Zoom your audio anywhere with our H-series line of handy audio recorders. Whether it’s film, music, broadcast or live stream, there’s a handy recorder designed with the right mic and recording capabilities you need to chase your sound.
About Handy Recorders
Handy Recorders, also known as handheld recorders, are digital audio recorders that allow you to record sounds, music, speech and much more. The audio data is recorded on a removable storage medium such as SD or SDHC memory cards with up to 512GB of storage space. You can choose between the memory-saving MP3 format or the WAV or Broadcast Wave format with up to 24 bit and 96 kHz. The H1n Handy Recorder, H2n Handy Recorder, H3-VR Handy Recorder and H4nPro Black have built-in microphones, while the H5 Handy Recorder, H6 Black Handy Recorder and H8 Handy Recorder feature our unique interchangeable microphone capsule system, which allows you to change the microphone like a camera lens, depending on what you’re using it for. Other important features for a portable recorder are the number of available recording tracks and the type and number of inputs that can be used simultaneously. Zoom offers you a wide choice here – from the H1n with built-in stereo microphone and 2 tracks to the H8 Handy Recorder with interchangeable capsules, 12 recording tracks and 10 inputs.
Zoom is considered the pioneer – some even say creator – of this relatively new device type. After the introduction of compact, portable mini-studios for musicians such as our PS-02 and PS-04, it was in 2006 that Zoom first launched the now legendary H4 Handy Recorder and revolutionised mobile sound recording for musicians but even more so in the video and film sector. The mobile audio recorder was small enough to be held in the hand and had a built-in X/Y stereo microphone. It was powered by batteries or an external power supply, and the digital audio data was recorded on convenient, removable SD cards. In addition, the H4 offered four separate audio tracks that could be recorded simultaneously at up to 24 bit/96 kHz in WAV or MP3 format. Thanks to additional built-in effects, including a guitar tuner and metronome, and the ability to use it as a USB audio interface on a PC or Mac, this digital recorder was also very popular with musicians.
A smaller and cheaper version, the H2 Handy Recorder, followed in 2007 and for the first time offered the possibility of recording from all directions simultaneously, as it had four built-in microphones. This meant you could record conferences, for example, by simply placing the small recorder in the middle of the conference table. What’s more, the audio files created in this way could also be used to create immersive 360-degree audio for virtual reality and 360-degree videos. Musicians and bands also loved the H2 Handy Recorder as it was perfect for recording in the rehearsal room, with the option to record either four individual audio tracks or one stereo track. All our Handy Recorders can be connected to a computer via USB and used as an SD card reader to transfer the recorded audio files to a computer for editing. The H2 could also be operated as a USB microphone on the computer. The successor of the H2 Handy Recorder is the latest model, the H2n Handy Recorder.
The ultra-compact H1 Handy Recorder, introduced in 2010, with its integrated X/Y stereo microphone, enabled digital audio recording at up to 24 bit/96 kHz in WAV (linear PCM) or MP3 format, and finally made the breakthrough into the mass market, enabling anyone to record perfect sound for their videos. The affordable entry-level recorder offered professional recording technology in a mini format for the first time at a sensational price. With a recording time of up to 10 hours with just one AAA battery and convenient one-button operation, the H1 was also suitable for novice audiophiles. The two high-quality microphone capsules in X/Y arrangement ensured high-quality recordings with perfect stereo imaging. The integrated low-cut filter prevented low-frequency noise such as the clattering of a chair or footsteps from ruining the recording, and the time stamp function made it easier to keep track of recorded audio files.
In 2013, the third generation of Handy Recorders was announced. With the H6, Zoom presented a unique mobile 6-track recorder that offers a whole range of advanced features and, for the first time, includes a system of interchangeable microphone capsules that can be changed as easily as the lens of a camera. The H6 was the most versatile pocket recorder on the market and instantly captured the hearts of journalists, musicians, podcasters and, above all, videographers who wanted to create high-quality videos with professional sound using their DSLR camera. The new Pre-Record, Backup-Record and Auto-Record functions also ensured you’d never miss the perfect take. With its bevelled LCD display – in colour for the first time – the H6 was perfect for mounting on the hot shoe of a camera, and the additional audio output with individually adjustable level meant the audio signal recorded with the H6 could be simultaneously sent to the camera and recorded as pilot sound.
This system of interchangeable microphone capsules is still unique today and can be found in our current Handy Recorders, the H5 Handy Recorder, the H6 Black Handy Recorder, the H8 Handy Recorder as well as in our F1-LP Field Recorder, F1-SP Field Recorder and F8n Pro Field Recorder. In addition to the X/Y stereo microphone capsules XYH-5 (supplied with the H5 Handy Recorder), XYH-6 (supplied with the H6 Black Handy Recorder) and XYH-8 (supplied with the H8 Handy Recorder), shotgun microphones are also available in mono and stereo versions. The SGH-6 mono directional microphone is perfect for cinematographers, while the SSH-6 stereo directional microphone, just like the MSH-6 M/S stereo microphone capsule, offers the possibility to change the recording angle at will. The EXH-6 capsule adds two more XLR/jack inputs to the recorder. The new microphone capsule system 2.0 for the H8 Handy Recorder also offers the VRH-8 Ambisonic microphone capsule, the XAH-8 X/Y and A/B combination stereo microphone capsule, as well as the EXH-8 capsule, which provides four additional XLR/jack inputs for the H8 Handy Recorder.
Introduced in 2018, the H3-VR 360° Virtual Reality Audio Recorder takes the idea of 360-degree recording one step further, combining an Ambisonics microphone capsule with an internal Ambisonics encoder and decoder, and an integrated gyroscope. The H3-VR is therefore the world’s first Ambisonics audio recorder that can record 360-degree audio files in Ambisonics format and listen to them in real time. Binaural 3D stereo WAV files with up to 24 bit/48 kHz can also be created. Like the H2n Handy Recorder, the H3-VR can also be used for normal stereo music recording. Thanks to the four microphone capsules, it is even possible to virtually change the microphone position after recording by changing the recording position (mixing ratio of the signals from the four capsules) with our Zoom Ambisonics Player software. The software also allows you to convert the Ambisonics files for conventional 5.1 surround applications.
The flagship of our Handy Recorders is the H8 Handy Recorder, released in 2020. The H8 Handy Recorder is the envy of former recording studio owners with its multi-track recorder or multi-track tape machine and large mixing console. With a total of 12 tracks and up to 10 inputs, the H8 Handy Recorder offers unprecedented flexibility. The H8 is the first mobile recorder to feature a colour LCD touchscreen and app-based control common to smartphones. There is a separate app for each of the three main uses (sound recording / field recording, music recording and podcasting), providing the user with all the features they’ll need. In addition, there’s the convenient option of wireless remote control for the H8 using our H8 Control app on an iOS device. And when connected to a computer via USB, the H8 Handy Recorder can be used as a multi-channel USB audio interface with 12 inputs/2 outputs, or it can be paired with our Guitar Lab software to transfer guitar and bass effects, including guitar amp emulations, to the H8 for use when recording your guitar.