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Thread: Zoom H1 or H2

  1. #1

    Question Zoom H1 or H2

    Hi All,

    I am just getting my toes wet with videography, and am looking for a budget external solution for my Canon SX20IS.
    After a day of of Googling, it looks like there are a lot of positive remarks on the web for the Zoom H1 in my price range.

    Before I commit to buy I'd like to ask the collective knowledge here if the H2 is a better videographer choice for the extra cost, and if so, why?
    Also, please chime in if you think I should be looking at a different, better product for that price.
    (US $100-$150)

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

  2. #2


    it really depends on what you are doing. the H2 has 4 mic imputs which is a bonus (H1 has 2) the more the better in my opion.

    Software Used:
    TGV Edius 6, TGV ProCoder 3, DVD Lab Pro. 2

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by Chapman Photography View Post
    it really depends on what you are doing. the H2 has 4 mic imputs which is a bonus (H1 has 2) the more the better in my opion.
    To clarify,
    The H2 has 4 built-in mics. It only has the one stereo 3.5mm input for an external mic.

  4. #4


    The Zoom H4n has a pair of built in stereo mics and two multi socket in puts, each input is cleverly designed to be able to take either a 1/4 inch jack or an XLR. This XLR input is what I would say is the important difference between the H2 and the H4n. The down side is that the H4n is more expensive. Don't get the H4 it's just rubbish.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    The down side is that the H4n is more expensive.
    Thanks Midnight, but that's twice as much as I was looking to spend at the moment.

    Let me fill in the backstory so you all know a little more about my situation.
    The wife and I run a small web design business and we have a client that wants some exercise videos for the web, and possibly a DVD.
    This is going to be on a very small budget and/or bartered for services.
    Up until yesterday I didn't even know about recording audio externally and syncing in post.
    The test video I recently shot with my Canon SX20IS had too much ambient noise using the internal mics so I was searching for a budget alternative to get better audio when I stumbled upon using something like the H1.
    Since I have zero experience with this I thought it best to ask the gurus here for some advice before making the purchase and finding out afterwards that I should have bought another brand/model (in the same price range) because of x, y, or z.

    I am also considering a lav or shotgun mic to be used with the recorder as additional alternatives so that is going to be another cost.
    Any advice on that is appreciated as well.

    If all goes well with this introduction to video, then I may be back on here in a year with a bigger budget asking advice for upgrades.

    *Edit* I just noticed the Title under my name says Windows Movie Maker. My first thought was, "How did it know?!?" considering that all of my limited experience up til now has been on movie maker, and that I'm using Premiere Pro for the first time on this project.
    How fitting. lol
    Last edited by loyalrogue; 03-17-2011 at 12:55 PM.

  6. #6


    Right I got what you need now. Firstly Don't think you can think of recording the sound as anything less than equal to the visuals. I'm not a sound expert but I know from experience that if you don't do the sound right it will make a video like this unwatchable. With an instructional video you have to be able to hear the instructions clearly.

    I would say you need a mic like you would see on pop stars that dance around a lot. This would need to be on a wireless system and you can plug the receiver directly into your camera if you have the right inputs. You will have to do some shopping around to get anything approaching your budget. Wouldn't normally recommend something cheep but I think buying a cheep lav mic would be better than the internal mic on the camera.

    If you really can't find anything in your price range how about putting a mic on the end of a pole. It's very frustrating when you know what you should have to get the job done right but not have the money to do it.

    Good luck.

  7. #7


    The H 1 has a MIC input jack so you could purchase a Lapel microphone and plug that in to the H1 and clip on the person to record the audio.
    When camera and H1 is recording clap once loudly so camera and H1 are close to get audio sync and then just line that up in the editor.
    In ye olde days we used to use a Mini disk recorder...

    H1 Handy Recorder
    What is a Lapel Microphone?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire


    I've got both the H1 and the H2, and for video work I'd definitely recommend that you go with the H1. One of the major reasons is simply its shape - the H1 is far more friendly to use because it's more in the shape of a traditional microphone (which you can even mount on top of a camcorder). There's also the cost; the H1 is cheaper whilst not sacrificing sound quality (the H1 and H2 sound exactly the same, unless you're going for a 5.1 surround sound mix in which case the H2 will obviously be better because of its four microphone array. ). It's also a lot smaller and lighter, so it's easy to put into someone's pocket if you wanted to use a lav-mic. The battery also seems to last considerably longer, too, despite only taking one AA, vs two with the H2.

    The H1 has an easier, no fuss control system too. With the H2 you have to press the record button twice to start a recording (something to do with its pre-record feature), which made me loose a dozen sound effects when I first got it (I ended up recording the space in-between sounds instead ), whilst the H1 uses a more logical "press-once to start" method.

    If you don't buy the extras pack for the H1 (which is a waste of money, I reckon), you will need some kind of wind cover for the top, as it doesn't come with one (which is daft). They're easy to make though, just requiring a bit of time and sewing ability. Also, if you've got the time I recommend that you make some kind of shock mount for it. Because of its shape (again, an advantage over the H2), it's perfect for it. I've made one which doubles as a wind/dead cat thing... and it's just a dream. "Wind? What wind? Want to run with the microphone? No problem, just hold the handle and go as fast as you can... the microphone will sound like it's on a tripod". Ahhh, it's just brilliant.

    So, as you can tell I'm a bit of a fan of the H1. Hope you find these points useful in making your decision.

  9. #9


    Thanks Matthew,

    This is just the kind of answer I was looking for.
    Firsthand knowledge of both models so that I can benefit from someone else's experience of doing the same thing I plan to do.

    Thanks also for all the helpful tips and additional info.
    If I could ask one final favor, could you post a photo of the shockmount/windscreen you made?
    I was going to add the accessory kit just for the windscreen, but your DIY idea sounds so much better.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire


    Quote Originally Posted by loyalrogue View Post
    If I could ask one final favor, could you post a photo of the shockmount/windscreen you made?
    I was going to add the accessory kit just for the windscreen, but your DIY idea sounds so much better.
    Sure. First the wind shield (looks rather like hair... my own hair too )

    Inverted... (I've sewn in an elastic band to help pull the edges over the H1's larger mic chassis)

    I've tested it against the one that comes with the H2, and its performance is the same, so I assume that it will perform just as well against the foam one that comes in the H1's accessory pack. It doesn't stop all wind noise though, and a reasonable breeze will still cause noise. So, for outside work you'll still need something bigger and better so that you just won't have to worry about wind at all, even if it's blowing at 20 miles an hour. So, you could try and make something like this if you've got a bit of time on your hands (it's not quite finished yet, but everything's pretty much there)...

    It's got wires going to the USB and line out sockets, so that I can both monitor audio and access the data/power the H1 externally, without removing the outer fabric...

    I've added a flap so that I can have a look at the H1's screen, start/stop recordings, and turn it on without having to remove the outer fabric...

    I've also added a shoe mount so that it's easily mountable on a camcorder...

    The shoe happens to have a tripod thread on the bottom, so it makes it perfect for use with this handle that came with my H2...

    The whole thing cost about 5. It's possible to run with it, even into the wind, and there's no wind noise or handling noise. It sounds like the H1 is just on a tripod in a windless corner, it's brilliant! Will post a sample if you want.

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