I use the ZOOM H2n since ages. Before I had the H2n I had the predecessor H2. This recording device is the most bang for your buck you can get. It is high-quality, sturdy build quality while staying at a small form factor.
The Zoom offers you two different formats for recording your surroundings. Firstly, the uncompressed WAV format in up to 24 Bit resolution and a sampling frequency up to 96Khz. The five high-quality microphones under its cage offer several configurations. With the H2n you can choose from two different surround recording options (2 Channel or 4 Channel surround recording), XY or MS (Mid/Side).
The H2n is extremely easy to use even for people with little experience with field recorders. It has a physical gain knob that lets you level the microphones in a breeze. This way of controlling the sensitivity of the microphones is way inferior to any button or touch screen out there. Furthermore, you find a small screen in front of the device which provides real-time info about the settings and levels. Next, to the volume control, you will find a rocker to control the menu or play audio files. The selection for the microphone configuration is found on the top of the device (XY/SRRND/MS). It has two indicator LEDs so you can see what configuration is selected even if it is dark.
Built Quality& Design
The Zoom offers amazing build quality for the buck. The device is mostly made of plastic but it doesn’t look cheap. The microphone cage makes the device super easy to transport and durable, which is a big plus in my eyes. This recorder is a perfect device for people that are traveling a lot and are in need of a field recorder that offers decent quality. I never broke any of my H2ns. They either got lost or stolen, so I really never have to worry about breaking it. I overall love the look of the H2n. It`s elegant and simple. The choice to go from a silver color with the H2 to a pure black with the H2n was clearly the right one to make.
You can connect external Microphones via a 3.5mm Jack input, a remote input, and a 3.5mm Line out on the left side of the device. Furthermore, you will find a mini USB input and this is where it becomes more interesting. If you connect your H2n to your PC it will get recognized as a USB Microphone. this opens up a range of awesome possibilities. If you are making a youtube video, for example, you can use the H2n as a voice over microphone directly implemented into Adobe Premiere. I also use it as my main communication device microphone in my studio. So you can see, this thing is way more than merely a field recorder. ON top of that you could even (ab)use it as an audio interface. Since it has a 3.5mm Line in and Line out and will get recognized as an audio device by your PC. On the bottom of the device, you will find a quarter inch tripod connector. The device runs on two triple-a batteries. We recommend the use of rechargeables to minimize the environmental impact.
Real life use
This thing is a top performer. I just recently was in Nepal for work and recorded several musicians as well as a Crystal Sound Bowl Therapy session in Kathmandu. Some of the recordings of Guitar, Drums and Sound Bowls came out amazing. Once I was back in my Studio I was pretty blown away by the quality of the recordings. To get good results correct leveling is a must. So if you are not a professional from the field, or never used field recorders before, make sure to inform you about how to level a microphone. I can imagine a range of people benefiting from the H2n apart from music producer such as Cross-media productions.
Amazingly affordable for the quality
ZOOM is a household name in the field recorder industry. All of their products are of good to amazing quality so you can trust to get an amazing product even if you buy the lower priced models
The H2n is no different in that regard. It comes in at around 120-160 Euros in the EU. This is a bargain deal and a no-brainer in my opinion. I would probably still buy an H2n even if it would be priced higher. If you are in need of a desktop and/or portable field recorder that doesn’t break your wallet, look no further, because this is the one.
If you are a cross-media or music producer and you do not own a field recorder yet, this one is certainly the one to get. I had many field recorders at my disposal during my career that are way higher priced and I would I still would prefer the H2n especially for traveling. It`s small form factor, elegant design and sturdiness is the perfect mixture for a field recorder in my opinion. One huge plus is that you can use the H2n as a USB desktop microphone. If the device wouldn’t already be amazing enough, this feature even further widens the spectrum of possibilities you get from the device. A must have for people on the hunt for a cheap high-quality portable audio recorder!