Zoom H5 Handy Recorder

24-bit/96kHz, 4-in/2-out Modular Field Recording System and USB Audio Interface with 2 x XLR/TRS Combination Inputs, 2 x Microphone Preamps, and Included XY Microphone Attachment
Zoom H5 Handy Recorder image 1
Zoom H5 Handy Recorder image 1

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Zoom H5 Handy Recorder
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Revolutionary Run-and-gun Recorder!

The Zoom H5 Handy Recorder provides you with four tracks of portable recording power, letting you create professional 24-bit/96kHz recordings anywhere your creativity takes you. It comes standard with an XYH-5 XY microphone capsule, which you can swap out for other mics and input modules to fit any recording situation. Two combo inputs, complete with onboard microphone preamps and switchable -20dB pads, let you connect anything from phantom-powered condenser microphones to extremely hot line-level sources. Top it off with onboard processing, stellar recording options, and the fact that it doubles as a USB audio interface, and you can imagine how useful the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder can be.

Totally Flexible I/O

Swap out capsules to get the mics and I/O you need

For such a small, lightweight, and inexpensive portable device, the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder delivers a full set of professional-level I/O. First up, there's the H5's modular expansion port, which lets you connect the same amazing modular capsules Zoom introduced with the H6. You can read all about them in our Zoom Capsule Buying Guide. What's more, the H5 comes with an XYH-5 capsule, which is an awesome shockmounted XY microphone that's great for stereo recording. This capsule also includes an 1/8" stereo input, but the H5 itself comes equipped with a pair of impressive combo jack inputs, each with its own volume dial and switchable -20dB pad. These inputs let you connect anything from phantom-powered condenser microphones to extremely hot line-level sources. And when it comes to monitoring, the H5 offers you both a line and a headphone output plus a built-in speaker.

Zoom H5 I/O at a Glance:

  • Two onboard combo jacks provide mic- and line-level input via XLR or 1/4" TRS/TS
  • Independent volume controls and switchable -20dB pads provide easy level control
  • Extra inputs available via swappable capsules (See Zoom Capsule Buying Guide)
  • Headphone and line-level outputs provide stereo sound for monitoring and playback
  • Review your recordings without external gear via the onboard monophonic speaker

Always Ready to Record

With Pre-record, Backup-record, and Auto-record functions

There's something inherently unpredictable about field recording, which makes it unnervingly easy to miss critical takes. Zoom equipped their H5 Handy Recorder with three powerful recording modes to spare you the stress of a lost or ruined recording opportunity: Pre-record, Backup-record, and Auto-record. With Pre-record, the H5 is continuously buffering the last two seconds of audio, which it includes with every recording. So, even if you hit record late, you're still likely to capture the sound you thought you missed. Along a similar line of thinking is the H5's Backup-record function, which records a separate stereo mix at 12dB down from your current settings (44.1/48kHz only). That way, if a sudden audio spike causes your input to clip, you still have a clean backup to work with. Finally, there's Auto-record, which starts recording when the volume passes a certain threshold.

Zoom H5 Recording Options at a Glance:

  • Pre-record function keeps you from missing once-in-a-lifetime recordings
  • Continuous 2-second buffer lets you capture precious moments before you hit record
  • Backup-record prevents unexpected audio spikes from ruining your takes
  • Simultaneously records a second -12dB stereo track to provide a backup
  • Auto-record function starts recording when the input crosses a volume threshold

Built-in Processing and More

Take advantage of a complete toolbox of onboard options

At Sweetwater, we've come to expect a lot from Zoom products, and the H5 Handy Recorder more than delivers. For starters, the H5 includes both onboard compression and limiting, which lets you smooth out your sound and prevent volume spikes from clipping your input levels. Likewise, there's a switchable highpass (low-cut) filter, which lets you cut out low-end rumble, reduce wind and handling noise, and decrease the impact of pops and plosives. There are also valuable tools onboard that really come in handy if you're a musician. For instance, the H5 includes both a metronome and a multimode tuner, along with advanced playback functions that let you change pitch, vary speed, and loop sections to make mastering difficult passages much easier.

