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Zoom H1 Handy Recorder Reviews

4.0 stars based on 55 customer reviews
Questions about the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder?

Questions about the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder?

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  • Jeron Strickland
    from Louisiana April 12, 2017Music Background:
    Radio Broadcasting, engineering, producer

    Thoroughly Impressed!!!!

    I ordered the Zoom H1 recorder from Sweetwater last month. I am a avid Amazon shopper..... but Sweetwater has instantly converted me with their great customer service. The day after I ordered, someone from Sweetwater gave me a call to thank me for my purchase and let me know my order has been processed. Within 4 days my H1 met me at my door! 😀 I opened the box and the Zoom H1 was everything I hoped for. Everything came with the H1, so I was able to get started right away. The sound quality is really good and comparable to more expensive equipment. I personally wanted a heavier sound so I attached my AT510 and everything recorded perfectly and sounded awesome. I am thoroughly impressed with Sweetwater's customer service and the Zoom H1's great sound! Thanks guys, sincerely a new loyal customer!

  • Nick
    from Massachusetts November 22, 2016Music Background:


    This is thing is awesome. Perfect size, sounds great, really useful. I use it to record band practices in case we jam and write some new stuff. I keep it under the tom stand on our drummers kit, pointed at my 4x12, and it mostly picks up my guitar with enough of the surrounding instruments to sounds pretty decent. Easy to use, which is good for me, because I'm kind of useless when it comes to technology.

  • Customer
    from July 8, 2016

    Zoom H1 Handy recorder

    Love it. Simple and easy to use.

  • Dan Papagno
    from July 1, 2016

    Zoom H1

    I bought this to record a song vocals and acoustic guitar to be played at my daughters wedding for the father daughter dance. I was awesome. The dj boosted it and added a little compression and reverb and the result was cd quality. Ken Davis at sweetwater guided me through it with bit rate and all to produce a WAV file. The accessory pack was very helpful . Buy this!

  • Bucky Harris
    from May 4, 2016

    Zoom recorder

    for $100 it is all you need , sounds perfect,, simple to use,,

  • madison rider
    from dallas, tx August 25, 2014Music Background:
    production, sound design, arranging.

    ignore the size!

    i bought one while on the road, and from the size of the unit/mics i thought it would be a piece-of-**** toy recorder. TOTALLY WRONG.

    this unit sounds awesome. the sound quality is amazing in every aspect... definately worth $100. battery life is very reasonable, even when recording for long periods at high rates (24/96).

    the small size is beneficial for really getting in tight spaces to do sampling...

  • Mac
    from Gainesville, Florida July 11, 2014Music Background:
    Semi-pro Guitarist, singer/songwriter, bassest, manager, home recording engineer

    The best recording deal out there

    I bought one of these about 4 years ago and it was the best $100.00 I have ever spent on music gear!
    The sound quality that can be captured with this rivals any other devise of it's type on the market. Mine quickly became an integral part of my musical equipment, and is taken to every rehearsal, our live performances, and even to recording sessions. I keep it set up and plugged in (with the A/C power adapter from the accessory kit) in my rehearsal room when at home so that I can easily capture any inspirations on the spot by just reaching over and pushing a button!
    Don't let the size fool you, this thing is pretty rugged and will stand up to being banged around a good bit without breaking. It is very quick and easy to set up and use, the controls are simple and to the point, and the X / Y mics on the H1 are exceptional. They will handle extremely high SPL without distorting. I have even used the unit itself as a stereo mic for other recording devices. The unit is truly as small as it appears to be and can be carried around like an Ipod, fit into ANY guitar case or gig bag, or with the fitted, case even around your neck while loading in or out of a venue. Very cool for something so important.
    There are many newer and fancier (and more expensive) handheld digital recorders on the market that have multiple tracks and very involved menus, but if you want a simple high sound quality, down to earth one step recording / playback device, the H1 is what you need.
    I think it is important to add that the accessory kit that is sold for the H1 is a very inexpensive and extremely useful set of items that enable you to really use the H1 to it's full potential. I highly suggest simply buying one along with the recorder itself...if you don't you will soon wish you did.

