Zoom “PodTrak P4” Portable Podcast Recorder and Audio Interface
Zoom’s famous H4N mobile digital recorder has long been a go-to option for recording quality audio in the field, and you could absolutely use it for mobile podcasting if you want. However, it wasn’t designed specifically with podcasting in mind. That’s a job best suited for another of the company’s products: the PodTrak P4.
This compact gizmo makes it a cinch to record professional-sounding podcasts anywhere you go, even if you need to conduct interviews with remote guests.
Their intro video covers most of what you need to know, although I’ll go ahead and give more detail below:
On the P4’s top end are four XLR inputs, each with a high-quality preamp and control knob that can go up to 70db of gain, while the bottom end has four headphone outputs with individual volume knobs of their own. So essentially, every host and/or guest on the show gets to have their own unique soundstage during a given recording.
As for those remote interviews I mentioned, the P4 offers a few ways to set them up:
- Connecting it to your smartphone via the TRRS jack on the side (may require an adapter) and setting up a call with the guest.
- Inserting the company’s BTA-2 Bluetooth adapter ($50, sold separately) into that same jack and wirelessly connecting it to your “calling” device that way.
- Connecting the P4 to a computer via USB-C and using just about any major calling/conferencing app to connect with the guest.
Beyond that, there are a number of other awesome features worth considering, like the built-in sound pads that allow you to play jingles, sound effects, pre-recorded ad reads, and other such things, all in real time! They offer 11 presets for you to use out of the gate, which is nice.
There’s also an SD slot on the side that supports cards up to 512GB in size, and as the intro video earlier mentions, you can record 10 tracks of audio at once, resulting in individual files for each input, the sound pads, plus a stereo mix of everything.
If you’d rather record directly to a computer than worry about transferring files later, or even livestream your podcast, the P4 can act as a two-in, two-out audio interface. This little thing really does it all.
The P4 unit alone is $150 on Amazon. Of course, there are a ton of optional bundles available that include various mixes of accessories alongside the P4 (like headphones, mics, cables, stands, etc) to accommodate different recording setups/needs right out of the box.