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Zoom H5 alternate in 2019?
Old 25th June 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 

Zoom H5 alternate in 2019?

Hi, I use a Zoom H5 to record lessons and practice solutions, and occasionally as a simple solution to record performances.

I previously posted about enormous quality issues* using it as an audio interface, and Zoom has confirmed that this is a known defect with the H5 which can't be fixed.

I am also growing tired of the long startup time of the device. It is proportional to the number of files you have on the memory card, so with a few hundred stored, startup takes a minute or two to start up.

The last straw was when I had accidentally enabled the 1/2 recording mode. It recorded an empty 800-MB empty WAV file. I realize I should have noticed this from the levels, but a basic consumer audio device should not let you do something you obviously didn't intend. These are for quick ad-hoc use, perhaps setting up while talking with someone, not professional recording situations where you're going to spend time getting levels right and making test recordings.

Given Zoom's response about the audio interface mode ("that doesn't work, sorry"), I'd rather not buy a Zoom product again. Are there other companies that make a portable audio device that works as an audio interface and perhaps even has slightly better built-in mics?

Many thanks!
Ben

* c.f.:

Zoom h5 audio interface problem
Zoom H5 as audio interface creates audio artifacts
http://zoomforum.us/viewtopic.php?t=24204
Old 25th June 2019
  #2
Gear Head
 

P.S. I noticed there are also many mics for iPhone now. Would that solution be worse quality than a Zoom H5?
Old 26th June 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
DirkP's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkazez View Post
P.S. I noticed there are also many mics for iPhone now. Would that solution be worse quality than a Zoom H5?
I don't share your critic, at least not all of it, esp. the non-intended misoperation. You have to know what you are doing and the Zoom devices belong to the more user-friendly devices.

There are some really good iphone-mics. The Shure MV-88 is quite good. And you can invest all of your money into the mic instead of paying for the recorder.
I'm quite happy with the Zoom H6.

I own the Shure and a Lewitt DGT650. The Lewitt is very very good, but not so easy to setup and I guess you would have at least the same problems with all the settings as you have with the H5.
Old 28th June 2019
  #4
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the reply. Do you have any thoughts on quality differences between Zoom H6 and iPhone (which?) + MV88? It does look like the DGT 650 is the more "pro" tool, but I unfortunately need something that is zero-setup and near-zero risk of incorrect configuration, since it's so difficult to focus on the recording itself in most of my uses.

Ben
Old 28th June 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
DirkP's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkazez View Post
Thanks for the reply. Do you have any thoughts on quality differences between Zoom H6 and iPhone (which?) + MV88? It does look like the DGT 650 is the more "pro" tool, but I unfortunately need something that is zero-setup and near-zero risk of incorrect configuration, since it's so difficult to focus on the recording itself in most of my uses.

Ben
I'd say the Shure is at least comparable to the H6 mics, if not better. Maybe have a look at the App for the Shure mic. You can download it for free and IIRC you can use it with the iPhone mic, too. So you can be shure that it works for you. You can make some settings and the mic remembers the settings as long as you don't change them.

The first generation of the MV88 is iOS only and the same mic as the new one, just more features. One complaint about the Shure is that you have to take the iPhone out of a sleeve in order to access the lightning connector and it is a problem in some cases to connect a headphone while using the mic.
The older version it still available and a bit cheaper than the new one. The new one is more convenient.
Old 30th June 2019
  #6
Gear Head
 

Hmm, just reading the reviews on the App Store, a lot of people are having issues where iPhone fragmentation or dirt on the lightning connector causes the recording to stop or the interface not to work. Do you know of mics that allow third-party developers to write apps?
Old 30th June 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
DirkP's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkazez View Post
Hmm, just reading the reviews on the App Store, a lot of people are having issues where iPhone fragmentation or dirt on the lightning connector causes the recording to stop or the interface not to work. Do you know of mics that allow third-party developers to write apps?
Doesn't make sense 'cause you can use these mics with every app that records audio, even the camera app. No reason for third-party developers to ask.
Old 1st July 2019
  #8
Gear Head
 

Should have done my research! Thanks, excited to try it.
Old 1st July 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkazez View Post
I need something that is zero-setup and near-zero risk of incorrect configuration
The only device I can think of that meets this criteria is the old Sony Walkman Pro.

