Hi, I got a H1 a week ago and have tested it a little since then. I'm really happy with the noisefloor and the sound of the mics.

But as I have an zoom h4 (the old one) and have had problems with uneven levels between left and right mic, I thought I would test it straight away with the H1.

It seems like my H1s left mic is about 3 db higher than the right one in average up to about 7 kHz somewhere after that the right mic goes al little stronger, maybe 1 db or so.

I pointed it straight into one speaker of my beyerdynamic headphones and turned on white noise. That was really close in levels.

But then I turned on a sinesweep 30 sec 20 - 20 000 Hz. Then I saw that they seemed uneven.

here's the video: http://vimeo.com/18166571

I Yesterday I just recorded some guitar, and this was recorded in mp3 320 kbps because I was just playing around. When I looked at it in RX2 I saw that it was uneven too.

Here's the video: http://vimeo.com/18166553

After this long post, my real question is:

Is this normal? Should I replace it with another H1?

I'm aware of that I bought a 100 $ recorder so I won't cry if this is the way the h1s are. I really haven't heard the effect of these uneven matched microphones, I've just seen it. I'm just interested in knowing if I could get a better H1.


  • Thanks for the answer Chris! Happened to see that my old question was back on the first side of SSD again and after 2 1/2 years I can tell you that I didn't replace my H1 and have recorded lots of stuff with it that's in my personal library and been used in projects. Still have it with me most of the time when i'm not doing more planned field recording :)
    – user6019
    May 9, 2013 at 21:00

5 Answers 5


too many variables i think but still you could pester the company so they know it's important characteristic to the user?


I bought one two days ago and noticed that something like that was going on. I didn't do any proper testing, but eyeballing the meters as I was recording I noticed that I was getting more on the right side than the left. But it could simply be that the right was being enhanced by some unnoticed reflection.

I wouldn't be suprised if they didn't bother to put as much effort into constructing/QCing the mics in a unit intended for consumers/amatuers. I'm not too bothered about it since a) it cost $100, and b) it's intended to live in my pocket simply for the sake of emergency "holy shit that sounds awesome!" moments.

  • Hi, yeah I contacted Zoom at the time I posted this and they said that they didn't match the mics and that if it was to big of a problem I would contact the distributor here in sweden to see if they could reapair it. But since then several times it has happened that the right channel was higher, so I never bothered. I don't think it's a big problem, most of the time I use mine as you do, in my pocket...
    – Kristoffer
    Mar 19, 2011 at 8:28

That H1 is an awesome little mic/recorder - I had one but since moved on to some different handheld options but I miss it's convenience, infact this weekend I bought a Rode iXY which plugs into the iPhone - it's very cool but doesn't sound as good as the H1 and the zero menus of the H1 were their best feature, the X/Y mics on the H1 sound great not quite as nice as the H4n which I own and like the sound of better than our Sony PCM-D50 (which I do love too.

Even with a dedicated X/Y mic or a X/Y setup with 2 mics it's hard to get perfect levels on both channels, if you're not happy maybe return for a refund then buy another again, I find doing that always better than just swapping personally less hassle, great returns policy if you bought from amazon direct. This recorder wasn't designed for amatueurs! it's designed for anybody that wants to record sound. I'm far from an amateur I make my living in sound and portable handheld recorders are the only alternative to carrying around a load of gear sometimes and for on the fly stuff they're great - they're point and shoot convenience.

No one is an amateur, that's a redundant word in this affordable tech era we're in, I believe anyone with talent is a professional, professional there's another redundant word, once upon a time I used to hire photographers for events because I liked their shots, then I realised it wasn't the shots I liked it was the lens they used, that was where the look was coming from, they weren't "professional" they just had the equipment, the bank loan to buy it, anyone ANYONE is a photographer buy a Canon + 24-70, 70-200 you got the bases covered and the look, I'm sure you have the talent - it's not rocket science and this is the time for reinvention forget everything that came before interms of framing etc, likewise for audio - I see people I work with berating young kids because they're using small handhelds but nothing wrong with that it's all mic placement and you can learn alot with something as simple and fanastic as a Zoom H1, then move on to better bigger more cumbersome alternatives, you can learn alot from other people in the industry but be careful because alot of them just feel threatened and redundant and with certain attitudes they are redundant - you guys are the NEW, graduate on a small recorder with awesome results and imagine what you'll acomplish with an asenal of microphones. H1 is an awesome tool in the right hands and I hope yours isn't faulty.


I liked mine a lot too when I first got it. But I sure haven't missed the INSANE amount of handling noise from the H1, since I upgraded to a Sony PCM M10...


The handling noise of the h1 is no better than the PCM-m10 they're both plastic with the PCM-m10 it has a top aluminium, but the sides and back are plastic, of all the handhelds the h4n neing rubberised has less handling noise. That said the PCM-m10 is the best handheld there is period, the preamps are so quiet and I think the omni mice sound way better for ambience and music than the x/y configs out there.

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