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The small format digital audio recorder market has really come of age now, with many manufacturers offering variations on the theme.
Zoom were one of the first companies to offer a compact recorder with XLR inputs - the H4, and with the release of the improved H4n version they've pretty much established the de-facto model for the newly-emerged DSLR video market.
It's our preferred model too for when we film at music trade show, as it offers a number of very useful features in a rugged and reliable package.
If there is a downside, it's that for actually mounting it on top of a DSLR camera, it's a little bulky.
To be honest, that's not something I would necessarily recommend anyway, as recording 'double system' sound would normally entail having the audio recorder operated separately from the camera, but for those that might want to, having a smaller & lighter machine would be of benefit.
Step forward the latest small format recorder from Zoom, the H1.
This truly is a portable unit - it weighs a svelte 60g (w/o battery) and runs for 10 hours on a single AA cell.
It's also a very inexpensive, straightforward 'no-frills' device, with no menus and just a single 'Record' button on the front... so is it up to the job?
We put it through its paces, and compared it to its bigger sibling the H4n...
And it came out pretty darn well.
Check out the video for details - but in summary:-
• Very affordable price
• Extremely lightweight
• Audio quality surprisingly good
• Very straightforward - no complex menus and external controls for everything
• Decent battery life
• Can power via USB
• Confidence monitor speaker
• Looks & feels a bit plasticky and cheap
• No case
• Plastic tripod socket doesn't feel like it's gonna last long
• small buttons for adjusting record levels, transport, etc. are very small & fiddly, and almost impossible to see in a dark environment
All in all, a good little machine at a great price.
Available now at around £79/$99
Gear used in the review
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