REVIEW: Zoom H1n Handy Recorder

Doing any kind of decent mobile recording with good sound quality used to be a pain, either too much hardware was required or you needed an engineering degree. Now there are apps that can take on the heavy lifting, but something’s still missing, and memory capacity is an issue. Enter Zoom with their latest field recording unit, the H1n.

The slim design is just big enough to house some simple controls that the user can work to easily navigate settings along the lit display. The two microphones are well shielded from any bumps with the molded-in guard, and a threaded mount to attach it to a microphone stand is thankfully built in. It’s powered by 2 AAA batteries, which should last about 10 hours during normal use.

The Zoom accepts Micro SD cards, however, the maximum size SD card is 32 GB. It can record in WAV at 16 and 24 Bit, as well as MP3 from 48kbps to 320 kbps, and of course format and resolution will dictate how much audio you can capture. The USB port allows for easy transfers of recorded files without the need for a card reader, which is a plus. A line-in connection for external mics makes this a great recorder for interviews, and with the line out/headphone outs connected to a DSLR camera, makes a great tool for adding audio flexibility for on-the-go video productions. There’s also the ability to set markers in the files, so getting the audio and video to sync won’t be an issue in post.

In a band rehearsal room, it’s an invaluable tool with excellent signal to noise ratio. Even a loud rock band comes through with excellent clarity, and features like the lo cut filter and limiter make for quality live recordings that can really be used as useful tools for working out ideas after jam sessions or rehearsals. There’s also a handy built in speaker, allowing on-the-spot playback – great if you want to instantly recall an improvised part you just performed.

zoom h1n recorder

Now here’s where it goes beyond a field recorder — with the overdubbing function it gives the option to layer another “track” on top of an existing one. So, for songwriters this a great mobile demo’ing tool; being able to add vocals to an existing file that might not have vocals, for example, can be incredibly useful when capturing song ideas while on the road or away from the studio.

The only real downside is that there is a limit to using a 32 GB card at maximum, but considering the audio quality options, size, as well as on-board options like using the Zoom H1n as an external mic for a digital camera, it’s a truly practical tool at a great price point. Overall, it’s worth it to have a dedicated device to record rehearsal room recordings for your band, as well as pull double-duty to record high-quality audio for your YouTube videos.

PROS:

Excellent sound quality, great for capturing sound for videos.

CONS:

Only up to 32 GB SD cards will work.

PRICE:

$119 [click to buy now]

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