Zoom q4 Review

I’ve tried a few portable recorders in the last few years looking for ways to lay down tracks as a notebook for songwriting ideas or do some tracking for buddies coming over to jam. What I found was a lot more with this device. How Good Is The Zoom Q4n Handy Video Recorder?

Zoom’s mighty little Q4n was designed to be the perfect audio professional’s video camera. A small HD camera/high-res audio recorder capable of 3M HD video quality & 24-bit/96 kHz audio, the Q4n provides a range of video and audio formats, from podcasting to audio high-res/HD-ready A/V content. 

I knew that Zoom had an exceptional sound quality but what I didn’t expect was the video was also an exceptional high-end recorder that blows away many same priced or more expensive Video Recorders today.

Zoom Q4n’s Sound

Because I’m a musician and songwriter, what lured me to the Zoom recorder a few years back when it first came out was its sound quality. I had heard about it but was blown away when I heard it. Zoom has a long-standing reputation for products with outstanding audio, and the Q4n is no exception.

You can also connect external mics and other devices via a 1/8″ stereo input jack, and monitor with either headphones or its built-in speaker. There’s also an HDMI video output for connection to HDTVs, making it easy to view your creations on location or at home.

It supports high-resolution 24-bit / 96 kHz stereo sound and its built-in microphones can handle high sound pressure levels (up to 140 dB SPL) for distortion-free recording in even the loudest environments.

  • Built-in retractable stereo microphones can be configured for A/B or X/Y
  • Mics handle sound levels up to 140 dB SPL
  • Stereo input for use with external devices plus support for plug-in power
  • Input gain–30 to +44 dB

Not being involved with video too much when I played back what I recorded an Open Mic Night, I couldn’t believe how good and the video was. The Open Mic was in a low light stage area and I used the Low Light Scene that was built into the menu. I love the ease of setting it up. I bought the camera tripod that keeps the Recorder from moving around and definitely recommend you get your hands on one.

The pristine audio sound created is done with 2 stereo microphones that are configured for two types of recording. With A/B  Stereo Configuration you can get a wide pick-up great for capturing ambiance sense of space and details found in large spaces.

With X/Y stereo recording you can capture natural depth and width while still capturing a strong center image. This setting is perfect for sources at close or medium range. The Q4 mics let you come close to the action capable of handling high sound pressure levels providing distortion-free recording even in the loudest places like a crowded bar. It has a windscreen and a low-cut level on the sound menu to take on outside wind noise and rumble when the band is playing outback.

There are other options like the external line input that allows you to plug in another stereo mic or another device. Headphone jack to monitor while you record. The Q4 will accept Sd Cards up to 128 gigabytes that will give hours of quality recording time full sets of lice concert events, podcasts, and YouTube videos. For musicians and songwriters, the Zoom Q4n is all about creating whether it’s audio or video.

There’s no other product on the market more specifically designed to be an audio professional’s “pocket” video camera than Zoom’s mighty little Q4n. A very small (4.6 x 2 x 2.4-inch) HD camera/high-res audio recorder capable of 3M HD video quality and 24-bit/96 kHz audio. Even the Q4n’s menu-based options and terminology hint that this is an A/V capture tool for audio-leaning content creators.

For example, video scene settings include presets such as “Concert-Low Lighting,” “Jazz Club,” and “Dance Club;” stereo audio capture is customizable thanks to adjustable stereo microphones, allowing dual capture techniques, X/Y (natural stereo depth/width via 90-degree crossed directional diaphragms) or A/B (gleaning wider stereo and greater reverb levels via spread directional diaphragms).

In use, it’s clear these options were carefully chosen based on environments where audio is the focus yet video capture is a promotional or archival necessity; most any content-savvy musician, audio engineer or venue could benefit by having a Q4n in their bag of tricks. “There’s no other product on the market more specifically designed to be an audio professional’s “pocket” video camera than Zoom’s mighty little Q4n”   Pro Sound News-Review: Zoom Q4n HD Recorder

Zoom q4n Handy Video Recorder

With its ten advanced lightings presets, the Q4n captures Zoom’s highest-quality video ever. From bright daylight to a low-lit club to striking sunset, the Q4n delivers clear, colorful video. And with Zoom’s superb audio quality, the Q4n provides a combination no other camera can match. From Sunlight to Low-Lighten presets ensure great results in various environments—even low-light venues like nightclubs.

These include “Concert Lighting” (where adjustments are made for lighting conditions that can drastically change) and “Concert-Low Light”, both designed for dimly lit locations. There are also specific Scene settings tailored for shooting at jazz clubs and rehearsal studios, as well as outdoors—even at sunset and at night. Great for gigs.

The Q4n shoots in a variety of HD and WVGA formats, from high-resolution 2.3k video (2304 x 1296 pixel/30fps/24Mbps 3M HD) down to compact 30fps/5Mbps WVGA files. It has a greatly improved aperture (F2.0 to be exact) for bright, brilliant video, as well as a 160˚ wide-angle lens, and five steps of digital zoom.

Like I said before if you’re like me and were looking for a serious portable recorder with a high state of art audio capability but aren’t”a techy” or a video creator the Q4n makes so a guy like me can create crystal clear videos with no real knowledge of lighting, high-resolution or WVGA formats.

If you are in the video recording then the Self-timer function to delay video recording by 3, 5, or 10 seconds makes it easy by providing time to set up and get it right. Touch screen adjustments and easy to understand menu is simple to learn even an old guy like me can use this uncomplicated yet pretty technical instrument.


Zoom Q4n Video Accessories

Use a Tripod with the Recorder– I had a rough time stabilizing the camera until I purchased the Tripod. When I utilized one it was a pleasure zeroing in on perfect shots when I shoot a video for my website. The recorder is light so that makes it harder to hold still unless you have the tripod that allows you to set it down. You wouldn’t want to drop it

Set the video and sound quality in the menu somewhere in the middle. It will give you plenty of time on your SD card for getting it right without having to empty the files in the Recorder. The resolution of the video and quality of the audio is powerful and beyond anything, you probably need in normal usage unless your project calls for it then you’ll have it.

Record acoustic guitar and Voice in X/Y microphone configuration– It has a great frequency response in the middle range that just sounds so nice using that configuration. Still, the room has a lot to do with it so, you need to make the adjustments on mic technique A/B or X/Y according to the room your in. I have used the A/B for recording my buddies in a Band situation which will include 4 or 5 instruments including drums.

JimGalloway Author/Editor

MikingDesign.com 01/2020

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