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A Look at the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder September 29, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Podcast and New Media Expo, Podcast Audio Equipment, Podcasting.

I was able to demo the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder at the Podcast and New Media Expo today and think I might have another portable recorder in my pocket real soon.  Right now, I’m walking around with a H4, but the little H2 (about the size of a deck of cards) seems to have the same sound quality for less money.  I think if you don’t need the features of the H4 (like multitracking), I’m going to have to say that the H2 is my top pick for highly-portable recording right now.

The unit comes with a small tabletop stand, an adapter that allows it to be mounted on a mic stand, a windscreen, a 512mb SD card.  It will handle a 4 GB card (awesome) and that will get you six hours of 44.1kHz recording or, they say, 138 hours in MP3 format.  Whoa!  Here’s a tip though, you’ll only get four hours of life from the 2 AA batteries that power it… so you’ll need to plug it in if you’re recording that long. It comes with an external power supply.

If you want use it for sound recordings, the unit even has a built in tuner and metronome.  Multiple people or instruments?  It has three microphones, one in the center and two on either side, this not only allows for stereo imaging, but you can also record from the front or rear… even doing Surround 5.1.

The only thing that the guys selling it at the expo said people complain about is the small buttons and interface.  You know… I think I can deal with that for the amount money it costs: $200.  I think the cost, the portability, and the sound quality that I listened to during the demo make up for it.  Also, if the volume is too low when you record, you can actually normalize it.

Here’s a link to the manufacturer site: http://www.samsontech.com/products/productpage.cfm?prodID=1916

This is a great review on O’Reilly Digital Media: http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/2007/09/13/review-zoom-h2-surround-recorder.html




1. Equipment to Record a Loud Concert? « Jeffrey Daniel Frey’s Blog - October 27, 2007

[…] Posts iPod AlternativesPortable Podcast Recorder – Roland Edirol R-09A Look at the Zoom H2 Handy RecorderZoom H4 – Handy Recorder InformationOlympus DS-50 vs. Roland R-09Portable Recording Equipment for […]

2. David Lertzman - December 28, 2007

Hey Jeff,
I SO appreciate your reviews!!! This is a great service and bit of a life saver really…I’m an academic who needs a recording device for research interviews; I’m also a singer/songwriter. I started off looking at the DS-50 as an Olympus top of the line unit that could satisfy both functions. Then I came across your Blog comparing DS-50 with Roland R-09. For my “suit and tie go and by” needs the DS-50 sounded great but for the songwriter the R-09 seemed preferable. I then came across the Samson H2/H4 line and had a new quandary: I’d found the right platform but which one, and of course, there was Jeffrey who had something to say about this. For the money both units seem far superior to anything else in the field. I love the idea of having 4 tracks but the H2 seems much easier to use for a technophobe like me; the smaller size makes it more portable for when I travel. They call it a two-track, so this must mean I could still put a second vocal track or even percussion and back-up vocals together on top of a guitar and vocal track…is this correct? For research interviews, business meetings and songwriting, what’s your suggestion?
Best Wishes,
David Lertzman
Thank you once again, Jeffrey

3. David Lertzman - December 30, 2007

Hi Jeffrey,
I bought my H2 last night and spent all day with it…amazing sound quality!!! Not being being so technically savvy and generally finding manuals a drag it was a bit of a slog…there are several videos on YouTube which help to get going. Once I got plugged in I was blown away. I had tuned my guitar and when I played the first chord I just about fell over: I could hear every string, including the one which was not properly tuned. I was rather disappointed to figure out that the “2-Tracks” don’t seem splitable to allow for any overdubbing; I guess they’re just there for getting all four channels going, still, there’s always Garage Band for other tracks…speaking of which, this unit works great as USB mike/interface. After the 4-5 hours of figuring things out (still have a long way to go with the filing system and various features) I was having the time of my life…guess I better remember that I also bought this for research interviews!
Thanks again for all your help, this is a great site!
Best wishes in 2008
David Lertzman
University of Calgary

4. Jeff - January 2, 2008

Glad to hear it. After a few months, let us know how you’re doing.

5. Matt - February 21, 2008

How does this unit’s recording quality compare to an ipod with a italk for doing mobile personal interviews?

6. Jeff - February 22, 2008

Matt, there’s no comparison. The H2 has much better sound quality.

7. Peter - August 10, 2008

Hey there, I found this post on Google.

I’m having trouble using this as an interface in GarageBand. It’s set up for GarageBand, I’m getting all the peaks and everything, but it still won’t pick up anything in GarageBand when I press Record. Any ideas on how to fix this?

8. Snider - April 3, 2010

How would your classmates remember you?

9. tim - November 8, 2010

Hi I just inherited the H2 and am wanting to use it for podcasting. I am having a hard time figuring it out. do you have any suggestions

Jeff - December 14, 2010

There are a few videos on google and youtube that look to be good and instructional. For instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNVCYnWJAec.

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