  • Arthur Stuckman
    from Fremont,Ohio September 13, 2013Music Background:


    I've been using this recorder to create beat's and riff's in Ableton Live 9 Suite's Audio to MIDI feature. It's absolutely perfect for this task, I was surprised by the audio quality. I suggest you also buy the H1 accessory package for maximum flexibility and usage.
    Thank's to Brian VanDekeere and Justin Quesenberry for the best advice and service!!!.

  • Dan Stearns
    from Murphysboro, IL. March 7, 2013Music Background:

    Amazing what this picks up

    It is quite amazing the sound that this little item picks up. To look at the recorder it did not impress me as something that was high tech enough to pick up the sound that it does. It picks up sound that is a good distance away from it. Our church has used this device to record church services and then to download onto a CD to distribute to shut ins.

  • Robert W Ehman
    from Charleston WV January 21, 2013Music Background:
    Professional musician 37 years. Acoustic guitar, electric, bass, keys, singer. Recording hobbyist.

    Record Every Practice Like a Pro !!!

    My brother got this for me a couple years back. Our rock band records every practice. We just leave it on as it gets like 6 hours on a 4GB card. I run the SD card to my Cubase LE5 with Isotope Ozone 4 on rock mix 4 band. Place the H1 in the middle of the band (we play in a circle). I edit out all the talk and breaks save songs and erase the card. Save songs to cds for the band and to an external hardrive. Years from now we will have the best to listen to. Record everything with this little gem. The more you record the more likely you will get better stuff!!!The sound is unbelieveable!!! Record at volumn 25 (out of 50) ...low cut off, auto level off, wave ...not mp3 as wave works best with DAW. Record at 44k at 16bit. The trick is using this with the Ozone and Cubebase. Pro Results! Acoustic guitar and voice is mind blowing as well !!! Enjoy playing not working !!!

  • Teejay Riedl
    from Fairfax VA November 3, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Fantastic, Accurate, Cheap (Inexpensive!)

    When Zoom first announced these, back in 2010 or so, I had my order in to Delvin right away. Since then, my little H1 has recorded well over 500 gigs of my various bands, thousands of rehearsals, plus innumerable other tasks such as family get togethers, "discreet sampling" of abusive co-workers, field recording, ambient soundscape recording, telephone recording (Heck, if the NSA can to it with no warrant, I can too!), and hundreds of other mundane tasks. It does so unobtrusively, elegantly, efficiently, and with a very light battery load. Results are uniformly excellent as long as you set the levels (AGC is great, but not appropriate for band recording).

    Gripes? None with the unit. But the "Survival kit" thing is almost useless - I have never used the handle (I recycled it), the windscreen is nice, but when it's on the H1, the H1 WILL NOT FIT inside the case. Stoooopid and inexcuseable! How stuff like that gets past Engineering is beyond me - but the world is packed with Slackers, I guess.

    The H1's stereo imaging is SUPERB, bass response is SUPERB - easily equalling that of my friends' $300+ units. Yeah, if you spend more money, you'll get more features, but not necessarily better SOUND. This little guy ROCKS. Don't prevaricate - if you're looking for a little "do it all" recorder, you simply can't beat the price. Call Delvin and get one. Do it right now, before you start thinking too much, and spend more money on features you'll never use.

    A+++. I love this thing.

  • Customer
    from NC June 28, 2012

    Incredible value for the price!

    I was "expecting to get what I paid for" and this product exceeded my expectations. I tested it at a children's dance recital. It picked up the music and my voice perfectly. The staff at Sweetwater turned me on to this product and they were dead on.

  • Jose Constantino
    from Berkeley, Ca April 6, 2012Music Background:
    Music student

    Zoom H1 Handy Recorder

    Everything was great. Love the recorder, shipping was on time and the follow up thoughtful. If I need something else I'll definitely check with you first.

  • Stacey M
    from Long Beach, CA March 21, 2012Music Background:
    Rockabilly, punk, ska, and hawaiian exotica

    power punch in a small package

    I bought this to record our band practice's. The sound is incredible! I'm a drummer and had it right behind me to record and it sounded awesome!

  • Al
    from AZ December 15, 2010Music Background:
    20 plus year guitar loving Hobbyist

    Great Product

    I use the H1 to record song ideas and guitar riffs so I don't forget them. I just put the H1 on the desk about 7 or 8 feet from the amp and press record. Hook up the H1 to a USB cable (you will need a type A to 5 pin mini B cable) and load the file (s) to my laptop. The sound is quite good. This unit is easy to use, will stand on a flat surface, mount on a tripod and sounds great. It's a small price to pay for recording that cool riff that you WILL forget the next day.

