Review: Zoom H2 Handheld Audio Recorder

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The Zoom H2 is a small, hand held digital recorder made for a variety of different applications.  From recording live music, to doing podcasts or recording lectures, even recording band rehearsals, the Zoom H2 is designed to handle many different kinds of field recording.

I’m going to focus on one particular need – recording the band rehearsal.  I play in a group (Tebucky Jones) and each week we get together to rehearse for upcoming gigs, trade new songs and work on our next CD.  We bought the Zoom H2 to help us record our rehearsals and distribute the songs to the band the next day.

If you’re not recording your band rehearsals, you should.  Lots of good ideas can be found in spontaneous jams and it’s always good to hear yourself the next day – as a listener – to see if what you’re playing really holds up.  So onto the H2…

Feature-wise the Zoom H2 is packed with features including 2 channel and 4 channel recording.  With the 4 channel recording you can place the H2 in the center of your band, hit record and it does a great job of recording a stereo mix of the music.  One concern we had was recording levels – we’re a pretty loud band in a small studio space.  However the H2 handled it admirably – it comes with a 3-way recording level switch (Low, Med, High) but you can fine tune each of those settings further through the interface.

So far we’ve recorded two rehearsals with the Zoom H2 and have been pretty satistifed with the results thus far.  A couple of concerns do come to mind – the Zoom H2 is extemely light weight due to it’s plastic construction.  It feels cheap in your hands and it’s likley pretty fragile (we didn’t drop it to find out).  The included SD is 512MB – something you’ll want to upgrade so you can record in 4-channel mode at a higher quality sound format.  Lastly the Zoom H2 has a lot of features like a metronome and even a tuner but because of the small, sometimes difficult to navigate interface, many of the features end up unused. However this problem might get better with familiarity with the device over time.

If you’re buying the Zoom H2 for recording band rehearsals, even very loud band rehearsals, the H2 does a knock up job for the price.  When you compare it to the Olympus LS-10 or the Tascams and Sonys – the price makes a pretty appealing case.

For a more in depth review you can go here and there’s a video review here.

We found the cheapest price on Amazon.

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