The ZOOM PodTrak P4 has caught the attention of many podcasters since its release in 2020. This battery-operated audio interface is easily portable and well-suited for remote recordings. Don’t let its smaller size fool you, though — there’s a lot going on under the hood.
If you’re debating whether the ZOOM PodTrak P4 is a good fit for you, this guide can help you make an informed decision. In addition to covering all features and hardware, we explain how to set it up (and offer some alternatives if you want to compare different podcast audio interfaces).
Here’s what you should know.
- The ZOOM PodTrak P4 at a glance
- ZOOM PodTrak P4 features
- ZOOM PodTrak P4 hardware
- How to use the ZOOM PodTrak P4
- Alternatives to the ZOOM PodTrak P4
- The bottom line on the RØDECaster Pro 2
The ZOOM PodTrak P4 at a glance
Similar to the ZOOM PodTrak P8, the PodTrak P4 has a lot to offer. Just check out a few of its key features below:
|Inputs and Outputs
|USB-C cable for power supply or file transfers, or up to 4 hours of power with 2 AA batteries or a USB battery
|16-bit / 44.1kHz audio WAV
|Inputs: 4 x XLR connectors
Outputs: 4 x headphone outputs
|PodTrak P4, quick start guide, and 2 AA battries
Keep reading for more details about its pros, cons, and hardware – or zoom out to see our ultimate guide to podcast mixers here.
ZOOM PodTrak P4 features
The ZOOM PodTrak P4 can capture professional-sounding audio on a livestream, your computer, or directly on-device. It’s compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, which makes it easy to record and edit on devices you already own.
- Four mic inputs: These XLR inputs come with high-quality preamps. You can use a wide variety of microphones here, including the EV RE320, the RØDE PodMic, and the Shure MVL lav.
- Four headphone outputs: There are individual headphone outputs for each of your inputs, which means every host and guest can listen to their own feedback. Feel free to adjust the volume controls so everyone can hear themselves clearly.
- Four gain knobs: These provide up to 70 dB of gain. Under each knob, you can mute/unmute inputs and switch on phantom power. You can also toggle remote call-ins from a phone or PC.
- Four soundpads: You can use these to play jingles, pre-recorded ads, sound effects, and other sound bites. Although there are 11 files preloaded to the device, you can easily load your own set of snippets.
- Two AA batteries: This allows you to record remotely without getting power from an AC adapter. You can also purchase a USB battery, although this isn’t included in the box.
- Phantom power: Use the switches underneath your gain knobs to activate 48 volts of gain for each input. If you plan to use condenser microphones, this is especially helpful.
- LCD screen: You can use this screen to cycle through soundpad programs, filters, mic settings, and more. Just keep in mind it’s not a touchpad screen, so you need to use the dual-purpose buttons.
- SD card slot: The ZOOM PodTrak P4 is compatible with SD cards up to 512 GB. You can record up to 10 tracks of audio for transport to your podcast editing software.
- Built-in filters: Each input comes with limiter settings so you can avoid clipping or overloading. There’s also a Low Cut filter to remove unwanted background noise.
- Support for remote interviews: There are three different ways to record remote guests: the TRRS jack, the BTA-2 Bluetooth adapter (sold separately), and device connection via the USB-C.
ZOOM PodTrak P4 pros
- This is one of the most cost-effective audio interfaces on the market, especially compared with the RØDECaster Pro 2 (which is four times the price).
- At just over half a pound, the PodTrak 4 is lightweight, compact, and easy to transport for on-the-go shows.
- Soundpads come with unique playback options, including One-Shot, Pause, Loop, and Hold. These are especially helpful for livestreams since you can adjust individual sound bites for live mixes
- You can use wireless mics to record on the ZOOM PodTrak P4, provided you purchase an XLR adapter for your wireless receiver.
ZOOM PodTrak P4 cons
- If you want to record directly to your iOS device, you need to purchase an Apple Lightning to USB camera adapter (which isn’t included with the PodTrak P4 bundle).
- The three to four-hour battery life could be restrictive to some podcasters.
- The PodTrak 4 doesn’t have a built-in mic, although some other audio interfaces do.
- Some podcasters may be disappointed by the 44.1khz recording format.
- You don’t get cables, microphones, or SD cards in the box. You need to purchase all items separately.
- The P4 doesn’t support multitrack recording to a DAW. This may not be a dealbreaker, but it’s still worth a consideration.
ZOOM PodTrak P4 hardware
Since the ZOOM PodTrak P4 has such a low price point, there aren’t many extras that come in the box.
Each purchase comes with:
- The ZOOM PodTrak P4
- Your quick start guide
- Two AA batteries
You need to purchase cables, mics, and editing software separately.
You can purchase a few of these directly from the company, including:
- ZDM-1 Podcast Mic Pack
- ZDM-1 (Dynamic microphone)
- BTA-2 (Bluetooth adapter)
- AD-17 (USB AV adapter)
- SCU-20 (Small universal soft shell case)
- SCU-40 (Large universal soft shell case)
How to use the ZOOM PodTrak P4
Setting up the ZOOM PodTrak P4 is relatively straightforward.
It only takes seven steps to get started:
- First, purchase the equipment you need to get started. You may want to buy compatible microphones, USB cables, headphones, and an SD card, if you don’t have them already.
- Power up the device. You can use the included AA batteries to get started, or use your purchased USB-C power adapter.
- Plug in your microphones or connect remote call-ins (if needed). If your mic needs phantom power, toggle it on now.
- Plug in your headphones. Then, adjust microphone gain and headphone volume until you’re happy with the output.
- It’s time to adjust your audio settings. Once you press the menu button, you can use the play/pause button to scroll up, the stop button to scroll down, and the record button to select. You can enable or disable Lo Cut or Limiter filters.
- Ensure the soundpads are programmed with the correct audio clips. You can also determine playback type via the menu (such as Hold, Pause, or One-Shot).
- Once you’ve finalized all the above, you’re ready to publish and promote your podcast.
Check out the tutorial below if you want a visual guide to setting up your device:
Alternatives to the ZOOM PodTrak P4
Don’t think the ZOOM PodTrak P4 is the right fit for your team? Here are some alternatives you may want to consider.
RØDECaster Pro 2
Unlike the ZOOM PodTrak P4, the RØDECaster Pro 2 can easily perform multi-track recording to a DAW. It also records in 48kHz, which is slightly above the PodTrak P4. Just keep in mind these features come at a much higher price. As mentioned earlier, this audio interface is roughly four times the cost of the PodTrak P4.
Keep reading about the RØDECaster Pro 2 in our guide.
PreSonus Revelator io24
Business podcasters appreciate the PreSonus Revelator io24 for its unique livestreaming capabilities. Each device comes with two inputs and two outputs, making it a great alternative for small podcasts with fewer guests. It is slightly more expensive than the ZOOM PodTrak P4, but since it comes with built-in editing software, the value for your dollar is approximately the same.
The bottom line on the ZOOM PodTrak P4
The ZOOM PodTrak P4 is a powerful tool for recording business podcasts on the go. You can capture professional-sounding audio even in remote locations, and with the help of two AA batteries, perform interviews without connected power.
But the ZOOM PodTrak P4 doesn’t come with editing software, so be sure you’re getting the support you need to promote and produce your podcast. Here, at the Podcast Consultant, we are happy to help record, edit, produce, and distribute your podcast so you can focus on producing high-quality conversations. If you want to learn more about us, you can do so here.
Looking to launch a brand-new podcast? We also offer a four-week program to get you on the right track.
To find out more about any of these services, you can schedule a Discovery Call.