Zoom H4 Handy Recorder in action

I recorded my wife’s band at her Christmas concert. She is a middle school director (with a FINE band)- unfortunately she has to do her concerts in the gym, which is not the best acoustic venue! I was sitting in the bleachers about 50 feet or so away, so got plenty of “room” in the recording.

I first tried just the mics by themselves, then tried using some of the mic models (neumann u87 and AKG 414). I had some trouble getting the levels right- a bit tricky as you have to go to a menu to set the levels (I had heard this was the case and join others in bemoaning this feature!). After finally getting the gain set right, I was very pleased with the results!

Even from that distance, the recording was very good, though I must warn you that there is a LOT of handling noise if you move the mic around, so be very careful! I also had a problem with the unit giving me an error after pausing- I think that is due to the $13 1gig sd card that I picked up from Wal-Mart! I’m going to switch it out for a better quality card and see what happens.

All in all, the unit is a godsend as far as high quality recording on a shoestring budget. I have a feeling that the Edirol R09 is more “point and shoot”, but for the features, I’m willing to put up with a few inconveniences! Next project: recording my rehearsals in mp3 mode so that I can review them on my drive home (via my ipod) and recording my solos and ensembles as they prepare for FBA music performance assessment in February. I’ll let you know how it works out.


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