If you’ve been eyeing up the Rodecaster for podcasting on the move, but you’re on more of a budget, it might well be worth taking a look at the Zoom Podtrak P4.
Announced this week by Zoom, the Podtrak P4 (retailing around $199 / €225), the Podtrak is the first piece of hardware to market from Zoom that’s specifically targeted at podcasting.
While I’ve been doing a lot of my recordings on the go with the Zoom H6, the PodtrakP4 provides a hell of a lot of features for a small outlay.
- 4 mic inputs (XLR, phantom power)
- 4 headphone outputs (3.5mm jack, individual volume control)
- Mix-minus with feedback prevention for call-in function
- Phone connection via TRSS input jack
- Optional bluetooth connection (adapter required)
- Programmable sound pads for stings/jingles
- SD/SDCX support up to 512gb
- 4 hours recording off 2AA batteries or mains powered
It’s got all the features you need…
As recording devices go, this is compact, affordable and feature-packed.
The P4’s mic inputs feature Zoom’s professional quality preamps. Considering some of the higher-end podcast-preferred mics on the market require a fair bit of gain (looking at you, SM7B), the 70dB allowable per channel should be a handy boost regardless of your mic choice.
When I’m recording with the H6, I bring a separate powered headphone amp with me – not required in this case as you’re covered with four independent stereo headphone outs, each with their own volume control.
One of the handiest features will save you lugging a laptop around or a separate desk to get a mix-minus going for external calls. Loop in a Skype / Zoom / Facetime / Whatsapp call from your mobile via a TRRS cable and you’ve got a dial in guest on the go, feedback prevention included.
Top it all off by doing your production mid-flow by pre-loading your own ads, jingles, stings, music or pre-recorded interviews into one of 11 presets, fired from sound pads on the front panel.
There are switchable limiters for each mic channel, if you’re concerned about having to watch your levels all the time. Recording-wise too, you’ll end up with separate files for each enabled track, plus a master stereo mix of your recording as you heard it – a real time saver for those not pushed by post.
Considering the H6 is still retailing as high as €350 and more in certain parts, the P4 seems a steal at $199 via Amazon (US) or €225 via Thomann.
Consider me very much looking forward to getting my hands on it for a trial run.