Sonic LAB: Zoom H1 Handy Recorder

The perfect pocket-sized recorder?      30/03/11

No flash plug

    MP4 8:33 mins

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Zoom H1

The small format digital audio recorder market has really come of age now, with many manufacturers offering variations on the theme.

Zoom were one of the first companies to offer a compact recorder with XLR inputs - the H4, and with the release of the improved H4n version they've pretty much established the de-facto model for the newly-emerged DSLR video market.

It's our preferred model too for when we film at music trade show, as it offers a number of very useful features in a rugged and reliable package.

If there is a downside, it's that for actually mounting it on top of a DSLR camera, it's a little bulky.

To be honest, that's not something I would necessarily recommend anyway, as recording 'double system'  sound would normally entail having the audio recorder operated separately from the camera, but for those that might want to, having a smaller & lighter machine would be of benefit.

Step forward the latest small format recorder from Zoom, the H1.

This truly is a portable unit - it weighs a svelte 60g (w/o battery) and runs for 10 hours on a single AA cell.

It's also a very inexpensive, straightforward 'no-frills' device, with no menus and just a single 'Record' button on the front... so is it up to the job?

We put it through its paces, and compared it to its bigger sibling the H4n...

And it came out pretty darn well.

Check out the video for details - but in summary:-


Very affordable price

Extremely lightweight

Audio quality surprisingly good

Very straightforward - no complex menus and external controls for everything

Decent battery life

Can power via USB

  Confidence monitor speaker


Looks & feels a bit plasticky and cheap

No case

Plastic tripod socket doesn't feel like it's gonna last long

small buttons for adjusting record levels, transport, etc. are very small & fiddly, and almost impossible to see in a dark environment

All in all,  a good little machine at a great price.

Available now at  around £79/$99

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Gear used in the review






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