I've been doing a lot of recording with my Zoom H4 over the last few weeks. The more I use it, the more I learn. Now that I've figured out how to eliminate the electronic pulsing tone in recordings, I've turned my attention to getting the best use out of the built in mics.
In my opinion, the internal mics still sound a few hundred times better than my trusty old minidisc recorder and EV RE-50 mic. But I do miss being able to record in mono and use an external mic.
I've been messing around with the Zoom's 4-track setting so that I can record in mono, but I'm still using the internal stereo mic. I can't tell if it's mixing the two tracks down to mono on the fly or doing something to change the pickup pattern, but it does sound better than when I record a stereo track and mix it down to mono in post production.
But while I was playing with settings, I decided to visit the Zoom site to see if there are any new firmware upgrades. Turns out Zoom released an update on August 13th. Does it give the ability to record on just one mic capsule? No. Does it let you record on SD cards that are larger than 2GB? No.
Here's what it does. It lets you record reliably on a few more makes and models of SD cards. That's it. Odds are if you're reading this post and have a working recorder, you don't need this update. On the other hand, if you're thinking about buying a Zoom and it doesn't come with the 1.4 version of the firmware, you might as well upgrade before you start recording.