The Zoom H1 Handy Recorder bills itself as a simply way to do X/Y recording. The X/Y microphone is built-in to the recorder and features two unidirectional mics. The X/Y magic happens thanks to the mics being positioned at a relative 90-degree angle. This allows you to capture true and clear sound at the source while still covering a broad area—all without distortion. For a more tailored experience, you can use the input jacks to connect a pair of external microphones. This customizability allows you to effortlessly complete a variety of sound applications.
The Zoom H1’s auto level feature cuts out distortion by automatically limiting input gain. For times when you want extra control, you have the option to switch from auto level to manual level control for a more customized recording experience. The H1 also features a built-in low cut filter, which prevents crackling and popping sounds, stopping low-frequency audio disturbances in their tracks.
Built-in reference speaker
The back panel of the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder is home to a built-in reference speaker. The speaker provides quality audio monitoring without the need for hooking up extra equipment—perfect for when you’re on the go, such as recording concerts. Thanks to the stereo 1/8” headphone jack, you can also monitor audio privately, too, if that’s your preference.
Ultralong battery life
You have two power options with the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder. You can use a standard AA alkaline battery—all it takes is one—or you can use a rechargeable NiMH battery. Either way, you’ll get a super long battery life; the single AA alkaline battery option provides up to 10 hours of recording time, making the Zoom H1 a great choice for those overnight recording sessions.
Free download licenses for editing software included
On top of the Zoom H1’s robust set of built-in features, it also comes with free download licenses for two of today’s top sound editing software: WaveLab LE audio editing software and Steinberg’s Cubase LE for professional music production. These two free downloads not only provide extra utility for Zoom H1 users, they’re also a great way to build your experience as an audio professional if you’re still learning the ropes.
The X/Y mic definitely lives up to the hype; when played back, recordings are full-bodied and clear. Likewise, the auto leveling does what it claims to by cutting out overload completely. I made use of the manual leveling option and the sound was even better. I also like how you can use external mics thanks to the 1/8” input jack for an even better experience; I tried this out and I was really impressed by not only the outcome but with the ease you can do it.
The built-in speaker is pretty impressive considering it’s a tiny speaker on the back of a handheld recorder. While it’s obviously not what you should be using for serious sound work, it definitely makes for a great miniature monitor for instant audio playback out in the field. I also used the 1/8” headphone jack to privately monitor recordings, and it works quite well and definitely gives you the audio information you need to monitor on the go.
While the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder can be used with a rechargeable NiMH battery, I chose to use it with the AA alkaline battery that’s included. Impressively, it lived up to the 10-hour battery life claim, which is definitely not what I expected, since I was using it extensively at the time.
The icing on the cake was definitely the two included free download licenses. WaveLab LE and Steinberg’s Cubase LE are top-notch programs and make the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder experience even more comprehensive than it already is.
- Built-in X/Y mic; dual unidirectional mic system positioned at relative 90-degree angles
- Auto level to cut out distortion
- Level can be adjusted manually as well
- Built in low-cut filter stamps out low-frequency distortion
- Built-in reference speaker for quick audio monitoring
- Built-in stereo 1/8” headphone output jack allows for private audio monitoring
- Built-in stereo 1/8” mic/line-in input jack allows or external microphones
- Records directly to MicroSD and MicroSDHC cards for convenience
- Built-in SD card reader
- USB port allows for data transfer
- Can be used as a USB microphone
- Powerful utility allows for 99 marks per recording
- Backlit LED display
- Can be mounted onto a tripod
- Can be powered with a single AA alkaline battery (included) or rechargeable NiMH battery
- One AA alkaline battery provides up to 10 hours of runtime
- 2GB microSD included
- Free WaveLab LE download license included
- Free Steinberg Cubase download license included
- Operational manual included
- It’d be a major improvement if the rechargeable NiMH battery was included instead of the AA alkaline battery, which you can get anywhere. That said, many prefer the simplicity of a AA alkaline, so that may be the reasoning behind this choice.