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Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:20 pm
by billyfromConsett
The most attractive option as I see it about which sound recorder to choose, is if the unit can be used for voice-overs without needing to plug a mic into it ( Mark appears to use it that way). And also that I can set it up at venues to record live sound on its own, and keep my Sennheiser wireless unit to pick up another part of the venue. It appears that that's what these units are designed to do, though the H2 preamp is noted for being not much use at high gain.
I can't find the Aug 2008 mag, but I'll find it.

There's a tech sound test here but it compares the H1 vs the H4n ... -recorder/


Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:29 am
by tom hardwick
An update because just yesterday I was using the Zoom H2 to record a very bass heavy male voice - to be used as a voice-over in a film. I set up the talent in a chair and had the Zoom H2 positioned about a foot from the speaker's mouth at 10 o'clock - so that there would be no chance of sibilance spoiling the recording.

I switched the H2 to mono, using its internal, inbuilt front mics only. I had it set on 48khz 16 bit, and used theAGC2 preset in the menu (Speech AGC). I had curtains drawn and soft furnishings abounded.

At the same time I recorded the talent to the Panasonic GH1 fitted with its top mounted accessory microphone. See Positive Image August 2010. This was also about 18" from the speaker. I monitored on good headphones.

We replayed the resulting wav files from the respective SD cards through a very high quality Bose HiFi system and oh boy, the little H2 just blew away the GH1. This was a no contest heavyweight undisputed win.

Of course the H2 is a £140 mini recording studio and the GH1 probably is a £10 recording studio, and it shows. The H2's background noise was exemplary, the GH1 audio was overlaid with a miss-mash of mush.

Of course the H2 sounds even better when paired with a £140 mono mic from Rode or Sennheiser, but even without that, the startling audio quality it can give is really impressive. And just think - such quiet amplification circuitry is so cheaply available - especially when you consider that the unit contains four mics and four discrete input channel amps.

Yet people still buy the much more expensive H4, the Edirol, the Sony, the Marantz. So the H2 is only the starting block in terms of audio quality.



Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:44 am
by billyfromConsett
That update is very timely Tom. Thanks for posting it - it's exactly what I wanted to know.

I can see that all of these Zoom recorders are designed to record high quality audio, which we want when putting our voices on the audio tracks of our movies.

I try first to get the voiceover properly recorded then adjust all other parts of the music and ambient stuff to sound right from there.

The H2 is clearly good enough for what I need. This is the one I should get. The only question marks are its build quality (though I tend to treat my kit with care!) compared to the H4N, and whether I'd find a bigger menu screen of that much value to be worth almost double the price. The issue of its keeping time on longer recordings doesn't seem to be frequently reported issue - maybe it only affects a few units.

I'll visit Soundslive in Newcastle and get one.


Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:45 pm
by tom hardwick
You're right in that the H2's build quality is so-so and I wouldn't want to hammer nails with it. The screen is tiny and of pretty low res (can you see how the batteries are doing?) and in this day and age of superb screens on everything from mobiles to remotes it's an embarrassment.

On the other hand look at it this way. All the money has been put into the circuitry to ensure that the four high quality mic capsules and input amps are matched with a vast array of recording formats. It may be made of pretty ghastly plastic, but it sure sounds good.

Years ago in the early 90s I had a Sony Walkman WMD6c. This was the biz back then yet look back in awe at its lack of any sort of microphone, its size (3x the H2), its weight (4x) and its price (2x). On top of that it hissed even with Dolby C and CrO2 tape, it made mechanical noises and it came to a halt in 90 mins. Its sync holding capabilities were just laughable.



Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 5:51 am
by markk
Sorry for late reply......I must use these forums more guys have good experience and useful help ...I can see that!

I have to say the zoom 2 is not a patch on the zoom 4 which a mate of mine has. Much easier to read the menu screen etc.....this is for me the let down on the zoom 2. The menue screen is very small and not clear.

