For portability and feature-rich audio recording, the Zoom H4n portable digital audio recorder works great for podcasting and DSLR video.
I used to record my podcasts directly into my computer with Audacity. That worked fine until I did something stupid: running too many CPU-intensive apps while recording. I decided to buy an external recorder for the reliability and new features. After a lot of research, I settled on the Zoom H4n Portable Digital Recorder for the following reasons.
- The H4n has a better stereo separation so you can hear left and right better when recording with it.
- The H4n has XLR inputs and a built-in preamp. (But if you want to plug a mic directly in, I recommend connecting a Fethead preamp between.)
- The H4n records in four channels (two via XLR-1/4″ combo jacks, two via stereo 3.5 mm).
Of these features, the most important to me was the four-channel recording. I use this to separate our voices from the sounds (music, voicemail, sound clips, etc.). This separation makes it much easier to edit things later, if I need to.
For example, if I mess up my timing on the outro, I can simply reposition the background music because it’s separate from the vocal track. Or I can also run dynamic compression on my vocal track without it messing up my fades on the music.
Mentioned in posts
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- 7 reasons I'm switching from Audacity to Audition (and why you shouldn't) – TAP106
- Top 5 reasons to use an external recorder for podcasting – TAP099
- Zoom H4n for 4-channel podcast-recording
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- 10 Christmas gifts for podcasters – TAP025
- Zoom H4n 1.7 Firmware Update