Natural sounds with the H4

As alluded to in a previous post, I needed to find a replacement for my iRiver iHP-120. I ended up splitting my needs into getting two replacements – one device to replace the recording needs, and another to replace the playback needs. After some intense & extensive research, I decided on getting a Zoom H4 Handy. Below are some sample recordings of natural sounds taken from around my parents’ house.

Gentle Rain

The first (not chronologically, but in the list below) recording is the result of placing the H4 on a mini camera tripod (6″) next to an open window during a gentle rain. It’s not particularly interesting, and the stereo imaging isn’t particularly impressive as the source of the sound is clipped by the window frame. However, a few minutes into the recording my phone apparently started ringing. The H4 captured the sound so impressively, maa shaa Allaah, that while listening to this recording with my headphones, I found myself jumping up to answer the phone – only to be shocked to find that there was no incoming call on the phone. After taking-off the headphones to further investigate, it became immediately apparent that I was attempting to answer a call that happened last week. That humbling moment really demonstrates the vividness of the recordings produced by this impressive device, maa shaa Allaah.

Sitting on the Front Porch

The second recording was one of my earliest recording tests with the H4. I simple held it in my hands and recorded the sound one can hear from my front porch.

Walking Around the House

The third recording was made immediately after the second one above, and I just walked around my parents’ house with the H4. The “presence” one feels when using headphones while listening to this recording is rather impressive.


Finally, while doing some miscellaneous image processing (the results of which you might find in a subsequent post, in shaa Allaah), I decided to setup the H4 to record the beautiful “music of the night” just before sunset. This is the most recent recording, and the dynamics of the various creatures is impressive. Unfortunately, about 3/4 of the way through the recording there is a rather distracting burst of window noise due partially to the fact that I have misplaced my windscreen for the H4. In shaa Allaah I will recover it soon, as I have a good idea where it may be.

The ability to make these kinds of recordings and more are among the most driving reasons I decided to go ahead with the H4. Stay tuned for more interesting samples, including more recordings from more-controlled environments, in shaa Allaah.


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