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Things You Must Know Before Using Zoom H1 recorder

June 19, 2011

Love my Zoom H1 stereo recording device. The microphones and recording quality is excellent for the very reasonable price, and the device can be held in the hand like a regular microphone.

But its bugs need to be fully understood, to save you from the serious grief of a lost recording.

Bug 1: Maybe the unit I have is faulty? Anyway the bugs stem from the fact that the battery goes flat if you have it in the device while it is switched off. Leave the AA battery in it for a few weeks, and there is no juice when you try to make a recording. Therefore, don’t even leave the battery in there overnight, otherwise you’ll shorten your recording time before battery is flat.

Bug 2: This stems from bug 1. After inserting the battery, you must cycle the power.
– Insert the battery
– Turn on the H1 with the power switch by moving the slider down for about 4 seconds and notice the display says 00:00:00
– Turn off the H1 with the power switch by moving the slider down for about 4 seconds
– Turn on again and notice this time the display shows the correct remaining time

If the power is not cycled, you press the record button and think it must be recording, but it fails. The digits don’t count up, so there is a visual indication of this failure, but you may not notice this. Any sound recordist will warn: make sure to check the counter is rolling and the levels are good; remember this good advise!

Bug 3: If you have the switch on the back of the unit set to MP3 compression, beware that the unit will default to 96kbps. This is a bit low, although it isn’t the lowest setting, so is not a complete disaster. Therefore you need to press the buttons on the side of the unit to raise the bitrate. This probably also stems from bug 1, because the battery had to be removed and therefore the setting returned to defaults.

Bug 4: Not really a bug, but just a warning. Cheap recording devices use cheap plastic casings. These are noisy and make squeaking or cracking noises when squeezed. So be careful not to figit with the mic during recordings.

Bug 5: The outer plastic part of the power switch falls off. I use a piece of tape to hold it in place and it still works. See the comment from Craig below, sounds like he had less luck with his power switch.

Please leave a comment. Also see my articles on photography and general technology or politics.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Craig permalink
    November 14, 2011 4:41 am

    I loved my H1 until the power slider popped off. Sucks. Sounded good for about a week. Terrible.

    • October 29, 2012 3:23 pm

      Same problem here. Samson were no help at all. Shame, it’s a great little recorder but the build sucks.

  2. June 7, 2012 6:06 am

    I had a situation this weekend when a whole day’s sound from shooting was not found on the SD card on Zoom H1. Currently I am trying to research to find what went wrong. After a whole day of shooting, there were only 6 files on the card in the evening.

    • June 7, 2012 7:12 pm

      Hi Sunny, that would have been very distressing! I haven’t seen that problem with the zoom H1. The card may not have been seated correctly? I’ve had cheap micro-sd cards fail in smart phones, but I haven’t had problems with Sandisk and I’m using 2 of the following cards with no problems: Lexar MicroSDHC 32GB Micro SD HC Mobile TF Card Class10.

    • heather permalink
      April 22, 2013 1:51 am

      Same thing happened to me, Sunny… I haven’t figured it out yet.

  3. Liam permalink
    June 20, 2013 4:21 am

    Hi Sunny
    I have been having a problem syncing the audio with the H1, the sound waves slowly lengthen over a coarse of time so at the beginning it syncs properly but at the end of say a 20min clip the sound is out by about 3 seconds in the end.
    Any ideas?

  4. Nick permalink
    September 7, 2013 2:15 am

    I found that if you turn on the device again within 2 seconds of power off, it will lead to Card Access -> NO error, anyone tried that too?

  5. Charlie permalink
    November 5, 2013 1:42 pm

    Hey, I have a micro sd card inserted that I already recording some things onto but now when I turn my H1 on it says “Card Access” and then “no Card” I cannot get it to recognized my micro sd card, any thoughts? Thanks

  6. Denis Gupta permalink
    July 23, 2014 2:41 am

    I have pulsating noise in left channel. Any ideas?

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