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Old 10-16-2014, 05:11 AM   #1
LDS
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Zoom h4N mother fcucker batteries!?

Does anyone own Zoom h4N here? Can anyone please reccomend a GOOD STRONG batteries they use, that mother fucker eats the energy like maniac! I used 6 pair of AA batteries yesterday for like 6-7hours of filming!
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:45 AM   #2
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If you're using phantom power, that doesn't surprise me. I tend to use lithium batteries - expensive but last a lot longer and so reduce battery changing and the number of nasty moments when you're in the middle of a great take but it's a race between the director calling 'cut' and the recorder dying.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:45 AM   #3
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Yeah, I suspect phantom power is the real culprit here.

Why not use rechargeable batteries?
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:09 PM   #4
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Rechargables work well in a lot of places, but they run for even less time than ordinary alkalines. For something critical, where constantly changing batteries can be a nuisance, I'm prepared to accept the extra cost of lithium cells as one of the expenses of making the film. So I also use them if I need a battery in a mic.
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:08 PM   #5
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Does the H4n have the option of plugging into a an outlet, or a car battery, with an extension cord, if you are outdoors?
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:07 PM   #6
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1 Word: Eneloops.

They're rechargeable, LSD, last longer than most alkalines, and I say they're awesome too. A set of these should last you 2 years with high daily usage (2 to 3 charges a day). Even longer with light usage.

How many microphones are you putting on phantom? I'd expect you so go through maybe a set every 4 or 5 hours with Eneloops with a single microphone (like a NTG-2) on phantom power.

Is there no external power pack you can use, while hot swapping, can the H4N swap to internals and then switch back once you've changed?
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:25 AM   #7
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I've always used eneloops. The run time will depend entirely on the mic(s) if you're using phantom power - I've had it go in 30 minutes with some shotguns, 4+ hours with my countryman b6.

If you're running on only battery you really need to stay on top of it too - if the batteries die while recording you can lose the current recording. I had a 30-minute interview lost that way, so I always plug it in when possible and switch batteries before they're low when I have to run batteries only. That's one of the reasons I prefer the tascam dr-100 - it has a small internal rechargeable battery that will kick in when the main batteries die and allow it to finish writing out the file.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:19 PM   #8
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And this is why units like the H4n are so chea... I mean, inexpensive. Besides the crappy mic preamps they will eat batteries like a shark going through a school of tuna.

At least Tascam has the option of battery packs, and, as IDOM mentioned:

Quote:
one of the reasons I prefer the tascam dr-100 - it has a small internal rechargeable battery that will kick in when the main batteries die and allow it to finish writing out the file.
Please remember that the H4n, DR-40, DR-100 and other low budget mixers/recorders are consumer products; they are not meant for professional use, and you are trying to use your H4n as a professional product - a role for which it is unsuited. I mean, come on, what did you expect for $200. The Sound Devices 702, also a two channel audio recorder, is over $2,000; but the preamps are incredibly clear and quiet, it is built like a frigging tank, it has comprehensive routing capabilities - and the batteries last a long, long time.

Oh, and lets' do a little math...

If you buy in bulk, decent AA batteries cost about 60 each. You said you use 6 pairs a day. 12 x 60 = $7.20. If you shoot 100 days each year that's $720 per year for batteries! Okay, maybe your shooting 10 days a year; that's still $72 each year. Oh, Eneloop Batteries will set you back about $2.00 per battery plus the charger, and you will have more details to "worry" about when you shoot; making sure that all of your batteries have been charged prior to the shoot, and that you have someplace to plug in the charger when on-set. If you forget you are back to buying regular AA batteries.

This is what I mean about carefully researching your equipment purchase choices. I and others here on IndieTalk have been writing for several years now about how quickly these budget audio recorders drain their batteries when supplying phantom power, and it's been a common topic on other film and audio forums as well. Yup, the H4n is very affordable and was quite popular for a while, but only because it was the only ultra-low budget audio recorder on the market. Now there are lots of (IMO) better options out there.
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:16 PM   #9
Will Vincent
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If it can be powered via usb (like the dr60d can) get yourself a nice rechargable battery pack and power it that way. Get a couple so if/when the first runs low you can swap and get it on the charger.

