La Vie En Rose recorded with a Zoom H4

edited June 2009 in Recording Posts: 597
Just set up the Zoom H4 in front of my Gitane D500 and hit record. I used the four-track studio setting so that I could lay down a rhythm part and then go back and lay down the head and a solo. ... ID=5706202

Here's the rhythm part without the head and the solo ... if you'd like to give it a go! ... ID=5709544


This little field recorder/mulitrack studio is awesome. It's completely changed my recording habits. I can now cut tracks anywhere and anytime I feel like it! I cut the above tracks one afternoon while sitting in bed. :wink:

Though the Zoom has some mixing capabilities, I dl'd the tracks via USB to GarageBand and mixed them in there.


  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    I've thought about getting one of these. They have a new model, the H2, which has 4 mics and can create surround-sound recordings. That doesn't interest me all that much but it's also a little cheaper and has a nice little tripod stand. ... rodID=1916
  • Posts: 597
    I thought about that one, but I liked the two inputs on the Zoom H4. I use a camera tripod for mine, and I'm going to get a mic stand adaptor soon.

    Am I reading that page correctly? The H4 has both field recording and multitrack capabilites, but the H2 is mainly a field recorder, right? That H2 still looks pretty sweet, but I'm really digging the H4!!!
  • WowBobWowWowBobWow Another Time & SpaceNew
    Posts: 221
    Hi Stackabones,

    Wonderful recording. I was wondering if you could share any more details on how you recorded such great material.

    I am borrowing an H4 from a friend & have just spent an afternoon with it though my results are drastically far from the quality of your recording.

    I simply placed the H4 about 2 feet away, in the direction of the soundhole of the guitar, used the built in mics, and tried various takes. The first track I did rhythm which sounds pretty decent, then the second track I did lead several times but either way when I hear both tracks together they sound unflattering together.

    My one lead take that sounded semi-decent was a lead take in which I am an octave above the rhythm chords, that way the lead track is not battling with the same frequencies/range of notes as the rhythm chords.

    Any help in how you did your recording would be greatly appreciated. Any recommendations or insights to any H4 recordings you've done lately would be extremely helpful.

    By chance, did you happen to use any of the built in preset effects when making you recording? Also, did you happen to be in a special padded room or have any special set-up on the H4? (for example, low or high mic gain?)

    Thanks for your time & Sincerely,
  • Posts: 597

    Thanks for the kind words.

    If I recall correctly, I recorded those tracks in the H4's four-track mode (not sure if I used wav or mp3). No presets were used, though I have used them since (such as Acoustic Reverb). Can't recall what the mic gain setting was.

    I may have been closer than two feet ... maybe about a foot. This was before I had the tripod, so I probably just rested it on the sheets or the comforter of my bed, or I rested it on a fake book. I may have attempted to get some kind of angle on it. Not sure where I pointed it--probably at the sound hole tilted towards the 12th fret?

    Right next to my bed is a window, but I've got a blanket over it. That would have been about a yard off my right shoulder. Maybe that's the "padded room" you hear ... good ears, by the way!

    I wish that after I'd recorded I'd gone into the H4 and kicked up the levels a bit. I didn't know at the time that they could increased (they are set on 100, but can be kicked up to 127). Levels are a constant issue ... too low, too hot! Aaargh!

    Nothing much was done in GarageBand except balancing levels between the two tracks. There's a chance that I cut two solos and took parts of both and made a collage, but I'm not sure if I'd started doing that yet.

    Rhythm and lead(s?) were done in first takes. I was too excited to fuss over several takes. I just wanted something to record and play back!!! By the way, when I cut the lead I did it with headphones on.

    Most of the recordings I've done lately have been done with various guitars using various different presets. On "Sip de rum" I used reverb, several overdubbed nylon-string guitars (recorded directly into the H4), percussion, vocals and overdubbed harmonies (vox & perc recorded using the H4 mic). I had a blast recording and mixing this one. ... ID=5753111

    I hope some of the above helps out a bit. Feel free to ask more!
  • WowBobWowWowBobWow Another Time & SpaceNew
    Posts: 221
    Hi Stackabones ~

    Thanks for the great reply. I really like Sip de Rum! It's going to be in my head for days. Once again, it sounds amazingly good and clean.