Zoom H5 Advanced Functions at a Glance:

  • Onboard compression lets you smooth out levels for more polished recordings
  • Built-in limiter helps to prevent sudden level spikes from overloading your input
  • Highpass (low-cut) filter lets you tame wind and handling noise at the source
  • Includes a metronome and a chromatic tuner with handy guitar and bass settings
  • Independent pitch and playback speed plus looping are invaluable practice tools

Marathon Recording Machine

Impressive battery life plus plenty of onboard storage

When you're recording in the field, the last thing you want to deal with is running out of storage or battery power. You've got to hand it to Zoom — they certainly took that into account when they designed the H5 Handy Recorder. On the storage side, compatibility with up to 32GB SDHC card media means that even if you're recording at maximum resolution (four tracks of 24-bit/48kHz or two tracks of 24-bit/96kHz), you can pack over 16 hours of audio onto a single card. And if you're concerned about conserving disk space, then you can always record in stereo MP3 at up to 320kbps. And speaking of marathon recording sessions, you'll be happy to know that just a pair of AA batteries will power your H5 for about 15 hours. We're talking about everyday AAs here too, so keeping spare juice on hand is no big deal, if you think you'll need it.

Zoom H5 Recording Capacity at a Glance:

  • Records for up to 15 hours on just two alkaline or rechargeable NiMH AA batteries
  • USB bus power provides alternative power options with or without a computer
  • Captures audio directly to SD/SDHC card media up to 32GB for extended sessions
  • Track professional Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) audio at up to 24-bit/96kHz
  • Record high-quality MP3s at up to 320kbps for extremely long recording applications

Versatile USB Audio Interface

From field recorder to USB audio interface in a single cable

Not only is the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder an amazing field recorder, but it's also a super-portable 4-in/2-out USB audio interface too. How cool is that?! We'll tell you. For starters, because it's class compliant, you can plug your H5 into just about any Mac or Windows PC, or even your iPad (via the Apple Camera Connection Kit), and get up to four inputs and two outputs right to your favorite DAW software or recording app. Need a good recording application? No problem — Zoom includes a copy of Steinberg's Wavelab LE to get you going. What's more, all of the H5's onboard processing is available even when you use it as an interface, so you can track with compression, limiting, and filtering. There's zero-latency input monitoring to make recording easier, plus a cool Loop Back mode that lets you mix and record a stereo feed over USB along with the H5's inputs.

Zoom H5 USB Interface at a Glance:

  • Offers full 4-in/2-out USB recording to your Mac, Windows PC, or iPad
  • Onboard compression, limiting, and filtering available when connected
  • Direct monitoring provides zero-latency recording capabilities
  • Loop Back mode lets you record USB and external inputs together
  • Includes a copy of Steinberg's Wavelab LE recording software

Zoom H5 Handy Recorder Features:

  • A versatile 4-in/2-out mobile recording system
  • 2 XLR/TRS combination inputs with microphone preamps and phantom power (+12/+24/+48V) accommodate most analog connections
  • Modular input connection lets you attach onboard microphones and additional input jacks
  • Gain knobs for each input make setting levels fast and easy
  • Shockmounted XYH-5 XY stereo microphone module included
  • Captures audio at up to 24-bit/96kHz professional-grade resolution
  • Doubles as a handy USB recording interface with your Mac, Windows PC, or iPad (via Apple Camera Connection Kit)
  • Large LCD display makes navigation and setup extremely easy
  • Built-in processing includes highpass filtering, compression, limiting, and M-S stereo width decoding
  • Loop playback, variable playback speed (from 50% to 150%), and variable pitch per track make this an excellent practice tool
  • Chromatic tuner and metronome built in for added convenience
  • Records onto SD and SDHC storage media with up to 32GB capacity
  • Record for up to 15 hours on just 2 AA batteries
  • Includes operation manual, 2GB SD card, 2 AA batteries, USB cable, foam windscreen, Wavelab LE software, and carrying case
  • Optional shotgun mic, input expansion module, and hot shoe mount accessory also available

Additional Media

H5 Handy Recorder User Manual
Portable Recorder Buying Guide
Zoom Modular Capsule Usage Guide
Zoom H5 Handy Recorder Demo

Tech Specs

Audio Interface Yes (via USB)
A/D Resolution 16-bit/44.1 kHz, 24-bit/96kHz
Simultaneous Rec Tracks 4
Simultaneous Play Tracks 4
Built-in Mic(s) XYH-5 X/Y mic
Analog Inputs 2 x XLR-1/4" combo, 1 x 1/8"
Analog Outputs 1 x 1/8"
Headphone Outputs 1 x 1/8"
Built-in Speaker Yes
Memory (internal) 2GB SD card included
Memory (removable) SD card: 16MB to 2GB, SDHC card: 4 GB to 32GB
Built-in Effects Yes: Compression, Limiting, Low-cut filter, Metronome, Tuner, Playback Looping, Pitch Change, Variable Playback Speed
Power Supply AA battery, AC, USB bus power
Max Battery Life Over 15 hours
Stand Mountable Yes (Mountable to DSLR or camcorder with optional HS-01 Hot Shoe Mount adapter)
Height 7.77"
Width 5.21"
Depth 1.66"
Weight 0.59 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number ZH5

Customer Reviews

Based on 24 reviews
Write your review

Outstanding Device!

