I'll have a detailed review of the Samson Zoom H4n recorder in the next week or so. But I can already tell you there are some things that Samson hit out of the park on their latest recorder, while there are a few things I wish were better thought out. For instance, the menu system and button layout is much better than on the original Zoom H4. But the SD card slot on the side of the unit is way too easy to open by accident.
But the most important thing is audio quality. I'll have more audio samples to share over the next few days, but I wanted to post a little shoot-out I did between the Sony PCM-D50, Zoom H4n, and Zoom H4 today. As you can hear, all three of these recorders have excellent built in microphones. All three are also subject to a fair amount of handling noise if you jostle them around while using those built in mics, but the rubberized grip on the Zoom H4n makes it easier to hold than the original Zoom H4, which means less jostling.
Zoom H4n audio sample:
Zoom H4 audio sample:
Sony PCM-D50 audio sample:
All three clips were recorded simultaneously and start out with me talking, followed by a little room tone. The clips end with me playing guitar. I seriously hope nobody listens all the way to the end all three times, because the guitar part - not so good. But I wanted to give you a sense of what music would sound like -- if it sounded better.
I should point out that the three recorders were laid out left to right. The Zoom H4 was on the left side of the table, and the Sony PCM-D50 was on the right. The Zoom H4n was in the middle and I was speaking directly into it, while the other two recorders were at an angle.
Of course, the real question is how the H4n performs with external mics. I'll have details on that soon.
Update: I've uploaded some audio samples recorded using 2 external mics, the ElectroVoice RE50 dynamic mic and AKG Perception 100 studio-style condenser mic.
Update 2: As has been pointed out in the comments, I accidentally used the wrong audio sample for the Sony PCM-D50 internal mic test. I've updated the post with the correct audio.