  • Dan
    from Rocklin, CA USA October 7, 2010Music Background:
    Saxophonist, Recording Hobbyist

    Can't go wrong with Zoom H1

    Considering price, size, and recording quality, you can't go wrong with the Zoom H1. It comes with a 2MB microSD card which is fine to get you started. I will most likely upgrade the card in the future, which will give it virtually unlimited recording potential for my purposes.

  • TM
    from CaliforniA September 4, 2010Music Background:

    The Search is Over! actually...

    For years I've used various kinds of recorders of different brands, (digital/multitrack/cassette) for songwriting and other things, experimenting, and this one is ideal to keep up with me and works spontaneously to my liking, anywhere at anytime baby! High quality recordings and playback. I am happy....

  • Arne C. Barnard
    from Anchorage, Alaska USA March 11, 2013Music Background:
    Semi Pro Amateur

    There is ONE more use that most people don't realize!

    . and that is, it can be used to transfer your analog cassettes to digital!

    All sorts of conversion kits can be had to transfer analog recordings to digital. With the Zoom H1, you just got one MORE use for this amazing device!

    The H1 has a 1/8th inch "line in" port. All you need is an RCA stereo to 1/8th inch plug cable and you are in business! Plug the RCA's into the back of your tape deck, or VCR, or Reel to Reel then plug in the 1/8th side into the "line in" on the Zoom H1. Adjust the levels on the H1, and YOU are off, recording from analog to digital!

    There is also a software add on for the H1 to be used as a USB recording microphone.

    So much value for so little cost.

    However,this review is NOT "5 star".

    THAT is because, ZOOM does NOT include the USB cable needed to upload to a computer with this-You have to buy the special "Zoom Kit{ in order to get the USB!!!

    THIS is WRONG!!! Most people can't take the chance that a "Universal USB" will work with the Zoom H1, so they have to pay extra for something that should be "Standard Issue"....

    A USB came with my SAMSON Carbon 49 Controller, so, maybe they ARE getting the message!

    Long story short-get the H1!

  • Stan Pethel
    from Rome, GA February 20, 2013Music Background:
    music professor

    Zoom H1

    Great little recording devices. Excellent sound and easy to use.

  • John Cibula
    from Pittsburgh February 13, 2013Music Background:
    Worship guitarist

    Zoom H1

    Works Great
    Can't beat it for the price

  • Floyd
    from Hugo, OK January 17, 2013Music Background:


    The Zoom H1 is just what I was looking for. I was surprised at the qaulity fo the sound. The salesman was very helpful in explaining the different hand held recorders.

  • Floyd
    from Hugo, OK January 17, 2013Music Background:


    The Zoom H1 is just what I was looking for. I was surprised at the qaulity fo the sound. The salesman was very helpful in explaining the different hand held recorders.

  • Howard Higgins
    from Walton,Ks,USA December 3, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist & student

    A great product!

    What I like about the Zoom H1 Handy recorder is this.With a little time
    spent reading the instructions it is pretty easy to use. I am using mine
    for practise with backing tracks,and I thik it does a great job. It is very
    compact,and I also purchased the accessory kit that includes a very
    nice little adjustable tri-pod so you can aim it where it picks up the
    best sound. The built in speaker is kind of a joke,but when you down-
    load the music to your computer and play it back it sounds great! I
    think it is well worth the money.

  • Keli
    from Northern California April 27, 2012Music Background:
    Live Sound for Monthly Gathering, Singer

    Very handy indeed

    PROS: Recording quality and levels are excellent. This is a VERY lightweight unit, easy to toss into a pocket or gig bag. Very easy to pull files from the card and put onto computer. Simple start/stop operation. Direct input plug is great, I plug this into a portable sound system and get no room noise. Output jack allows me to listen to what's being recorded real time, I can double check levels and quality, and later I can directly playback in headphones or speakers. I would post about battery life, but the batteries haven't gone dead yet--4 1.5-2hr. uses.

