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Author Topic: New Zoom HxEssential recorders  (Read 2859 times)

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Offline rastasean

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New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« on: January 25, 2024, 11:29:52 AM »
Some new 32 bit recorders from Zoom that take the form factor of their existing Hx series recorders:

https://zoomcorp.com/en/us/handheld-recorders/handheld-recorders/h1essential/
https://zoomcorp.com/en/us/handheld-recorders/handheld-recorders/h4essential/
https://zoomcorp.com/en/us/handheld-recorders/handheld-recorders/h6essential/

As usual, the product video may or may not use the product Samuel is talking about - it's not obvious in his videos.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2024, 11:32:01 AM by rastasean »
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Offline drgary

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2024, 01:05:43 PM »
These look interesting so I'll be curious to see some reviews.  I'm tempted to buy the H1 variant sight unseen but I'll be patient and wait to hear about user experiences.

Offline kindms

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2024, 03:52:23 PM »
its too bad only the h6 has detachable mics
AKG c426, AKG414 XLS/ST, AKG ck61, ck22, >nBob colettes >PFA > V3, SD MixPre >  TCM-Mod Tascam HDP2, Sony M10
Little Bear tube Pre >Outlaw Audio 2200 Monoblocks > VR-2's

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2024, 04:36:26 PM »
Four 32 bit XLR inputs is crazy for $299. Not a lot of reason to buy Sound Devices anymore for the hobbyist if these sound halfway decent.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2024, 04:58:31 PM by DavidPuddy »
Mics: mk4v/mk41v/mk22 > CMC1L/Nbobs, 4061, MKE2
Preamps: Mixpre-D, Nbox Platinum ABS
Recorders: Mixpre-6 ii, PCM-A10

Offline detroit lightning

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2024, 04:50:32 PM »
Oooh...I see one of those H1's in my future...

Offline breakonthru

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2024, 05:04:04 PM »
Four 32 bit XLR inputs is crazy for $299. Not a lot of reason to buy Sound Devices anymore for the hobbyist if these sound halfway decent.
or add two more channels on the mic module for under $100

these will prob be downspec'd from F series but the budget allows you to spring for a good preamp

Offline carpa

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2024, 05:40:08 PM »
Sadly, from the specs it seems this new H serie is still featuring the same preamps as the old one…which was the weakest point of the thing. I upgraded from an H6 to an F6 and never looked back.
Should I go for the convenience of onboard mics I’d probably go Tascam …

Offline wordgroove

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2024, 07:45:07 PM »
yes ordered the h1 essential
perfect for babybox schoep rig

excited
lets go


Offline breakonthru

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2024, 09:53:37 PM »
yes ordered the h1 essential
perfect for babybox schoep rig

excited
lets go
considering youre using the preamp in the recorder with a baby rig, it may or may not be ideal depending on how it compares to other handhelds. this is kinda uncharted territory as they dont spec a max input like the +4dB on the xlr units. it could possibly be that the 32-bit ADC range is well matched to the input, it would be interesting to compare it with a m10, dr2d, etc. i'd bet the pres are similar (in each case a slight step down from gear like F series, and other mfrs gear with xlr inputs designed for mics), but time wuill tell. price point is attractive and for $100 i wouldnt mind cannibalizing the mics. def a better form factor than say the F3 for those who dont need xlr in

as an aside, i think its great that they are finally embracing the market of the average taper who is often visually impaired at a show  :o

Offline wordgroove

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2024, 11:40:34 PM »
i just assumed input is considered
and def uncharted territory

but considering $108 including shipping it’s worth
it i have zoom f3 and i been using
a lot - i’ve really gotten use to no level settings
and post is a great experience

well i’ll know in a couple weeks
let’s think positive
it works just like other hand held
with the 32 bit float tech

Taz




[/quote]considering youre using the preamp in the recorder with a baby rig, it may or may not be ideal depending on how it compares to other handhelds. this is kinda uncharted territory as they dont spec a max input like the +4dB on the xlr units. it could possibly be that the 32-bit ADC range is well matched to the input, it would be interesting to compare it with a m10, dr2d, etc. i'd bet the pres are similar (in each case a slight step down from gear like F series, and other mfrs gear with xlr inputs designed for mics), but time wuill tell. price point is attractive and for $100 i wouldnt mind cannibalizing the mics. def a better form factor than say the F3 for those who dont need xlr in

as an aside, i think its great that they are finally embracing the market of the average taper who is often visually impaired at a show  :o
[/quote]

Offline breakonthru

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2024, 11:46:01 PM »
i would expect  it to sound more like the H1N than the F3 but you never know what improvements they made under the hood.

