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#1 2010-04-06 20:06:03

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3016
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Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

So... I had been looking for a better way to record than with my camera or computer microphone.  I looked into USB microphones, computer interfaces with mics, better computer microphones, and personal recorders.  Lucky for me, we got our tax return and we decided to splurge a little.  I was going to go for a cheaper unit, but the hubster insisted on getting me the one I really was looking it more... the H2 (it's not that expensive... but dropping money on "toys" is something we don't do too often).

WOW!  This thing is AWESOME!  smile Goodbye to all the tinny sounds from the computer mic and camera... hello beautiful bass.  This unit has encouraged me to do a lot more with my finger picking!  Of course, I can hear all my screw ups more... but I never knew how good the finger picking sounded sitting in front of the guitar (from behind... I can't get the full effect!).  Did I say yet that this is awesome????   big_smile

My "review" is long... so get ready to read a little!  roll

Ok... so from a lot of my reading all over the place, it looks like there's been a bit of confusion going around about the H2, so I'm going to clear a little of it up that I learned before my purchase in the hopes that it'll help someone else.

cool there WAS an "original" h2 that only had 3 mics (or that was the original concept), but the company ditched that.  The H2 has 4 on board mics that are hidden by a screen.  You can record from the front (2 mics - 90 degree angle), from the back (2 mics 180 degree angle), from both in stereo mode (4 mics one file), or from both in surround mode (4 mics - 2 sound files).  If you record in surround mode, you still need some type of software to turn those two files into true surround sound, otherwise it's the same thing as the 4 mic stereo mode.  What IS cool however is that in the surround mode, you can adjust which mics pick up more and which pick up less!

cool the H4 was actually before the H2 (I'm not sure about the H4N) ... there's an H1 that will be coming out soon that only has 2 mics (so I hear... there's nothing about it on their website tho).  The H2 is smaller than the H4, reviews say the sound quality is the same, but there's some upgrades to the H2 compared to the H4.  You CANNOT listen to something and record at the same time on the H2 (you can on the H4).

cool similar priced recorders generally only have 2 mics and don't come with as many accessories as the H2 (I like accessories!).  My H2 came with a 1 GB card (it generally comes with a 512 mb card), wind screen, mic stand adapter, foot (screws on bottom like a tripod but it's just a little plastic piece to hold it upright on a table), USB cable, AC adapter (most of the other ones didn't come with this and sold them for $25-$50), nice stereo earbuds, a little soft carrying bag, and an RCA cable.  It does NOT come with software (the h4 does I believe). 

yikes yes, it is a plastic outside shell.  It is VERY light.  The on/off switch feels "cheap"... I'm concerned that dropping it could easily cause something to break.  I didn't handle any other recorders, but I wonder if some of the other ones in the same price range with less goodies are built tougher.  Ahhh... I will take the technology, accessories and 4 mics for the price and happily sacrifice being very careful not to drop this!  The display is small also.  My mom would have to use her "granny glasses" to be able to read it.

cool It's really easy to figure out how to use this.  The menu is simple.  They've written the user guide in a "quick start up" style.  Read one page and you can record... read a few more pages and you'll understand more... keep reading and you'll get into the serious meat and potatoes of it.  You can even download a full guide from their website and read all about the unit before purchasing!

cool mine came all up to date with the latest updates already done and ready to go.  They continue to make updates that you download on your computer, transfer to sd card, and install on the device.  I'm happy to know that they are updating and fixing bugs... it's not just something that you get and that's that.

cool you CAN use this as a USB mic.  You CAN connect a mic to this and power it from the batteries in the H2.  Once you've done that, you CAN use this as an interface and record directly to your software of choice on the computer.  You can monitor while recording as well (no speakers, you need to monitor on the supplied earbuds, your own, or hook it up to something with speakers).

Ok... so that's the stuff that I found to be really important about this and what helped to make my buying decision.  I throughly researched this thing!  There's a lot more to it, like what formats you can record in and so on... using 2 AA batteries is nice too for on the go stuff!  I recorded my voice just speaking into the front of it about an inch away from my mouth while the TV was going behind the unit in the same room and I could barely hear the tv, I sounded like I was on the radio... impressive quality!  smile  If you want to hear something in particular recorded and I can oblige, let me know.  I hope to have a song ready soon!


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#2 2010-04-06 20:33:11

wlbaye
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From: Black Hills So Dak
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1268
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Sounds Like you are happy with your new gadget.

The Q3 that I recently purchased has the similar audio specs as the H2. I have found for my playing style and vocals the best my guitar sounds with the right vocal mix is on a camera tripod about 4 ft high and 6 ft away from the guitar. I have only used mine on auto and haven't used the noise filters.
The likes

1. Ease of use is unbelievable
2. Recording Quality is really nice for acoustic guitar
3. Very easy to upload vids and edit
4. Vid camera is simple but good

Dislikes
1. Need better software to go with it. It is simple but it doesn't offer any editing other than trimming
2. Hard on batteries like all vid cams seem to be. I ordered a ac adapter and purchased some rechargable batteries

Amy, I recorded a song today and really like how the acoustic guitar come through. I didn't use a pick or thumbpick and it still picked up a nice balanced tone. It's up on Youtube if you want to check it out.


Later, Wayne P

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#3 2010-04-06 21:20:14

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
Registered: 2007-10-29
Posts: 6546
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

I have shot all my videos and photos with my Kodak C-813 for over 2yrs I got it at Walmart on sale for $85 the sound is great and its 8.2 megapixels zooms and uses rechargable batteries its really user friendly,it looks like you got a good deal there MKM smile


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#4 2010-04-24 18:54:19

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3016
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Ok... so I finally got a recording done with my H2 and uploaded to "the tube" if anyone is interested!  Go ahead and click my "website" link under my username.  smile


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#5 2010-04-24 19:13:41

wlbaye
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From: Black Hills So Dak
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1268
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Amy,

That is really good, you should be very proud of yourself ! The recording is really nice and clear too.


