I recently got the H4N SP for myself as I used to use it a lot back in Singapore for field recordings and pretty much any sounds, then use them as samples and to create soundscapes of various environments like forests, mountains, engines, rural sounds, night sounds, cemetery sounds, waterfall et al.
I went for the H4N SP at first because of the nostalgia it gave me as I’ve extensively used many of these, although the unit I received had a preamp issue, causing the right to be about 4dB louder than the left at all times.
I returned the Unit and asked for the H4N PRO version, this one seemed to be the latest updated version which claimed to have new preamps and many improvements under the hood, although the outer body was pretty much the same, A few emails back and forth with bajaao – The online store I bought this from.
Taking a closer look revealed that it was designed way better than its predecessor. The PRO felt much lighter, had nice sleek cuts and edges which made it feel sturdy and strong. The grip on the thing felt assuring.
The SP and PRO have pretty much the same features offering two XY positioned microphones which have two modes for a wider or narrow stereo width from 90 degree to 120 degree (wide). The H4N PRO has 2 external Inputs XLR / TS inputs on the bottom. These also support phantom power for condenser microphones. All the 4 inputs can be recorded simultaneously in the 4CH and MTR modes. The phantom power can be set to either +24V or for the more demanding condenser microphones requiring the standard +48V phantom power.
The H4N SP can be used as an audio interface which acts as 2 inputs and 2 outputs device with sampling rates at either 44.1 or 48 kHz.
In the interface mode offers fancy effects, Tuner, Live Monitoring, Phantom power and Plug in power control if you want to use another stereo mic in place of the on board place x-y microphones.
The Stamina mode is a physical switch inside the battery panel which disables some features and allows recording at 44.1kHz/16 bit and mp3 formats only but lasts much longer giving about 11 hours of usage depending on the battery.
You can either use the front XY mics or the rear XLR/TS inputs of the H4N PRO in stamina mode. I’ve used the H4N SP and it has the same features.
The 4CH Mode basically records 2 stereo weaved WAV files, one from the front XY microphones and second for the rear inputs XLR/TS weaved in a stereo WAV file.
The MTR Mode allows recording tracks in mono or stereo from input 1 and 2 and a stereo microphone. It allows overdub other tracks that are existing and the MTR project files are saved as project data files. I rarely use this mode, I’ve got Ableton Live for that.