    CONS: Almost no insulation from "body noise" so if you hold it in your hand, every finger twitch is recorded--Don't touch it while recording. Its light weight makes me nervous about durability, although its sound quality is excellent. The display layout is not very intuitive, allow yourself some time to practice recording and playing back your files. Files cannot be named from the unit, that I can see--I have to transfer them to the computer and name them from there.

    I would highly recommend the accessory kit. The protective cover would really help (I've had a plug get caught in the microphone assembly) as would the small stand.

  • Jerry J
    from Houma, LA November 15, 2011Music Background:
    Professional Sound and multiple bands

    Great Recorder

    You couldn't ask for a better recorder, especially for $99!!!!! Great buy, you won't regret it. Only reason it didn't get a 5 is the speaker on it really kinda stinks, who cares, your not gonna listen to a recording immediately anyways.

  • HJH
    from Columbus, OH USA January 3, 2011Music Background:
    Performer, recordist and home studio hobbyist

    At this price how can you not love it!

    Just about all the other reviewers have talked about the cheap feeling build quality but this has not bothered me because it is possible to get fantastic recordings with this little device. I have recorded voice, acoustic guitar with singing and an outdoor performance of a rhythm and blues band with excellent results.
    The voice recording was done with a universal shock mount and table top mic stand. The noise floor is very low and the auto level worked great in this setting. 5 stars here, beautiful recording.
    I used the shock mount on a on a mic stand for the acoustic guitar with vocals recording and although not as good as what I do in my home studio with 3 mics (the cheapest one more than double the price of the H1) it was a very good recording more than adequate for recording practice sessions or song writing.
    For the outdoor concert I was 40 -50 ft. from the stage and I just held the H1 in my hand. I experimented with auto level and low cut and it worked best with both set to off and level at around 75. A very loud squeal made the auto level drop too low and it took too long to recover. Once I got things set the recording was great. The XY Mic configuration seems to improve the stereo imagery and sound was very clear and clean. Being aware of the case transferring the sounds of hand movements (very loud if your skin rubs against the plastic) I made an effort to hold the recorder VERY STILL and it worked fine. The recording was great until the wind picked up and started to gust a little. I did not have a windscreen and this part of the recording is bad due to the mics picking up the wind noise. I am getting a windscreen for future outdoor recordings. Not counting the windy part a great recording 4 stars here.
    In my opinion for high quality amateur recordings the Zoom H1 is probably as good as it gets for the price.

  • Reg
    from Arkansas December 10, 2010Music Background:
    musician, hobby recording engineer (chamber music, etc)

    An Exceptional Product

    I ordered this as possible presents for my sisters. I've got an H4n, so I expected similar quality. No surprises. Audio is first rate. The package is all plastic which I don't like except that it keeps the price & weight down.

    I'm likely to keep this unit for myself to use for bar recordings. The mikes on the H4n are pretty vulnerable. I doubt that you could hurt the H1 in normal use. A 300 lb drunk stepping on it would be what it would take to do real damage. It's so light that dropping it is a non-issue.

    I still don't completely understand the user interface. It's different from the H4n, but I've been able to do everything by mashing on the buttons w/o reading the manual. I will read the manual, but I wanted to give the human factors a severe test.

    If you're considering the H1, the only reason no to get it is you want features in the H4n.

  • Joel Kirchner
    from 840 UNITED STATES October 13, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Awesome recording device!

    I got it after using it at school. We used this recorder and it sounded better and clearer than having mics and a computer set up. I wish it wasn't as cheap feeling, but it makes up for it in the sound area. I am pretty good with technology, but I was able to take it out and start recording, it was that easy. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that needs a good recorder. It is great for any application.

  • Kelly Brierly
    from edmonds Wa October 9, 2010Music Background:
    In a band

    Zoom H1

    I ordered the H1 as soon as I saw it in a guitar mag. Very low price for a recorder. It was on back order from Sweetwater, but being one of the first on the list, I received it within 3 weeks. For the price the H1 is a very good value. Yes, you can get higher quality recorders and as they say, you get what you pay for. For the money, the recording quality is excellent. Its very compact and easy to use. The only negative would be battery life. Very short, so get the accessory pack. Sweetwater kept me informed as to the order status, delivery time and followed up with a call after I received my H1. Excellent customer service all the way!