I purchased this on the recommendation of an experienced pod-caster and a professional photographer, as well as the positive reviews of numerous YouTube reviewers who demonstrated the versatility, quality, and multiple functions of this recorder. I was looking for a high quality stereo field recorder (for live programs that I present) as well as a secondary audio recorder as a backup for recording audio for a podcast that I'm preparing to produce. The unit arrived sooner than expected and was exactly as advertised and reviewed. It only took a few minutes to unpack and begin using the H5 and I have not been disappointed! Before the H5 arrived, I had already downloaded the manual and had been studying the functions so that I would be familiar with the buttons and recording process upon arrival and - combined with the information from the many online reviews and instructions - was prepared when the H5 showed up on my doorstep. As of this writing I have not had the opportunity to explore all of the capabilities that this recorder allows but, in time, I'm sure I will be even more amazed and satisfied with all that it can do! It is unlikely that I will outgrow it's capabilities any time soon. Ordering from Sweetwater was easy and efficient and their customer service is top rate. Over the past several years, I have not had to ask too many questions, but, when I did contact Sweetwater I have always received prompt, professional, knowledgeable answers/rsponses. I do have to say that - although it wasn't a conscious aspect of why I order from Sweetwater - finding that small bag of candy in the shipping box was an added 'bonus' to the transaction and probably did play a (subconscious) part in choosing Sweetwater over over other online sellers. : ) I absolutely recommend the H5 if you are looking for a high quality, versatile, small footprint, multi function, stereo/4track recorder that can be adapted (with switchable microphone capsules) to accomplish just about any type of field and studio recorder need for podcast, live photographic/video (weddings), or DIY recording projects for the independent musician. The H5 and Sweetwater both 'deliver' on all 'fronts'! More than satisfied with this investment and definitely look forward to any excuse to order more equipment when I need to (confirmed 'gear-head'!)!!
Music background: Professional Musician - Singing Historian

Great Little Recorder

A simple to operate little tool that can be used on the spur of the moment to record whatever you're working on. We will often set it up to record our weekly practice sessions, especially when adding something new. A lot of high quality WAV file options that can easily be converted down to MP3's for easy trading through e-mail. Did I mention it's simple to operate? The attached XY stereo mics are surprisingly good! Unit came with a 2 gb SD card that I replaced with A 16, which gives me all the room I need. The H-5 will take up to a 32 gig card. Terrific battery life using rechargeables + an accurate battery charge indicator on the main screen. I did pick up the accessory pack for the plug in charger and the remote, but the batteries have been fine so far.... and did I mention it's real simple to operate? Instruction booklet is extremely clear, and well written.

Great bang for your buck

I have owned the zoom H2n the last few years and was a little frustrated with the gain volume noise when I would crank it for classical guitar but I will tell you the preamp on this product is by far superior. I have noticed that the guitar sounds nice and crisp without being harsh. I have a nice room with a wood floor that has great acoustics and this recorder was able to match the sound superbly. For under $300, this really sounds wonderful.
Music background: Classical and Acoustic Guitar Player

This is sooo too much fun.

I have been putting the H5 through the paces and enjoying every minute. Every sample and bit rate is rapidly and easily accessible and sounds GREAT!. From what I have have experienced so far, I am sure to purchase the additional microphones available. All factors considered this is the most reasonably priced recorder of this quality. I have experience with many other brands and THIS IS THE ONE! And my sales associate, Brian Loney did a great job of educating me about this product... and I am very happy.
Music background: musician, project studio, voiceover,

Fine machine

It's a little early but so far I can say the H5 is doing a fine job . The clarity is excellent . I need to work with it more but see no problems ahead other than operator ones . The Service at Sweetwater is fine as always Thanks Mike

Sweetwater Advice

Carson McClain

I love the design of the Zoom H5. I love the detachable accessories, I love the build quality, the sound, and the ease of use. If you're ready for a quality portable recorder with 1/4" inputs, multiple mic options and flexible I/O options, the H5 should be on your radar. Zoom is #1 in the portable recorder world for a reason.
See also: Portable Recorders, Zoom, Zoom Portable Recorders