Zoom H1n sound recorder

trickydicky14trickydicky14 Forumite
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Anyone with knowledge of hand-held sound recording gear?

Firstly, I’m a total novice at this.

Interested in recording sound effects and bird/nature sounds.

Have been looking at the ‘Zoom H1n recorder’ appears to be good quality and not expensive, and simple to use.

I’m also interested in getting a ‘shotgun’ mic / directional mic? To use with the H1n.

Would a ‘Rode video micro’ be compatible with the H1n?

My concern is the Rode does not have its own power source and would need to draw power from the recorder, would this work, if not, what would you recommend within the same price range as the Rode that would work.

It’s a long shot but can anyone help?

Thanks.


I choose the rooms that I live in with care,
The windows are small and the walls almost bare,
There's only one bed and there's only one prayer;
I listen all night for your step on the stair.

Replies

  • edited 28 February 2021 at 12:06PM
    Jon_01Jon_01 Forumite
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    edited 28 February 2021 at 12:06PM
    I was looking into getting some kit for podcasting just before the first lockdown.
    I was looking at the Zoom H6 for the recorder.
    I got advice from a friend of my daughters who works in audio in the movies. She said that Zoom is one of the better makes, but I'm not sure on the H1 as that's their entry level unit?
    I guess it depends on the quality of the output?

    The Rode micro should be fine. It'll work with the H1 and the Rode site says that it gets it power from the 3.5 audio jack. Just bear in mind, it's not a shotgun mic so it will get an amount of ambient as well as the bird song you're trying to capture.

    Personally, I'd go for a unit that has XLR inputs for the mics. But that puts you into another price bracket. I used to work in TV and that the default standard.
  • edited 28 February 2021 at 1:30PM
    HeedtheadviceHeedtheadvice Forumite
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    edited 28 February 2021 at 1:30PM
    I presume that your recordings will just be for interest and not of or for something specific? That would need specific considerations!

    If you are going to record  fx and bird tweets then there is more to consider than the recorder and that single mic you mention!
    In terms of quality of the recorder then even the base models from some manufacturers are of really good audio quality. I use a Tascam Dr05 for very portable recordings and it's analogue and digital side is very good. It like many others give CD quality. The deciding factor other than cost often comes down to functionality and portability.
    Some of the "better" (more costly) zoom recorders are used in the industry but they tend to be a bit  larger. The DR05 (just as an example) will fit in a jacket pocket.
    Many sound effects can be quite loud and easy to record  but others very quiet and therefore more difficult. You then need to either get very close or use a sensitive mic or mic system. Shotgun mics are not necessarily more sensitive but have a narrower field of pickup making it possible to reject more interfering or unwanted sounds (like traffic behind you) whilst the blackbird sings in front of you. When the sound is not loud and you have to increase recording level you run into joise problems of hiss. Large parabolic reflectors reduce pickup polar pattern (like a shotgun) but also increase the wanted signal too so help more in that respect. As an example I have struggled (without a parabolic) to cleanly record bees humming with rugged dynamic mics with even the best of electronics!
    There really is not too much difference between the "electronics" performance these days so do not get hung up on that!
    Mics are a different matter and need a whole topic to themselves. Very briefly (and as generalisms!):
    Dynamics can be good quality, are rugged, impervious to moisture (outside use!), many as budget buys, need no power source, sometimes of poorer high and low frequency response to capture nature sounds or general effects. Can be used over several meters of cable or with wireless tx/rx  added to their output. Come in xlr and jack connector styles.
    Condenser mics can be much more sensitive and lower noise and give better sound rendition for the more difficult high and low frequencies like bird calls or trams rumbling along tracks. However apart from rf mics (a specific type and very expensive) they are less rugged and quite prone to moisture damage. You would not want to use them in mist or rain...or then maybe ever again. Most need external 48v (Phantom) power provided by the preamps or recorder supplied down the mic cable. There are some that will operate off internal battteries. Generally xlr connectors.
    You can also get usb mics (connection rather than mic type) that already include the analogue to digital bits that normally are part of the recorders or interfaces. So you can then use usb inputs to a laptop or tablet so maybe no need to buy a recorder at all! Some of the iphones have very good mics built in too. The recorders' built in mics are quite good too. One of those latter options might be a good starting point till you get more experience?
    You already know about directional mics like the shotgun but for some recordings other polar patterns are better and those shotguns and parabolics are not so easy to record in stereo!

    There are specialist setups and at least one company now specialising in budget parabolic kits. I have no experience of them but it all looks good. https://parabolicmicrophone.co.uk/?gclid=CjwKCAiAm-2BBhANEiwAe7eyFP8MBWuHNf_meLMOGCTnBIfiXyas-wKD_71nBRHx2jEp10tnGlXjORoCK00QAvD_BwE

    Conclusion as you will guess is there are lots of aspects to consider and it is too easy to go off and buy the wrong kit and then be dissapointed. Sometimes though, depending upon the source, a lot of kit will capture acceptable noises!
    If you want more info or discuss you can p.m. me but there is a lot of good (and not so good) info on the web. You are right to be doing some research first rather than just spending a few hundred pounds which may or may not meet your need.

