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Reviewing The Zoom H2 and Adobe Releases Audition 3.0

By | November 9, 2007

This week on The Podcasting Blog I’ve got a product review on the Zoom H2, it’s a handy portable recording device, and Adobe releases Audition 3.0. I’ve been checking their site daily since I found out it would be released in November. I’m Ken Walker, I’ll be right back after this word from our sponsor.

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Thank you, thank you, please take your seats, really. I’m glad to be here today and hopefully you’ll learn something new and exciting by the time this episode is over.

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Last week, I was looking for a new piece of hardware that we could review, something that would help podcasters out, and I saw the Zoom H2. Next week, I’m going up to Canada to setup a recording studio for Bob who’s the owner of SEOCompany. He’s gonna start doing SEO podcasts and some other audio projects, and we’re gonna document the whole process, building the studio, equipment setup, how to podcast, everything, so I thought, ‘Hey, what a great time to pickup a portable recorder.”

So I went ahead and ordered it, it showed up this Monday and let me tell you what, for $199, and being as small as it is, I’m pretty impressed. It came in a nice retail box, it has an adapter for plugging it into the wall, though it runs off of 2 AA batteries. It has an adapter for a standard mic stand, its got a base stand, an 1/8” to RCA stereo cable, a windscreen, a USB cable, earbuds, and a 512MB SD card, along with a carrying bag.

The most important thing to me for a portable rig is recording quality, so let’s start there. I’ve gotta say, for such a tiny device, I’m pretty impressed. The mics have a sensitivity adjustment, low, med, hi, and you can control noise pretty good. If you set it on low, ambient sounds aren’t strong, but of course you’ve got to move the H2 closer to the sound source. I’m gonna be playing some sound bytes for you in just a little bit, but one neat thing about the H2 is that it has 4 mics. Not only can you record in stereo on the front of the H2, but you can record in stereo on the back of the unit.

Now obviously, that is 4 tracks, so you’re gonna eat up a lot more memory doing that, but it’s kinda neat that you can. That means that if you wanted to record an interview, you place it between yourself and the other person, and you’re set.

You can actually record in 4 channel surround sound though, so if you were doing an interview with several people, you could get a little bit better control over the different parts, if you sit everyone in a cross patter, with the H2 in the middle.

The Front mics have a 90 degree pattern, while the back mics have a 120 degree pattern. You can select how you want to record though, in case you’re worried about storage space, you can record in simple stereo, while still using all 4 mics. It’s pretty versatile actually. It’s also got 2 mic active lights, one on each side, to let you know if the mic is on.

It’s got a LINE IN jack so you can plug in a CD player or an MP3 player, and if you plug in your earbuds, you get to monitor the recording while your recording, that is pretty neat, I was impressed with it when I did that.

If you’ve got a real nice condenser mic that’s battery powered, there’s an external mic jack so you can plug that in and just use the H2 as a recording device.

One thing I didn’t mention yet is the size. From pictures online, you can’t tell how big this thing is, and when I opened the box I was kinda surprised because it’s pretty small. It’s a little bigger than most cell phone today, but for what it does, it’s pretty tiny.

It’s not just a recorder, like those MP3 conference recorders that you can get at an office supply place, it’s actually geared towards musicians and it actually has software. It’s got a built-in metronome with lots of options for sounds , it’s got a built-in guitar tuner, and I don’t mean just frequency generator, it actually listens to your guitar and tells you if you’re in tune. You can even adjust the tuning so that you’re not right at 440 Hz, for example. I mean, for such a little device, they threw a lot of extra features in there and I am still pretty impressed with it. The things even got a built-in compressor.

The recording is very simple and straight forward, you select what mic configuration you want and hit the Record button. The monitoring starts, but it doesn’t start recording yet, that way you get to set your positioning and levels. Then you hit record again and it starts. Let’s go ahead and have a listen to a simple voice recording:

Hunting in Texas
Like I said, pretty impressive from my standpoint. I didn’t do any processing with that file, except for a little amplification to balance it out better with our broadcast.

As far as getting the audio out of the H2, it’s simple. You can either pull the SD card out, or you can hook it to the computer via USB cable. You do have to manually connect it, unless you plug it in with the H@ powered off, in which case it’ll turn on and be powered by the USB port.

You can even set the thing up as an Audio Interface and record straight to your computer. So if you’ve got a laptop and you’re out in the field, and you just wanna use the mic because it’s way better than your laptop’s built-in mic, go for it.

All in all, I think it’s a great deal and I’ll look forward to the trip to Canada where we’ll be documenting the construction of a recording room, I’ll use the H2 for interviews while the project gets underway.

That brings me to some other great news, Adobe has released Audition 3.0. In fact, I’m using it to record this podcast and so far, I’m loving it. There are a couple of quirks but I’m not gonna talk about anything until I’ve used the program for a good while and then I’ll give you the full run down.

I’m gonna end the show with a live recording done completely on the H2. This is my son Jacob and I playing a little bluegrass.

You’ve been listening to The Podcasting Blog with Ken Walker, have a great weekend and by all means, podcast about something, would ya?

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Topics: Audio Hardware, Audition, How to Podcast, Reviews | No Comments »


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