Everything else in the digital age is likely to have screens and menu functions etc, and is inevitably subject to a certain degree of pilot-error.

That said, my H5 has never let me down - I've set all the settings to exactly how I like it and I never fiddle with them so it's always ready to go at a moments notice. Furthermore I don't think I have ever actually opened the H5 manual, which is a testament to the ease-of-operation of any device. Even more important is that the H5 has kept working for me in extreme climate from -20ºC to nearly 100% humidity in a Borneo rainforest.

In terms of start-up time - I've never had the lagging issues you describe but then my H5 is never anywhere near full as I 'empty' it on to my laptop regularly, much like you would a digital camera. Is there a reason you don't do this? Have you tried a faster SD card? The newer Sansdisk 32GB are very fast.

I know the quality of the built-in mics and pres on the H5 is never going to be good enough for BBC sound-library work, but as a point'n'shoot digital device for record-keeping I think Zoom did a pretty good job for $250. Next step up would be a Sound Devices and a couple of mics for a lot more spend and probably even more set-up fiddles.

Just for fun, here's a recording I made of the dawn chorus in my garden with the H5:

Old 1st July 2019
  #10
Gear Head
 

I have a SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s SD card but the issue comes with hundreds of small audio files that are generated because of using the device as a "mirror" as I am practicing my music-making. I sing a phrase or scale and listen back and repeat. I should empty it frequently but who wants to take out the trash every day?

I think your comments about the digital age and the Walkman are spot on. It's ironic that with all this high tech, no one can figure out how to make something that is as "point and shoot" the Walkman!

Ben
Old 6th July 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkazez View Post
Hmm, just reading the reviews on the App Store, a lot of people are having issues where iPhone fragmentation or dirt on the lightning connector causes the recording to stop or the interface not to work. Do you know of mics that allow third-party developers to write apps?
I have used the MV88 a lot and never had this problem.
Old 6th July 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkP View Post
I'd say the Shure is at least comparable to the H6 mics, if not better. Maybe have a look at the App for the Shure mic. You can download it for free and IIRC you can use it with the iPhone mic, too. So you can be shure that it works for you. You can make some settings and the mic remembers the settings as long as you don't change them.

The first generation of the MV88 is iOS only and the same mic as the new one, just more features. One complaint about the Shure is that you have to take the iPhone out of a sleeve in order to access the lightning connector and it is a problem in some cases to connect a headphone while using the mic.
The older version it still available and a bit cheaper than the new one. The new one is more convenient.
I have my iPhone 6s in an Otterbox and online
I bought a lightning male to lightning female adapter/extender that allows me to use the MV88
without taking it out of the Otterbox.
The adapter/extender is small enough that I can
fit it into the rigid zippered mic case with the mic.
The first version of the mic ( don’t know about the newer kit) came with a short 1/8” male to 1/8” female headphone cable that allows access to the headphone output while the phone is still in the Otterbox. I am also able to fit this cable into the mic case.
It is my understanding that the newer version when used with a camera connection kit allows you to supply power to the phone while you are using the mic so that potential recording time is not limited by the phone’s battery life. With the 1st version mic plugged directly into the lightning port I was limited to about
1hr of video on a fully charged iPhone 6s.

Last edited by Folkie; 6th July 2019 at 06:37 PM..
Old 12th September 2019
  #13
Here for the gear
I just got off the phone with Zoom customer support. It turns out that on the Zoom H5 product page they accidentally had the same ASIO file for both stereo driver and multi-track driver downloads. They have updated the website and now have a multi-track ASIO that can be downloaded.
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