Top positive review
2 November 2018
Zoom H1N review:
I make training videos, I do have a condenser microphone and audio interface for my audios, I many times need a wireless solution, but good quality and reliable wireless lapel microhones are way expensive so I started looking for a portable sound recorder. I was contemplating on Zoom H1 voice recorder since long, but it was (older model Zoom H1) priced quite high, around Rs 8000, which was beyond my budget. I settled for a SONY voice recorder then. Zoom H1 was always on my radar and just waiting for a price drop.
Although SONY recorder was quite good it lacked many features that Zoom H1 offers, especially high resolution (Wav format, 44.1 k, 48k, 96 k, 24 bit etc.) recording options.
Finally I saw this newer model of Zoom H1N at much lesser price (around Rs 5299 to 5999 price bracket), and I sold my SONY recorder on a famous auction site (at loss) and got this Zoom H1N recorder for Rs 5300 delivered.
First things first.
Newer H1N is way better than the older model Zoom H1 period.
Fewer yet strategically placed button and improved LCD screen backlighting itself tilt the balance in favor of Zoom H1N . All controls are easy (much better compared to earlier H1 model, thanks I waited for this newer model)
Recording is amazingly clear. Inbuilt microphones are pretty sensitive! This means they pick up lots of background noise too.
Build quality is not that great, all plastic body makes this unit quite fragile, this product is aimed at video shooters and given the rough and hectic routine of a typical videographer I was expecting a better plastic if not metal. To be frank, my earlier SONY recorder also in full plastic was much better in this department.
I am using this for last week and found that battery life is good, contrary to claims made by other reviewers, battery drain issue is not there I found battery life is quite decent (,y old SONY recorder still wins the show in this regards) , I recorded some 8 hours and there is still some juice left in the batteries. Those who are complaining about battery drain probably got a defective piece.
Boot takes little longer this might because some concerns as you just can’t start recording immediately after power on.
Zoom H1N works as a USB microphone, mean through a micro USB cable (not supplied) you can connect to a PC and start using this as a USB mike, recording goes directly to you PC.
You can power this unit using USB and record , means if you are out of battery you can just plug this unit into a PC sub port and start recording, I believe (not tried) you can use a power bank to power this unit.
Connecting to a PC for file transfer is easy , no device drivers need just plug and play. Simple !
Display is cool Blue on white, bright and readable under all lighting condition including sun light, this is a much desired improvement over older model’s white on orange display.
Expect 2 non rechrbale AAA size alkaline battery cells no accessories are provided , this unit doesn’t have built in storage means you have to have a micro SD card to use this recorder and unfortunately no micro SD card is provided with this unit, you need to but it separately, please factor this additional expenditure while ordering this model.
Those who are complaining about the unit not working / recording probably trying it without a micro SD card
Internal microphone mounted on top this unit in typical 90 degree x-y cross combination do a decent job but then it catches lots of wind noise, ambient noise , that necessitates post processing.
Zoon H1n has some low frequency cut off feature, you can select a cut off frequency in 80/120 Hz etc. but I don’t think it is of any help, it is better to leave the low noise feature off and do the noise removal in post processing.
I still miss the SONY recorder for its built in microphone and intelligent noise cut off features , luckily I possess a good DAW with elaborate ( forensic) noise removal tools , but for others I would suggest to invest in a decent external microphone.
I tried many external microphone (standard 3/5 mm jack) all worked well, especially most difficult Olympus microphones, I suggest to go for SONY ECM -CS3 stereo condenser lapel microphone (best kept secret on Amazon!) , those who are thinking of Rode SmartLav+ lapel microphone , please bear in mind that Rode is TRRS type while ZOOM accept TRS pins so you need to buy a TRRRS (female) to TRS (male) adaptor (another $$ accessory to buy!)
I tried all recording formats and report that all recording came loud and clear, but I used external microphone and did a bit of post processing. For normal dialogs, lectures, interviews you don’t need those high end recording formats such as 96K/24 bit, here even320KbPS MP3 would suffice, but consider an external microphone. And adjust signal levels beforehand.
This unit has got replaceable batteries and this is a major plus for me, now a days voice recorders are coming with fixed batteries (like cell phones) , at one hand this sound very convincing but on filed this might pose a problem. Having some spare replaceable batteries is a live saver. I use NimH rechargeable batteries and two such batteries kept as a spear and I am all set.
As far as recording class lectures , I would still prefer and recommend a SONY product (for its excellent built in microphones and better noise reduction capabilities and recording range) with Zoom H1N , I need to sit in the front row and still have to accept lots of background noise in the recording, SONY does a better job in this department.
Excellent features especially high resolution recording
Works as USB microphone
Can be powered from a USB port or Power bank
Easy (fewer) and intuitive menus / controls.
Good internal microphones
Recording quality acceptable, you need some post processing though.
All plastic, cheaply made, fragile, questionable durability (especially in field use)
Except 2 Alkaline batteries (AAA size) no other essential accessories provide. Especially when ZOOM H1N won’t record without a micro SD card. At least they should have packed one such or could have provided some on board memory.
No USB cable in the pack (not a problem though , as we typically have dozens of such cable lying around )
Hope this helps