Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Traveling With the Zoom H4n - It Doesn't Look THAT Dangerous...

Traveling with tech can be tricky with conventional items like cellphones and laptops, but what do you do if you're traveling with more specialized equipment like the Zoom H4n (and it's taser inspired styling)?
I received this story from voice talent Mike Rock (renowned commercial actor and voice of the Chelsea Handler Show).
Have you ever tried to travel (by air) with your Zoom H4? If you haven't, you're in for a treat. The x/y mic positioning makes it look like a taser to the TSA people. I have been delayed by several minutes (trying to not exaggerate here- but the first time it happened it felt like an hour). After that first time, nearly missing my flight, I hatched a plan. I take it out of my bag, and out of the little padded camera case i bought for it, put it in a bin usually just with my shoes, and I rubberband the manual right to it.
Yet still, 6 out of about 8 times the TSA people have gotten verrrrry serious with me once it gets through the xray machine. Twice I've been made to sit in the isolation room while 4 or 5 TSA people examine it, and they would not let me talk to them or show them the manual they had removed from it, and handed back to me...
I get nearly similar scrutiny for any mic I've traveled with, and have learned to take it out and make it really available to them in order to save a bit of time but the Zoom is a special instance. I'm going to write to Samson about it.
Then a week later...
I heard back from a guy at Samson / Zoom -- I had told them the story and asked them this:

Have you got any promotional materials for the H4 on cardstock or glossy paper? I would like to create a heavy-duty laminated information flier to attach to the unit for travel. I'm imagining something akin to the quality of a laminated backstage pass or namebadge. Really, I could use any full-color advertisement for the H4 and laminate it myself at kinkos... Let me know if you can offer any help."
All they said in their reply was "send us your mailing address" So, I assume they're sending me some fliers or something. Well, that or a private jet so I can avoid TSA altogether...Fingers crossed!!!
I'll keep you all posted on Samson's response.

So what gadgets have gotten YOU hassled by the TSA or other law enforcement?

***UPDATE 07/29/2010***
Mike just wrote me back with Samson's reply:

Please be more specific about what you are looking for? I have a
Zoom t-shirt or a Zoom Banner, which one?
Thank you,
Samson Literature Department
I think Mike should just schnag the T-Shirt, and print out his own travel card from info on the Samson site...


  1. That is annoying! I hope they will send you a response soon.

  2. They're just profiling you because you look like a "Media Monster." What a minute--You ARE a Media Montser!

  3. LOL!
    We must put an end to this gadget profiling!

  4. Lol this will surely make the people in the airport go crazy and paranoid. If i have the money i will buy one but hopefully will not miss any of my flights just because of carrying that device...

  5. Decades before 9/11 I was asked to dismantle my Nagra III. I had to explain why it would not be possible beyond removing the batteries.


  6. Happened to me in Berlin... "Was ist das?"
    Had to take it out of my back (it actually looked scary on the X-Ray screen), remember how to say "stereo recorder" in German and they let me go :)