sam king

sam king

i need help chosing between the 2? it will be used with a RODE NTG2 MICROPHONE KIT WITH BOOMPOLE for DSLR video work

thanks in advance

sam king

sam king

yes my research has lead me to believe this one is best.



I think both are pretty mediocre. From what I've heard the Tascam is slightly better than the Zoom because of extra battery and manual control options.

I own a Tascam dr-100 and I hate it. It crashes all the time, gets card read errors, the battery doesn't last as long as advertised, and the preamps are noisy. It's nearly $300 and it doesn't come with a charger. The biggest issue I have with it is the file system which will only let you record to a file labeled with consecutive numbers and a word. If you don't have a laptop to dump the files to then you are stuck trying to figure out which track goes with which footage take. It helps to use a clapper board, but it's still annoying. I wish I could label each track accordingly.

I'm still looking for a better audio option for DSLR shooting because I've had pretty dull experiences with the zoom and tascam. If anyone has a better system let me know.

Nate Weber

Nate Weber Plus

I'm not a big fan on the built in mics on the DR-100 but once you learn the interface and put in some AA batteries to back up the lithium battery (use rechargeables, they last longer and will save you some money after just a couple uses).

I dont have any of the issues LCM listed though, isn't very noisy, it just has issues with noise from getting bumped and stuff. I do agree with the annoyance for syncing with labeling, but I often run a line out into the camera from the Tascam so it is recorded into the cameras audio live.

It Donned On Me

It Donned On Me Plus

We've used both. For the most part sound quality and features between the two are comparable. The backup battery and level dials of the DR-100 are nice, but so is the adjustable spread on the built-in mics of the H4n. Neither one has very good options for changing the file names, and we've had lost/corrupted files on rare occasions with both. Neither one is perfect but they're both pretty good, and you need to spend a lot more to get much better.

Andy Waddell

Andy Waddell Plus

Hey guys. I have a question for Tascam users - does the LCD show elapsed time or just time left? Reason is, my producers use the Zoom clock as our timecode for the shoot, taking notes on elapsed time. We let audio run for 4hrs straight sometimes and simple take notes based on that.

Also, I am a Zoom user but got worried recently when I accidentally turned off the Zoom before it saved the audio and we lost it (I can accept that is partially my fault, though still flawed design I think) but the other day I had just saved my file and then lost power and it said the file was corrupted but my Mac actually was able to read it so I was able to use it. But its gotten me worried that its not professional enough if your data is that poorly handled. I haven't been able to recreate the issue in testing which has me concerned.

Any insight from the Tascam users is appreciated.



Article19 PRO

I think there's a recurring problem here and some of it is misinformation. This is also being discussed in another thread.

Piece of equipment A is no good because there are some issues with it so maybe I should use equipment B.

It's a never ending cycle, chasing your tail if you will. The Zoom is a £300 recording device so it's gonna lack some features and some safe guards.

No matter the gear you are using you gotta work it to your own advantage and work it hard to get the results you need. Buying new stuff isn't going to fix the issue of turning off a recorder while it's writing the file.

Establish your shooting procedures and follow them, all the time. Change your batteries, set your levels, work your audio in post, get the job done.

A £7000 audio recorder that uses CF cards or a hard disk can still get corrupted, can still run out of juice, can still break down.

There are plenty of mega budget movies and tv shows that look and sound like crap (there appear to be an alarming number of post houses working on network tv shows using auto ducking for example) and they have all the gear in the world.

Yves Roy & Wacky Ballerina

Yves Roy & Wacky Ballerina

what you're saying is so true. what a refreshing comment! actually all of your comments in this discussion.

Roger Jackaman

Roger Jackaman

The Zoom H4n seems to be aimed at recoding music and my experience with a NTG-2 external mic seems to bare this out. When recording voice overs the mic has to be very close to get good sound even with the levels turned all the way up. This has been a huge dissapointment as the recorder seems to work very well otherwise.

Andy Waddell

Andy Waddell Plus

Tom, thanks for some insight. I never use the on-board mics on the Zoom, I always use it with boom mics or lavs for on-camera talent, so that sounds like it wouldn't be an issue for me.

My interest in the Tascam whether or not it's more stable than the Zoom in its file operations. Do you like its interface and mic preamps for external mics or do you not use it in that way? Have you ever lost files for no apparent reason?