However, I have used it for vo and or making profesional level of aditional VO material.....and it works very well I find.

I use premiere pro...cs3 usually....I keep dipping into CS4 but its a slow old waste of space usually! The zoom 2 gives me a wav file....and yup...I drop that on to a new audio track...sync up to the original footage....and then all is well.


Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 10:39 am
by billyfromConsett
The overall build quality and screen size is much better on the H4n, but being double the price, I judged it too pricey. I find that the H2 works well for voice overs, especially with my Sennheiser mic.


Posted: Mon May 16, 2011 11:26 am
by Pqtrick
I am not a 'Technie' and I use my H2 zoom just for the fun of it. OK! I have only had it for a couple of months and I have not fully mastered no more that its basic functions. It works well, and the sound to me is excellent but some of its foibles I find a little fiddly. For out-door recording these are my experiences. I wish the 'flashing' light indicated 'recording' rather than just previewing the sound. The stable light outdoors can be mistaken for just 'on'. Therefore, I have just recorded myself muttering about the noisy background.

The handling noise, if you are not using an external mic, can be overcome if you screw in the 'stem' to its base and wear a glove. However, the glove makes it difficult to press the buttons. It is good for recording wild sound and nature. I use an Sennheisser external mic for many recording but with headphones, the H2 Zoom and and external mic you need three hands. I cannot see it so far being used to record sound in conjuction with a camera for sync purposes.

However, it is good fun, good clean sound and recording indoors with its table stand or music it is excellent.

One point, I must pick up on is by keep swapping the memory card back and forward to the computer, it half closes the protection tab. I have already lost one card thro' this for a still camera. The better way is to use the USB cable and use the camera/audio device as a reader. However, with both the camera and the H2 zoom, I cannot delete the files by using the computer when used in this way- Any idea as to why? (The tab is not protected and the 'delete' option or 'suprimmer' does not appear when I right clip the mouse).

If anyone is really interested, I got both the H2 zoom and the mic as a sort of parting gift when I left France, there is a story behind it - but I did not have to pay for it - PW


Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 10:24 am
by Arthur Bates
Hi all, I was about to ask about sound recorders when the H2 Zoom discussion started. I am looking for a sound recorder mainly for speech with facilities for external microphone, recording on to a solid state device which would make transfer to computer quicker and easier. Mobility would be useful but not essential. Now for the crunch, the price. Being an octogenarian living on a pension with five kids and 10 grandchildren cash is limited. I expect there many more in my position. I want a reliable piece of equipment but I don’t want lots of fancy facilities that cost the earth. We read these very interesting reviews on various pieces of equipment but I wish the authors would give some indication of the cost and the best place to obtain them. As usual I expect I’m asking for the impossible. Arthur B.


Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 11:37 pm
by billyfromConsett
When's your birthday? The Zoom H2, or even the Zoom H1 at £79 would be a great voice-over sound recorder and a brilliant birthday present from your kids.


Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:51 am
by Pqtrick
Following my comment. The H2 zoom is very good and excellent to use to record V.O.'s for films. I did not purchase mine as I have said, Amazon is abot the best place to look.
I would only say again, it is a bit - a bit fiddly, to use and you need nimble fingers, and do not do what I do, is to read the manual after all has failed!
It transfers to the computer straight away in .WAV format or MPEG if you have chosen that beforehand. Then imported from where you have stored it into say Premier instantly. My only concern is damaging the tab on the card as it is repeatedly transferred.
I have found recording sound with it a great new adventure. How 'bout sitting in darkened rooms listening to sounds and having the imagination fired?


Posted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:00 pm
by TimStannard
I'd just like to add my name to the list of fans of the Zoom H2.

I only use it with the built-in mics. I got a small but noticable amount of hiss when coupled with my Rode Videomic. The hiss was very specific ad thus easy to remove with budget level audio software (GoldWave being my choice), but why add an extra step? Of course that method might be useful if I needed directional recording.

