I'm most likely going to buy a Zoom H2 recorder to keep with me. I'm always hearing awesome sounds, but I don't carry my 744 with me (for obvious reasons), so I either have to remember where they are and make a special effort to record them later, or sulk away knowing that another great sound has escaped the mighty magnetic forces of my hard drives. I have the Olympus portable, but I really don't like it. Never liked the sound of it (it is, however, nice and tiny). I've heard some great stuff from the H2 (Miguel recently posted a recording from it on his blog: http://miguelisaza.com/files/the-little-creaking-door.html ) and I'm pretty much sold on it.

However, when I'm looking at the specs, it mentions that the frequency response is 70hz to 20khz. That's pretty much like having an HPF built in. Does anyone know if that's referring only to the built in microphones or to the actual recorder itself? For example, if I plugged my RØDE NT4 in to the ext mic input, would I be able to record 20hz - 70hz information? The specs aren't very comprehensive.

If someone out there owns one and could test it for me (if you don't already know), I would be greatly appreciative!!!

Thanks so much!

  • Not an answer to your question but rather a question related to the beloved H2: How are the line inputs? Anyone have any experience with this? May 3, 2010 at 23:22

4 Answers 4


Colin, I just loaded some samples recorded with my H2, from power tools to subways to a rock drum kit to Belizean live drumming, and found that there are tones <70 Hz...but with massive attenuation. In my quick, non-scientific filtering tests, I was getting -20 to -25dB attenuation of frequencies below 80-100Hz or so, down to -35dB in the 60-70Hz range. The frequency response in this frequency range is clearly non-linear.

This could be due to the capsules, or the preamp, or something else...I've been so disappointed in the mic inputs that I've never recorded anything that I kept using an external mic. Zoom only shows polar patterns for 1kHz test tones.

The Zoom H2 still rocks for those odd sounds you'd otherwise miss; its light weight and small size are its greatest advantages. Many pro's I know carry one, just like many pro photogs carry point-and-shoot cameras, for the same reasons. But, like a point and shoot camera, it sure has its limitations.

Hopefully someone with more time than I can drop more science on this issue.


I'd go away from the H2 and run either the H4 or the Sony PCM-D50 for that specific application.

I own both, but I keep the PCM-D50 on me at all times in case I run across something awesome sounding. I also use it constantly for recording ambiances on the fly.

IMO, given that you're going to be using the built-in mics when recording spontaneously most of the time, I'd advise to go with the PCM-D50 - better built in mics, better preamps, and built in storage. In my bag I have the Zoom H4 as a capture device for my contact mics, and the Sony for the actual built in mic recordings. Used in tandem they can be pretty incredible.

Also, battery life on the PCM is 100x better (not exaggerating) than battery life in the Zoom devices. I ran mine on the 4 AA batteries that came in the box for over a week before replacing - and this includes 4 straight hours of recording a crowd at a hockey game. My zoom can suck its 2 AAs dry in just over an hour using built in mics and headphones.

Also, the Sony also gives you a 5 second prerecord buffer that can you can put into record seamlessly. This means that if you think something cool is going to happen but you're not sure, you can just arm the track and when it occurs you have 5 seconds to hit record and not miss it. I use this feature in sporting events frequently as well - in device editing :)



NoiseJockey beat me to it. This may not be what you're looking for, but for I love learning, so I'll post it anyway. I have an H4n that I've been very happy with. I did some quick and dirty recordings in my noisy with that using my cheap (cheap) home theater sub with both the built-in mics, as well as an external MXL V63M (also cheap). I tried both mic setups with multiple sine tones. I would have gone lower, but my sub dies at about 32Hz and the casing rattles too much.


Not an answer I'm afraid, but another +1 for the H2.

It's great to have on you in case something pops up whilst you're out and about but that's about it. I haven't used the line-ins so can't help.

The option of recording in quad is also a pretty sweet feature which most of the other recorders don't offer. When using the H2 I always record in quad, even for non-atmos sfx, as it gives you a close perspective with the front pair of capsules and a diffuse, non-direct perspective with the rear pair. Sometimes turns out pretty useful.


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