The best Zoom recorder for your Digitakt: H4n Pro vs. H5 vs. H6


#1

I’m about to buy a portable Zoom recorder to document my Digitakt jams and wonder which one of the three usual suspects has the best overall sound. How do they compare when it comes to usability, line level quality, etc. Thanks for sharing your experience.


#2

H4n can only record one stereo output at a time.
I think the others do better, that’s something to consider.

That said, I really love the sound quality of my H4n!


#3

Good point. On the other hand, the DT has only one stereo pair. Which kind of cables do you use to record into your H4n?


#4

I picked up a Spire Studio a while back that I like for recording quick jams. It has 2 1/4” input jacks, built in mic, and a rechargeable battery. It’s pretty simple no frills quick recording. Press new project button, Auto set the recording level with a button press, and hit the record button.

Afterwards I connect my iphone to its wireless AP and sync the recording to my phone. Nice and easy.

Just throwing that alternative out there (depending on your needs).


#5

Thanks! I’ll look this one up too.


#6

Hi,
I have a Tascam DR44-WL and it work as stereo very well.


#7

Thx Gat! How does it compare to the three Zooms - if you have any experience with any of them?


#8

the DT has only one stereo pair
I know. But you might be willing to add another piece of gear at some point… Worth considering, at least.

What I don’t like in the Zoom series is the size of it. And the UX is pretty dated, even if I don’t need a lot of fancy animations… Less menus is always better :wink:


#9

Big fan of the h4npro myself. I no longer have my DT but use it with the Circuit and Sp404 pretty often. Sounds great imo, just be sure to get your levels right before hand. These don’t clip very easily anyways but it’s always better safe than sorry.


#10

As often stated: record in 24bits if possible for headroom, especially when your gain is sub par.


#11

If sound quality is your biggest concern, Zoom has other products which use the same preamps and converters as on the H6.

The big question is, what are your needs? If you are absolutely sure you only want to record two tracks at a time, so be it. But what about all of the attachments and doo-dads you can add to these recorders? Figure that out, and the rest will follow.

This little thing is an audio interface rather than a field recorder, but it’s very portable, can run on batteries, and there’s H6 magic inside.


#12

I grabbed a zoom H5 for field recording originally, but I’ve been enjoying using the two 1/4" inputs for my Digitakt mains and using the built-in XY to record the rooms sounds to mix in a little in the back.


#13

Nice to hear! The h4n PRO seems to address some of the weakest points of the h4n (pre-amps, …)


#14

Very sound advice! Pun intended Augenadler ^^


#15

Both the H5 & H4n pro are very high on my short list. And the prices of both units have kind of converged. The h4n pro seems to be built upon the technology developed for the h5 and h6.


#16

Capturing my Digitakt jams with good sound is my first goal, but being able to use the recorder as an audio interface does matter. Fortunately the three units on my shortlist do both.

As for the U-24, I’ve read nice things about it. But I already have a portable audio interface (Novation Audio Hub) as well as iRig Pro Duo that connects to my iOS devices for recording.


#17

Last decade, before I’d ever heard of the term ‘DAWless recording’ I was really into making patches on my modular and then recording them directly to my field recorder.

I had the MK 1 version of this bad boy. Short of going the Sound Devices or Nagra route, it was the finest quality I could find. If I had to do it all over, I tell myself I’d not mess around and just get another PMD661. Mostly because of the pro build quality and no-nonsense interface. Red means recording. Boom. Done.

The only problem with that train of thought is that the recording quality of these Zoom things are really quite good. Like, really good. And the Zoom H6 is also a class compliant 6 x 2 audio interface. A dear friend of mine has one, and she loves it. Also, having more than two mono tracks (or only one stereo track) is super useful.


#18

I’ve got the Zoom Q2N. It’s a camera and an audio recorder. I use the line input from my mixer and the sound is excellent. …plus you can get video of the process. It’s only $150 or so. I recommend it.


#19

The H6 is very tempting and included in my shortlist. Thx for the link to the PMD661.


#20

I am loving my H4Npro tracking my Digitakt. I just run the stereo outs on the Takt into the two inputs on the bottom of the zoom. It’s inspired me enough to start a multi song project using just those two devices, and with the added compressor on the digitakt, bringing something to a nearly mastered product is easy.