Nowadays, especially in the age of COVID-19, the consumption and creation of podcasts have definitely been on the rise. With increasing amounts of creators starting their own shows, it’s important they have the necessary tools for quality audio. Of course, not all podcasters are also audio engineers, and have the right tools at their disposal right away. Zoom, a company well known for mobile, high quality audio recording solutions, now has a solution for those people. The company just released the PodTrak P4 mobile podcasting recorder, as a complete surprise.
When it comes to the Zoom PodTrak P4, Zoom was certainly mindful of portability as its key feature. Creating a way for even the most beginner podcaster to effectively record full episodes with ease, was the main goal. When it comes to hardware, it seems Zoom definitely achieved that. Four XLR microphone inputs sit at the top of the device, allowing for the recording and monitoring of up to four simultaneous sources. On the face, each input’s gain controls are the first series of knobs you see. Underneath that, the podcaster can select between input types. Inputs three and four include options for external inputs such as a tablet, phone, or computer, to record remote interviews, or other audio.
In the main control center at the middle of the PodTrak P4 face, is a series of four buttons, A-D. These are four sound pads which users can load with sound FX such as applause, music tracks, or any other sounds the podcaster might want to include in the show in real time. Of course, one can adjust the mix of these later on. Also in this section is the digital screen to monitor input levels, as well as the master volume. Finally, underneath that is the series of play/pause, stop, and record buttons. Towards the bottom, another series of four knobs are found, controlling the individual output levels of each 1/8″ headphone output jacks just underneath them. The Zoom PodTrak P4 can be powered by computer, or adapter. Otherwise a user can install some AA batteries for a truly mobile experience.
The Zoom PodTrak P4 records up to 16bit, 44.1kHz audio, which by today’s standards is not quite up to par. However, to most beginner podcasters, this will likely not be noticeable at all. For convenience’s sake, the PodTrak P4 system will definitely be a valuable tool to someone just starting out, or needs to maintain quality, while recording on-the-go. The Zoom PodTrak P4 is available now to purchase for $199, which for the convenience and portability, seems to be a pretty fair price. You can get the device from Sweetwater or B&H.