Zoom H4n as a USB microphone

As well as being a great recorder for recording out and about, I’ve found the Zoom H4n to be great for recording directly to the computer, thanks to the option to use it as a USB microphone. That means I can take advantage of the excellent microphones at home as well!

Here’s how to do it (it’s all in the manual).

  1. Switch off the Zoom.
  2. Connect it to a computer via USB, and it displays a choice: STORAGE or AUDIO I/F.
  3. Using the scroll wheel, select AUDIO I/F (selecting the other puts it into USB storage mode, which allows you to access the SD card and copy sound files from it).
  4. Then it will display a menu giving you the choice of changing the sampling rate (I leave it at the default 44.1kHz) or connecting. Select CONNECT.

The Zoom is now connected as a USB microphone – USB bus powered, so it won’t drain the batteries (I don’t think so anyway). It even shows level meters on the Zoom, and there is the option to select effects to apply to the sound – I haven’t played with that yet.

Now you can use whatever software to record the microphone input. In your software, go to the recording source options, and select “H4n USB Audio Interface” or similar. You may need to refresh the list of input options, which may involve restarting the software.

The Zoom came with a mic stand adapter, which is basically a plastic rod with a 1/4″ screw on the end, which screws into the tripod screw hole in the back of the Zoom. It allows you to use a regular mic stand with it, but it also just lets me stand the Zoom up on my desk, ideal for recording without having to hold it.

Zoom H4n Mic Clip Adapter

Photo by modguitar.com

I use the Zoom in this way to record extra bits like intros, end caps, and the snack reviews. I mostly use it with the fantastic Ubuntu software Audio Recorder, which I will talk about in another post.