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Tech: Zoom H1

06 Aug 10 - 07:15 PM (#2959778)
Subject: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Arkie

There have been reviews and recommendations for the Zoom H2 and Zoom H4 and other digital recorders. I just discovered that there is now a Zoom H1. Has anyone had any experience with this new recorder.


06 Aug 10 - 07:51 PM (#2959797)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Joe Offer

I dunno, Elliott. If I did't have an H2, I'd buy the H1 in a heartbeat. They targeted the price at $99 - but to do that, they had to leave out the accessories you get with the H2 and H4 recorders. It looks like it's equal in quality to the H2, and the controls look a little easier. I think I'd buy it with the Accessory kit for $134, and I would expect to be very pleased.
Oh, and you'd probably want something larger than the supplied 2 GB SD card. I use 8 GB on my H2, and it's plenty. Oh, and the free Audacity sound editing software works perfectly with the H2 - so I'm sure it would be fine for the H1.

I don't think I've ever seen a post at Mudcat that complained about a Zoom recorder. They're amazing.

-Joe-

P.S. One caution: the Zoom H2 uses up batteries very quickly. You need an AC adapter.


06 Aug 10 - 11:28 PM (#2959878)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Arkie

Joe, thanks for your comments. I had the same impression.

This seems to be pretty new. Some sites say available July 30. This site says August 20. So it may not have shipped yet.

Here is one link.


Zoom H1


07 Aug 10 - 04:50 AM (#2959959)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

I don't think I've ever seen a post at Mudcat that complained about a Zoom recorder.

I've complain about my old model H4 incessantly; the modelling of which is absolutely atrocious, from the velcro cradle, the black-nose wind shield, the inaccessable card slot, not to mention that the whole unit crashes when you switch to phantom (etc etc). Good sound though, and I hope the new H4s have ironed out these problems. The H1 looks like it could be worth a look though.


07 Aug 10 - 05:07 AM (#2959961)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: glueman

The H2 is a marvel, a pocketsized bootlegging, erm, recording masterpiece. The battery door is standard plastic flimsy, so best to plan your battery changes to well lit rooms, but otherwise a gem.


07 Aug 10 - 05:26 AM (#2959967)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: GUEST,Ray

The only thing to be aware of - at least it was a problem with my H2 - is that they don't work with all SD (or SDHC) cards. There is a list buried on the Zoom web-site which lists those which do - http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h2/SDlist.html - but things may have changed.
Ray


07 Aug 10 - 08:14 AM (#2960019)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: treewind

Compatibility warning noted, but it comes with a 2GB SD card, which is enough to be useful (makes a change...) and presumably works fine.

My experience with an Edirol R-09 is that the SD card lives in it and never comes out. Like my Edirol, the Zoom has USB so you can dump your recording on to a computer, wipe the card and re-use.

The spec looks great. 48k - 320k MP3, 16/44k to 24/96k .WAV, recordings as good as the mics which are probably quite good, nice and small, and has a USB connection. If I needed a new solid state recorder I'd go for it like a shot but of course it may have shortcomings in actual use which we don't know about yet.


07 Aug 10 - 01:17 PM (#2960116)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: GUEST,Ray

Yes you can dump your recording via USB but it is s......o s.......o s.....l.....o.....w - Its easier to whip the card out and use a reader. The H1 may, however be different.
R


07 Aug 10 - 01:48 PM (#2960135)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Joe Offer

On my Zoom H2, I use a SDHC card that isn't on the list of "approved" cards. It works fine. And I agree with Ray - if you can plug an SD card into your computer, the file transfer will be faster and safer than using the USB cable. Looks to me like the H1 uses a power adapter that connects via USB cable. I'm guessing that means it will work on phone chargers that use a USB connection.
The H2 has a setting for using rechargeable batteries, and I suppose the same will be true for the H1 - so I suppose you will be able to charge your batteries while they're in the recorder.

-Joe-


07 Aug 10 - 02:01 PM (#2960143)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Bernard

Just a word of caution... if using a card of more than 4Gb, please remember the FAT32 limitation of 4Gb maximum file size. It's fairly unlikely you'd want to record for that length of time uninterrupted, but my experience of supplying technology to customers regularly proves that the client will expect the impossible! You think you've covered all the bases, but the client asks 'Will it...?'!

