Just a little trick if you use this little recorder, the Roland R-05 (pictured) – I have one that I use for my own use for community radio and it’s also good for collecting the odd sound effect. There is a “secret” set up menu, if allows you to (amongst other things) turn off the recording light to give a “stealth” mode and change the mic pre-amp gain, the nominal gain value is +18dB, but it can be changed to +13dB or +28dB. You access the menu by holding the “A<>B” button while pressing the “MENU” key and then go to the 8th item in the menu.
I really like this little recorder and I am on the look out for a small personal mic that will work with it. I’ve used a few similar machines and this one is my favorite for the size and money. I previously used the Roland R09, it gave great results but the build was a lot less robust and more plastic. Handling noise wasn’t bad but it did develop some random faults, like hideous results when playing back files on the machine which turned out to be fine when downloaded onto a computer. Others also reported seeing the record light lit and numbers turning but when they got home no file was recorded..
The Zoom H2 was great value but I’m not keen in the arrangement of the front and rear microphones if you want to use it as a machine for recording interviews. It’s great as a “one box” music recorder as the front and rear mics give you a choice of pick up patterns for different sizes of groups – but if you want to use them both together as an omni for interviews they don’t match that well. The Zoom H1 is a bargain at the price, fairly easy to use – but feels a bit “plastic” and you have to be very careful how you hold it the reduce handling noise. I’d recommend using that particular recorder in manual level mode as the automatic level is often fooled by the din the pressing the record button makes into making a very low level recording. It can of course a all be bumped up in the edit, but it’s not a great start!
The Zoom H2n I’ve only had a brief play with, it looks fantastic, the mics match very well in all configurations and the machine has a very solid feel to it which also helps keep handling noise to a minimum. It’s available now at a very reasonable price. I’d say the only downside in comparison with the other models is that it’s a bit more chunky in size and I guess that’s good in some situations, it certainly sits well in the hand and the level control – which is a lovely smooth wheel rather than the buttons all the others have – is placed right where you need it. If you need something that slips easily into your pocket though, this one is probably a bit too big.