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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful.
Zoom H1 vs Tascam DR-05
By SF Native
I was on the Zoom H1 for about 6 months, and its so small i lost track of it. So i picked up a Tascam DR-05 and now that i have tried them side by side, i can say this simply about the differences:
Zoom H1 - Good sound, exceptional 1 button operation. I have the special edition white H1. It is much easier to see the labels and controls than on the black model in a dark studio or on a stage.
You can hear the H1: www.thewooks.net. I have live recordings up. OPL Sets 1 and 2 are through the H1 mics. The studio recordings include SweetLiz, Wook Walk and anything at the bottom of that page that is not obviously live (everything live is from the OPL concert, FWIW).
Tascam DR-05 - Great sound, 3 click operation to start, stop, pause. Can be a little confusing, even just setting the levels on the fly. However, the sound quality is a notch above the H1. Its now my go to for recording our band through the headphone mix.
I did find my HI BTW, had fallen between my seat and rear door after a gig. Now i swap off, I'm using them both, and they are both excellent. The H1 is just wayyyy easier to use.
436 of 448 people found the following review helpful.
Best Little Recorder that Could *updated*
***UPDATED, IMPORTANT EDIT*** September 2013: Zoom has released a new firmware (v. 2.10) at their Japanese website (which acts as a download center for their US consumers). The update adds USB 3.0 support.
Go to zoom.co.jp and click the "downloads" link at the top. Find the link for the H1 under "Recorders." There's an updated manual for version 2.0 as well in Acrobat format. Enjoy! On to the (updated) review...
Straight to the point: If you're considering getting a digital recorder and your needs are simple, seriously consider this one.
The sound is quite phenomenal for a recorder this size and asking price. (Zoom claims the H1 has the same frequency and SPL handing as their popular H2.)
Button/switch placement is intuitive and couldn't be simpler. Need the lo-cut filter? Slide the switch in the back (and the LCD will tell you it's on). When you're ready to record, simply press the big red button on the front. When done recording, press it again. If you want to hear what you've just recorded (via the built-in speaker or the line out jack), simply push the play button on the side of the unit.
There are several functions that will prove useful including adjusting the input level manually (from 1 to 100; *really* useful for loud situations like a rock concert) and being able to actually monitor audio during recording via the line out jack.
The unit records in MP3 and Broadcast WAV formats, in many bit-depths and sample rates. (Max for WAV is 24-bit/96 kHz and 320 kbps for MP3.) Broadcast WAV functions just like any other WAV with the addition of having metadata (like time and date) stamped into the file, which is great for identifying WAVs in audio editors that support the format. The H1 allows you to place markers into WAVs during recording for easy transport/identification during playback in audio editors as well. (The H1 will also jump to these markers while in playback mode should you push the "<<" or ">>" buttons during playback.)
I have not tried the newly-added function of being able to use the H1 as a USB audio interface, mostly because I did not get the H1 for that purpose, though it's very nice to know that such a feature is available to me should I need it. ASIO drivers are available at Zoom's website.
File transfer to your computer is quite fast. (For comparison's sake, the H1 uses Hi-speed USB 2.0 versus the H2's Full-speed USB 2.0. In layman's terms, the H1 is quicker than the H2 file-transfer wise.) The unit is firmware-upgradable and version 2.00 is available at Zoom's website. (Mine came with version 1.02 initially and now runs 2.00.) When you connect to the computer using a (Mini-B to Standard-A) USB cable using version 2.00 of the firmware, the H1 will ask if you want to use the H1 as a card reader or an audio interface. It will eventually default as a card reader if you do not do anything. Otherwise, you simply choose what you want the H1 to do with the record button.
I knew that the H1 was small but I wasn't exactly prepared for how small. If you were to lay your hand flat, the H1 would fit inside it with room to spare. (I have average-sized hands.)
The H1 is so light even with one AA battery that it feels delicate. I wouldn't suggest banging it around. There's a connector for a wrist strap at the bottom of the unit (near the speaker) so if you're concerned about dropping the H1, it might be worth your while to connect a strap.
The cover to the microSD card slot can come open with just a nudge which might annoy you while handing the H1. (I should also note the cover is made of a hard plastic but looks like it might come off and break with enough force; just be careful as you open it.) The tripod mounting joint is also made of plastic so you might not want to overtighten when mounting the H1. Like most recorders, the H1's sensitive mics are prone to handling noise.
There doesn't seem to be any way of recording in mono; it would have to be done post-production.
Get the H1 Accessory Pack as well but also get a RedHead windscreen (or similar) to boot; the included windscreen in the Accessory Pack is great for voice/plosives and all but horrible for wind noise (which is not surprising since it's a foam windscreen). One needs more to baffle the wind only a "dead cat" type windscreen can provide.
I know I forgot things but I wanted to make this as concise as possible, pros and cons. It's simply a great recorder and I was not disappointed.
UPDATED EDIT 2010: Since my initial review, two months have passed by, so I thought I'd give my updated thoughts. There are some reports that the H1 is draining batteries faster than normal even while the H1 is off. This is obviously not in every unit as I do not have this issue. (I had mine since official release, which was August 20, 2010.) A quick way to find if you have a defective H1 is to simply check the battery within a day. If it's quite low or no battery power, contact Samson (in the U.S.) and let them know.
