ZOOM H4 Handy Recorder Tutorial

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This is a basic tutorial on how to use the Zoom H4 Handy Recorder

Zoom H4 Kit ZoomH4 sm.png SD2GB sm.png ZoomH4Mount sm.png ZoomACAdaptersm.png
1 x Zoom H4 Handy Recorder w/ wind screen 1 x SD Memory Card 2GB 1 x Zoom Mount 1 x Zoom Power Source

Front view of the Zoom H4

Auto-Gain and Recording

Skip to step 4 if you don’t need auto-gain

Step 1

Turn on the device. Check that the “Mode” light, on the front, is on. This means the H4 is set to stereo mode.

Step 2

The MENU button functions as five buttons. You can press down on the top, bottom, left, right, or middle. Press the bottom of the MENU button to bring up the INPUT MENU.

Step 3

The JOG DIAL on the right side of the recorder can be pushed up, down, or inward. Pull down on the JOG DIAL until the cursor (the black arrow on the screen) is underneath “Auto Gain”. Press IN on the jog dial to select, and push up to turn Auto Gain on.

Step 4

Press the REC button just above and to the right of the screen. The button will begin to flash, meaning it is in standby. If auto-gain is enabled (skip to 5 if not), the screen will display “REC LEVEL SCANNING…”. Record a sound slightly louder than what you intend to record (i.e. If you are recording a band, have them play at the loudest level; or if you are recording a person talking, have that person speak loudly in the microphone).

Step 5

Press the REC button again to begin recording. If auto-gain is on, as long as the recording is quieter than the test the entire recording should be possible without distortion.

Step 6

Top view of the power switch and mode dial

To stop the recording, press the REC button or press the TOP of the menu key.


To hear your playback on the Zoom H4 recorder you will need a set of headphones or speakers.

While on the main screen move the JOG DIAL up or down until the arrow points to the file name. Press the JOG DIAL inwards to select the filename, then press up or down to switch between files. Stereo files are all recorded as STE-NNN.wav or .mp3 by default. Note: The easiest way to change the file name is with the computer, but if you will want to change it on the spot, please refer to Operation Manual linked in this tutorial.

Alternatively, you can select a file for playback by tapping the LEFT or RIGHT side of the menu button. HOLDING the left or ride side of the menu button will move forward or backward through the selected recording. Press the TOP of the menu button to Play the selected recording, and press it again to Pause the recording.

Connecting to the Computer

Make sure the recorder is off. Plug the USB cable into the left side of the recorder, and into the computer. Pull the jog dial DOWN to select “CONNECT TO PC”, then push the jog dial IN. The recorder is now connected to your PC and should appear as a “Removable Disk” in “My Computer” (Windows), or as a No Name external device (Mac). Sounds recorded in Stereo mode will be located in the “STEREO” folder, on the device.

Formatting the SD Card

1. Make sure the Zoom H4 is stopped. Then press the center of the MENU key at the stereo mode or 4-track mode top screen.

2. Move the jog dial up/down to bring the cursor to CARD, and then press the jog dial.

3. Move the jog dial up/down to bring the cursor to FORMAT, and then press the jog dial.

4. Move the jog dial up/down to bring the cursor to the FORMAT button, and then press the jog dial. Once you format the SD card this process CAN NOT be reversed.

Removing the SD Card and AA Batteries

Zoom H4 Batteries/SD Card

Be sure the recorder is off! The screen should be blank and the switch on the left side of the recorder should be turned to off. On the top (microphone-end) of the recorder behind (if you are looking at the front of the recorder) the two microphones, there is a latch with an arrow pointing away from the mic. Pulling this latch out will release the cover. The two AA Batteries are located on either side of the SD Card, and can be dropped out be tilting the recorder. To remove the SD card press it down and release, then grab the card and pull it out.

Full Manual

This tutorial went over basic operation of the ZOOM H4 Handy Recorder. If you are interested in learning more on the advanced features please refer to the owners manual. http://s3.amazonaws.com/samsontech/related_docs/H4_manual.pdf