Founded in Japan in 1983, Zoom have been around for a little over 30 years now. They initially worked with manufacturers developing sound generators for musical hardware.
I’m glad that in 1989 they shifted into making their own hardware as for the last 7 years I’ve been a fan of their audio recorders.
In 2007 I shelved a naff digital dictaphone for the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder. It was my first decent portable digital recorder. In many way’s it revolutionised my podcasting. Enabling me to pack light and capture great audio whenever I needed. I remember using it to record a chat with my Gran for an interview with CBC.
After the H2 I bought the more compact and simpler H1. Then the H2n for it’s midside recording and then the H4n for it’s Xlr inputs. All devices served me well and have since been given away (my H4n was donated to Mark Cotton and the Bletchley Park Podcast) or sold on. With this happy history I had no qualms recently investing in the H5. Once again I have access to another high spec’ed device for my audio and video projects.
I paid £230 for the H5 in ASK on the Tottenham court road. The guys at ASK are knowledgeable and if you ask, flexible with their pricing. They also had the H6, Zoom’s flagship audio recorder. It has a larger form factor, two extra XLR/TLS inputs and a colour screen as opposed to the H5’s monochrome. More than I need as the recording quality is much the same. Both the H5 and H6 are compatible with Zoom’s interchangeable microphone system. That was the main attraction for me.
The H5 comes as standard with the XY stereo microphone module, two AA batteries to power it. Delivering 15 hours recording time. A hard case, usb cable, windshield, 2gb micro SD card and adapter and some software. As memory prices are so low at the moment I picked up a Class 10 32GB micro SD card for an extra £10.
One of the features of the H5 is that it records up to a sound pressure level (SPL) of 140dB. This makes it handy for reporters working in unpredictable environments.
Here are a list of some of the features:
– Uses a system of interchangeable input capsules
– Four track simultaneous recording
– Backlit LCD display
– Built in speaker
– Uses SD and MicroSD (with an adapter) Upto SDHC 32GB
– Records in both mp3 and WAV up to 24-bit/96kHz
– Two mic/line inputs with XLR/TRS phantom power connectors
– Gain control dials for each input protected with a ‘rollbar’
– Plug-in power via USB (2.5 Volts)
– Built in low-cut filtering, compression and limiting
– Built in tuner and metronome
– Auto-record, pre-record and backup-record functions
– Multitrack to stereo internal mixdown.
– Normalize, divide and trim editing
– Voice memo with up to 99 marks per recording
– A/B looped, variable and pitch adjusted playback
– Multichannel and stereo USB interface for PC, Mac or iPad
– Hot Shoe Mount adapter hole
– Compatible with both AA NiMH rechargeable or alkaline batteries
Equipped with the same crisp preamps from the H6, the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder is a great step up from the H4n. The build quality means it’s happy to be thrown around. The shock mount mic system combined with analog gain dials make it easy to quietly adjust the settings while recording.
It’s beautifully designed too. Although the sensitivity to wind means the mics will rarely be seen in the metal as they do better under a windshield or dead cat.
On the whole, a top quality, feature packed, easy to use audio recorder.
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Shaun Armstrong says
I’m not sure about the quality of the recording as I was too busy listening to that conversation. Brilliant. The first of your audios I’ve heard where the interviewee was in control! After your “but floods are caused by the weather” line was waiting for the “but God controls the weather” response – priceless. Buy hey, who ever let the truth get in the way of a good story 😉 Have you dried out yet? (just saying)
He reminds me so much of my own lad!
I love stories that carry messages!!
If you run out of places to donate old audio recording equipment please let me know!
Will do 🙂
Geoff Wales says
Had to comment. Enjoyed listening to the conversation (made me laugh), and the H5 sounds fantastic. Nicely handled (about God and science) by the way.
Been investigating buying a portable audio recorder so I can interview my father – so I can improve upon the audio on a DSLR. After reading & watching a number of reviews on line I’ve pretty much decided on the zoom H5, but have dithered on pulling the trigger for that purchase.
Your audio recording above has just convinced me to do it. Not because it demonstrates that the audio quality is superior (although it sounds pretty decent too), or that I can’t live without the feature set etc. Just that I’ve had exactly the same sorts of conversations with my young boys about the existence or not of God & listening to your conversation makes me realise how precious these things are to capture – way beyond the purchase price of the device.
Thank you for helping me see ‘the light’ !
Glad to be of assistance. Thanks for the comment. You have also reminded me to capture more. We miss so much. which is ok but once you have the device it costs nothing but time to grab this audio. I just hope we can access these files in the distant future.
Bert Wouda says
Hi, I’m having problems with my H5 duration of rechargeable AA’s they don’t seems to last long ( tried several good brands ) what is the recommendation of using what type of AA batteries
Regards BW New Zealand
Are you using phantom power? Have you NiMh set in the settings?
Bert Wouda says
I am using the NiMh setting and not the phantom power setting yet , tried several brands of rechargeable AA’s but still very hungry in the power department , I had a Sony PCM M 10 P before the batteries lasted ages ……. further the H5 works very well and is a nice unit , …….to be on the save side , I am running for long recordings a USB charger via a lead acid battery where there is no 240 v power point ….. ( Kiwi ingenuity )