[SOLVED!] The Pinnacle Of Recorders: Zoom H4N Vs. Tascam DR-40


It’s safe to say while a lot of portable recorders exist nowadays, few offer the same level of performance as Zoom H4N and Tascam DR-40. Equipped to meet modern recording standards, both models routinely achieve high scores in reviews of portable recorders. Unsurprisingly, as they search around for good recorders, many people come across one question: which one is the winner in Zoom H4N Vs. Tascam DR-40? If you also want to know the answer to that question, spare a bit of time and check out my article.

Technical Specs 




Zoom H4N

Tascam DR-40

Internal mics

Two (angled and swivelable)

Two (angled and swivelable)

External mics





Unidirectional and omnidirectional





SD cards (up to 32GB)

SD cards (up to 32GB)


AA x 2

AA x 3




Zoom H4N Vs. Tascam DR-40: Analysis 


In case you don’t know, Zoom H4N and Tascam DR-40 boast two solid angled and swivelable internal mics each. Consequently, both recorders give a good account of themselves in environments that have a lot of background noises. Besides that, the two models support external mics so it’s possible to adapt them to various settings when a need arises. At maximum, Zoom H4N and Tascam DR-40 can connect to two external mics in the course of operation.


All in all, while Zoom H4N only provides unidirectional recording (XY), Tascam DR-40 allows unidirectional and omnidirectional recording (XY and AB). Because of that, people who desire a certain degree of flexibility as they record often favor Tascam DR-40 in Zoom H4N Vs. Tascam DR-40. In terms of sound quality, since both recorders feature four-channel recording, their quality is fantastic by all accounts. Regardless of your choice at the end, you may rest assured knowing that your recorder will capture crisp sound.


Similar to many other models on the market, Zoom H4N and Tascam DR-40 store recordings in SD cards. The two models accept a wide range of cards up to 32GB in size which is a big plus for draw-out recording sessions. Still, it’s important to point out that upon purchase, Tascam DR-40 is accompanied by a 2GB card. On the other hand, no card is included if you buy Zoom H4N so you must prepare cards to make use of it.


To put it plainly, Zoom H4N and Tascam DR-40 draw power from AA batteries but they don’t hold the same number. About Zoom H4N, it’s capable of holding a total of two batteries that gives it between 6 and 11 hours of recording time. In the case of Tascam DR-40, it can hold up to three batteries and maintains a recording time of 15 hours on average. If battery life is a main concern to you during recording, you will find Tascam DR-40 to be a great model.


It’s not uncommon for the price of portable recorders to rise and drop but between Zoom H4N and Tascam DR-40, Tascam DR-40 is usually the cheaper one. Needless to say, Tascam DR-40 is popular among those who have tight shopping budgets but still seek decent recorders. At the moment, you should be able to get your hands on recorders via multiple means but it’s wise to exercise caution. If possible, order your recorders from reputable retailers and steer clear of “too good to be true” bargains.

How To Make A Wise Investment 

There is no doubt that Zoom H4N and Tascam DR-40 share many similarities but they remain unique models and sport distinct characteristics. Because of that, to determine which one comes out on top in Zoom H4N vs. Tascam DR-40, you have to give your situation some thought. If you need a no-nonsense recorder for pro-level recording, it’s suggested that you invest in  Zoom H4N. Otherwise, settle for Tascam DR-40 as it’s able to effectively and efficiently handle casual recording works.

Questions And Answers

Can portable recorders handle rough handling?

Usually, as the housing of contemporary recorders incorporates a combination of metal, rubber, plastic, …, they won’t get damaged easily in use. Nonetheless, you should treat your recorder gently to preserve the integrity of its components, especially the mics. On occasions, it won’t hurt to invest in a protective case and keep your recorder out of harm’s way. Today’s market contains all sorts of cases so you don’t have to worry about running out of options.

What should I do if my recorder won’t turn on?

In the beginning, make sure that the batteries still have some juice in them as recorders won’t work if their batteries have been depleted. You should also take a look at battery terminals and search for signs of damages. If there is nothing out of the ordinary, proceed to check out the power button/switch of your recorder. Last but not least, if you fail to identify the root of the problem, bring your recorder to the store.

Which brands make the best portable recorders?

The market is well-saturated but if you want to get your money’s worth, prioritize models from Zoom, Tascam, Sony, Olympus, Marantz and so on.