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Samson Zoom H1 Handy Recorder

Samson Zoom H1 Handy Recorder is a small and light and relatively inexpensive professional handheld audio recorder with a smart design that makes just the right trade-offs -- at least for my needs.

At around 5 1/4 inches long and 1 ounce, it's easy to carry for capturing events, and it's lightweight enough to attach to a camera (with a tripod mount, plus a line out jack to feed directly into the camera audio input).

But the key to the H1 is the ease of use -- It has the controls and options that you need, all implemented with physical buttons and switches. You can set and check the settings directly, without needing to page through menus to make sure you don't have some options messed up.

The key recording features provide clean control over monitoring and recording the input signal:

  • Onboard directional stereo microphones, configured in X/Y pattern for 90 degree stereo imaging
  • 1/8" stereo input for external recorders, at Line or Mic levels
  • 1/8" stereo output to monitor the input, for Headphone of Line level -- plus a mini built-in mono speaker in the base of the unit
  • Live stereo recording level meter, with recording / peak LED (blinks if input too loud)
  • Input level controls to adjust recording gain, with optional Auto-Level adjustment
  • Optional Lo Cut input noise reduction filter
  • Volume controls for output jack or speaker
  • Play controls to review and delete files, add track marks

The H1 records in high quality in WAV (PCM uncompressed) format at 44.1 / 48 / 96 kHz at 16-bit or 24-bit, or use MP3 for longer recording time at 44.1 / 48 kHz, from 48 to 320 kbps. The audio files are saved to a removable microSD memory card. A 2 GB card is included, or you can go up to a 32 GB microSDHC card (around $50) for over 50 hours of recording at 16-bit / 44.1 kHz WAV, or 555 hours in 128 kbps MP3 format. There's also a mini-USB port to transfer files, and also to power the unit externally.

The result is a nice compact package that's quite light, but doesn't seem cheap or less durable. The straightforward controls let you set up the recording the way you want, confirm the set-up by visually checking the switch positions, and then monitor the live recording status and levels on the LCD display.

Even better, the Zoom H1 Recorder is priced around $99. Also check out the Zoom H1 Accessory Pak for around $20 that includes a nice compact and secure padded-shell case, windscreen, adjustable tripod table stand, mic clip adapter, and USB AC adapter and cable.

See my Audio Accessories Gallery for more on audio components.

Find the Zoom H1 Recorder
and H1 Accessory Pak on Amazon.com

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