you can record to F3 and run line out of the F3 to the H1 and get an idea of the difference

i just assumed input is considered
and def uncharted territory

but considering $108 including shipping it’s worth
it i have zoom f3 and i been using
a lot - i’ve really gotten use to no level settings
and post is a great experience

well i’ll know in a couple weeks
let’s think positive
it works just like other hand held
with the 32 bit float tech

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2024, 09:19:31 AM »
At a glance the "H1essential" looks like my M2 MicTrak but with an added audio input.  But the M2 has maximum sound pressure input of 135 dB SPL, which might be advantageous at rock shows.  And it can internally process the audio to a copy on the memory card, including export to 24 bit or 16 bit and normalisation.  It can apply normalisation during playback.  I'm not sure the H1 has those features.  Hmmm.

Offline voltronic

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2024, 03:52:35 PM »
Sadly, from the specs it seems this new H serie is still featuring the same preamps as the old one…which was the weakest point of the thing. I upgraded from an H6 to an F6 and never looked back.
Should I go for the convenience of onboard mics I’d probably go Tascam …

Boosting this for emphasis. I was just comparing specs of the old H6 with the new one. They gave it a new interface and ADC, but it appears they did not upgrade the preamps. Disappointing, because those H series preamps are noisy compared to similarly priced competition.

This new series might be good if you are using the built-in mics, but if you are using external condensers I would strongly suggest going for the F series instead.
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Offline Rairun

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2024, 10:49:32 AM »
With the rumours that the pre-amp on the H1E won't be upgraded from the H1N, I've just realised that my understanding of these devices might be lacking. I know the F3's pre-amps are said to be really quiet and transparent, so I kind of skipped the role of pre-amps when I tried understanding them.

My question is: what is the point of having a pre-amp at all when you have two (or more) ADCs? I think of noise like this:

1. The sound you're trying to capture must be considerably higher than ambient noise, or else no amount of gear is going to help you.
2. Your microphone must be sensitive enough, or else its own noise floor will start drowning out the sound you're capturing.
3. Next in the chain, you have a pre-amp, which boosts the strength of the signal (and adds colouring, which is sometimes desirable, but let's ignore this for a moment).
4. Next, we have an AD converter, which receives the analogue signal and converts it to digital -- the strength of the signal determines where the converter will store it in the dBFS range. In traditional devices, I totally understand why the pre-amp is necessary before this stage. You need the signal to be healthy, or else the ADC will draw it above 0 dBFS if it's too loud (clipping the signal) or, if it is way too quiet, it will render it closer to the noise floor of the digital format (which is a problem when you then have to boost the entire thing in post).

But with dual ADCs, as I understand it, one of the them is always rendering very quiet noises to a healthy digital range, while the other ADC is less sensitive and won't clip even with very strong signals. Then the software will blend both together to a 32 bit float format, which in practice doesn't have its own noise floor, so you can boost or bring down the volume however much you want. So my question is: what is the benefit of having a pre-amp before this stage, if you can just boost a quiet sound in post without raising the noise floor? Yes, it WILL still boost whatever ambient noise you capture and the microphone's self-noise, but those are also boosted by whatever pre-amp you use, so this is irrelevant here.

What am I missing or misunderstanding? Why does it matter that the F3's pre-amp is really good, or that the H1E's is rumoured not to be so good, if there are no downsides to skipping that stage altogether? I must be overlooking something, or else they wouldn't even have pre-amps.
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Offline voltronic

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Re: New Zoom HxEssential recorders
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2024, 10:29:43 PM »
This was discussed in another thread which I can't remember right now...

Auto-ranging multi-ADC recorders like these do not bypass the preamp stage. There is still analog gain which the preamp is applying before the multiple ADCs. The difference in this setup is that the gain is fixed. All level adjustment is in the digital domain.

You were on a roll with mentioning noise sources in items 1 and 2 in your post, but when you got to 3, you forgot to mention the noise added by the preamp. In my experience, that can be one of the worst offenders for noise in the chain if the preamps are lower quality.

So if you have two recorders where everything is equal except one has noisy and the other quiet preamps, and you feed them identical signals, one recording is obviously going to be noisier than the other. Now, a multi-ADC 32FP setup will definitely lessen the impact of that noisier preamp because you're keeping analog gain fixed at a low level. But the higher quality pre is still getting you a lower noise floor and higher dynamic range. The spec sheets prove this.

Case in point: I have a Zoom F6 and a SD 788. Even though the F6 is 32FP, the 788 has significantly better dynamic range.
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