I often get questions about the quality of the built in microphone on the Zoom H1. I can safely say after running a few tests between the Zoom H4N and the zoom H1, I can barely tell the difference.  The Zoom H1 is basically just the Zoom H4N without all the features and the built in microphones preform about as close as you can get to the Zoom H4N without being the H4N.

The Zoom H1 is ruffly half the size of the Zoom H4N. It is probably easiest to start by listing all of the things that the Zoom H1 is missing compared to the H4N. The zoom H1 doesn’t have XLR inputs, no 4 track recording mode, it can’t be used as a usb audio interface for your computer, it doesn’t have a remote control option, the built in microphone capsules don’t rotate, it isn’t as durable, and the 1/4 20 threaded hole on the back is made of plastic not metal.

So what does the Zoom H1 have? Well for starters it has a price tag of $99, it can record in a few audio formats including wav and mp3, it has a low cut filter built in to reduce rumble, it has good built in stereo microphones, very good battery performance, it has a big red recording button on the front that screams “don’t panic”, and it is smaller and lighter then its bigger brother. That last one makes it ideal for hot shoe mounting.

There is a way to add some of the functionality of the Zoom H4N to the Zoom H1. If you pick up a XLR audio adapter and attach it to your Zoom H1 it allows you to feed 2 XLR inputs into the H1 and gives you independent audio level control with a real knob (the built in button isn’t very handy for adjusting levels while your recording).  You can usually find these XLR adapters for between $40 and $150, they used to be very popular for cameras like the HV20 and if your willing to wait then Ebay is often a good place to look.

The Zoom H4n has way more features then the Zoom h1 but maybe you don’t need all of those features or maybe you only have $100 to spend. Either way the Zoom H1 isn’t bad for the price I tend to use it almost as much as the zoom H4N.

I have a full video review of the Zoom H4N I did over the course of a six pack if you’re willing to sit through it. I will post a more coherent review of the features on the Zoom H4N in the future since this really ended up being a Zoom H1 Review.

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