Topic: 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! 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????
My "review" is long... so get ready to read a little!
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.
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!
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).
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).
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.
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!
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.
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! If you want to hear something in particular recorded and I can oblige, let me know. I hope to have a song ready soon!
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.