In the video I was watching where they compared the H4n to the Pro version, they had recordings done with both, and yeah, I didn’t notice too significant a difference in quality, the Pro did sound a little smoother, but not like a drastic step up.
There was a lot of the H4n’s on eBay, and I ended up tracking one that actually came with a nice hard case and some other accessories (stand, screw-in handle, charger, storage card, usb), and I think I got a pretty fair deal on it. Also, it looked near mint in the pictures. It even has the screen protector plastic thing on it. I was cautious not to get into a bidding war though, because really eBay had LOTS of the H4n’s listed all over, so I was mostly trying to get a good deal.
As for the preamps, I’m kinda thinking now maybe I should’ve held off for a Pro or an H5, but yeah, from what I heard, the preamps didn’t sound THAT much better, and at least in the video I saw it was a 3dB difference in the noise floor, and as you said, if I REALLY wanted a good capture, I’d probably bring out a dedicated interface with a nice mic and decent pre’s.
If anything, maybe I can just resell the H4n and get an H5 down the line. Either way, I’ll have a heavy duty case for it when I upgrade. Either way, I’m pretty happy with the purchase: