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Zoom H5 Handy Recorder Reviews

5.0 stars based on 24 customer reviews
Questions about the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder?

Questions about the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

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.

  • from Pennsylvania March 11, 2017Music Background:
    Professional Musician - Singing Historian

    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'!)!!

  • from January 20, 2017

    Great recorder---performs as advertized

    I needed a quality, mobile recorder that offered XLR connections. This unit does a beautiful job in all respects. It's easy to learn how to operate, and using the special features (like the auto generated synch tone to synch to video) really speeds up my work. I'm really pleased.

  • from Southern Michigan November 11, 2016Music Background:
    Published songwriter, guitarist & singer/recording artist--performing regular live shows

    I Love My Versatile H5

    Wow! Like most of my fellow musicians these days I'm on a tight budget. I have developed a habit of researching my musical purchases prior to spending my hard-earned money.
    I spent weeks reviewing the Zoom H5 before purchasing it at Sweetwater. It was a challenge to find any negative reviews--most reviews were glowing & gushing with love for the H5. So I plunked down my money and bought mine. All I can say is despite the great reviews I was not prepared for how AWESOME this thing is!!!
    I don't usually gush or give glowing reviews but I will tell that every time I power on the H5 I get a giddy Christmas Mornin' Feelin'.
    The recording quality is great with the onboard LR mic module. It's even better with a quality condenser mic plugged in--and it's phenomenal with a ribbon mic, condenser mic and the onboard LR module in combination.
    One of my favorite features is the ability to use 48 volt phantom power on one XLR input or both. This allows for the use of a condenser and ribbon mic together.
    I record mostly acoustic guitar/vocal.
    The H5 has also helped boost my video views in the month since I bought it. I record the live audio in my H5 then marry it to live video. The low cut filter and included pop filter make recording outdoors easy and clean. The setup allows me to record live song performances cleanly in interesting locations which has helped boost video views and audience retention.
    My experience with the H5 has led me research other Zoom gear.

  • from Kingsville Tx September 30, 2016Music Background:
    20 year rocker

    Zoom H 5 recorder

    Easy to use good quality , portability. I'm using this for scratch recording ideas while practicing. Haven't downloaded anything yet just plug it into amp and play to tracks I've recorded. The mics work well had to lower levels while recording. I would recommend for someone looking for portability. I bought the mount and use a mic stand makes it easy to operate from there.

  • from Northern Indiana July 26, 2016Music Background:
    Sound engineer

    An awesome recorder.

    I'm just awestruck by how nice this recorder is. It's just what I need and more, I love the interchangeable mic capsules and all the features. The fact it has a built in tuner and metronome just add to the versatility of this handy recorder. Add the accessory package and and the other capsules and you get an awesome recording studio in a mil spec box.

  • from February 23, 2016

    zoom H5

    I have yet to use all of the benefits of this recorder. I find it to be a much more comprehensive device than my past recorders.

  • from January 24, 2016


    Does everything it's suppose to do without being a pain to use. The screen is a good size and gives you lot's of info. Simple menu system gets to all your settings in just a few clicks. Feels good in the hand. Sounds is fantastic. The only disappointment was the day it arrived Sweetwater put it on sale ;)

  • from Miami September 23, 2015


    I bought this to record a concert, and it did not disappoint! Setup is simple and easy, menu is detailed and easy to follow. The mic gain on the integrated shock mount mic is more than enough to record any live concert. For best results, you should hook a noise-isolating headphone to the headphone input jack and listen to the live recording to set the best settings.

    For the concert, I set the compression to "concert" and added Lo-Cut filter at 80hz, enabled Back-up recording to record an unedited copy at 20db below original recording. Mic gain was set at 3-4 and the sound peaked between 12db-6db during performance.

    The final result is hiss-free and sounded very clean.

    Only complain I have is the toggle/click switch for flipping through menu is very hard to use and press, often gets stuck half-way pressed.

    Highly recommended.

  • from Middle Georgia July 24, 2015

    Better than imagined

    I wish I had bought this first over the roland r5 recorder. I like the fact it has the xlr combo jacks on it and woulve liked that from the beginning. I bought what someone else had recommended instead of coming here first to look. Live and learn.

  • from Decatur, IL July 14, 2015Music Background:
    i have been playing guitar for about 1 1/2 years

    Sound quality is amazing.

    This recorder is awesome. I can't believe how clear it is on playback when capturing a recording. My wife thought I was still playing my guitar when she can out to listen to the recording. I definately recommend this recorder.

  • from SW Ohio May 15, 2015

    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.

  • from Brentwood TN March 19, 2015Music Background:


    Sennheiser Shotgun microphone MKE 600 + EK 100 G3-B + Zoom H5 perfect solution for my needs! Sound clarity on H5 is beyond my expectation. Love it!!!!!

  • from United States December 15, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Best Studio Investment I have ever made!

    I have recently graduated college and found an internship with Sound Design for Game Audio, and so I was going to need a portable recorder that can capture clean recordings so I can sculpt later on in Audacity. This was the best investment that I could make, the clarity of the x/y microphone is Immaculate! It is very easy to user, and very compact and durable. I also liked the H5 because of the other capsules that you can interchange. I am going to buy everything that compliments my Zoom H5. Best in it's class!

  • from United States November 2, 2014Music Background:
    Film Maker

    Love it!

    When I first took the Zoom H5 out of the included hard shell case all I could say is "WOW" this thing feel fantastic in your hand. They gave it a slight curve to improve ergonomics compared to the standard square shape of most recorders.

    The build quality is Amazing. This thing feels very solid. It's mostly made of plastic that is covered in a soft touch rubber type coating that is very nice. The microphone capsule is made out of metal as well as the guard bars over the gain adjustment dials.