    I will take your tips and advice into account when experimenting with the H4. I think I should pad my recording area because there is an airy-ness in my recordings that are too noticeable. Also, the built in mics are so hot I get the heavy breathing/wheezing factor (or maybe I am just a heavy breather and didn't realize it, the mics just pick up my ocassional nasal inhalations).

    I'll keep tickering around and let you know if I get lucky and figure out how to use the H4 system too. The leveling feature seems like a good thing for me to try next, as well as mic placement.

    Bravo again with Sip de Rum! Please post more tunes if you get a chance!

    Thanks again & Sincerely,
  • Posts: 597

    Thanks for the kind words about Sip de rum. 8)

    I've noticed that if I try to record next to my computer, the H4 mic picks up the fan/hissing/computer noise. Same thing in the kitchen with all the various gadget noises. Once, I had the ceiling fans on high and the mics picked that up ... gotta use that mic foam ball thing in windy situations!

    The thing I really love about the H4 is the ability to record anywhere. My studio is wherever I go. I like GarageBand, but being stuck in front of the computer and trying to get an inspired take is a bit of a drag sometimes. With the H4, you just move around the house, go to a friends, cafes, etc.

    The weather's been pretty nice around here and I'm toying around with the idea of doing a "field" recording, maybe a "field" multitrack! I think I'd be so cool to sit in a park and record a tune. If I get lucky, maybe I'll capture some ambient noises like planes or kids playing or whatever.

    Love to hear something. Take your time with it and have fun. Don't worry about any mistakes. Sip de rum has a huge mistake in it, but I left it there just because it was so wabi-sabi cool. :wink:
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Very nice results - I didn't know the H4 did multitrack... man, now I'm confused again - I was all set to get the H2 but the idea of being able to record a multi-track while sitting on the back deck... tempting.

    I've been using an iRiver H120 running Rockbox-OS and Sound Pros mics. It works great, but this is just so much simpler. Four years ago I had to bring my laptop and a VCR-sized outboard A/D converter and a pair of cardiod mics with XLR cables...
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • RollerpunkRollerpunk Toulouse, FranceNew
    Posts: 17
    Hi guys, i am also in a confusion between gettin' the H2 or the H4, but the multitrack aspect of the H4 (which i didn't know) could make go for it.

    Just a question about that :

    Do you have a backing (in the headphones) of what you record (for example a chorus on a pre-recorded pompe) while the first track is played ?
    In other words, when you add a chorus to a pompe, do you hear in the same time pompe and chorus while recording the chorus ?

    Thanks in advance.
  • Posts: 597
    Rollerpunk ... after I put down the first track (usually the rhythm track), I then put on my headphones to record the melody and other tracks. By putting the headphones on, I can hear the rhythm track in my head while I record the melody or solo on another track while using the Zoom mic.

    So: record the rhythm; put on the headphones; hear the rhythm track in the headphones while recording the lead.

    Without the headphones, you'd need speakers ... but then the speaker sound would be picked up by the mic. So the headphones prevent bleeding one track onto another track.

    Hope that helps!

    by the way ... another recording using the Zoom ... an original tune ... me on rhythm and lead ...

    If you decide on the H4 (or the H2), post some recordings!
  • RollerpunkRollerpunk Toulouse, FranceNew
    Posts: 17
    Thanks for your quick answer.

    I think my post was not clear (english's not my mother tongue, i'm french).

    I agree on what you answer, but my question was on the fact that there is a (live) backing (as where on you play on stage) of the track you are recording while recording it, in addition to the pre-recorded track.

    Having read you answer, i assume the answer is not.
    So that would mean you don't hear what you're playing when recording the lead ? (since you have the ryhtm in the headphones, it should be hard to hear the lead from the body of the guitar).

    Hope i'm clear enough.

    Btw, if you know a good headphone product for that kind of activity, i don't know much about good headphones.
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