A card of greater than 4Gb does have the advantage of being ready to record as soon as the file size limit is reached - the system 'knows' the limitation, so you don't lose any more than the audio that is missed between you realising that the device has stopped, and pressing 'record' again.

Regarding batteries, I've found that Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeables are perfect for portable digital recorders (cameras and radio microphones, too) - carry a spare set and you'll rarely find the need for a mains pack, especially if you go for 2700mAh capacity cells (or better). Alkaline cells are a waste of money.

My Marantz PMD660 needs four AA cells, and doesn't have a charge facility when idle as my old Sony MiniDisk does... I frequently use it with a pair of AKG C1000 microphones, phantom powered.


07 Aug 10 - 03:10 PM (#2960195)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Don Firth

I have an H2 which I haven't used a great deal yet, but it's going to start getting some heavy use this week. What I have recorded so far sounds pretty darned good and thoroughly beats the socks off the Panasonic portable cassette recorder I've used for years.

But on thing that has me gnashing my teeth is that I have searched about eleventy-fourteen dozen different web sites, including the Samson's (who makes the neat little contraption), trying to get some figures on the in-built microphones—and nuthin'! They talk a great deal about the versatility of the two mic/four mic/stereo/surround sound patterns available, but I would like to see some figures on such things as frequency response and such. No joy so far.

Anybody have any information on this or know where it can be looked up?

I do have a couple of pretty good condenser mics, one suitable for voice and the other suitable for "fast attack" acoustical instruments (such as a guitar), and one of the selling points of this boxed pair was that I read a chart of very impressive specifications on the mics (and they did throw in a pair of XLR cables and a shock-mount for each mic).

But it's the H2's mic specs I'd really like to see.

Don Firth

P. S. Also, I'm looking, gimlet-eyed, at info on the Zoom H4n (relatively new and a great improvement over the H4) because it has XLR mic inputs. On this one, I've been looking to see if it's possible, using the external mics, to shut off the built-in mics. And—is it possible, for example, to plug in one external mic and record a single track, or does one always have to record multiple tracks?

Anybody?


07 Aug 10 - 04:11 PM (#2960232)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Bernard

Well, my Marantz has (next to useless!) built in mics, and XLRs with switchable phantom. You have to faff about with a less than intuitive menu system to select external/internal mics.

As for multiple tracks, the usual choices are mono or stereo... they aren't designed for layering. I'm only guessing based on the way others work...


08 Aug 10 - 02:19 AM (#2960438)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: The Fooles Troupe

Actually, I'm surprised that hey didn't provide a USB3 port - USB2 is now old slow obsolete technology... very little difference in production cost ...


08 Aug 10 - 03:37 AM (#2960453)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

P. S. Also, I'm looking, gimlet-eyed, at info on the Zoom H4n (relatively new and a great improvement over the H4) because it has XLR mic inputs. On this one, I've been looking to see if it's possible, using the external mics, to shut off the built-in mics. And—is it possible, for example, to plug in one external mic and record a single track, or does one always have to record multiple tracks?

On the old H4 you select which inputs you want (built in mics or external XLR) - I don't even think there's a way even to use both, which would handy! As I said about, my model has a tendancy to crash when you switch it phantom, so I've used the XLR inputs for mixing from an 8-track which it handles quite nicely. Naturally I assumed it would default to the built-in setting when I powered it up again, but it doesn't - so something to be aware of. In 4 track mode you can record individual mono tracks, which on the original H4 is fiddly for those used to a full size machine. I used it once or twice but found it ultimately frustrating & reverted to a normal digital 8-track, using the Zoom only for field recording & occasional mastering though now I've got the Behringer UCA202 I tend to use the laptop!


08 Aug 10 - 03:40 AM (#2960454)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: s&r

The H4 and the H4n have combination XLR and 1/4" mic sockets. I'm pretty sure that using external mics disconnect the internal mic when recording in stereo mode. The biggest improvement to me is that the H4n has a much more legible screen.

