If you’re looking to buy a new Zoom H4n audio recorder in 2022, there are multiple versions ( H4n, H4n Pro, and H4n Pro Black) may confuse you. On the surface, these Zoom H4n recorders are slightly different. But what is more important is what the key differences are?
If you’re trying to make a buying decision real quick, head below for everything you need to know about the Zoom original H4n vs H4n Pro vs H4n Pro All Black comparison.
H4n, H4n Pro, and H4n Pro All Black – Timeline & History
The first Zoom H4n recorder was released in 2009, it came out as an improved model of the Zoom H4 with better preamps and the N stands for “Next”. In 2015, Zoom released a new H4n package called H4nSP, which had exactly the same H4n recorder in the box, but it also contained a few useful accessories for the H4n recorder.
One year later, Zoom announced the upgraded H4n Pro is available on June 1, 2016, and Zoom claimed that the H4n Pro had a better overall performance. In 2020, the Zoom H4n Pro became black and it’s called Zoom H4n Pro All Black (so did the Zoom H6). And the Zoom H4n Pro All Black is the latest H4n model as of today.
What’s Changed? H4n vs H4n Pro
In terms of design, the Zoom H4n and H4n Pro are similar, with a portable size and identical buttons layout. Both recorders also feature two built-in XY Stereo microphones at the top. And you get two mic inputs on the bottom. Even though the specs tell us that their dimension and weight are not exactly the same, it’s impossible to spot the tiny differences, it’s super subtle.
One major difference is that the Zoom H4n Pro comes with a display with a different color than the original H4n. Compared to the yellow screen with black font, the words on the new blue display are easier to read. It’s not as bright as the old display, but it is more friendly to users and it makes eyes less tired.
Another advantage of the Zoom H4n Pro has is that it features two locking XLR/TRS combo jacks, which means you won’t accidentally pull out the mics. On the other hand, the original Zoom H4n does not have the locking feature, this is not very secure when you have multiple mics working at the same time.
Recording Performance & Quality
The Zoom H4n and H4n Pro are both record audio up to 96 kHz/24-bit, and you can record four tracks of digital audio at the same time. But it does not mean the H4n Pro’s recording quality is the same as the H4n’s.
In fact, the biggest improvement of the Zoom H4n Pro is, it has significantly better and more sensitive built-in preamplifiers than the old H4n model. With the better preamps, the Zoom H4n Pro offers cleaner gain and quieter self-noise than the original Zoom H4n, giving you lower noise levels no matter whether it works with the built-in mics or external mics through the input jacks.
Pricing & Availability
The original silver Zoom H4n audio recorder is discontinued but you probably can still get it at Amazon at the price of $188 even though I don’t think it is a good time to buy an old recorder like this. And the newest H4n Pro All Black version officially retails for $249.99 while you can get it at $219.99 on multiple shopping sites nowadays. Additionally, you might have seen some H4n Pro in different colors like Blue, Red, but they are hard to get as all of them are discontinued except the All Black edition.
Frequently Asked Question About Zoom H4n and H4n Pro
Functionality-wise, What are the differences between the Zoom H4n and H4n Pro?
The Zoom H4n and H4n have identical features and functions in terms of recordings and playbacks.
Zoom H4n Pro vs H4n Pro All Black?
The only difference is that the H4n Pro All Black has a black finished cover, that’s it.
Summary – Which is the most worth buying in 2022
As you can see, the Zoom H4n and H4n Pro share many similarities in terms of form factor and recording features as the H4n Pro is simply an upgrade for the H4n.
No doubt, the Zoom H4n Pro All Black is the product you should buy in 2022, especially if you are seeking the best Zoom H4n model. It only costs $20 – $30 more than the original H4n recorder, but what you can get is a brand new recorder with advanced preamps same as the H5 and H6. Most importantly, it is the only H4n model that you can buy from Zoom’s official website.