I just received my H2. Seller included a 2GB card, which is 3 hours at 48/16. Around 1 hour at 96/24. The standard 512MB card was in the box.
This post is just a user's observations about the H2. You can find a more technical rundown of the H2 and some useful suggestions here:
http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic. … 6209#96209
This post has grown in size as I add notes about my own experiences...
Sound Quality: Excellent recordings, lives up to expectations.
Internal Mics: Better than expected for voice recordings, but tend to "pop" when held 4-6 inches away, even with the windscreen attached. I've been experimenting with different settings to try to eliminate that. You could definitely do voice tracks with the internal mics in the H2, but I still want to test other microphones with it. If you monitor the recordings as they're made, you could carefully hand hold it
There is much to be said about treating the H2 like a "point and shoot camera." Just use what it has...in most areas it's enough to render very good audio for either tracking your voice or recording ambient sound.
Low-Cut: Selecting Low-Cut ON from the menus appears to produce a better voice track, in my opinion, with the internal microphones.
Environmental Recording: Tested the H2 along the Chattahoochie River at dawn. Internal mics/2 Channel Surround. Following the advice of others, I did not crank up the audio but left it on Mic Gain Medium and left the Record Level at 100. While the recordings were very low when played back on the computer, simply Normalizing them in Audacity brought the levels up without introducing lots of unwanted noise. Waters rippled and Geese honked nicely.
Menu System: Very small display. This is tolerable but not enjoyable. Too bad they didn't think to create "Profiles" so a user could have 4 (or even 2!) customizable presets. I would really like to be able to go from an "Environmental" setting to a "Voice Track" setting without having to adjust Low-Cut, Mono-mode etc. through the Menu system.
If you want to delete files on the SD card, you have to individually select each one, navigate to "Delete" and then confirm the delete. You'll be using your computer to delete files. There is no option to delete an entire directory of files.
Recorder Controls: Again, small, but logical, with the most frequently used settings like Record Levels and Microphone selections easily accessible without having to go into the menu.
External Microphone Jack: Appeared not to accept a mono microphone plug on my lavalier mic...but that was only because I had not turned "Plug-in Power" to "On" in the menu system. Mono plugs will record on the Left Channel. You can turn on "Mono Mix" to record the same signal to both channels.
Low-Cut: Selecting Low-Cut ON from the menus with the external microphone (Audio Technica tie-clip) exhibits Much Less impact on the recording. Obviously this is relative to the individual microphone and your mileage will vary.
Very surprised to see that even without a matching transformer, the ElectroVoice 635A made a respectable recording for a voice track. Just a simple XLR to mini adapter worked fine. The 635A does not need "phantom power" to operate.
AudioTechnica's low-priced wireless microphone system (Pro88) worked well with the H2, producing nice voice audio. (My digital voice recorder tended to flatten out the signal, giving it a slightly muffled sound quality.)
Build Quality: Plastic. Thin plastic. If you're going to be working on concrete sidewalks in cold weather, be sure to kiss the H2 goodbye before you drop it. Control buttons are similar to what you get on a really cheap remote control, with a layer of plastic film over the contacts. Slide switches are cheap. Volume control +/- rocker switch appears to be slightly better quality.
"Made in China" on the back of the flimsy battery compartment cover says it all.
What Comes in the Box:
• H2 unit (no AA batteries supplied)
• 512MB SD card
• USB Cable (about 1 meter)
• Small stand (plastic with 1/4"/20 screw for bottom of H2)
• Tapered plastic 4" adapter to hold H2 on a mic boom via the microphone clip (or use it to hand hold the H2)
• Audio cable - Stereo mini-plug to 2 RCA male plugs
• AC Power Adaptor - 110V only, so no sense taking it overseas
• Stereo Earbuds
• Printed Manual
• Incredibly cheap, synthetic bag with pull strings posing as a "protective case," we guess. Too small to hold H2 with windscreen attached.
This is the "mini version" of what they hang on hotel room doors in China to hold your shoes.
The recordings are good. The H2 fits comfortably into my hands...but I don't think I want to go handheld because of the risk of creating noise. I've got a USB/XLR adapter that lets me plug my Electrovoice 635A into my laptop. I do not think the H2 delivers a better soundtrack than that $25 adapter. But you can't record ambient sound or do interviews very easily carrying around a laptop. There's a lot of convenience with the H2.
In all fairness, the H2 works pretty wall as an interface, too. You can connect via USB and use the H2's microphones to record tracks directly onto a computer or plug another mic into the external jack and use that. Setup is simple and you can change your settings like the low-cut filter as you monitor the recording.
Maybe it was just my batteries, but I thought they were fresh...and the H2 burned through them in a couple hours of moderately heavy use. Obviously, I was making a lot of short recordings with different settings, using the Menu Light a lot, etc. When your batteries get low, the first indication seems to be that the backlight on the Menu screen doesn't come on...the Low Battery warning comes later. No Auto-OFF...if you leave the recorder on, the H2 will run until the batteries are dead.
Encoding a 96000 .WAV file to .MP3 seemed to take FOREVER. It's probably another task best left to the computer.
USB file transfer works OK. Just turn off the recorder and plug it in. The "USB Storage" option comes up as the default, so you can just press the red "REC" button and it's recognized. Yes, you could pull the card and probably get faster transfer times. You might also break the flimsy plastic door on the SD compartment faster.
Want a great case for the H2? It fits perfectly into a metal flip box designed for Kaenon's larger sunglasses. This ($25 shipped) case is just a bit longer and deeper than the H2, but because of the design, it holds the H2 firmly in place and leaves room for earphones, tie-clip microphones and even the windscreen if you compress and fold it. (No room for the power supply.)
The case is actually made out of real metal! Seriously, it would prevent damage to the recorder buried in a gear bag. Other (less expensive) large eyeglass cases might work, too.
http://www.kaenon.com/product.cfm?actio … uct_id=595
Suggested software: Levelator