    The Zoom H5 is a recorder that has a very simple design and menu setup that I really like. It's easy to pick up and work with from the start without having to go into the manual to figure out how to do what you want. Zoom really took their time to design the recorder.

    I love the manual dials to adjust the gain input. They are a huge improvement over other recorders where you have to click buttons. No only is the adjustment silent without "click" noises you can also adjust the levels much faster and you can visually see what you are currently set at. Along with that you also have separate dials for your different inputs.

    Zoom also added a line output to go along with a headphone jack so you can monitor the audio and output it to your camera at the same time. Another great feature is the ability to input a line level in without a separate line signal adjustment.

    This is the second recorder to use the new capsule system that allows you to expand the recorder. They have a shotgun mic, extra xlr inputs, and other capsules.

    Basically this thing rocks!

  • from United States October 2, 2014

    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

  • from Tucson, AZ August 13, 2014Music Background:
    musician, project studio, voiceover,

    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.

  • from Tulsa, OK July 12, 2014Music Background:
    Classical and Acoustic Guitar Player

    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.

  • from May 24, 2017

    Beautiful Sound

    I needed a stereo recorder for field recording, and this portable machine fit the bill. Small, powerful, and lots of front end control on board. I don't do anything complicated, but this was super easy to use right out of the box. The batteries last a long time for me, but I don't have it running for long bouts. Plug in earphones, and hear everything being recorded real time, or play back. Simple buttons, simple operation. And look out, it fits in my camera bag. Clean texture recording with great stereo sound.

    Very few things I didn't like, but there are remedies. Any little air movement will show up on the mic. The foam cover didn't cut it for me at all. Even just walking with it would make distracting air-motion wind sounds. I went and got the dead kitten cover and put it over the foam and it helped a lot. Deadened the sound slightly, but no wind sounds. Also, any hand/clothing movement or bone creaking will show up on this. You need a stand, camera mount, or hand stick for the cleanest sound.

  • from Indiana June 3, 2016Music Background:

    Digital recorder

    We purchased this and the case for a church planter in Africa. He plans to record his sermons for a radio program. He was thrilled!! Thank you!

  • from July 11, 2015

    Very handy.

    Easy to use and very compact. The included XY microphone has a great pickup of left and right interdependently.

  • from CO October 29, 2014Music Background:
    Electro acoustic musician


    Gets the job done stereo is sick crystal clear to a pin drop. Make it happen. Sturdy.

  • from Rochester Hills, MI July 14, 2014Music Background:


    I plan to use this as a supplement to DSLR video but I can see it will be quite useful many other strictly audio uses. This is very well made, nice grippy texture, I like the simple jog wheel for menu control. easy to use with abundant configurability features. The use of interchangeable modules adds a LOT of flexibility. The included X-Y Mic's sound great but the shock mounting on them still passes a lot of handling noise on to them. The ability to set audio levels using traditional rotary controls is a huge plus for an guy like me, born in the 50's. But as small and compact and 'handy' as this is you get a lot of bang for the buck, for sure. Love it!

  • from Berkeley, CA December 19, 2015Music Background:
    acoustic & electric guitars, bass, folk/rock/pop

    Great tool, noisy stock XY mics

    Just started exploring the H5. Saw a voice/guitar video shot outdoors with the H4N and was impressed with the sound quality, so picked up the H5. I can see a ton of potential uses for this, but I think I'll be using it most as a quick way to record guitar voice demos without having to deal with the hassle of setting up my DAW and home studio gear. Turn it on and go; transfer the files later for mixing. Might use it to record a natural reverb (i.e. stairwell), and definitely for on location DSLR videos.

    There are some noise issues. The included XY capsule mics are fine for a basic demo capture, but have too much hiss to be useful for clean music recording (i.e. solo acoustic guitar). However, plugging a couple of low noise LDCs (Rode NT1 and CAD E100S) into the XLR inputs was far quieter; the XLR preamps noise floor is low enough to be useful. I'll likely pick up the XLR capsule (no phantom power, alas) for two more inputs, as I suspect the capsule preamps are the same as the XLRs, and the XY mic is the culprit. Built-in headphone amp is also hissy, but I can deal with that as it's not printed to the files.

    It's a bit picky with the USB connection to my MacBook, definitely need to do things in a defined order to get it properly recognized. Much easier (and faster transfer speed) to pop the SD card into the reader than use the USB connection. I plan on getting a fast 32GB card, not that it's necessary for recording, but so the file transfer to the computer will be as quick as possible.

  • from West Virginia October 19, 2015Music Background:
    Audio and Video

    Pretty good, but a tad noisy.

    I upgraded to the Zoom H5 from my h4n which is a great upgrade and well worth it. I use it mainly for recording better audio for my videos. I use Rode NTG-3 shotguns, Sennheiser ew100 wireless lapel and also use the xy or shotgun attachment for kind of a pseudo backup (if the h5 goes down you have nothing which happened recently due to some faulty batteries that were brand new so I now run with rode on camera shotguns as another back up and my h4n sometimes. I'm paranoid, haha). I really like this machine, but those darn preamps are just noisy. I'm use to recording audio in my studio with some high end preamps and those Rode NTG-3s are dead quiet. I always have to do noise reduction in post if I use the H5. After that it all sounds great, but wish I didn't have to do so much reduction. I record at -18 BTW with no comp or limiters the same way I do in the studio.

    On another note I did use this on a movie set for interviews and some boom work. I told them about the noise issue so their editor would know to use reduction, but they said it will the best sound they will have on the entire film. It sounds great, just too noisy for me. The shotgun attachment isn't too bad on this, but it's no NTG3.

Questions about the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder?

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