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Forums Audio Engineering H4n Four Channel Recording Lost During Power Failure — Anyone had success with data recovery?

  • H4n Four Channel Recording Lost During Power Failure — Anyone had success with data recovery?

  • Michael Southworth

    January 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Hi all,

    I was recording recently on a Zoom H4n and we suffered a power loss due to not checking that phantom power was enabled. We were recording in 4 channel mode, 48khz/24bit on a Zoom H4n to a 32GB Transcend class 10 card. Of course, when we loaded the card we had our files ending in I and M and they showed up as being 0kb since the headers were not written.

    I’ve tried some of the known methods for recovering these files (creating a disk image, and interpreting as a raw file, as well as the command line tool photorec), but am running into an issue since it was four channel and the recorder was likely writing two stereo tracks at the same time.

    That said, I can hear my talent and even put together sentences if I clip out segments of the audio; its about a 7.5 second loop through the different channels at different levels. Depending on my byte offset when I pull the disk image into Audacity/Audition, I get slightly different pieces of the file to come in, but it is always interleaved with weird volume issues and repeated sounds or improper channel conversion. Has anyone had any success with solving a problem like this? I’m fairly technical, so open to unconventional solutions if given a little guidance,


  • Bill Davis

    January 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    I’ve had good success recovering files from CF and SD cards after power problems.

    Just do a google search for CF Card Recovery and you’ll see plenty of results.

    Can’t remember the specific tool I choose and won’t be back at my machine till this afternoon, but would definitely suggest you sequester the card and investigate recovery options. There is hope!

    Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out – video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

  • André Engelhardt

    January 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve had good luck with SanDisk Recue Pro a few times recovering corrupted audio and video files from both CF and SD cards as well as recovering deleted files. I’ve also had some success with the audio editing app “Triumph” importing raw data. You’ll probably have to keep trying and trying and trying.

    Have you tried manually replacing the header with that of a working recording?

    André Engelhardt
    Audio Engineer, Sound Designer

  • Michael Southworth

    January 31, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I’m looking into that now and have the disk image open in a hex editor.

    The problem is I am having trouble determining where exactly the file begins in order to extract the data; once I locate it, there will be another problem — in four channel mode the recorder appears to write two stereo files from its buffer, interleaving the data, and I don’t know the exact process it uses to do this. If I did, I could potentially extract the two separate stereo files, and then read them in as raw data.

    Any knowledge on how this works for this device or what specifically I should be looking for, ie indicators of which is which?


  • Paul Hughes

    April 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm


    I spent the whole of yesterday sorting a similar issue. Power switched off before I got to the H4N recorder. It said “No Data” when I switched the H4N back on, the SD card had 1 file reading 0kb. I’m not hugely technical and I’m PC based but here’s what I did and have retested it – and it worked.

    1) I used Bad Copy Pro to read the card as I had the software already – I had “formatted” the SD card in the H4N before the recording job and yet it found over 140 old files I assumed would have been wiped. In this case it was File 1 so easy to find. They charge for Bad Copy nowadays but it does give you a preview to see if it’ll work first and in my experience it has worked for many corrupted disks I own.

    2) I opened the file bad copy found as Raw Data in Audacity following the instructions elsewhere on this forum. Audacity available free here – It took a bit of tinkering to get the right settings. I eventually did the obvious and mirrored the settings on my H4N (44.1, Stereo etc and set the header at 910 as apparently that’s where the data starts). Guess what – It recovered the whole file perfectly.

    I then simply saved it as a WAV.

    I’m not sure this will work for everyone but it’s a lot easier than trying to rewrite the hex code etc.

    Hopefully saves someone some time.

  • Goerge martin

    July 28, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Have to tried Audio File Recovery Software yet. It is very effective and able to rescue all the lost or unplayable sound files in just few simple steps. It provides various reliable features to rescue lost audio files. The best thing about this utility is that it recovers and restores all lost sound files very safely and quickly.

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  • John Monroe

    July 29, 2014 at 2:22 am

    can you please try with my file I cant seem to get it to work

  • leena miller

    August 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    With the help of Amrev recovery software we get back all data until overwritten by new data. If you act quickly, you may be able to successfully recover deleted pictures, videos, songs, emails on your phones, computers , camera or memory card.

  • Adam Bankhead

    August 31, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Michael, I’m trying to solve the same issue with audio recovery of 4 channel recording. I input all the correct parameters, but get echoing, etc… Were you ever able to find a solution? I would be extremely grateful for your response. THANK YOU!


  • Chris Hunziker

    November 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    The real problem seems to me to be the interleaved file you get from recovering a four channel recording with Audacity (import raw file), which is like an echo about every three seconds.
    If somebody finds a solution to “un-interleave” the file then we can save the lost files.

    I contacted Zoom Japan, but didn’t get a solution (up to now). Still trying, because on their website they claim:

    Data Recovery
    The H2n’s Data Recovery feature automatically repairs corrupted files—something that can happen if power is interrupted during recording or if an SD card is removed during a writing or editing procedure.

    I know this is for the H2n and not the H4n. But if they have it, why not integrate it in a firmware update for the H4n.
    Probably if several other users put pressure on them … please contact them at info(at)


    PS: I put together a solution for 2-channel recordings here:

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