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is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?

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Mike Smith
is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?
on Mar 10, 2012 at 8:48:54 am

is the zoom h4n viable as an audio recorder for video? Or is there significant sync drift on (short or long) recordings?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?
on Mar 10, 2012 at 9:29:37 am

I use a H4n and have had no reports of drift... mind you most of my usage has mainly been for short commercial jobs.
Is a $400 machine equal to a $4000 machine? Can you justify the additional expense?
In life you get what you pay for......... BUT for many small jobs the H4n is quite suitable for recording audio on, if you were to embark on a feature film I would say no!!!!!

The H4n is a few years old in design now, there are other versions/ brands that will do the same as the H4n or better for a similar price.


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Mike Smith
Re: is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?
on Mar 10, 2012 at 10:40:19 am

Thanks Brian

What alternatives might offer similar performance to the H4N, might be worth a close look?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?
on Mar 10, 2012 at 11:34:46 am

Have a look at the latest Tascam recorder (I have never used or seen this model yet) http://tascam.com/product/dr-100mkii/ It has an advantage over the H4n with balanced line i/p's and better protected mics. Tascam also have several other models of multi track recorders.
Some of my colleagues use Sony recorders and are happy with them http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/cat-audio/cat-recorders/
Then there is Sound Devices http://www.sounddevices.com/products/7.htm
Or Zaxcom http://www.zaxcom.com/nomad-2
Nagra, Denon, Korg etc

It all depends on what you want to do, how many tracks you need and how much do you wish to spend?


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Eric Toline
Re: is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?
on Mar 10, 2012 at 1:14:33 pm

I can vouch for the Tascam DR40 at $200. Has balanced min/line inputs although setting the levels is a bit strange with a rocker type switch but once set you can lock them in place. I only use mine with line level feeds from a mixer so I can't comment on the mic pres.

Eric


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Chris Conlee
Re: is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?
on Mar 10, 2012 at 3:54:07 pm

I've cut several independent features which were recorded on the H4N and sync was never an issue. The preamps are a little noisy, so if you're dealing with quiet ambiences or whispered dialog, it can sometimes be a bit of an issue.

I just bought a used Fostex FR2Le, and am extremely impressed by it. I have noticed NO noise in the preamps, and the quality of my recordings have been pristine. Very happy with it.

Chris


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Al Bergstein
Re: is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?
on Mar 10, 2012 at 9:20:40 pm

I've done a number of pieces on the Zoom and can vouch that it works, doesn't drift at all that I can tell, and yes, it's a bit hissy for my tastes. I've moved away from it, to a Tascam HD-P2 which I'm selling to simply get a smaller footprint and/or more inputs. I'm still debating the Marantz 661 or the SD552 at a much higher price point.

Al


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Richard Crowley
Re: is the zoom h4n (no timecode) viable as an audio recorder for video?
on Mar 11, 2012 at 3:15:58 am

According to first-hand experience from 100s (or 1000s) of users, most of the modern flash- (or hard-drive-) based audio recorders have internal clocking sufficiently accurate to make video/film sync a non-issue for shorter periods. I would trust most any of them for shots up to somewhere around 10 minutes. But I would also assume that NONE of them would be good for 30 minutes or more without several frames of "slip".

You didn't mention what kinds of production you are doing. But even for "long-form" stuff, IMHO, those modern audio recorders are quite viable. We typically don't use looooong, unbroken shots of anything. We have reverse-angle shots to edit in, or B-roll, etc. And anywhere the video track is edited is another opportunity to "pull-up" the video to match the audio.


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