I did try it with my K6/ME66, but I didn't really like the idea of the potential strain caused by hanging an XLR to 3.5mm jack out of the H2. The better route anyway would have been via my JuicedLink pre-amp (2 x XLR in with stereo 3.5mm jack out - like a Beachtek with a proper preamp) but this just adds more connections to the chain. In practice, if I need directional, I'll plug the K6/ME66 into my camera via the JuicedLink anyway.

What I often do for interviews (or recording a teacher doing one to ones for assessment as I found myself doing the other day - teaching assessors don't even bother to come out and "observe" nowadays, it appears) is use the K6/ME66 into camera as well as the Zoom H2. I then have two sound sources which is reassuring from the point of view of ensuring I capture everything and I can cover up to some extent the odd bit of handling noise. This method also gives me a bit of flexibility when mixing. I can use the directional mic for clarity but mix in the Zoom for a bit of a stereo field and ambient room noise.

So, I love my H2.

But the H4n (which another of our members has) is a different beast altogether. As mentioned above, its display and control layout is vastly superior and the whole thing is much more solid. Plus, of course, I can plug my K6/ME66 into it. There again, it's twice the price.

To be honest I think the H1 (which wasn't available when I bought the H2) would suit my needs - I only ever use the 90 degree setting on the H2 anyway and I'm pretty certain (correct me if I'm wrong) the same circuitry and capsules are used as in the H2.

What excites me about the H1 is that it is cheap enough to use in "risky" places, where there's a chance it might get damaged. It's also smaller and thus less obtrusive (or easier to hide) Connect it to a lavalier and you can get great sound of a presenter/interviewee walking around without getting into the problems of a wireless system - the downside is, of course, that you are not able to monitor it - so not really suitable for "one shot" application.

The thing is, with such good quality available for such a reasonable price, there really is no excuse for people to be settling for audio produced by on-camera mics 10 or 20 feet away from their subject.

Sorry for the lengthy reply, but it's good to be able to enthuse about something rather than moan :lol:


Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:10 pm
by fraught
I'm going to chip in here. My latest flick 'Room 4' had all the sound recorded for it on the H4n. This included all on-set dialogue as well as all the sound fx and foley we needed. I found the quality to be absolutely gorgeous!
My sound guy prefers the H4n for various reasons but mostly for the fact that it has the BNC connectors for connecting to all of his Boom Mics etc, where the H2 only has Mini Jacks.


Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:18 pm
by FredD
I also use the H4n with a Canon 7D, and so far have been delighted with the excellent sound quality with
the onboard condenser mikes. I also use a Sennheiser gun mike with the H4 for foley etc.
I havn't had any issues with sync, but I do record at 48Khz and use a Clapper at the front of shots.



Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:55 pm
by TimStannard
fraught wrote: My sound guy prefers the H4n for various reasons but mostly for the fact that it has the BNC connectors.
Just so as not to confuse the uninitiated (and being the pedant that I am) I believe you are referring to the XLR connectors (which, I believe also take 1/4" jacks which may be useful if connecting to certain sounddesks)


Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:34 am
by Storyteller
Pqtrick wrote:I am looking at a RODE stereo video microphone or a SENNHEISER MKE 400 which is mono. I suppose it is horses for courses and the depth of your pocket – any technical comments?
I have a Rode stereo video Mic, which I bought primarily for camcorder use, but it works well as a recording mic with a Sony MiniDisc recorder (Model MZ-R50, if you want to look around for one - I don't think any are made these days), and I could use it as a live input to a VO overlay track on the editor.

I bought a new camcorder after that, which needs a professional P48 Phantom Powered mic. I bought a Rode NTG2 shotgun which fills that bill - but also, if wanted to use with a recorder or input to computer, there's provision to insert an AA battery in it, and with an appropriate lead/adaptor to change from the professional 3-pin XLR connector to a 3.5mm mini-jack, it works just fine in that role. Both Rode mics, in my subjective view, give excellent results.