  • Mike Case
    from Carmichael, CA September 4, 2010Music Background:
    Serious Amateur Musician, Hammond B-3 Player since 1970

    Zoom H1 - Close to Perfect

    I was one of the lucky ones. I pre-ordered the new Zoom H1 on July 20, 2010, about a month before the item was released, so I was fairly high on the list when it was finally released. I also own the Zoom H4n, so I know that Zoom is certainly able to pack lots of high quality audio into a very compact package. I was looking for a high quality recorder in a smaller package than the H4n, so the H1 looked like the perfect solution. I am not disappointed; and considering its size and the price, I don't think there is a better compact recorder on the market at this time. I give the H1 4.5 stars because it does have some drawbacks; however none of them is a showstopper.

    When I received my H1, the first thing I noticed was that it had a little bit of a chintzy build quality. When I installed the battery, the battery cover door fits a little loose. This can be problematic during recording at loud volumes or while handling the H1 because the rattling battery cover door can make its way into your recordings. I solved this problem by applying a small piece of adhesive backed foam to the battery door cover. The threaded tripod holder hole is all plastic. I was hoping for a threaded metal insert to prevent stripping of the threads. Just be careful when screwing anything into this 1/4 - 20 hole to avoid cross-threading, and you should be fine Also, dont tighten anything in this hole too tight.

    My H1 weighs in at a mere 2.3 ounces (without battery), which is great because the unit is supposed to be small and lightweight. My first impression of a cheap build quality was reinforced by its very light weight; however, I'm not taking any points off for the light weight. If anything, it may even be a plus.

    The Zoom H1 ships with a 2 GB micro SB card. This gives you a respectable 3 hours and 10 minutes recording time in the WAV mode; and a whopping 35 hours of record time in the MP3 mode. Congratulations to Zoom for not shipping the H1 with a token 64 MB card (or smaller) forcing users to purchase a new higher capacity micro SB card for any serious recording. I popped in a Kingston 4 GB micro SD card that I had lying around and I now have more recording capacity than I will likely ever need from this unit.

    The sound quality of the H1 is excellent, and it rivals the sound quality of my H4n. So far I have only recorded voice, but it is my intent to record some of my Hammond B-3 playing to see how the stereo mics handle the spatial effects of my Leslie speaker. The input seems a little weak, but it is better than having over-driven microphones. With the auto audio level on, this unit should handle very high sound pressure levels (SPL) making it an excellent choice to take to your next band rehearsal for some practice recordings. With the auto level switch turned off, I find that an input level of 75 to 80 works best for voice. The input can be adjusted from 1- 100 so my ideal input level of 75 to 80 seemed a bit high given the overall scale, but again, not a showstopper. I have every reason to believe that this unit will handle high SPLs without distorting, but a little time with my B-3, and later the band, will be the true test.

    The one thing that I really like about this unit is that it is very easy to use. Most of the functions are available with switches or buttons on the side or the back of the unit. There is no need to plow through multiple menu levels like I must do with my Zoom H4n. This makes the H1 ideal for spur of the moment recordings, like that song at your band rehearsal that you just can't seem to master. With the H1, you can take that song home with you and practice it a thousand times until you get it just right. The placement of the single record button on the front of the unit is perfect. This button will start and stop your recordings and there are no other buttons in the area that you can accidentally hit which make this unit ideal for impromptu recordings. This simplicity makes the H1 ideal unit for a news reporter. The screen on the H1 shows exactly the amount of information you will need.

    The H1 plugs right into a USB port and I had no problems with my 64 bit Windows 7 computer recognizing the H1 and quickly giving me access to my recorded files just like it were a flash drive. It is so quick and easy to use with the USB drive, that I will rarely need to remove the micro SD card. One little quirk is that the Zoom H1 must be powered down for the computer to recognize it. This is a minor annoyance, but I wish that Zoom had allowed the H1 to be connected to USB port while powered on. There may be a technical reason for designing the H1 this way, but as I said, this is only a minor factor.

    I have not tried any external microphone with this unit because I do not have any microphones with a 3.5 mm phone jack. However, the built-in microphones on the H1 are excellent and I doubt if there are many microphones with the smaller phone jack that are as good as the built-in H1 microphones. I do have an XLR 3.5 mm phone jack adapter so I may try one of my XLR plug microphones through this unit someday.

