It is a universal knowledge that ‘Music is the elixir of life.’ With the advent of technology, the need to transverse music and sound across borders and continents has been ever increasing. One of the primary requirements for music to transcend the shackles of time and space is the ability to record and hear the musical pieces. The multi-track recording devices have been doing this job seamlessly since the 1950s.
Multi-track recording devices can be aptly termed as the best friend for sound engineers. These devices can not only provide a flawless outdoor recording experience for multiple sound sources but also allow impromptu editing of the recordings to a lesser extent right on spot.
This article provides a bird’s eye view of the comparisons of the two most famous brands of portable sound recording devices namely Zoom H4N PRO and Tascam DR-40. The primary pros and cons of both of these devices along with their designs and qualitative specifications are explained here as well.
A saying is quite popular amongst the designer communities that related to the look and use of the product they ought to design: ‘Form follows function’. While the look and feel apparently do not matter much, still an odd-looking device would not sit well with the consumers. In the looks department, both these products have stolen the shows.
Needless to mention the new Tascam DR-40 is an enhancement to the older discontinued model. The small device is no doubt easily portable and comes in handy with its easy to handle feature. The digital display also comes in helpful to understand the various functionalities. It is of metal build that scores in the robustness section. The buttons for this recording device are front-mounted. In addition, it is about 5% larger in its width and length in contrast to Zoom H4N PRO.
Zoom H4N PRO
The feature that makes Zoom H4N PRO stand out is the highly comfortable ergonomic design with its rubber soft grip. In addition, the display is brighter with an LCD Screen that is backlit making it quite easier to read. The buttons for the device is side-mounted. It can be agreed on a generic level that Zoom H4N PRO looks a bit more suave with its illuminated panels of keys as opposed to the rustic feel of Tascam DR-40.
Both these recorders can boast of XLR Inputs, provide phantom power, able to record simultaneously four tracks and are pocket-friendly. However, there are much more differences in features in these two recorders.
The Tascam DR-40 has XLR inputs, which switches to take in signals of line-level. The device is able to record in both X-Y and A-B positions with its unidirectional microphones that can be adjusted. There is an XLR/TRS input locking facility in Tascam DR-40 that enables it to connect it to an external PA console and condenser microphone.
The DR-40 can provide recordings, which are professional quality since it can have a clean stereo sound record where there is a minimum phase difference. The locking facilities for XLR/TRS connector are provided by Neutrik. These connectors are generally used to supply phantom power. This feature allows attaching additional condenser microphones along with electrets-type microphones.
Zoom H4N PRO
The Zoom H4N PRO has enhanced their microphones to such an extent that they can handle up to 140 dB SPL. This essentially means that H4N PRO can record anything from EDM of heavy bass to that of loud heavy metal. The device also has an XLR/TRS locking connector that helps to secure the mic cables.
The H4N PRO is enabled with mic preamps that belong to high-performance class. They provide playback and recording resolutions to almost 24-bit/96 kHz. In addition, the device has advanced X-Y microphones. This feature helps to record incredibly low sounds like a fluttering hummingbird.
The DR-40 comes in with a slot for three AA Batteries. The design of the device has been proven to have a design consisting of high sound pressure, which makes it just perfect for recording loud noises. It also has a feature of peak reduction that is automatically lowering the level on detecting a peak sound.
Zoom H4N PRO
The H4N PRO comes in with an adapter. The device also has slots for two AA Batteries. It can also act as an interface for computer audio. The stereo for H4N has only one-eighth inputs for the mics. It also comes in with a plastic case that fits the device like a glove.
Pros and Cons
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In conclusion, both these devices are good choices for those who are looking for budget-friendly recording devices. While H4N PRO is classy to look, the DR-40 has a strong build. It is highly advisable to pursue good research before buying any of these products.