Stu


08 Aug 10 - 04:20 AM (#2960464)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: SqueezeMe

Was just about convinced to buy an H2.
So should I await the arrival of the H1 instead?
I notice there are currently a few tasty price reductions on the H2 from some dealerships here in Oz...


08 Aug 10 - 05:48 AM (#2960486)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Nick

Don

Is this the sort of thing?
Frequency response

Some other techy things here that you have probably got: http://socialsounddesign.com/questions/817/zoom-h2-frequency-response-70hz
http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/zoom_h2_e.html
http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=9745


08 Aug 10 - 07:10 AM (#2960500)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Bernard

XLRs with switching is very unlikely... the combination jack/XLR sockets have been around for a while, but typically the switching (if implemented) is only on the jack.


08 Aug 10 - 01:24 PM (#2960623)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: GUEST,Ray

Mine was also an SDHC, Joe, and didn't - best forewarned as I'd never have found the list without Zoom's help. Incidentally, it was a Sandisk - not even an obscure brand.
Ray


08 Aug 10 - 02:26 PM (#2960682)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Bernard

I've seen funny things happen with SD cards in cameras - the first time they are used, an occasional image is corrupt. Sometimes they do it again, even if formatted in the camera... then they inexplicably settle down and are fine!


08 Aug 10 - 07:45 PM (#2960832)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Don Firth

That's it, Nick. Thank you!

(How the heck did I miss that?)

Don Firth


09 Aug 10 - 01:25 AM (#2960933)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Joe Offer

Squeeze me, I think you'll find that you will want to buy the H1 accessory pack - and those accessories are included with the H2. It looks to me that recording quality will be more-or-less the same, but the controls on the H1 look like they will be a little easier to use - I've had trouble seeing the LCD display on the H2, but I've learned the knack of operating it.
But hey, I'm very satisfied with my H2.

-Joe-


09 Aug 10 - 02:33 AM (#2960941)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: s&r

You're quite right Bernard re switching jacks - there is a provision to use an external stereo mic with a 3.5mm jack. This is a switching jack which disconnects the fitted mics. The XLR mics (or other signal sources)would be in addition to the fitted ones.

You can record single tracks in four track mode but the handbook is not the asiest to follow

Our use for the H4s that we have is as a simple good quality portable recorder. For this it is simple and convenient and produces excellent quality in either MP3 or WAV formats.

Stu


09 Aug 10 - 03:16 AM (#2960954)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: treewind

"I've seen funny things happen with SD cards in cameras - the first time they are used, an occasional image is corrupt. Sometimes they do it again, even if formatted in the camera... then they inexplicably settle down and are fine!"

I've seen a technical explanation for why this happens, but I'm buggered if I can find it now.
But it's true: there is a period while the card is new when the writing process can be unreliable and it then gets better.


09 Aug 10 - 11:44 AM (#2961161)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Martha Burns

I have the H2 and find all the menus very confusing. Maybe all the new recorders are that way. Was recently in a conversation about this where others had the same beef. One person said, "What I'd like is a digital recorder that was just like the old cassette recorders, with a play/record button, fast-forward, rewind and stop." That would be nice, alright.
Meanwhile, I don't use my Zoom much at all -- or any recorder, honestly. Suppose if I made a point of trying, it would begin to feel more user-friendly.


09 Aug 10 - 12:11 PM (#2961178)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Bernard

Not so sure about that! I'm quite tech-savvy, but my Marantz still sends me looking for the manual!! The problem is, I think, that they are designed by engineers, not the people who use them!

;o)


09 Aug 10 - 05:40 PM (#2961464)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Arkie

Not having had an H1 in my hands I can only speak from what I've read about the recorder but it is supposed to be simpler to use and has an array of buttons for many of the operations. There are pictures in the link above that provide some information.


09 Aug 10 - 05:55 PM (#2961484)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Nick

Don

No problem.

From my end I can find things but they don't necessarily mean anything to me. I have little idea whether what is on that graph is good bad or indifferent.

I have used my Zoom H2 many many times since I bought it back in 2008 and it has been fine to my ears especially after a bit of post processing after live gigs. It's good enough for me anyway.

I have a vocal mic which has a rather different looking graph (or rather the numbers on the left are at a different level) but I have no idea what it means in real terms to me. Vocal mic.

