Zoom H4n

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Although the new Zoom H6 has been released, I still see teams working with the Zoom H4n. Why not? It's a great audio recorder that really changed the way DSLR audio has been captured over the years.

If you're not currently working with a professional audio recorder, now's the time. The Zoom H4n is currently on sale for an instant savings of $-100 OFF (limited supply). Now just $169, this is the lowest price i've ever seen since it's release. Check it out (here).

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find-price-button Zoom H4n Portable Digital Audio Recorder -$100 Instant Savings

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First test with the new Zoom H6 portable audio recorder out of the box plugged into my Rode Procaster microphone Rode Procaster Vocal Microphone. (No EQ applied, so it might sound low or flat.) I was not able to use this mic directly with the Zoom H4n without adding at least a Cloud Lifter Cloud LIfter in between.

The Rode Procaster will sound better when used with the the Tascam DR-60D, but now it appears this Zoom H6 has become my favorite portable audio recorder. I'm sure people will complain about not being to lock the input gain dials on the H6, but compared to the H4n, I prefer the dials over the digital input adjustments on the H4n.

BTW, if you're in the Bay Area and looking for a Tascam DR-60D, i've got a barely used one for sale..


Samson Zoom H6 Portable Audio Modular Mic Shotgun Stereo XY TRS XLR
find-price-button Zoom H6 Modular Mic Digital Audio Recorder

Rode Procaster Microphone
find-price-button Rode Procaster Vocal Broadcast Dynamic Microphone

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Here's a few images unboxing the new Zoom H6 Portable Digital Audio Recorder. You can see what it comes with, including it's own travel case.

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Nice Packaging..
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A few accessories include X/Y Mic & Mid-Side Mic..
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The back of the box shows optional accessories..
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Comes with it's own travel case..
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Now it's time to fire her up and see how she performs. With the additional XLR inputs, I will already be satisfied if it sounds exactly the same as the Zoom H4n. Of course if it sounds better, that's just more of a bonus.

[Update] I have my first sample with a Rode Procaster (listen here).


Samson Zoom H6 Portable Audio Modular Mic Shotgun Stereo XY TRS XLR
find-price-button Samson Zoom H6 Modular Mic Input Portable Digital Audio Recorder

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As far as recent portable digital audio recorders go, there has been quite a buzz around the 929347 Tascam DR-60D Portable Recorder + Field Recorder. The Tascam proves to have good quality sound as a preamp, but when compared to something like a Zoom H4n, the Tascam does not offer a single built in microphone. Besides having to carry around a separate microphone, the form factor is a bit on the large side (so does that still qualify as a portable recorder?).

Samson's Zoom line of portable recorders have always included a set of microphones, but the new Zoom H6 Zoom H6 Portable Digital Audio Recorder takes it to the next level by offering a very modular Mic and Input system among other new advanced features. The Zoom H6 basic kit includes includes an XY Microphone, Module, Includes Mid-side Microphone Module, Four XLR/TRS Inputs, Record Up to 6 Simultaneous Channels, Record Up to 24-bit/96kHz Audio, Doubles as USB Audio Interface, Uses SDXC Memory Cards. Add-ons will be available such as a Shotgun Mic, XLR/TRS Inputs Module, and Hot Shoe Mount. The brand new Zoom H6 Zoom H6 Portable Digital Recorder is available for pre-order now via (B&H) Click here.

Samson Zoom H6 Portable Audio Modular Mic Shotgun Stereo XY TRS XLR
find-price-button Samson Zoom H6 Modular Mic Input Portable Digital Audio Recorder

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Here's a clever little tip for carrying around a portable audio recorder 'hands free' and at the same time having quick access to the screen and controls. Vimeo member Bruno Chansou uses a B-Grip Camera Belt (found here Amazon), normally used to clip a DSLR camera combined with a Manfrotto Ball Head for positioning the recorder. [Thanks Bruno] The B-Grip Camera Belt Holster system can be found via Amazon (click here).

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find-price-button B-GRIP EVO Camera Belt - via Amazon


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find-price-button B-Grip Camera Belt Holster System - via eBay

The B-Grip Camera Belt Holster is a nice little solution for a belt mounted audio recorder, but it's a system that can run over $50 dollars. If this is something you might want to tackle on a budget, there are other belt clip systems that might be modified to work in a similar manner for less than $7 dollars via eBay (found below)

belt clip camera holster cheesycambelt clip camera mount
find-price-button DSLR Belt Clip Camera Holster

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If you're looking for a good LAV Mic, go for the Rode LAV which runs $249 dollars. Doesn't require very much gain, and sounds very clean. The Rode allows you to use an exclusive MiCon adapter that can be swapped to support basic 3.5mm, XLR, and more.