    I have no qualms with the fact that the Zoom H1 produces only WAV and MP3 files. I have an Olympus recorder that records in WMA files, which is nice, but some audio editing programs (i.e. Audacity for one) do not work with WMA files because they have not paid a fortune to Microsoft for licensing agreements. If the Zoom H1 produced WMA files, I'm sure the price of the H1 would be $200 instead of $99.

    In short, the Zoom H1 is as close to a perfect recording device that I can imagine. Your needs may be different than mine, but for the price, the features, the recording quality, the size, and the simplicity of use, this is an ideal little unit, and perfect for my needs. Zoom has certainly hit a home-run with this unit and I can fully understand why Zoom is having a difficult time meeting the demand.

    I ordered the H1 from Sweetwater and received the usual superb service - very much like the Zoom H1.

  • Customer
    from February 16, 2016

    Zoom H1

    Convenient way to record new songs for practice! The quality is surprising when you play it back on seakers with good overall frequency response!

  • Larry Gibson
    from Anderson, IN March 21, 2015Music Background:
    I am Tech Director at a medium sized Church supervising video, media, live and recorded audio and lighting. I have run live sound for 40 years and play (not professionally) several instruments.

    Zoom H1

    I own an H4 and H2. The H4 is older and the line-in on the H2 quit working. I bought the H1 as a back up and as a line-in source. I have used all functions except line-in. It records very high quality sound equal to the other two recorders for live music and voice using accepted microphone techniques. The windscreen works to decrease breath sounds, If you hold the body tightly and don't slide your fingers, there is no casing noise recorded, but don't slide your fingers on the case.

    I was disappointed that the accessory kit was NLA at Sweetwater.

    For the price, I am very happy with it. Will report later on line-in capabilities.

  • ony maybe
    from Washington, DC October 13, 2014Music Background:

    needed a piece of gear

    described my needs to mark m. he sent me this. thing's perfect for easily snatching live gigs and rehearsals. love it. this is as much a testimonial for the zoom as it is for sweetwater's race team. nothing's perfect, nothing gets five stars, doesn't cure the common cold.

  • Terry Wilson
    from Leesburg, Ga April 18, 2014Music Background:
    Infant musician

    H1 Handy Recorder

    Performs as advertised. A very good buy.

  • frank brandin
    from hermiston or usa April 10, 2014Music Background:
    sond man for church

    handy little racorder does big job

    this little recorder allows me to stay on the move around an still me to record whatever or wherever I need with to record something I have and it sits in my pocket out of the way and at the end of the day I plug it into the computer and I have all I need conversation or a song. sounds great donelods Easley an i'm ready for the next time. worth every pennie

  • William Palmer
    from Klamath Falls, Oregon January 17, 2014Music Background:
    Performing songwriter

    Zoom H1 Recorder

    Easy to use, compact, light, and the mics work really well. After plugging in a head set you can listen to your recorded music in pretty high quality. The on board speaker is weak at best but that's to be expected. It is a great tool for recording those musical hooks and such when writing or woodshedding. Those little morsels of melodies aren't lost when all you have to do is hit the button to record.

  • Susan
    from NJ January 5, 2014Music Background:

    Hnady AND easy to use

    Excellent product that my 14 year old daughter is easily able to use. Good sound quality too. My daughter loves to play the piano and sing and this was the perfect device for recording her songs I was also blown away by the service, calling to confirm my order, checking that it had arrived and offering any help if we had problems. I am a small business owner and I appreciate other companies that set a high standard for service and support. I know how hard it is to provide superior service, kudos to Sweetwater.

  • Richard
    from January 3, 2014

    nice recorder

    I would have given it 5 stars but the units volume is something to be desired. I put the volume all the way up and have to put the speaker to my ear in order to hear it. And then it is still tough to hear. Especially if there is back ground noise.
    But when audio is brought into computer everything is good

  • Tim
    from Northern Virginia March 2, 2012Music Background:

    Zoom1 Handheld Digital Recorder

    I've had mine for about 3 weeks now and am definitely glad I made the purchase! Writing things all the time was getting annoying and when I didn't have anything to write with around then this does the trick. I haven't tried full band recording or anything yet but the brilliance that comes out of such a small device is incredible. Great item in my opinion. I only give the 4 because it is not durable. Don't drop it. And it feels kind of cheap. But as long as you're careful with your belongings it's perfect!