Sadly I tested my hearing again this evening and realise I hear nothing if anything over 13kHz anyway so am not sure how much difference it would make anyway!

Nick


09 Aug 10 - 06:03 PM (#2961491)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Nick

I looked at a Shure SM58 as a standard and it's graph looks not dissimilar to the shape of the Zoom. It all means nothing to me. Sorry this is a little off topic but if anyone wants to explain it would be interesting - Shure SM58


09 Aug 10 - 07:04 PM (#2961531)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: treewind

The Shure SM58 is a vocal mic for stage us use close up by singers who know how to use it. It is not well suited to any other purpose. The same applies to look-alike imitations.

It's a horrid mic for making recordings of the sort you'd do with a Zoom recorder. The Zoom internal mics will be far better.

To do significantly better than the Zoom's internal mics you are looking at condensers for a start, and that means external preamps with phantom power. It's probably not worth bothering unless you've got a pair of Røde NT5s, AKG C535 or C451, Neumann KM184 or anything from Schoeps, and long before you get to that level it's more about putting them in the right place than how much you spend on gear...

Anahata


10 Aug 10 - 08:04 AM (#2961915)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Bernard

Quite right!

On the subject of the SM58 as a vocalist's mic - it is designed with a mid-range peak to take advantage of proximity effect, so that it is very well-behaved in a live PA situation. Yes, you can still make it feed back, but the volume level you can get out of it before feedback occurs is significantly better than many othe 'similar' mics.

However, understanding its proper use (as Anahata pointed out) is very important, or it can sound dreadful!

The correct way to use it is with your lips touching the 'top basket' - not a fetish, but a design feature. That way, the frequency response is correct, and you get no 'popping' on explosive consonants (P, B, etc.). A couple of centimetres away and it pops very badly! Once you're about 20cm away, it won't 'pop', but will sound rather 'thin' needing a lot of EQ to correct it - which is why it's far from ideal for recording.

For the same sort of money you can buy AKG C1000 condensers, which are much more suited to the purpose (although not in the league of the ones Anahata listed). They can use phantom, but will also run from an internl 9v battery. The frequency response is a little better if running from phantom. My favourite cheapo condenser is the Behringer B2 Pro - excellent value for money, with omni/cardioid/fig 8 switchable polar patterns, and very large diapragms.


27 Aug 10 - 10:07 PM (#2974367)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Arkie

I had an opportunity to try a Zoom H1 today. I ordered it for a friend and it was not supposed to ship until Sept. 3, but it arrived yesterday. It is certainly much easier to use than the H2 but I would say the recording quality was just as good. It uses the tiniest card I have ever seen but all the necessary controls are on the exterior of the recorder. He wanted something small and easy to use and this will fill the bill. Now I have to think of a good reason for ordering one for myself.

I appreciate everyone's comments. That did help in deciding what to order.


28 Aug 10 - 02:30 AM (#2974423)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray

Jolly good - I think I'm going to get one myself; the only thing putting me off is the size of the card - I find normal SDs fiddly enough as it is!


28 Aug 10 - 02:42 AM (#2974428)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Joe Offer

This is a normal-sized SD card, isn't it - not one of those micro-mini ones - right?
...oh, this page says it's a micro SD card, so it IS one of the little ones.
-Joe-


28 Aug 10 - 03:02 AM (#2974432)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: treewind

I never take the card out of my Edirol.


30 Aug 10 - 04:43 PM (#2976174)
Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H1
From: Arkie

Getting the card installed was a bit tricky but the cover is attached with a thin vinyl clip that is a little more sturdy than the tiny plastic clips on the H2. The first and second attempts to read the card via the USB cable did not work. The computer did not recognize the recorder. On the third attempt it worked as it should and the contents of the card were downloaded via the cable and erased via the cable. The church has an H2 that I use to record the Sunday Service. The first and second attempts to read the card via the USB cable did not work with that either. The third time it did work.

The card is a wee one. About the size of my little finger nail. The 2gig card at 128 kbps would hold nearly 40 hours of recording according to the information on the screen. We experimented with the volume and when set on auto sound was very sensitive and picked up conversation in the room very well. I did not try recording with the switch set on wav or at any other MP3 setting other than 128.