Rode LAV Mic
find-price-button Rode LAV Mic with MiCon Connector

Ok so $250 for a LAV is a hike for many, so on the other end of the spectrum is a few inexpensive LAV mics. One you might have heard about is the Audio Technica ATR3350. The sound is not to be compared to a $250 lav mic, but as long as you have a decent portable audio recorder with enough gain, it works in a pinch. We use this $17 dollar LAV mic quite a bit mainly because of the very very long cord that can be run from the the talent all the way back to the Camera Operator without using a wireless setup.

Audio Technica ATR3350
find-price-button Audio Technica ATR3350 Lav Microphone

Another cheap LAV with a 4 star review is the Pearstone OLM-10 Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone. It's also designed with a very long cord that can be worn by the talent and run to the camera a good distance away. Currently it's on sale for the next few days at just over $16 dollars via B&H (click here)

Lav Mic PearstonePearstone LAV Mic
find-price-button Pearstone OLM-10 Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone

Another budget LAV mic shared by J Hanna in the comments is the Olympus ME-15. This one does not require batteries like the other two above, and comes with a 3.3ft short cable. You can find this for just over $20 bucks (click here)

Olympus ME-15 LAV Microphone
find-price-button Olympus ME-15-LAV Microphone

[Updated Entry 2014]
Recently my new favorite affordable LAV Mic is the Aspen Mic series. These LAV mics require very little gain from your recorder so the sound quality is very comparable to high end lav mics. Priced under $45 dollars, it's by far the best of this lineup if you can't afford the $250 Rode LAV. Check out the Aspen Mics website for their products (click here).

Apen Mics Mono Stereo Sennheiser G3 Flesh Colored
find-price-button Aspen Lavalier Microphones Mono / Stereo / Sennheiser G3

124 Comments

Disclaimer: I help to design products for PhotographyandCinema.com. The article below is information about the new P&C GearBox. There are many other great DSLR style cages available within articles of this blog that you may also want to consider.

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find-price-button P&C GearBox - DSLR Cage Video Accessory Bracket

It's been several weeks, but the new P&C GearBox is now available at PhotographyandCinema.com. The name 'GearBox' was submitted by David during a June contest, so congrats David, PhotographyandCinema.com will be sending one of these GearBox cages your way.

There are many High End, Super Heavy, Robust video cages available for the Professional market, but we found a lack of more affordable options for smaller style video cameras such as the Sony NEX-7 or Popular GH2. The P&C GearBox is designed to be simple, lightweight, modular, and of course - affordable.

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The GearBox has a solid metal bottom and top bracket with several 1/4-20 mounting options for your accessories such as an LED video light, Portable Recorder, HDMI LCD Monitor, Microphone, Wireless Receivers, etc. To take up minimal space in a bag when packing up or traveling, the GearBox can easily be disassembled with a single Hex driver.

fold-flat-GearBox-Cage

The GearBox will support a quick release plate underneath if you want to mount the rig onto a Tripod. Extension adapters are provided to support taller cameras, or if you want to add a quick release system into the cage unit allowing you easy removal of your camera body. The rubber coated side handles provide a non-slip comfortable grip and are spaced further apart to add stability for hand-held shooting styles. Interested in a Rail System? Soon to be released is the 15mm Rod adapter (sneak peek here).

As a new item, there is an Introductory Price of just $79.99 over at http://PhotographyandCinema.com (Click Here).

DSLR_Video_Cage_GearBoxPhotography_and_Cinema_Cage_GearBox
find-price-button P&C GearBox - DSLR Cage Video Accessory Bracket

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Looking for the most simplest way to mount a Rode VideoMic, LED Light, and Zoom H1 to your camera - all at one time? There's nothing more simple than this Triple Hotshoe Accessory Bracket. Under the bracket's mount is a 1/4-20 thread so you can also use this on a lightstand. Great for stacking several small LED lights to a single stand for a larger light source.

Even the basic Vello Triple bracket can run for about $30 bucks (seen here), but right now this other Triple Bracket has recently been reduced in price to about $12 dollars and ships free for Amazon Prime members too check it out (Click Here).

Three Bracket HotShoe Accessory Mount
find-price-button Triple Mount Hot Shoe V Mount Bracket for Video Lights, Microphones or Monitors VBrack3