Thanks again for a helpful answer, your insight was exactly what I was hoping for, not a lecture about my workflow.




Article19 PRO

George Bush called, he wants his tone deafness back!

PPS: having used a H4N for Two years never once "lost a file", it 'aint the gear son, it's the operator.

Andy Waddell

Andy Waddell Plus

Article19, Vimeo's mission statement reads, "Vimeo is a respectful community of creative people who are passionate about sharing the videos they make." You're clearly not cut out for Vimeo, so why don't you take your trolling back to youtube.


Article19 PRO

dude, you're just unwilling to learn how to use your gear properly. there's nothing wrong with the zoom, the tascam or the marantz recorders. learn how to manage your files and your workflow. it aint the gear that's not being "professional".

My post was not a critique of your workflow, i don't care about your workflow. it was a critique of the hapless rumour mongering that goes on around the internet which serves no purpose other than to clog up forums with "there something wrong with piece of gear A because all these people said so".

What these discussion always conveniently ignore are the thousands of people using a Zoom, Tascam or Marantz recorder without any issues.

So really, when you think about it, you're the one who's "trolling" mis-information. Weird huh?


Keith PRO

I can second the Zoom is a faulty, poorly designed product. It has run out of battery as I was pushing stop and simply shuts off without saving the file. I have found the battery indicator to not be reliable. Showing two bars this has happened to me twice on this doc I'm shooting. At least the Tascam has a built-in backup, that's equipment design not user error. I agree it would be a logical design to also have the device save the stream if you initial a shutdown. That seems like a no-brainer. Thirdly the level buttons on the Zoom can't be adjusted on the fly without hearing it in the final recording. For all these reasons I'm looking to ditch the Zoom and go for a different product even if I have to pay twice as much.

Andy Waddell

Andy Waddell Plus

This is why I typically avoid forums, because of people like Article19. I thought it would be different on Vimeo. Oh well, pressing forward.

Jonty, that's interesting what you and Tom are saying about it being fussy about certain mics, I've not heard that before. I use several versions of Sennheiser boom mics (such as the ME66 and older ones) as well as wireless lavs on the Zoom and have not seen this issue. Wonder if its a phantom power issue of some sort w/ the NTG-2? Have you tried running of the mic's battery instead? I've also run a Neumann TLM-103 and TLM-102 off of it, using the built-in phantom with great results when I've needed to do VOs in the field.

Good luck to you!


Egg Media UK

Egg Media UK Plus

Thanks Andy, I'm going to try the ME66 - heard it's a good combo for the H4n ... we shall see! :)

Andy Waddell

Andy Waddell Plus

You won't be disappointed! I have run it using phantom as well as on its own battery which is nice to save juice on the Zoom, and it sounds fantastic. Recommend using the Limiter only on the Zoom for it just to save you from the occasional overload.

Sun Pyramid Productions

Sun Pyramid Productions

Hey guys! I have a problem with my tascam, it limits my recording time to 1.8Gb even though I am using a 32Gb sdhc class 10 card. Anyone can help? thank you!

Mark Johnson II

Mark Johnson II Plus

The Tascam product limits the card storage output to 2Gb I believe on non-sdhc cards. I have absolutely no idea why though. I know yours is "sdhc" but perhaps the device is not recognizing it as such. That's my guess.

This information is based on the BHPhoto video reviewing the Tascam DR-05 and DR-07 mk II.

Chris Conlee

Chris Conlee Plus

Just thought I'd pop in here, having lost files on a Zoom H4N device as well. To the quite sure of him/herself Article19, this is in fact a documented issue with the H4N, and has to do with incompatible SD cards. Here's a thread on Zoom's own forum detailing it:

Have a nice day.

Harris Media Services

Harris Media Services PRO

I just lost a 12-minute interview recording two days ago, and that was to a new SD card that was highly recommended. Sure, it's still anecdotal but here's the thing: I have had this happen twice in the past with two different cards. That inspired me to double up and cover my butt with another system (actually just the onboard recording deck of my ex1r tethered to a separate lav or boom. I don't know why I lost the files on the zoom. I also don't know how I could magically predict a catastrophic write error. I actually agree with Article19's larger point about managing equipment. That's what I do by going double (or even triple) system. Or I could do something real crazy and hire a sound person on occasion.... :)

DSLR Films Galore

DSLR Films Galore

Article19 is not a troll. That's my job.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you

Here you will find an awesome sampler of audio management by our dear friend, Article19.


