Looking for a portable recorder to replace Zoom H4n

I’m looking for a portable recorder to replace my H4n.

What I don’t like about it :

  1. Slow boot time. I missed so many sounds because of this.
  2. So sensitive to hand moves when holding it by hand. The plastic case is massively resonant.

A rechargeable battery would be a bonus.
2 build in mics with two jack/XLR ins would be needed.

Any idea ?

I’ve seen the Tascam DR 40 but i’ve read bad things about the sound quality.

just got the zoom h5 and like it lots. 4 ins 4 track all kinds of stuff.


Do you hear your holding hand easily ? How fast does it start up ?

I picked up an Olympus LS-P2 recently, after owning a Zoom H4, and love it. It’s tiny, the case is metal and solid so there’s very little handling noise, it boots in about 3.5 seconds and sounds great. Inexpensive too (and I got mine refurbished, so even more so).


I have the Zoom H6, which is fantastic. Solid and sturdy, boots fast, rechargeable battery, interchangeable capsule, and it has a pre-record mode that can continuously record the last two seconds of audio so you don’t miss something by being a couple of seconds late to hit record. And the recording quality is excellent. A little more expensive but if you use it a lot it’s worth the extra cost.


I have a Zoom H4N, the reason I don’t like it is the pre-amps. Low quality and very noisy. I got some Uši Pro microphones a while back and that vastly improved the quality of recordings, also emphasising how crap the built-in mics are. I also depends what you use it for, I know a lot of people have and like Zooms because they are relatively cheap and are fine for a lot of applications. I like to do recordings in nature or quiet situations so I suffer.

I use a stand or the plastic handle that came with the H4N so handling noise is not such an issue. A solution would be something like this, which I have used, http://mymic.rycote.com/products/portable-recorder-suspension/

Regarding slow boot time, I hear you, what I have found is that when using larger SD cards it takes longer to boot, when comparing a 2 versus and 8 Gb card.

I haven’t used a Tascam DR 40 but have used the more expensive Tascam DR-44WL. While it is better than the H4N it didn’t make me go WOW what an upgrade.

The lesson I have learned is that for my needs it boils down to the quality of the pre-amps. This means paying more, how much more depends. If it something you are going to use a lot a bit of extra investment will leave you with a more satisfied feeling and better results in the end. If I didn’t need built-in mics I would look at the Sony PCM-D100. People seem to like the H6, but something with so many features, for such a cheap price sounds too good to be true, and I have sampled the Zoom semi-pro results.

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If you can stretch the budget I’m very happy with my Tascam DR-100 MK III.


This special recording mode seems very useful !
Thank you everybody for the advices !

I love my Zoom H6, but the handling noise is no better than the H4…

For what it’s worth, I too am very happy with my Tascam.


20 characters of +1!


I haven’t tried the H4 but I haven’t had a problem with handling noise on the H6. Maybe I’m just overly cautious about not moving at all when I’m recording.