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Thread: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

  1. #1

    Default Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    I am looking to buy a small portable recorder so that I can record myself practicing and mix together some strumming and picking. Right now, I'm using Audacity with a USB webcam mic (Microsoft Lifecam). My results with the current setup aren't terrible, and I'm able to clean up the 'background noise' from the Webcam in Audacity, but the room my computer is in is very tiny, and I feel cramped playing in there. So, I am looking for something portable to record on, and then mix later on my Computer in Audacity.

    The two options I am considering are the Tascam Portastudio DP-008EX and the Zoom H4N Pro. The fact that they come with built in mics is a plus; I don't want to buy a mic right now, but would still like the ability to add one in the future. Has anyone had experience with both of these devices? They are the same price, which one will give me better results?

    These are the results I'm getting using the USB Webcam: https://soundcloud.com/anonymousfiddler/arkansas-traveler

  2. #2
    Registered User Gabriel Wiseman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    Honestly, for what your describing, either will work just fine and both a great products. The Zoom is more leaning toward a recorder to go out and record some live bands playing, jams and things like that. Has some great mics built right in. May be a little of a learning curve to it though.... I have several zoom products and there all great at what their aimed at. The Tascam is also a great piece and may be a little more suited to doing what you described with a little more ease. Has 8 tracks in all and will be a lot easier, or at least i think it will, to quickly learn to navigate and just throw down some quick tracks on. Don't sound like your wanting to record a record or anything or get it to some crazy hi-fi audio equipment and mics... just want to lay down some tracks easily and play around... Also want it so sound a lot better than the webcam mic your using now. Well, both will beat that hands down but for what your doing, i think I would go with the Tascam.... By the way I have had experience with both... owned them. There's my .02 cents. Good luck!!
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    Registered User Darren Bailey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    I have both. The Tascam is the one I choose first at home because it is better for multi-tracking. But the Zoom is the one I always take when recording elsewhere because I feel more confident with it out and about. I wouldn't want to move the Tascam too regularly, but I find it easier to use.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Bailey View Post
    I have both. The Tascam is the one I choose first at home because it is better for multi-tracking. But the Zoom is the one I always take when recording elsewhere because I feel more confident with it out and about. I wouldn't want to move the Tascam too regularly, but I find it easier to use.
    Is the quality of the built-in mics comparable?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    I agree with everything Gabriel and Darren said. I love using the Tascam at home. It's great for multitracking, and it's super easy to use. I often just leave it set up in the room that I play in so that I can turn it on and record when ever I feel a moment of inspiration. Also, when you get the import/export workflow going it's really easy to use in tandem with something like a DAW.
    That said, the internal mics aren't the greatest, but they're not half bad. They will definitely do the trick until you have the chance to buy a mic of your own.

    I'm attaching a song that I did at home on the Tascam in case you wanna hear what it can do. Two guitar tracks and a vocal track (it's an original). All three tracks were recorded in my living room, with a MXL V67G mic.

    EDIT: I can't speak to a comparison of the internal mics because I only have the Tascam. Maybe I could record an example on the internal mic on it later today for you, if you'd like.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #6
    Registered User Gabriel Wiseman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    Cherokee Shuffle Midxdown.mp3
    Here is something I did on the Tascam 8 track a long time ago... rythem guitar and mandolin chop and lead. I eventually upgraded to the Tascam DP-32 SD so I no longer have the little 8 track but sometimes wish I did.... LOL.... much easier to use.
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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    Had been debating this for some time and read many a reviews on both. YMMV

    Tascam has an issue with cell phones/radio towers in that it picks up signals and those cause noises on recording. That was one of the things that stuck out. Would say roughly 60% of the views pointed that out.

    Had reached out to Tascam where I wanted to record various instrument and combine them, and wanted a recorder that could handle multiple sessions. Their response was: "Only our Portastudios can do it properly. The DR-05 has overdub which is very basic and a little cumbersome. Only the DR-44WL has true multi-track capability. The DP-006 and DP-008EX very reasonable and can do it very easily."

    Zoom reviews said there is a learning curve compared to the Tascam, but both have their inherent series of buttons for various settings.

    Given Teac's response, watching various video reviews, online types reviews, and response rates the Zoom seems to be the better way to go. And there are some that claim to not have any of the interference issues and say to stick with Tascam (Teac) as you get more for the buck. However those that do quality recordings from various sources say to go with a minimum HN4 Pro. A few recommended the H5 & H6, but that's getting a bit in the expensive side of things IMO.


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  9. #8

    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    Thanks for the information and the kind words, James.

    I can only speak from my personal experience, but I've never had any issues with radio interference. Which I actually find quite remarkable considering I live on the top of capitol hill in Seattle and there are two massive radio towers within a mile of me. These have caused interference on every pair of speakers I've ever owned, but never on my Tascam unit.
    The only time I get any buzzing is if my phone is sitting right next to the unit and a receive a text, but as long as my phone is on airplane mode, or even just across the room, that's not a problem.

    Anyways, to the OP, as James and others have pointed out, these two devices have their different pros and cons. If you are looking for at home multitracking, then I would go with the DP unit without a doubt. It is literally set up for instant multitracking possibilites with the ability to control volume, reverb, pan, etc on each individual track. But if you're looking for easy on-the-go use it sounds like the Zoom might be the way to go. Just my two cents of course!

  10. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    Just a good tip from another thread. I think both these units qualify for the Amazon Harmony discount which I think could save something around 15% off the listed price. Look for this on the listing.

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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Just a good tip from another thread. I think both these units qualify for the Amazon Harmony discount which I think could save something around 15% off the listed price. Look for this on the listing.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hmm... don't see that option on my end. Is this a Prime Membership deal?
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    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    If you have a smartphone then you could use that or, for a better quality, add an external microphone. It's early days but I'm happy so far with the Zoom iQ7 that I bought.

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  14. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by James Miller View Post
    Hmm... don't see that option on my end. Is this a Prime Membership deal?
    Hmmm. That might be.
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  15. #13

    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    We use a zoom H4 to record rehearsals and the sound quality amazes me & this is with an amplified 5 piece band. It’s the guitar players H4 and He sets it up. But when I ask him to playback a certain spot in a song He says it can’t do that and He has to go back to beginning of song every time, that dosnt seem right to me. Is that true with the zoom or is there an easy rewind function He’s missing ? I’m looking to buy a zoom or tascam also but will take simplicity over just about anything else as the recordings are just for practicing.
    Lou

  16. #14

    Default Re: Tascam Portastudio vs Zoom H4N Pro

    I recently bought a Tascam DR-40 as an upgrade to the poor recording results I had using my phone. It's just for personal use but I was looking for something portable with multitrack capability that had some small room to grow if I needed enhanced capability.

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    It came down to either the Zoom H4N or the DR-40, which is a more direct comparison to the Zoom vs. the DP006. They were very close in features and functionality, and I own other products from both companies so have some trust in them, but I've worked with Tascam for far longer and I was able to score a like-new used one for <$140 which made the decision easy since I was already leaning that way.

    So far I've only used some basic recording and overdub features through the built-in mics but the audio is excellent and I've found the unit easy to use. Just something for you to consider.

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