  • Mary Cashin
    from Chicago suburb February 16, 2012Music Background:

    Thrilled with device

    I'm rating it as a 4 as I've not had that much opportunity to use it, but I am very pleased with the sound quality of my recordings!!

  • john crysel
    from west richland wa. January 18, 2012Music Background:
    pro musician

    zoom handy recorder

    easy to use and sounds really good especialy with head phones

  • brian gilbertson
    from Kirkfield, Ontario, Canada January 6, 2012Music Background:

    Zoom H1

    This exceeded my expectations. I am now able to make remote, quality, voice and guitar recordings and download them directly into my Mac Garageband program. Didn't like the $25 "kit" of accessories available. I would have liked to pick a couple of things that I actually wanted. The control buttons are too tiny for my liking. Be careful not to have it on record when you plug it into a guitar amp input for playback. I was blown out of the room with a screaming feedback, and it took me a while to figure out that it must be on"play" before plugging in. All in all good value.

  • TO
    from Dover, NH December 17, 2010Music Background:
    Pro/Am musician, live sound for church

    Very Handy Indeed!

    This will change audio recording the way point-and-shoot cameras changed photography. A good, high-quality live recording wherever and whenever you need it, at the push of a single button.
    Yes, the case is plastic. If you throw this thing, it will break. So will just about anything else you own, mics, cameras, phones...
    The only drawback I see is that it is very sensitive to noise from handling. You will hear it if you touch it during recording, and you will hear footstep noise & the like if it is on a gorilla pod on a solid surface. I wish the accessory tripod had sound-insulating feet...

  • J. Hopkins
    from Evans, GA October 18, 2010Music Background:

    good for basic work

    Set your expectations accordingly: this is a budget-priced recorder. What I liked most: sound quality (!), especially for simple things like recording practices (esp. vocals) and for close-miked environmental sounds. What I liked least: The plastic casing and overall build quality is not robust. I also didn't care for the built-in leveler, which probably works okay for voice applications but was easy to overload/distort with piano. Also, have a set of small headphones on hand to listen to playback. The internal speaker isn't good for much more than "did I actually record something?" So, overall... nice, but not knock you off your chair awesome. For the price? WAY better sound than you'd get with the built-in mic on your cell phone!

  • Customer
    from United States January 15, 2013Music Background:
    Live performance, vocalist, guitar, mando, banjo...original and cover music

    Small, Convenient, VG Live Sound Recording, fragile Case

    Application > Live Band Performance & Rehearsals
    Excellent Live Recordings w/ Live Band - all intruments well balanced
    Good Clear Display....easy reading
    Recorder with ordered Accessories all fit in small personal zippered case
    Plastic case a bit flimsy with a shallow screwback for mike handle or camera stand....needs to be metal insert at least....will strip out easily in real world
    Better have good eyes if you want to utilize all the tiny side controls....we just record raw and play back and download to our music program

    Would give the product at least a 4 stars and prolly 4.5 stars if the case was decent

  • Steve S.
    from NJ USA October 1, 2011Music Background:

    Works great, too bad it's plastic

    Easy to use, works wonderfully. My only gripe is that it's all plastic, so an accidental impact can crack the case. But - it's only $100 bucks and fine audio quality, so I'm being very careful with it.

  • Cheney Haycraft
    from West Salem, IL January 7, 2013Music Background:
    Recording engineer, amateur videographer.

    Easy to use, easy to transfer files.

    I use this recorder to replace audio taken from a Canon t2i DSLR. Bought the accessory kit as well, and overall it's a pretty good solution to decent video audio without breaking the bank. Mp3 audio on it isn't all that impressive, but I always record to wav anyway, which sounds pretty good.

  • lynn smith
    from berkeley, california November 14, 2011Music Background:


    i use the zoom h1 handy recorder to write, record and upload my songs, and to send mp3s to my friends. the sound is great and it's easy to use. my only problem is that the buttons are really tiny and the screen can be a bit hard to read. i use head phones when recording and listening back because, obviously, the speaker is small. however, uploaded songs sound great on the computer [again, better speakers]. it's a great beginning tool for songwriters.

