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Old June 3rd, 2010, 09:12 AM   #1
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Zoom H1 handy recorder

Looks like it could be a good and cheap addition for audio to DSLR's if you don't need XLR.

Samson - Zoom - H1
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 10:06 AM   #2
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Just saw this.... at $99 its hard to pass up for run and gun video. Though I'm still saving my pennies for an H4N to use with some proper Lav's.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 10:46 AM   #3
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I can see getting this in addition to the H4n specifically as a camera-mounted solution, much better for mounting on a hot shoe if you want a reasonably compact setup. I notice they mention connecting the stereo out directly to the camera - I wonder if it's already at the right level so you don't need a pad?
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 12:06 PM   #4
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That would be nice! If they were smart enuf they would have a seperate monitoring jack to use this to address the DSLR market. Unfortunately it still doesn't but it definately welcomed for better onboard audio!

Time for Mr Redhead to get cracking!
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 02:46 PM   #5
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I saw this in a B&H email and holy crap. That's not a bad price at all and if this was out already I might have been buying it next week. Maybe it's a good thing that it's not out yet because I really need to upgrade my Production Premium CS4 to CS5 especially for a documentary I'm going to be producing.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 06:32 PM   #6
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I've been waiting for this! I have the H4n and the H2, and can't wait to add the H1 to my collection.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 08:32 PM   #7
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Seems odd that there's no mention of the weight of the thing.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #8
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Looks nice but I don't know why everybody is always in a lather about the H4N. I have had one for over a year. It really sounds no better than the Sony MZR-37 MiniDisc recorder that I replaced with it. More convenient to use and the XLR inputs are necessary but the mic pre-amps in it are fairly noisy and the zipper noise when listening back to quiet passages is pretty bad.

Record some quiet dialogue in a quiet room with a good mic plugged into the H4N. I am distinctly unimpressed. It guess the H1 will be okay for the price, but the sound quality won't exactly sound great, just passable. The H1 will just be a "lite" version of the H4N. Looks to be the same internal mic elements, probably the same A/D converter set. It too will sound okay, probably very good for under $100.00 but if you guys are all thinking that these Zooms sound good, you need to realign your ears as to what is good.

Not trying to be a party pooper but with sound gear, you definitely still get what you pay for. Try a Sound Devices 702. That is a GREAT sounding recorder. More $$$, weight and size but such better sound.

Dan
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Old June 5th, 2010, 07:31 PM   #9
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whoa!

Dan--I was intrigued by your comment. I've been using the H2 to record natuaral sound (wind, birds, insects, water) for a backpacking documentary. I was rather horrified when I finally heard what I was recording (keep in mind most of this nat sound is way way off in the distance)...sounded like motor noise (when there wasn't any real motor around) and then there were the crackles/pops from God knows what (Is that your "zipper" sound you referenced?)
Given that weight and size are everything (I'm also hiking the trail as I shoot this doc), what might you recommend that can overcome these issues? I'm using the built-in mic as I just can't afford the space to be carrying a shotgun mic on top of everything else. Even adding the recorder to my pack was considered a luxury. (I do have a very light but somewhat bulky mono Sennheiser MKE 300 I could sqeeze in somewhere.)
Are the Yamaha Pocketrax much better, for example? Size-wise they're right on target.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 01:34 PM   #10
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I'd love a Sound Devices 702, Dan. But at $1,850+, it's a bit out of my range right now. I do have a Tascam HD-P2. It's not a Sound Devices recorder, but it's not bad. I use the Zooms for much more casual recordings.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #11
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Hi Paula:

I'm in the same boat, I can't afford an SD 702 either, but luckily a friend has one that I get to borrow and use once in a while. My only point being was to remind people that levels of sound quality are all relative. The H1, for $99.00, will sound much better than any camcorders internal recording system. It blows my mind that cameras that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars still have terrible sound quality.

IMHO, all of these small digital recorders range from horrible to the upper end of mediocre, but none of them sound as good as a solid, pro piece of gear. Does that make them useless? Not at all, you can still do great work with them, but you will quickly run into their limits, I know that I have with my H4N when I recorded some VO is a sound booth with a killer mic and pro talent.

