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Zoom Digital Recorder - Buying a Zoom Digital Recorder - Zoom Digital Recorder Models

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Zoom digital recorders are fast rising in the ranks as the go-to device for general recording. The days of the portable tape recorder are long gone and the days of the micro-cassette recorder are equally numbered. Digital recording is no longer the wave of the future. It is now the standard means of portable voice and sound recording.

Zoom is a leading brand of music and sound electronics based in Japan. Since their beginning, Zoom has made quality and high-performance the driving force in all of their products. Their first huge success was in 1990 with the release of the 9002 multi-effect processor. In the following years, Zoom perfected their processor, which had become a favorite of amateur recording artists and musicians.

Today, Zoom products are categorized into four groups: electric guitar and bass effects pedals, rack unit effects processors, desktop drum machines, and digital recorders.

Zoom Digital Recorder Models

There are currently three models of Zoom digital recorder being manufactured for audio use. They are all similar in function and style, but they have some major differences. Here are the four models:

H1 Handy Recorder
The H1 offers studio-level recording quality in a handheld device. It uses the Zoom signature microphone configuration in the X/Y pattern for high-level stereo recording. This innovation puts both microphones on the same axis so there is no plane shifting between channels. These microphones are also highly directional so ambient noise coming from other directions is not picked up.

Recording levels of the H1 can be set from 1 to 100 by using the manual settings or through the Auto Level function for clear recordings no matter the source or the decibel level. A choice of two file systems is available: PCM (WAV) files can be recorded at 24-bit/96 kHz or MP3 format can be used for a more efficient use of memory. Memory can be maximized to 555 hours of 128 kbps by using a 32 GB microSDHC card. Once recording is finished it can be transferred to any computer or hard drive that accepts a USB 2.0 cable, and the whole device is run off a single AA battery.

H2 Handy Recorder
The H2 Handy Recorder offers superior stereo recording in an ultra-compact design. It is so simple to use, that anyone can operate the H2 for error-free, pristine recordings every time. Instead of the standard dual-microphone configuration, the H2 uses four mics in a dual X/Y configuration with one facing the front and the other the rear for true multi-directional recording.

Both PCM and MP3 files are supported by the H2, and it accepts up to 32 GB SDHC card. The only limitation is that a single file cannot be more than 2 GB. Features of the H2 include time stamping, track markers, pre-recording, automatic recording, and auto gain. This unit can also be used in conjunction with any computer as a high-quality USB microphone.


The H4 is the flagship Zoom digital recorder. It is similarly designed to the H1, using the dual X/Y microphone but it has selectable recording patterns. The H4 uses SDHC cards for storing recordings and has a phase trainer with adjustable playback for learning new songs and helping to keep in pitch at the same time. Battery life is 11 eleven hours, and the unit has XLR/Phone connectors so that is ban be directly connected to electric guitars and other instruments for recording. Other features include four-channel recording, automatic recording, pre-recording, time stamping, track markers, monaural mixing, and an integrated speaker.

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