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Are you looking for an ultra-compact digital audio recorder that you can mount on a tripod, carry around with you all the time, and attach to your video-enabled DLSR? Do you want something drop-dead easy to use? Would you prefer not to spend over $100 on a device like this? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the solution is due to arrive in late July, and it's called the Zoom H1.
Zoom is no stranger to the portable digital recorder market. The popular Zoom H2 raised the bar for how much functionality can be packed into a compact audio device. The Zoom H4n, with its professional XLR microphone inputs, has become one of the most popular audio recorders for use with video-enabled DSLR cameras (for more information on using an audio recorder in a video shoot, check out this B&H InDepth article).
The new H1 borrows some of the strongest features of its predecessors (excellent sounding X/Y stereo microphones, high-speed USB 2.0 connectivity, an external mic/line input, etc.) and fits them into a smaller chassis. The H1 was designed to be the easiest to use recorder on the market. All of the controls are positioned so you can operate it with a single hand. There are no menus to navigate through on its backlit LCD screen. A few hardware buttons and switches allow you to control everything on the recorder.
Like the Zoom H4n, the new H1 features a well conceived tripod mount that's situated in the center of the rear of the unit. This evenly distributes the weight of the H1 when mounted on the shoe of a DSLR camera. Some accessories like a 2GB MicroSD card and a AA battery are included with the H1, but a camera shoe mount (like the Pearstone Male Accessory Shoe Adapter) needs to be purchased separately in order to mount the recorder to a camera.
You can really deck out your Zoom H1 with the optional APH-1 accessory package. It includes a nice little padded shell case, a mini tripod, a foam windscreen (which is critical for outdoor use), a USB cable, an AC adapter, and an adapter that enables you to mount the H1 into a microphone stand.
With its compact size, full feature set, and super budget-friendly price tag, the Zoom H1 is sure to be a hit. If you have any questions about the Zoom H1 or portable audio recorders in general, feel free to post them in the Comments section below.