In order to capture sounds or audio memos whenever I would at anytime I’ve been on a hunt for a simple audio recorder that would provide a good quality of sound, and would be affordable. It took me a while but now I have the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder for almost 2 months… since my last birthday actually.
I didn’t try it in extreme conditions yet. By extreme I mean like a concert of Slayer or Fishbone (only the ones who have been to a Fishbone gig will understand why I’m qualifying them as extreme). However I did the following at least:
- One amp video review (Egnater Rebel 20) which means a relatively high volume. It went well after spending a couple of minutes to find the right input level.
- Recorded acoustic guitar sounds several times.
- Recorded ambiant sounds.
I had no bad surprises such as clipping or high hiss in any of these situations… au contraire!
- The stereo sound rendered by the pair of XY pattern microphones is excellent.
- The microphones are really sensitive, and they capture a lot of nuances. I even was surprise once by a recording that allowed me to hear some details with a clarity that I didn’t perceive in the live condition!
To avoid any clipping bad surprise, all you got to do is to plug headphones in order to monitor, and manually adjust the input level. Otherwise you can trust the auto-level function that sets the level to suit the environment. And if you really don’t trust all of these precautions, you still can monitor the whole thing with the red LED recording / peak indicator. If it blinks then you adjust the input level on the fly.
In the following video I played the same licks & chords for a quick view of the Zoom H1 sounds & functions. I used an cheap acoustic guitar that sounds more like a banjo, and a weissenborn wannabe (i.e. my old washed out folk guitar with a slide guitar extension nut). In this video the differences between the lo-cut off, and lo-cut on sounds are very subtle. The differences were more obvious when I recorded the Egnater Rebel 20 (not in this video). And yes this probably is one of the first videos of me speaking in English just because the non-French visitors part of Muzicosphere’s audience was increasing lately… I thought it would be nice, and I hope you’ll like it.
The device comes with a 2 gigabytes micro SD card (and SD adapter) which will allow you to record from 57 minutes (wav 24bit/96kHz) up to 34 hours (MP3 128 kbps) of sounds. The Zoom H1 is powered by an AA LR6 battery.
I think that my next purchase will be the pack of accessories to make the H1 even more useful… I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a simple recording unit with a good sound quality. You can get the Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder on Amazon for $99.