Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
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Charles Mokotoff
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Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:21 am

I have been using this device for years. When you do a solo concert and you have to be both performer and video/audio engineer, there is nothing like it. On the good side, it does a pretty good job with the audio and video, there is the well-documented issue of placement for video being less than optimal for audio, etc. I get all that, but there is no substitute for the ease of use. That said, mine has started behaving intermittently. I am wanting to replace it.

Here is a sample:
https://youtu.be/sv2kv1vIz60

I have seen this device: Sony HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder, its more expensive, does anyone have experience? Is it worth the extra money?

I have tried troubleshooting my Zoom, its not worth the hassle (but am open to suggestions: basically, even when plugged in to power with a totally empty media card, it will just stop recording, no rhyme or reason). I could just get a new one, but am obviously a bit soured on the device.

Thanks for advice. I am well aware I can drag my laptop, audio interface, two Neumanns, cords, mic stand, tripod, video camera, etc. But, I have enough going on being the performer, there's just no substitute I know of for the simplicity of a tiny all in one device sitting on a tripod.
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larryguitar
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by larryguitar » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:16 pm

Hello Charles,

You might look at the Canon VIXIA Mini-X. I think the video is substantially better than what you posted in your YouTube clip.

With that said, I bought it a number of years ago and it seems to me that Canon should update it fairly soon.

SteveL123
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by SteveL123 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:22 pm

Does your zoom use a SD card adapter or the micro SD? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital

If it use an adapter, try a new adapter since with so many r&r cycles the contacts could wear and become intermittent.

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:29 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:22 pm
Does your zoom use a SD card adapter or the micro SD? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital

If it use an adapter, try a new adapter since with so many r&r cycles the contacts could wear and become intermittent.
Now that is very interesting. I do use an adaptor, though I could swear this behavior was happening before with a regular full-sized card.
I will replace it and see if that helps. Thank you!
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gasman
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by gasman » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:51 am

SteveL123 wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:22 pm
Does your zoom use a SD card adapter or the micro SD? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital

If it use an adapter, try a new adapter since with so many r&r cycles the contacts could wear and become intermittent.
it´s important, one day my zoom q2 was recorded wrong , finally I found problem was the card, I changed it and it worked correctly

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:36 am

UPDATE: I am pretty sure this was a card issue, thank you.

However, I have now tried two different external mics with the Zoom. While both were far superior to the onboard mic in sound quality, both introduced too much hiss into the recording when I set the sound manual selector to high. If I use any other setting, the signal is too low.

My first attempt was a while ago, using one of my Neumann KM184s with a phantom power box. Sound was quite good, no surprise there, but the hiss was evident.

Next I tried the Senal SCS-98 which has a single AAA battery for power source. Sound, again, was improved over the on board mics, and very elegant, simple solution, but I had the same problem with hiss, and despite the +10db boost switch being on, signal was far too low to put mic more than a foot or two away.

Wondering if the hiss is from the Zoom itself and if I should bother trying another mic. I wish I had another camcorder to test....
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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:37 am

Here is a sample of the Zoom plus Senal mic, it was about 18 inches from me in this small recital hall:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/049nus33pc76ax0/ll1.mov?dl=0
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SteveL123
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by SteveL123 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:12 pm

Try cleaning/ polishing the plug on the mic with a damp micro fiber cloth and tooth paste. Rinse well with warm water then dry it and see if that helps.

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:14 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:12 pm
Try cleaning/ polishing the plug on the mic with a damp micro fiber cloth and tooth paste. Rinse well with warm water then dry it and see if that helps.
Toothpaste, really?
Mic is brand new, and had the same issue with the Neumanns...so seems unlikely, but worth a try.

errr...Crest or Colgate? ;)
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SteveL123
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by SteveL123 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:46 pm

Charles Mokotoff wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:14 pm
SteveL123 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:12 pm
Try cleaning/ polishing the plug on the mic with a damp micro fiber cloth and tooth paste. Rinse well with warm water then dry it and see if that helps.
Toothpaste, really?
Mic is brand new, and had the same issue with the Neumanns...so seems unlikely, but worth a try.

errr...Crest or Colgate? ;)
Tooth paste is a gentle, mild abrasive for cleaning electrical contacts. Any one will do, just rinse well afterwards. Since it's a new mic, tarnish on the connector is probably not the issue, which may contribute to the hissing due to poor electrical connections. Doesn't hurt to try cleaning it. After you're done cleaning the plug, insert/ extract/ rotate it a bunch of times in the Zoom to clean the mic socket. See if that helps.

Ceciltguitar
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by Ceciltguitar » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:08 am

Zoom Q8? Cost is about $350. I have not used one and am also looking for something, although not in a hurry.

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:31 am

Ceciltguitar wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:08 am
Zoom Q8? Cost is about $350. I have not used one and am also looking for something, although not in a hurry.
Thank you! It has phantom power/XLR inputs for my two Neumann's, exactly what I was looking for, I hope the audio is clean. I think I will give it a try.
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larryguitar
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by larryguitar » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:38 pm

Charles Mokotoff wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:31 am
Ceciltguitar wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:08 am
Zoom Q8? Cost is about $350. I have not used one and am also looking for something, although not in a hurry.
Thank you! It has phantom power/XLR inputs for my two Neumann's, exactly what I was looking for, I hope the audio is clean. I think I will give it a try.
Hello Charles,

Any opinion on the Zoom Q8? Some people said the video performance was poor. What do you think? How does it work with your Neumann? Are they a matched pair? Which model? How much are those things? :-)

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:33 am

Haven't purchased it yet, unless the video is really awful, I doubt that will concern me.
I plan on trying this in the next few weeks, just been busy with other projects.
My main concern will be if the camera introduces any hiss into the recording.

My Neumann's are not a matched pair, got them at different times, for about $500 each. They are fantastic though, very pleased with them. $1000 USD is a pretty good price for a pair if you can find it.
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larryguitar
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Re: Alternatives to Zoom Q4 Video Camera

Post by larryguitar » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:41 pm

Charles Mokotoff wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:33 am
Haven't purchased it yet, unless the video is really awful, I doubt that will concern me.
I plan on trying this in the next few weeks, just been busy with other projects.
My main concern will be if the camera introduces any hiss into the recording.

My Neumann's are not a matched pair, got them at different times, for about $500 each. They are fantastic though, very pleased with them. $1000 USD is a pretty good price for a pair if you can find it.
I see. What model Neumanns do you use and recommend?

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