  • trickydicky14trickydicky14 Forumite
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    jon_01 & Heedtheadvice,
    Thank you for so much good advice, I feel I have more reading to do before I hand over my cash.
    I have now been looking at the Zoom H6 which I have found for around £265 with my limited knowledge it looks like a nice unit. I also came across the Zoom sgh-6 shotgun mic capsule to use with the H6.
    Its starting to get a bit expensive for a total novice but thinking about it.
    As I say, more to read first.
    I choose the rooms that I live in with care,
    The windows are small and the walls almost bare,
    There's only one bed and there's only one prayer;
    I listen all night for your step on the stair.
  • Jon_01Jon_01 Forumite
    5.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    jon_01 & Heedtheadvice,
    Thank you for so much good advice, I feel I have more reading to do before I hand over my cash.
    I have now been looking at the Zoom H6 which I have found for around £265 with my limited knowledge it looks like a nice unit. I also came across the Zoom sgh-6 shotgun mic capsule to use with the H6.
    Its starting to get a bit expensive for a total novice but thinking about it.
    As I say, more to read first.
    I think the H6 might be over kill for what you want to do!  We wanted it only because it allowed 4 mics (6  with an addon).
    I'd take Heedtheadvice's info. It's more in line with the area you want to work in..
  • trickydicky14trickydicky14 Forumite
    677 Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    Forumite
    I presume that your recordings will just be for interest and not of or for something specific? That would need specific considerations!

    If you are going to record  fx and bird tweets then there is more to consider than the recorder and that single mic you mention!
    In terms of quality of the recorder then even the base models from some manufacturers are of really good audio quality. I use a Tascam Dr05 for very portable recordings and it's analogue and digital side is very good. It like many others give CD quality. The deciding factor other than cost often comes down to functionality and portability.
    Some of the "better" (more costly) zoom recorders are used in the industry but they tend to be a bit  larger. The DR05 (just as an example) will fit in a jacket pocket.
    Many sound effects can be quite loud and easy to record  but others very quiet and therefore more difficult. You then need to either get very close or use a sensitive mic or mic system. Shotgun mics are not necessarily more sensitive but have a narrower field of pickup making it possible to reject more interfering or unwanted sounds (like traffic behind you) whilst the blackbird sings in front of you. When the sound is not loud and you have to increase recording level you run into joise problems of hiss. Large parabolic reflectors reduce pickup polar pattern (like a shotgun) but also increase the wanted signal too so help more in that respect. As an example I have struggled (without a parabolic) to cleanly record bees humming with rugged dynamic mics with even the best of electronics!
    There really is not too much difference between the "electronics" performance these days so do not get hung up on that!
    Mics are a different matter and need a whole topic to themselves. Very briefly (and as generalisms!):
    Dynamics can be good quality, are rugged, impervious to moisture (outside use!), many as budget buys, need no power source, sometimes of poorer high and low frequency response to capture nature sounds or general effects. Can be used over several meters of cable or with wireless tx/rx  added to their output. Come in xlr and jack connector styles.
    Condenser mics can be much more sensitive and lower noise and give better sound rendition for the more difficult high and low frequencies like bird calls or trams rumbling along tracks. However apart from rf mics (a specific type and very expensive) they are less rugged and quite prone to moisture damage. You would not want to use them in mist or rain...or then maybe ever again. Most need external 48v (Phantom) power provided by the preamps or recorder supplied down the mic cable. There are some that will operate off internal battteries. Generally xlr connectors.
    You can also get usb mics (connection rather than mic type) that already include the analogue to digital bits that normally are part of the recorders or interfaces. So you can then use usb inputs to a laptop or tablet so maybe no need to buy a recorder at all! Some of the iphones have very good mics built in too. The recorders' built in mics are quite good too. One of those latter options might be a good starting point till you get more experience?
    You already know about directional mics like the shotgun but for some recordings other polar patterns are better and those shotguns and parabolics are not so easy to record in stereo!

    There are specialist setups and at least one company now specialising in budget parabolic kits. I have no experience of them but it all looks good. https://parabolicmicrophone.co.uk/?gclid=CjwKCAiAm-2BBhANEiwAe7eyFP8MBWuHNf_meLMOGCTnBIfiXyas-wKD_71nBRHx2jEp10tnGlXjORoCK00QAvD_BwE

    Conclusion as you will guess is there are lots of aspects to consider and it is too easy to go off and buy the wrong kit and then be dissapointed. Sometimes though, depending upon the source, a lot of kit will capture acceptable noises!
    If you want more info or discuss you can p.m. me but there is a lot of good (and not so good) info on the web. You are right to be doing some research first rather than just spending a few hundred pounds which may or may not meet your need.

    Sorry for my slow response to your very helpful comments, the link is also great, I would never have found that sort of info on my own.
    I am now doing more reading and feel I understand the subject a little more.
    I think it wise not to go over the top on the basic recording unit and spend a little more on a good mic.
    Be assured I'm not the sort of person to part with my money without attempting to understand the subject in hand.
    And thanks for your offer of more help.
    I choose the rooms that I live in with care,
    The windows are small and the walls almost bare,
    There's only one bed and there's only one prayer;
    I listen all night for your step on the stair.
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