These, for example: http://www.amazon.com/External-Batte.../dp/B00BZD6QCW

One of those would probably be sufficient for a full shooting day, but at $40, you could get two and be set for extra long days, or other things needing charge on set, and still save on battery cost relatively quickly.
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:39 AM   #10
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thanks guys, so basically rechargeable batteries - I am not really a fan of them as they run out very quickly but will try the Eneloop ones

and Alcove Audio - I am on budget! I am not a production company who can spend or $1000's for equiptment, what would be the point if I spend all those money if I still wouldnt have person to use it when I use my camera (I am mostly one man crew - sometimes using my friends to help out who have no idea what they're doing) eh
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDS View Post
and Alcove Audio - I am on budget! I am not a production company who can spend or $1000's for equiptment, what would be the point if I spend all those money if I still wouldnt have person to use it when I use my camera (I am mostly one man crew - sometimes using my friends to help out who have no idea what they're doing) eh
I'm not saying to spend 10 or 20 times the money; I said to carefully research your purchases. Unless you bought your H4n a very long time ago there were other options, like the DR-100, DR-40 and, if you want to get into the mid-priced prosumer recorders ($400 to $900), the FR-2, PMD-661, HD-P2 and the R-44.

BTW, I've seen battery packs for just about every audio recorder there is - except the H4n.

This is what I mean about doing your research. I personally have never like Zoom products; I've felt that they were very flimsy, and I've never liked their user interface protocols. And once they're broken they cannot be fixed. And, as I mentioned, the Tascam DR series, the H4n and other very low budget audio recorders drain batteries inordinately quickly, and this has been frequently discussed on this and many, many other forums.

So if you choose to buy a consumer device unsuited for the job you want it to do you need to put up with the negatives that come with the micro budget price tag.
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:49 AM   #12
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I personally have never like Zoom products; I've felt that they were very flimsy, and I've never liked their user interface protocols. .
Tell me about it. I have borne a grudge against Zoom ever since the 4040 guitar FX pedal. All thier products that I have used products have felt crap, 'played' crap, looked like crap, and most importantly, sounded crap.
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:11 AM   #13
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OP - Sorry, I forgot to add my 2p to the thread....

MH-C9000 charger + 2000mah nimh's = win.

(you can push nimh's up to about 2500mah before they start getting into trouble. Very high cap nimh's at 2500mah and up, do not hold thir charge as well as the 2000-2500 standard hi capacity nimh. They suffer from higher internal discharge, thier rated cap will drop faster over time, and they are more prone to swelling)
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Old 10-24-2014, 03:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Alcove Audio View Post
Oh, Eneloop Batteries will set you back about $2.00 per battery plus the charger, and you will have more details to "worry" about when you shoot; making sure that all of your batteries have been charged prior to the shoot, and that you have someplace to plug in the charger when on-set. If you forget you are back to buying regular AA batteries.
You do have to make sure you have a method to charge if you're going to be gone close to the usage limit, but two things: You should keep emergency batteries available (like lithiums), and eneloops do not need to be charged the night before a shoot. You can charge them a month before and they'll be at full charge.

That is the big advantage of eneloops. They maintain their charge, and deliver the full rated capacity unlike any other NiMH I've used. I've had fully-charged, new 2300mAh batteries die far faster than the 2000mAh eneloops I charged weeks earlier.

After many field tests, they are the only AA batteries I use. Just don't drop them!

It's also useful to get a single-cell smart charger, or mark your batteries to be used only in pairs.

Last edited by stef; 10-24-2014 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:32 PM   #15
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That is the big advantage of eneloops. They maintain their charge, and deliver the full rated capacity unlike any other NiMH I've used.
I haven't come across anything near the LSD capabilities of Eneloops. They'll hold 90% of their charge after 12 months without usage. 75% for 3 years.

If you don't use them often, top them up every 6 to 12 months, otherwise, just recharge and forget. If you have lots of them, rotate them.
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