Article19 PRO

aww look at you trying to be sarcastic and failing miserably!

you know what the problem was with that interview? we didn't start the audio recorder running, that would be a "human error" not the "let's blame the tool not the tool using the tool" bs that too many people come along here with.

Now, run along and play with some depth of field.

Apostolos Nikolaidis

Apostolos Nikolaidis

Guys please calm down!

We're all on the same ground trying to do our best.
That kind of dialogues don't really help anyone.

By the way in a few days I'm gonna get the DR-100 for my 600d and sennheiser g3.

It's a risk as always when you get a piece of equipment you haven't used and tested for an extended period but that's the game.

Wish the best to all of you and keep being creative!

Lowe Frequency

Lowe Frequency

to be honest, DSLR Films Galore, that video would have sounded a lot better if the recorder hadn't been started at all.

David  - SkyJamVideos

David - SkyJamVideos

I know this doesn't address your question, but if you do have the extra money......the Marantz PMD661 is the next step as the pre-amps really shine but that's not for everyone, especially since it is $599 and some people are understandably on a budget. If you can save your money you'll notice quite a big difference. Even when I used an older Audio Technica atm33a condenser microphone with a PMD661 and boomed it 5 feet away from actors mouths, the difference between that and the H4N with the ATM33a was almost night and day. I still have a H4N and I use for specific things and I do like it but in terms of overall build quality, better pre-amps and pick up, it is an excellent product. And, despite if you have a dynamic, condenser or shotgun microphone the Marantz PMD661 handles all those microphones better

Mat Cuervo

Mat Cuervo

Can anyone tell me is there anyway to record synchronized while shooting with the zoom or with the tascam??? so I don't have to bother with sync in post? Also I'm using a GH2.

Ian Homer

Ian Homer

Just come across this thread - very entertaining. I don't mind a bit of brusque banter (something to do with coming from a press background I guess). I'm researching getting a separate sound recorder at the moment and it truly seems like a game of blind man's buff. I am leaning toward a Sony PCM M10 at the moment as sound samples (comparing various others using same mic setups seem to indicate it has nice quiet pre-amps for the money). True it doesn't have XLR balanced inputs but a lot of lavs etc aren't on balanced ones anyway. My Rode videomic doesn't and that's primarily what I have to use to start with.

I had considered the Tascam DR40 but apparently there are tons of issues with a low level noise clock related HF harmonic problem with that unit. Tascam now say it shouldn't be used with non balanced mics which seems a cop-out.

Anyone else had experience with the Sony unit?


Terrence Wilkins

Terrence Wilkins Plus

I just brought a Tascam DR-100 mkII and i'm using it with a Rode NTG-3. Gotta say the results are beautiful, never heard such clean audio before, if any one wants me to post some samples i will.

Tarquin Boyesen

Tarquin Boyesen Plus

My ten pence worth is , the zoom hn4 in battery operation lasts around 10 minutes , its completely useless , you have to plug into mains but that can cause earth hums . I get great results with a decent mic into a pre mixer like sound devices then straight into 5d , note : put the slate on and pull back the manual level in the 5d three notches back from odb then peak at 0db on the mixer , its as good as you can get with equipment available . also take the other spare output of the mixer into the zoom for backup sound.

Royal Antler

Royal Antler Plus

Nothing but great sound from our DR100. We've used the H4n too, but decided to go with the DR100 when it was time to buy. LOVE the battery life, ease of use and quality sound. We almost always use XLR mic's. I wish the playback speaker was a tad better... For the price it is a super solid recorder.

Jay Sanchez

Jay Sanchez Plus

How is the Tascam regarding maintaining sync? I'm thinking of switching due to the Zoom drifting. I have the Zoom H4N and shooting with a 5DMkIII and the Zoom looses drifts after about a minute ... I have to slip the audio clip 3 frames foward to maintain sync every minute or so ...


JMJProductions Plus

I don't have any sync issues at all and I film for hours not minutes so it makes we question if you are matching your audio setting on the camera to the Zoom. Every minute seems really extreme.

As far as the others mentioning the Zoom lasting 10 minutes I have not has that experience even with phantom power on and my audio is clean.

Kevin Hursh

Kevin Hursh PRO

For syncing audio and video I would suggest using pluraleyes which is now owned by red giant I believe. It will save you enormous amounts of time in post. It is amazingly accurate.

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