Gear Breakdown: Zoom H8 Handy Recorder
Here at Foundation Digital Media, we are constantly searching for the best technologies available and comparing gear breakdowns to deliver our customer’s the highest quality product for their budget. We’d like to begin passing these evaluations on to you, our customers, and to our colleagues in Washington D.C. video production and elsewhere. We’d love to help elevate your next project to a professional video standard, but we hope these breakdowns will provide you with the tools to get started today in developing your own incredible video content.
Today we’re taking a look at a gear breakdown for the all-new Zoom H8 Handy Eight-Track Recorder. The newest iteration of Zoom’s long line of leading professional, handheld multitrack recorders doesn’t disappoint in the slightest as it continues to elevate the game when it comes to versatile audio capturing. It is more portable, more robustly equipped, and more sophisticated across the board, chiefly through its brilliant touchscreen and welcomed the incorporation of a new smartphone app for mobile control. Impressively, it even debuts priced equal to its predecessor’s reveal price of $399.99, and we’re sure the breakdown below will serve to convince you it’s a bargain whether you’re a video production specialist, podcaster, interviewer, hobbyist, or anything in between.
How It’s Built
We’re mixing it up a bit this time and starting with the form-factor of this device as it really defines the greater functionality it has, but we’ll touch on some of the technical specs later on. According to the official Zoom product profile, the H8 Handy Eight-Track Recorder is “the only recorder that adapts to your way of creating” through its groundbreaking hardware and completely redesigned app-driven, touchscreen interface.
At its core, the H8 is a handheld recorder that supports up to 12-track simultaneous recording (with additional attachments), but on the device itself, you’ll find a whopping four XLR mic inputs in addition to two XLR/TRS combo connectors. Each input also comes with its own gain control knob and -20dB pads for complete analog control. The inputs even supply their own phantom power for any input lines that need +12/+24/+48V.
On the top of the device, you’ll find the newest edition of Zoom’s XYH-6 X/Y directional microphone capsule which contains two matched high-quality unidirectional mics, for capturing signal directly in front of the recorder. The top capsule is completely interchangeable through the new Zoom Capsule System 2.0 which also allows for up to 4 channels of audio to be added through other optional attachments like the XAH-8 Combination XY/AB mic capsule, VRH-8 Ambisonic mic capsule, EXH-8 capsule which can actually add 4 additional XLR inputs bringing your total to 10. All of the capsules connect via a stereo ⅛” Mic/Line In mini phone jack, which can be useful for any other attachment that uses such an input.
Perhaps most importantly, the new H8 reveals a brand new, incredibly large color touchscreen display for complete control over your audio project. It also syncs up beautifully with Zoom’s long-awaited App suite for complete creative control. The PODCAST App and system setting “makes high-production quality simple” for podcasting professionals with the dedicated Sound Pads, allows the touch screen to trigger sound effects, music beds, and more. It even comes loaded with 13 high-quality sounds or you can load your own via an SD card. The MUSIC App lets you control audio levels, faders, metering, and more with 10 inputs and 12 tracks. The FIELD App is ideal for location sound, sound design, conferences, and more with instant access to large meters for every track, so you can make sure your recordings never clip, and you can adjust input type, lo-cut, compress, limiter, noise gate, and other key settings.
Let’s Look At The Specs
While the hardware really is the game-changer to this device, its technical specs are sufficient for any possible project imaginable. When recording it allows for up to 24-bit /96kHz audio in BWF-compliant WAV or a variety of MP3 formats, making it perfect for beginners and audiophiles alike. The only storage devices it can handle are cards that support SD/SDHC/SDXC specifications, up to 512 GB.
As we mentioned before in the section on the various apps available to use in tandem with the H8, the device itself comes with a variety of internal effects and controls built-in to ensure that your recordings are as polished as possible from the beginning. These include low-cut filtering, compression, and limiting. There are also Auto-record, Pre-record, and Backup-record functions so that you’re always as secure as possible from mishaps when shooting.
It is also uniquely useful for music and audio professionals as it can be used as a multi-channel audio interface when linked to a computer through a USB cord, thus increasing its functionality quite dramatically. It even contains a variety of tuners like chromatic, guitar, bass, and more for instrumentalists!
Surprisingly, we don’t have many disparaging remarks to make towards this one. On all accounts, the H8 is leagues ahead of its predecessor, the H6, and more versatile than any other recorder in its class. You might go with a higher-end Tascam for something like a motion picture or a professional studio mixer for a band’s performance, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a machine that is capable of executing those projects and more, remarkably, in one device.
Not only that, but it is also incredibly affordable as far as high-end electronics are concerned, making it perfectly suited for the budding podcaster or aspiring videographer looking to step up their audio game. It’s easier than ever to use, with its intuitive touch-screen and included Cubase LE music production software license for top-notch audio editing, but there are resources available to you if you need some help getting started with audio for video production.
If this exciting product seems appealing for your next video content or digital media project, you can find it available for pre-order before it is shipped later this month on websites like Sweetwater. If it seems beyond your needs or budget right now to invest in something like this, there are still resources for you! Get in touch with us now to discuss what our years of video broadcasting experience and technological expertise have to offer your next campaign or project.