The Samson Zoom H4n is probably one of the more exciting digital audio recorders to come along in a while. Samson has taken the original Zoom H4 and completely retooled it with a better button layout, a new rubberized grip, a new mic layout and better preamps.
But while reader Jon Skitch sent us some fantastic sounding recordings he made using the recorder, Neil Ewers of Blind Cool Tech has sent in some evidence that the H4n might not be in the same league the Sony PCM-D50 and other slightly more expensive digital audio recorders.
Here are a series of audio samples Ewers recorded using both the Zoom H4n and Sony PCM-D50, followed by a recording made on the original Zoom H4. The original Zoom recorder actually had quite decent built in mics, but sounded awful with an external mic plugged in, especially if it was a dynamic mic. To my ear it sounds like the Zoom H4n isn’t much better. What do you think?
Sony PCM-D50 internal mics:
Same audio source with Zoom H4n internal mics:
Sony PCM-D50 with an Audio Technica mic:
Zoom H4n with an Audio Technica mic:
Sony PCM-D50 with a dynamic mic:
Zoom H4n with a dynamic mic:
Final recording with Zoom H4n:
Original Zoom H4 reference recording: