I've recently been considering getting a small portable recorder and had my heart set on the Zoom H4N because of all the wonderful things that I've heard about it. But the recently released H1 seems like an even better solution. What do you guys think about the H1, if you've purchased it or gotten a chance to use it? I know the noise floor isn't going to be as quiet as the Sony PCM-D50 or a Sound Devices recorder, but is it low enough that recordings of relatively quiet sounds like Foley or backgrounds are useful?

10 Answers 10


Hi Paul,

I bought the H1 when it came out and am really impressed, especially considering the price. I couldn't afford anything more expensive at the time. My only criticism is that it's prone to handling noise, but you get what you pay for. For me it's got some great microphones, high sample rate and small enough to put in my pocket. Here's a couple of links to my blog where I've said more and there's some examples of some recordings...

http://postproductionsound.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/zoom-h1-dialogue-recording/ http://postproductionsound.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/zoom-h1-initial-thoughts/


  • ha, the more sensitivity you pay for, the more handling noise you'll get..
    – georgi
    Oct 12, 2010 at 12:21
  • A light touch is you need though ;)
    – ianjpalmer
    Oct 12, 2010 at 12:48

I have one and love it. I use it mostly to record ambience and in the beginning did have some trouble with handling noise and self-noise, but I think with a little practice and learning how to deal with the gain correctly you can easily overcome these problems. I am very happy with the results I get and thoroughly recommend it. Like Ian said, its portability is what really sells it.


I love mine, the size, amount of flash memory you get out of the box, and the price make it easily worth it. I carry it practically everywhere now. The mics are very good but sensitive to wind, and the case does get alot of handling noise. But once you get used to holding it loose in your hand it's totally fine. I went to a farm recently and got some great stuff with it (ambiences, animal vox, footstep foley)

Alot of sound designers have also purchased it to be used as their mic that gets put in dangerous situations. Not because its durable, but because it doesn't cost what your 416 costs.


echo the above comments, but add that for forest ambient noise its got a little high floor noise for my taste ... some can be fixed in post, but not easily.


I just got mine a month or so ago and am NOT impressed with it at all. It does not sound like anything special compared to any of my old video camera's audio, my hd cam's audio or even that much better than my kodak playsport's audio. The only decent way you can get audio out of it that is decent is if you are within 6 inches of your mouth, have a wind protector on it and have it on a boom pole just above the tip of your head maybe, otherwise holding it just below your chin. I am very dissapointed with this, very dissapointed. Plus the build quality is sickly cheapo plastic. You have been warned. Be prepared to buy some decent external mics if you want to get this because you will be wanting to use external mics after you hear the sound directly off this if you have to go further than 6 inches away from subject audio.


I'm a wedding videographer and we use the Zoom H1 on our rig to record audio from our Sony UWP-V1 during ceremonies. The main reason we decided on the Zoom H1 was for its light weight, price, 48khz 24-bit audio, and ability to be mounted to a standard quarter-20 mount (albeit, the socket is plastic, which sucks actually). Since our Nikons can only record for about 20 minutes at a time, we can't rely on using the in-camera audio since wedding ceremonies can sometimes go on for quite some time. Whatever camera the lav receiver would be plugged into would cut out—on long ceremonies that'd be really bad. Imagine "I take... <silence> ... I now pronounce you man and wife." o_0

During receptions I'll use it for speeches for the same reason (but instead we'll have the Rhode VideoMic attached). I'll also use it for ambient noise collection while shooting b-roll footage .

It's mic's ability to pick up even the slightest sound is awesomely useful (in most circumstances). Other contributors are correct in saying that it picks up every move of your hand while holding it. I generally just set it somewhere and let it do its thing. I would certainly not suggest using the mics while mounted to a camera unless it was in a shock mount... even then I don't think it would be a wise choice. It will pick up every little thing you do (maybe even more so than a built-in mic).


zoom H1 is great, its actually a pocket sized pocket recorder, no excuse not to have it with you all the time.


The H1 is great. I carry it everywhere. It fits in a small handbag and is great for travel, recording unusual sounds one happens upon, etc. Be very gentle. I also recommend the H2n, which is a bit bigger and more durable but has a great selection of patterns to pick from - awesome ambiance recording machine! Cheers, Larissa S.


Old thread, but anyway...I've been using the H4 and now H1, because of its portability, for interviews, ambient sound and simple video sequences. As a former radio producer i've also worked with more high-level (and definitely high-priced) gear. I've find the zoom series (I've also tried the H2) good when it comes to sound quality. And especially the H1 is a bargain for its price.

Some drawbacks, though. 1) The H4 and indeed the H1 is VERY sensitive for handling sounds. You have to have a delicate sense of handling if you are using the H1 as a interview microphone "on the street". If you are putting it on a microphone stand on a decent surface it is ok. Just using the handle in the accessory pack is just slightly better. I put the H1 in a rubberband microphone holder on a mic boom, which does the job.

2) The microphones in the H1 catches every sound. Fine for ambience, bad when it comes to wind or breathing sounds. Use a microphone windscreen as the one in the accessory pack. And for voiceovers etc - talk close to the microphones in a quiet and soft area (a wardrobe filled with clothes is just fine!)

3) The H1 i very plastic. Its a pity that it makes the thing feel cheapish. But it also feels a little fragile, for example in the mic stand mounter. I do not use it fulltime, and try to be careful, but it is something to keep in mind.


Very old post but for those having issues with wind noise I found a solution. I bought a rycote windjammer but found The mic was still picking up wind noise through the casing. Solution? I wrapped the body of the h1 in a cheap Cotten wool Santa beard. Even on a very windy day I don't pick up any wind noise at all. I can even use the mouth of the beard to look at the screen. Sounds crazy, but it works. Beard must have cost a couple of euro

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