There are users who claim that the H1 is shoddily built. My challenge to that is, What were you expecting for $99 USD? Gold? As I said in my review, the H1 is so darned light with a battery in it it's hard to not think of it as delicate. Is it so shoddy that users who are careful with their electronics shouldn't pick it up? Oh, heck no. It's not like the H1's casing is made of plastic that's so pliable it's pathetic. It feels solid enough at least in my hand.
Obviously, if your needs put you in a situation where durability is a concern, the H1 might not be for you. I would think this was common sense all things considered.
Of course, a note on the sound: It is quite superb. I've done (far) more than a bunch of recordings already and there are times where I have to check to see if what I'm hearing is coming from my monitors or in the real world. (I thought someone was presently mowing their lawn off in the distance when, in fact, they were not.) It's that good.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful. See all 887 customer reviews...
Feels cheap, but excellent features and fantastic sound quality in a portable solution.
Product arrives and I open the box. The recording unit, microSD card with SD adapter, and one battery are included inside. No product manual :( but there was two papers that had a download access code to get their free audio software online. I pick up the recorder and am a bit surprised by the feel of it, as it's very lightweight and the plastic that it's made of feels cheap. This will end up being my least-favorite part about the Zoom H1 - the cheap casing and buttons. The MicroSD cover that covers the SD card is also cheap and kind of annoying to try to loosen to insert a microSD card. I'm not sure what they were thinking when they designed the cover, but I can overlook it since I rarely change out the microSD card anyway. I discovered the H1 isn't praised for its outer looks, features, and buttons, but for the quality of the recording, which is really what matters for the price you're paying.
Once I inserted the battery the screen lit up and recording time, quality, and audio levels meter display on the screen. The audio level meter bar is constantly fluctuating, so it appears to be metering the levels very actively. I plugged my headphones into the "line out" and was blown away by the quality. The cheap feel of the Zoom H1's plastic does not at all match the quality of the sound coming through, which is superb!
Next I adjusted the levels. There are manual adjustments for input level on the side. These buttons feel cheap and don't always respond when pushing them, but they do work nonetheless. The sound meter bar reflected accurately the input levels I was changing, and I could hear the increase of the sounds around me through my headphones. Next I tried the "auto level," which is part of 3 quick switches on the back of the recorder. Auto level tries to adjust the input levels according to how much sound it's picking up. It's a great concept, and it does change the input when it hears the sounds around it getting louder or quieter, but I really don't think I'm going to be using it. Unfortunately it fluctuates in a very noticeable way, and I think listeners would be very aware of it. Much more practical for me to set the input levels manually on-site while monitoring it through the headphones.
The other adjustments work well. There is a lo-cut quick-switch on the back that cuts out excess background noise well. I usually leave it on unless I specifically want to capture the sounds in the background. The REC format quick-switch allows you to choose mp3 or wav format but just flipping it over to your choice. Again, a fantastic way to quickly save some memory or increase your quality if you're out in the field.
The playback feature is nice, but takes a bit of getting used to navigating and deleting the files. A product manual wasn't included in the box, which would have been nice to explain how to use the playback features. But that's not too much sweat as I'll just find the manual online.
Recording is very simple. Press the big red button in the middle. Press it again to stop. The record button also takes you out of the playback menu to get back to record/monitor mode. Now the top looks funky with the arrangement of the left/right channel microphones. I quickly found out that the best angle to record from was directly at the end of it. If you record at the side it will pick up one channel louder than the other, or won't pick it up very clearly. It will still pick up audio from all around the room, but if you point the end of the H1 you'll notice it zeroes in on the sound of that object. So when you're recording people, be sure to point the end of the recorder directly at them.
INPUTS / OUTPUTS
There is one line out jack, and one line in jack.
The line in would work great for using a lapel mic and other reviewers have shown great results using the H1 this way. You can get a quality Sony lapel for around $35 that works great, and would allow for more mobility while recording.
The line out is great for monitoring through heaphones. I was able to walk around with my noise-cancelling headphones and didn't miss any sounds around me. I could immediately tell if I needed to adjust the levels or if the sound was picking up by using headphones. What a great way to know how your recording is sounding at the moment instead of finding out later that you didn't adjust it right. The line out would also work great for plugging into other equipment. I'll most likely use it for my computer and to directly plug into a DSLR camera. It would make a great "Interviewing" mic by plugging it into the DSLR camera and holding the H1 up to the person being interviewed, or you can use the tripod mount to connect a hot shoe mount (not included) and mount it on top of the dslr camera as the main mic, or to pick up a second independent channel of audio.
If you don't use headphones, there is always the tiny speaker at the bottom end that will play back your audio for you. So you can easily listen to your recordings anywhere.
Other ports include the USB port. The Zoom H1 didn't come with a USB cable, and it's not the standard cell phone type. Fortunately it uses the same USB port as my dslr camera, so I can just use that.
I'm very happy with the Zoom H1, especially the sound quality compared to the cost. Unfortunately it's apparent where the cost savings was made, which is in the low quality of the plastic casing and plastic buttons. The features are great though, and quick and easy to use on location. However, unless you're actually a professional this recorder can make you feel like one with the results. I'm all about the results, which is why I'm rating it highly and recommending it to at-home podcasters, video producers, musicians, etc. It really does pick up all the sound you need it to at high quality in a portable solution.