• Learn from the experts


    Vendor-neutral, unbiased opinions


    Key concepts, summarized for the novice


    Master the use of your audio gear

  • Broaden your skills


     In-depth, practical articles


    Step-by-step techniques


    Discover useful tips & tricks

  • Your online coursebook


    Complete primer to production sound


    Equipment manuals & reviews


    PowerPoint slides & videos

  • Discussion Forum


    Great for networking


    Need advice? Ask a pro!


    Chat with your peers



  • Create an account

    Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

Font Size

Change Font Size
Welcome, Guest

TOPIC: Handheld digital recorders...

Handheld digital recorders... 4 years 11 months ago #928

  • Fred Ginsburg
  • Fred Ginsburg's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Professor / sound Mixer
  • Posts: 225
  • Thank you received: 70
  • Karma: 10
Hi Professor,

Hope your breaks going well. I'm in the market for a new digital recorder
and was wondering if you could give me some advice.

I work primarily in the documentary genre and so I would prefer a small
handheld digital recorder. I'm looking at both the Tascam DR-40 or Zoom
H4n? Both have 2 XLR inputs which puts them above most models in the
handheld category.

However, when I graduate I would like to work as a sound recordist on
independent sets. Can these recorders hold up to industry standard or is
their a glaring issue with them I should be aware of? Will I need to
purchase a separate recorder, such as the marantz, when working on
narrative films vs. documentaries?

Both units are very similar. The built-in mics, as good as they might be, are useless; you would not be using them to record production audio tracks since you would always be using one or two external mics directly (or line out from a mixer). Even though they are touted as 4-track, you are right to consider them as two-track. Recording specs are excellent. No timecode, however.

I have not used either of them, so one needs to play with them in your hand to see how the ergonomics go. How easy or difficult is it to control recording levels with the built-in meters and buttons? Some of the zoom models did not allow any mic level adjustments other than a fixed hi-med-lo 3-choice switch. But that may not apply to this newer model.

When you talk about going professional with the recorders, bear in mind that they are only two-track and non-timecode. So that would only be a back-up track of what you would be sending to a camcorder. It would be nice to own at least a four-track with timecode, such as an Edirol R4-Pro or Sound Devices 744T. Edirol is coming out with an 8-track timecode portable for around $2500. But that is a big chunk of change more than the two tracks!
Last Edit: 4 years 11 months ago by Fred Ginsburg.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Time to create page: 0.211 seconds

About Us

This website is intended as an educational resource for those interested in video and film production. Our specialty is Production Sound Recording (location sound), although we are also versed in other aspects of production, from pre to post.


Our mission is not to sell you equipment, but to help you to master the complex craft of location audio recording for video and film.

Contact Us

  • Mailing Address: PO Box 950207
    Mission Hills, CA 91395-0207
  • Tel: 1+ (818) 231-1038
You are here: Home Forum Equipment & Techniques General Questions Handheld digital recorders...