Great Job !!!

Wayne P


Later, Wayne P

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#6 2010-04-24 20:08:39

arkady
ambient moderator
From: England
Registered: 2006-11-23
Posts: 1938
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Hi amy
Was interested  smile and had a listen....
Nicely done you have a very pleasant voice. The Zoom H2 records well and with Audacity to tweak around with gives decent quality to the sound.
Good job
ark

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#7 2010-04-24 20:54:19

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3798

Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Sounds great Amy.  Now let me get this straight.  I am not familiar with these recorders so bear with me.  To put it simply, this records what you play, right, the same as a simple old style tape recorder, I am guessing.  Then you just upload the piece to where ever you want.  Does this match up somehow with video?  I am trying to figure out how things work so I can post some of my stuff.  Do you need audacity or does it have good enough sound quality by itself?


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#8 2010-04-25 07:50:17

StranSongs
Senior Member
From: Belfast
Registered: 2009-03-31
Posts: 330
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

What a wonderful voice MKM -  is there any Irish in it ?

I always thought it was a Scottish song because it mentions the Clyde river.

This is a version by Cara Dillon another wonderful singer, although from Dungiven, only an hour's drive from Belfast.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97hp3adHaEk


"Don't play what's there, play what's not there." Miles Davis

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#9 2010-04-25 14:10:37

KAP54
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From: London Ontario Canada
Registered: 2008-06-04
Posts: 1728
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Hi Amy,
Wow you sure are coming along at breakneck speed. big_smile

You're talented not only in the kitchen and on the computer but also singing and  recording and video editing.
I sure wish I had your computer savy. big_smile

Great review on the H2, you've answered a lot of questions I had and I'm sure others.
Cheers

Kenny


Just Keepin on Keepin on
Martin DC15E
Cort MR710F

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#10 2010-04-25 14:19:40

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3016
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Thank you guys!  I never realized how cruddy my speakers on my computer were until I got this thing.  Listening to the recording by plugging the included earbuds in sounds WAY better than my computer speakers.  The earbuds that were included sound WAY better than the earbuds I have for my cell phone.  So, they are good quality!  Just a suggestion to anyone who hasn't tried that yet (all recordings sound better, not just mine smile  ha ha). 

Pete here's the link to their website with some photos and info:  http://www.samsontech.com/products/prod … rodid=1916
It's similar to a "regular recorder" in the aspect that "all" it does is record sound.  There's no video included with this device.  Wayne has the Zoom Q3 which has a similar recording quality but also takes video.  It uses an SD card, so it's a digital recording.  Then you can just take the SD card out and put it into your computer to transfer files or you can plug the device into the computer and record directly into recording software like audacity (FYI Audacity is a free software download); it's like it's own little microphone interface in that respect.  You can actually do the normalizing right on the device and even record the file as an MP3 rather than a wav file (and I believe you can convert a wav file to MP3 on the device before putting on your computer), so you don't "need" audacity.  You do need audacity to do multiple tracks however.  The H2 does not support multiple tracks, but I believe the H4 does.  All I did with this recording is normalize and add the echo at the last verse.  The echo is the only thing I actually needed audacity for.  So yes, the sound quality by itself is great!

StranSongs - Honestly, I'm not sure.  I believe it's origin is Scottish, however I've seen a ton of people doing this song and claiming it as an Irish folk song... so just to be safe and not offend anyone (as an American) I put Scottish/Irish in there.  I honestly never even knew it's origins until I decided to see if there was a way to play this on my guitar.  I learned the "Americanized Version" years ago while taking voice lessons and doing singing competitions; I sang along to piano (my voice was better then too ha ha).  The Americanized version changes the words from "Clyde" to "Troublesome" which I believe is a creek in Kentucky USA.  Here's a link to a discussion we had about this as I was trying to work out the chords I wanted to use:  http://www.chordie.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=14571  YES Cara Dillon has a beautiful voice!


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#11 2010-04-25 15:42:23

papaguitar
Senior Member
From: carson,washington
Registered: 2009-09-22
Posts: 350

Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Hey Amy, Very nicely done. I enjoy listening to your work. You and Wayne are getting closer
               to that duet? I think that would be a very interesting project. BTW: It sure is nice
               not losing internet connection like in the past. Thanks again.   Mike


Our intuitions serve us well

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#12 2010-04-26 13:22:32

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3016
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Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

Thanks Mike!  Good to hear your router issues are all worked out now.  Duet?  Hmmmm ...  wink  I guess you'll just have to wait and see!


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#13 2010-04-26 19:00:36

arkady
ambient moderator
From: England
Registered: 2006-11-23
Posts: 1938
Website

Re: Zoom H2 Handy Recorder - Review

mekidsmom wrote:

Thank you guys!  I never realized how cruddy my speakers on my computer were until I got this thing.  Listening to the recording by plugging the included earbuds in sounds WAY better than my computer speakers.  The earbuds that were included sound WAY better than the earbuds I have for my cell phone.  So, they are good quality!  Just a suggestion to anyone who hasn't tried that yet (all recordings sound better, not just mine smile  ha ha).

Hi Amy
I think one of the best investments in recording and listening to to own stuff is a decent pair of headphones. I use them most of the time when I'm mixing tracks (Set at a reasonable volume)
They highlight the good and the bad in the recording and things that can be missed through speakers will be picked up through the headphones.
Just my two pence worth  smile
ark

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