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30 Jun 2019

Review: Zoom H1n Handy Recorder ‘the portable hand field recorder’

producer/hardware Review: Zoom H1n Handy Recorder ‘the portable hand field recorder’

We are now having a closer look at the Zoom field/hand recorder range consisting of the H1n, H5, and H6. Zoom is one of the leading brands when it comes to developing high-quality and innovative field recorders. Zoom managed to introduce new, original, and creative thinking within their field of recorders; this resulted in some stunning functions, which we will discuss further in the review.

For what is an H1n handy?

The Zoom H1n is the smallest hand recorder in the Zoom family. Once you see the psychical recorder, you will notice how small it is. It’s perfect If the size matters a lot to you and you need a simple and cheap device to record with.

For example, it’s easy to record a quick sound that you would like to capture for a sample or an interview to transcribe it with afterward. You can also place it on top of a DSLR camera. It’s a very simple, slim and portable recorder that still delivers high-quality audio recordings.

In the box

In the box is of course is; the very small H1n recorder, 2 x AAA batteries, Steinberg Cubase and WaveLab LE and a quick start guide. There are also some accessories options which make it possible to expand the H1n with a windscreen, AC Adapter, USB-cable, tripod stand, shell case, and some more accessories.

There is also a very simple small bag included which will help you protect your field recorder from scratches.

Essential functions of the Zoom H1n

The H1n feels like a very straight forward push and go hand recorder. You can get started without delay and get recording almost instantly. You can use the microphone that is built-in on top of the H1n and the buttons that are there to change some audio settings like a compressor, limiter, recording settings, and a low-cut.

It also has an auto-level function, which is very helpful! On the LCD-display, you will see the meter’s level and the current settings. There is a marker line in and out for a mini-jack so you can get an extra microphone in there with the aide of a mini jack. It also features a small speaker for instant playback of your recordings. With the 2 x AAA batteries, you get up to 10 hours of recording.

Maybe the best feature of the Zoom H1n is the overdub function. It's a sound layer method which makes it easy to record different layers of audio over each other so that you can stack recordings. When we say its stacks, it does stack the recording so it makes a new audio file and the old still exists, then you will have all the single files as well. This is handy when you don't like a layer, you can easily go back to the previous recording. We find this helpful for guitar players who like to record in different layers and be productive in completing a song or recording an idea.

Please take care when using the limiter and auto level; setting the functions yourself is always the best way. But, when you’re not sure, those functions can help you out to automate the recording. However, remember to always test this before starting with an important session.

The build quality

The build quality feels a bit cheap, but hey, it’s a €90, - hand recorder. It's made from plastic, and the microphones on the top are well protected against any damage. The buttons are easy to use and feel very solid. The whole recorder only weighs 80 grams, which is very light! Overall, we are positive about the build quality of the Zoom H1n.


The Zoom H1n is an excellent handheld recorder if you’re traveling a lot and have a limited budget. There are some great built-in features which make it easy to record, without having to dive deep in the settings. Please note that you can use a micro-sd card with a maximum of 32gb capacity. The over-dub function is a key-feature which make the Zoom H1n a one of a kind hand recorder! The size and weight make sure you never have to leave this at home.

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