I recently purchased the Zoom H4n, but I'm a bit disappointed of the noise floor when doing a really sensitive recording (if you put the rec level on 100%, you will know what I'm talking about). It has really nice features and all, but I must say when it comes down to clarity the built-in mic just doesn't cut it for me.
I do mostly field recordings of ambient environment sounds, so I'm looking for a recorder which is clean, clear and has a nice stereo image (the latter which the Zoom truly has).
I've also tested the Sony PCM-D50, and although I was quite impressed with its recording clarity, the stereo response is kind of lacking in comparison with the H4n.
So are there any portable recorders which record clearer than H4n, or even better, the PCM-D50?
Thanks in advance.
A big part of the price of portable recorders is the quality of the preamps. The H4N preamps aren't anything great, but they are good enough for the price. If you hadn't mentioned it, I was going to recommend the PcM-D50 as a step up. The onboard mics and preamps are much better than the H4N. I'd avoid the Marantz PMD620 as (imo) it sounds worse than the H4N. Since you didn't mention price as being any object, I'll throw in a shameless plug for the Sound Devices 702. I defy you to find a portable recorder that sounds better. :wink:
I'll also add that, for all the mentioned recorders, using a pair of external mics is almost definitely going to improve the sound quality.
Everything Nic said is golden.
Also thumbs up for anything sound devices. I have a 722 and I love it like a child. And the recorder won't grow up to resent you!
Thanks for the tips!
A few days ago I bought the PCM-D50 because I needed some clarity in my recordings.
The design is sturdier than the H4n but as I've said the stereo-field is quite lacking (I won't even go over the features that H4n has and the D50 doesn't, but that's a whole different story). I'm thinking of buying the RØDE NT4 as an external mic, but unfortunately I'm turned off by the fixed 90 degree angle. Does anyone know a microphone with the same design/configuration as the H4n? The only thing I can think of now is the Neumann KU-100, but that's a bit of a headache to carry around the whole time
Indeed, I've only heard great things about the Sound Devices gear, if I can ever afford one I'll go immediately for the 702T.