Zoom H4 recorder firmware

19 Oct

Shmuel Hoffman asked me if my Zoom H4 Audio Recorder tend to need a long time to boot as his H4n apparently does. He also mentioned that formatting a full SD-Card needs a lot of time as well.

OK, here is the thing: I have a “old” H4. I got it back in the days as it was just released a few months (got it Spring, 2007) – just for my outdoor sound recordings. At that time we shot on DVX100 or big DVCam Sony’s or DVCPro panny’s or even a PD150 / VX2000 … so no HDSLR’s whatsoever (wow …technology did grow fast and got cheaper!)

So I performed a quick test, even as it might not be the best comparison, but that is what I came up with: For booting the H4 – I measured 9.6 sec what seems ok to me.

To format a full 512MB SD card with four (4) 16bit/48kHz files it took 5.9 sec – that is ok too.

But now comes the cool part – at least for me – even though I’ll admit at the same time it’s due to a little negligence of mine:

I remembered yesterday’s “7D firmware overheating issue” so I thought … mhmm maybe there is a firmware issue with that H4 as well? I then checked the version on me H4 and realized I pretty much had still the first delivery firmware on that thing … so i missed a lot off cool nice features added since on the H4 ’till today!

What was I missing? I had no Battery lifetime indicator at all (!!!) (just a “low batt” sign at a point it was almost too late to change them), no SDHC Card support over 4GB (!!!), no back counting rec-remain timer on the main screen, no low cut, no mono mix, and some other small but nice features I probably have not even discovered yet!

The take way from this piece is this: IF YOU HAVE AN OLD Zoom H4 – CHECK YOUR FIRMWARE VERSION… maybe even H4N users should do that! 😉

Zoom H4 ( the original / “old” model firmware update! : (to v2.40)



As my buddy JJ Kim discovered there is actually a firmware update for the H4n as well:
“Did you know that there is actually firmware update available for your Zoom H4N? It was released August this year.http://www.samsontech.com

After i installed the new firmware i’m now able to use bigger SDHC cards as well, so i used one of my 550D cards – a 8 GB to be exact to see how the H4 is performing now:

For booting the H4 with a 8GB class 6 SDHC Card – I measured 16.3 sec what is pretty much quite a bit more time it takes to boot that thing

To format the 8GB SD card with a bunch of 16bit/48kHz and mp3’s and 24bit/96kHz files it took 22.6 sec

so I was curios if that is caused be the new firmware or the bigger card – I re-did the test with the mew firmware and the small 512MB SD card – result:

Booting: as fast as the old firmware (old 9.6sec)

Formatting the 512MB SD-Card:  a bit longer ( old 5.6 sec)

So in the end it really is due to the size of the card not the date of the firmware … but even though just seconds – in a tough shooting situation every second counts.

UPDATE 11/18/2010: 

New Firmware for H4N – thx to DSLR GirlPaul for the hint:

“Added the function that recording level of INPUT1 and 2 can be set individually”


(no H4 firmware update though)

a lil vimeo-clip form my buddy JJ Kim that show’s how the new option is working! (thx JJ)

This piece originally posted at my 550D user’s blog also posted at needcreative.net


4 Responses to “Zoom H4 recorder firmware”

  1. nicbeery 16/11/2010 at 17:37 #

    Hi, I have a zoom H4 and every time I record an audio file, it says it was recorded September 16, 2005 at 1:00 AM. I just updated to zoom version update 2.40, no change. How can I fix this?

    • Michael 17/11/2010 at 00:16 #

      well to be honest i did not care that much about that issue so far … as fa as i know there is no built-in option for time & date in the H4 … so probably there is no way to fix this anyway … sorry

  2. John C. Vanden Heuvel 21/04/2012 at 16:29 #

    Huge Kudos to this thread. It answered all my questions in 1 minute or less. I will now upgrade my 4N posthaste. JVDH
    Plus Where can you get 4 quality pairs of stereo mics for a couple-a-hundred bucks USD?


  1. My sound workflow | Daniel Freytag - 02/01/2011

    […] other stuff with my 7D. This was the time as Michael
    Schmidt posted something about a new “Zoom H4
    recorder firmware”. On twitter I discussed the pro and
    cons of the Zoom and the Tascam with a lot people […]

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