  • Michael Myshack
    from St. Paul, MN June 26, 2011Music Background:
    Artist, poet, audio collagist

    Could be better

    I may have made a mistake buying this particular model.
    I agree with the other reviews that the sound quality is good (I'll be using it for field recording and, maybe, voice). I expect I'll be taking it with me everywhere I go, capturing a great variety of sounds, and that my ability to record in an assortment of environments will improve with usage (like, how to avoid windeven with the windscreen it picks up a lot of noise).
    I also agree that the body is cheaply made. In itself this wouldn't bother me but the poor build quality introduces a lot of handling noise, especially the looseness of the cover on the battery compartment (the handle in the accessory kit presses against it, so it might be quieter to hold the unit in your hand).
    It's not a bad device and I don't regret buying it. I like the simplicity of use. It's great to push one button to record, then when I get home just drag and drop the files onto my computer. It's just a little too fussy to use, to avoid handling noise.

  • Reg
    from Arkansas December 11, 2010Music Background:
    musician, hobby recording engineer (chamber music, etc)

    An Exceptional Product (almost)

    This is a revision of my initial review 24 hours later.

    I ordered this as possible presents for my sisters. I've got an H4n, so I expected similar quality. No surprises. Audio is first rate. The package is all plastic which I don't like except that it keeps the price & weight down.

    I'm likely to keep this unit for myself to use for bar recordings. The mikes on the H4n are pretty vulnerable. I doubt that you could hurt the H1 in normal use. A 300 lb drunk stepping on it would be what it would take to do real damage. It's so light that dropping it is a non-issue.

    I still don't completely understand the user interface. It's different from the H4n, but I've been able to do everything by mashing on the buttons w/o reading the manual. I will read the manual, but I wanted to give the human factors a severe test.

    An update:

    99.9% of owners will be unhappy within a short period of time when the plastic thread for the tripod strips out. I hadn't noticed this initially (the H4n has a metal insert). I discovered it this morning when I tried to screw in a small tripod. The mike stand adaptor from my H4n had bunged up the threads on the first insertion.

    The electronics are great, but the mechanical design is terrible. The plastic shell is too thin so the unit creaks if you squeeze the case hard. Were it not for the mechanical issues, I'd rate it much higher. Zoom clearly needs to hire a good mechanical engineer and listen to him/her.

    The only other flaw I've observed is that it's hard to tell which file you're listening to.

  • Jr.
    from September 24, 2010Music Background:

    Recommended for recording in close proximities

    The other reviews cover the quality and accessories given with this recorder accurately. If you are looking for a recorder to recording in close proximities, such as a small or medium size room, this recorder works wonderfully: You get nice, clean sound.

    However, I wanted a new recorder for recording lectures in a large lecture hall on a college campus. I though the these new mics would pick up sound wonderfully; I was wrong. Even with the input level set to 100, the pick up was very weak. My other digital recorder did a much better job of picking up sound. I would recommend this only for recording in a small to medium size room.

  • Customer
    from June 12, 2015

    Swapped out

    My Sweetwater "REP" talked me into getting this Zoom H1 product instead of the Tascam DR-05 because they were out of the DR-05. Same price. I shouldn't have listened.

  • Dustin Rose
    from Columbus, OH February 27, 2014Music Background:

    It's OK

    I really love the size, weight, interface and audio quality at low volumes. But, I cannot get the Zoom H1 to record my band's practice sessions without the mic pre peaking with every crack of the snare drum. I have experimented with the auto leveling function and also manually setting the pre-amp level (sometimes down to settings as low as 1-5 on the scale of 100) but the H1 still can't produce a distortion free recording.

    I am going to try using a small mixer to record through the line-in feature of the H1 and hopefully this will fix the issue.

  • Customer
    from Olympia, WA March 11, 2017Music Background:
    Professional Violin

    Zoom H1 shorts the battery every time

    I can't leave a battery in it even overnight without the unit destroying the charge.

    This is highly inconvenient and though the recording options and quality is good, it was extremely disappointing and I will NOT recommend anyone purchase this device.

  • Craig
    from United States November 13, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician


    "Terrible product.". This product is made so terribly. Is is not worth 100 dollars at all. The plastic power slider pops out all of the time and I finally lost mine, meaning I can't turn my unit on. I have played about 10 gigs since I lost mine and really wish i had some of those recordings. Please get a Tascam, or save up and get one that will stand the test of time.

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