How to get the most from your ZOOM H4N Sound Recorder

The zoom H4N is a useful portable sound recorder ideal for use alongside a digital DSLR such as the canon 5d mkii.

The zoom offers a wide range of recording formats up to 24-bit/96-kHz linear PCM WAV recording onto SDHC cards, which come as large as 32GB. The SDHC cards can be read with a card reader or through the device itself with the use of a USB. Alternatively you can record to MP3 for smaller files, suitable for direct upload to the web.

Equipped with in built stereo mics of a decent quality the zoom can be mounted onto the camera with the addition of a hot shoe mount. The mic heads of the zoom can then be twisted to select either 90 degrees or a wide angle 120 degrees for when you wish to pick up a wider field of audio.

Also fitted with 2 XLR ports, the zoom can be hooked up to a shotgun or radio mic. Various DSLR rigs are available that can accommodate the needs of mounting a zoom, shotgun /radio mic, LED light block etc to your DSLR simultaneous. Although it should be noted that using a shotgun mic requires switching the device to 4 channel mode, and also a shotgun mic without its own battery supply will require the zoom to be switched to phantom power which will decrease the battery life of the zoom, unless you have it running from the main (a power supply comes with the device for that purpose).

Alternately the zoom can also be used as a cost effective and highly portable sound recorder for a boom op. Belt clips can be purchased for this purpose, allowing the boom op to attach it to their waist leaving there hands free to boom. Whilst using they boom, the 2nd XLR channel could be used for a radio mic.