Zoom H4nPro ambient nature sounds help

Glenn Norberg

New member
Oct 6, 2020
11
1
3
57
Colorado, USA
Hey all, complete newbie here. I just picked up an H4NPro used that I will be using for ambient sound recording outdoors. I have a couple of very basic questions;
1) What direction should I face the microphones? Vertical or horizontal? LOL I know this is BASIC. I want to get the ambient noises of an outdoors area (hopefully a 360 soundscape) I want to record all night long, and I also want to be as inconspicuous as possible. I will be placing it in the woods. The back of the unit has the screw mount (I presume that it's intention is for a horizontal, close-up recording)
2) As I save up my pennies, should I even spend money on a better microphone that you would suggest that I can pair with the H4nPro (it has 2 XLR inputs on it's base) to better meet my needs? My idea is to camo the mic, and hide the Zoom so the LED's are not seen.
Again, I want to leave it out in the woods, and record for at least 12 hours at a time, but the card will allow about 55 hours of recording time.
I am nowhere near a professional, nor do I want to be. I am simply trying to catch sounds in thickets to see if I can determine what is in them. THANKS!
 
Last edited:

Riley Casey

Sophomore
Jan 12, 2011
252
18
18
WDC in the USA
www.espsound.com
Moisture will kill your Zoom pretty quickly left out all night. Put it in a ziplock back with only the front faces of the mics exposed and those recessed a half inch or more. This will reduce the fidelity a bit but make it much more likely the Zoom still works the next morning.
 

Glenn Norberg

New member
Oct 6, 2020
11
1
3
57
Colorado, USA
Horizontal. It will be interesting to see if it will run for 12 hours especially in colder weather.
I have an external battery/cable combo now. (the same type of battery that you charge your cell phone with) Hopefully that will help. The AA batteries only last about 6 hrs total (EverReady Max) I will be enclosing it all in a dry bag to protect it all from moisture (Aside from the mic's...) I think that adding external microphones and completely encasing the recorder would be a better answer in the long run, perhaps even with a 'hot hands' pack...
 

Glenn Norberg

New member
Oct 6, 2020
11
1
3
57
Colorado, USA
Moisture will kill your Zoom pretty quickly left out all night. Put it in a ziplock back with only the front faces of the mics exposed and those recessed a half inch or more. This will reduce the fidelity a bit but make it much more likely the Zoom still works the next morning.
Thank you. I have enclosed it 90% (hidden) in a hollowed out log. That protects it from moisture pretty well (that and the dead cat) although I will be getting external mic's so that the whole thing can be enclosed (perhaps with a 'hot hands' pack for warmth)
 

Ben Lawrence

Senior
Mar 2, 2011
1,083
20
38
Vermont
vtaudiovisual.com
Not too sure for picking up ambient noise. Most of the stuff we record is trying not to pick up too much ambient noise and close proximity recording. Guessing someone else on here might have some suggestions.
 

Riley Casey

Sophomore
Jan 12, 2011
252
18
18
WDC in the USA
www.espsound.com
Do you have any suggestion(s) as to what mics to use? I might ruin them, so I don't want to spend too much.
If my understanding of your goal is correct I would suggest miniature lavaliere mics perhaps taped to a plexiglas plate to create a PZM functionality placed as close as possible to your expected sound sources. You probably not recording particularly loud sounds so closer the better.