Great mic pre-amps, A/D and D/A convertors and solid electronics processing cost a good chunk of money. Yet without them, you are not (yet) going to get what any pros would call really clear, dynamic and high resolution sound. You will get perhaps a notch up from the horrendous audio quality that camcorders have, but that is about it.

I have been testing the Juicedlink DT-454. It is a great piece of gear for DSLR users. With it, I have recorded the best audio I have ever recorded with my Canon 5D MKII. But that's not saying much because DSLRs sound really, really bad. Low S/N ratio, low dynamic range, high noise floor...they just sound awful in comparison to something a like a Sound Devices recorder. So is it good enough for some dialogue in a scene or an interview? Possibly. Would it be good enough for a TV show you were trying to sell or for a feature? Not even close. Just as the ultra highly compressed H.264 long GOP picture quality is "good enough" for some things but pretty bad for others, the same with the sound.

The Zooms are popular because they have great features and are cheap. That's good enough for a lot of people. But if you care about your sound and want really great sound, a Zoom is not your recorder. What we really need is a slightly simpler, slightly less full featured version of the 702 in a smaller package, the 702 is too large for DSLR users. If SD made something that sounded that good but had fewer features and in a smaller package that retailed for perhaps $1,000.00, I think they could have a flood of DSLRs users who relaize that recording sound in-camera is nothing but a stop-gap solution.

Dan
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Old June 8th, 2010, 07:31 PM   #12
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>>But if you care about your sound and want really great sound, a Zoom is not your recorder.

For high-end stuff, I completely agree. For not-so-critical sound, when you just want to have _something_ in hand to record, the Zooms still have their place. I wouldn't use a Zoom to capture sound for a movie, not even on a no-budget indie, but I'll bet plenty of people do.

>>What we really need is a slightly simpler, slightly less full featured version of the 702 in a smaller package, the 702 is too large for DSLR users.

That would be drool-worthy.

>>If SD made something that sounded that good but had fewer features and in a smaller package that retailed for perhaps $1,000.00, I think they could have a flood of DSLRs users who relaize that recording sound in-camera is nothing but a stop-gap solution.

Agreed!
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Old June 21st, 2010, 10:57 PM   #13
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These things are great for copping a bit of audio on the fly. But unless the the noise floor and hissy preamps got better over the H2, which I have, I wouldn't bother for any quality sound work.

I eventually shelled out for a Marantz PMD 661. A bit pricey (for the amateur at least) but this unit has taken audio capture to another level for me - so well worth it. You can plug in whatever mics you want via XLR inputs and control sound independently of the camera. Very thoughtfully designed and easy to use also.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 07:09 AM   #14
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I am beginning to agree. The H2 is useful for sound that's close by, or that's quite loud. Anything subtle, forget it.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 11:32 AM   #15
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Well, I'm not a sound expert - so I'm looking for 'good enough' and not 'the best'. My criteria for 'good enough' is whether the audience is happy with it. I just had a chance to screen a bunch of my short films for an audience in a theater that has a Christie 2k projector and an incredible sound system (it's at a Dolby facility). 8 of the films were shot with a 5DmkII & H4n combo, and they looked incredible, sounded great and the audience loved them. The only sound issue that jumped out to me was a few shots where we used the built-in H4n mics set to the 90 degree spread for impromptu interviews - the sound had a bit of a hollow tone to it. Everything else (primarily a mix of countryman and rode mics) sounded fine.

Can you get better picture and sound with more expensive equipment? Absolutely. Does the audience care? Probably not. After that screening I'm firmly convinced that if the audience does care it's because I've fallen short in the storytelling department, not because my equipment isn't the best available. I am considering replacing the H4n - but this is due to interface/functionality issues and not sound quality. I'm not likely to ever screen my work in a better theater (most people probably won't ever screen in a theater at that level) so if it was good enough for that situation I think it's good enough for most work.
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