59 pm

Paul, I already saw the article on your blog and bookmarked it for later reading.
By the way, your blog is a great resource!

The XLR-Y cable advice is an excellent tipp! I wouldn't have thought about that.
And with the two XLR-inputs of my Sony I'll get even two "backups" - one directly from the Tascam, the other from the on-camera mic (which I use sometimes for ambience).

Again, very much appreciated! Thank you!

All the best to you and your projects!

Greetings from Munich, Germany!

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
http://twitter.com/FastFoodVideo

My german blog
http://fastfoodvideo.de


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Brent DunnRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 23, 2012 at 5:32:32 pm

Peter:

Roland has a much better recorder system than both of these. Roland has great preamps, which is what you really want in a recorder.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Brand_Roland&ci=14934&N=42486277...

R-16 being around $500

R-5

Roland R-44 has great preamps, the best of these...but $1,000

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

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Canon 5D Mark II
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with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
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Peter BurgerRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on May 23, 2012 at 8:36:31 pm

Brent, thank you very much for your suggestion!

I totally agree! Preamps are the single most important "feature" of a recorder! I know, there are better recorders than the Zoom and the Tascam. But they fit my budget at the moment...

I asked specifically for those two, because they are the only ones I know (please correct me if I'm wrong) with a decent sound quality, with XLR-inputs and are in a price range of about max. 300$.

I worked with the Zoom H4N a couple of times and I was quite pleased with the results. From what I read the Tascam DR-40 is the direct competitor and seems to have a comparable sound quality at even a lower price.

Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate your answer very much! Wasn't aware of the quality of the Rolands and I'll definitly have them in mind, when I'll have to improve my sound equipment even further. Next step is of course to get better mics...

For my one- or two-man jobs, the Tascam (I bought it in the meantime) is a great improvement to recording directly into the camera or having to rent a recorder every time I need one.

So thanks again and all the best!

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
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My german blog
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Peter BurgerRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on Jun 18, 2012 at 7:45:16 am

Found these two videos a couple of days ago.

Maybe interesting for someone who has the same question I had and stumbles upon this thread might them find useful:

Tascam DR-40 Vs Zoom H4n






Tascam DR-40 Feature Review (with a little bit of a contradiction to the above)






------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
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David RehmRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on Jul 5, 2012 at 8:23:06 pm

Hello, I have been a reader here for a long time - this is my first post.

I have direct experience with the Zoom and the Tascam DR-40. Last February I bought my first DSLR and naturally I needed a good audio recorder. I went to the local Sam Ash store and tested the Zoom against the DR-40. The Zoom was almost $300 and the Tascam was (because it was being discontinued according to Sam Ash) $150.

I had the money to buy the Zoom - so the price did not play a factor at all - I just wanted something pro sounding. I tested them both in identical ways (simple tests) - recording my voice holding them near my mouth and I did a test holding them at waist level. I went home and compared both and to my ears they were identical in all ways. So I went with the Tascam. I have not regretted it - I use it every week.

The Zoom is considered the top-dog in this area but one of the main reasons why I locked on (also) to the Tascam in the first place was because of a function to record a 2nd (backup) track at a lower dB for safety reasons. (I don't think the Zoom does this)

The only "con" probably would be there is no 1/8" inch plug on the unit to plug a mic in. There are XLR and 1/4" plugs though.

David R.


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Peter BurgerRe: Zoom H4-N vs. Tascam DR-40
by on Jul 19, 2012 at 10:41:38 pm

David, sorry for the late reply! I saw your post just at this very moment.

I work with the Tascam for a couple of weeks now, and I'm extremely pleased with it. From a perspective of sound-quality I also didn't notice any difference between the Zoom and the Tascam, although I must admit I did not do direct side-by-side testing.

The "safety-option" on a lower level of the Tascam, that you described is a blessing, so is the possibility to directly connect to a mixer, which is also a feature that the Zoom does not have.

The only thing I really miss, is the the possibilty to use the DR-40 as a USB device... But... well, you can't have everything...

Thanks for sharing your experience!

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
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