Pros High quality recording up to 24bit 96Kbps PCM, 4-track recording with 4 built-in mics, packed with accessories
Cons Doesn't seem too rugged, a bit of a battery vampire.
Summary I can't recall the last time I saw a value like the Zoom H-2. I ordered one as soon as I read Steve Guttenberg's post on news.com. I was not disappointed. In fact I'm surprised at how the unit held up to, and sometimes exceeded, my already high expectations. The box came jammed with accessories: windscreen, 2 stands for the tripod mount in base, ac adapter, sd card & a few more items I can't recall, but that I expected to have to get separately. The one thing not included was a pair of AA batteries. I planned all along to run the unit on NiMH batteries, and that's worked out well ...although the battery life is often about 3hrs. This is still quite adequate for 4-track 24bit/48Khz .WAV files (or 2-track 24bit/96Khz recording). The unit has a four mic array - in a roughly X shaped pattern - and in 2ch mode will switch between a mix of all four or either the front or back facing pair. It will record PCM .WAV and .MP3 files at a variety of sample rates & bit depths. I've heard some gripes about it's ext mic inputs & slow USB transfer, but since I always use the built-in mics and xfer from an SD card reader, these "shortcomings" are bypassed.
I'm using a 4GB SDHC card, and I've heard - but not tried - that higher capacity cards work fine too. The unit is mostly plastic & the switches seem fragile, but for the ridiculously low cost, gentle handling is not too much to ask. The Zoom H-2 has exceeded all my expectations, and is the best value of any gadget I can recall owning.
Pros Uses cheap SD cards, quality is great
Cons Interface is fine, but somewhat basic
Summary For the price, the Zoom H2 is unmatched. I use if for 3 main purposes: for research interviews, for recording audio for podcasts, and for ambient recording of my rock band. It works well in all three applications. It's two AA batteries last for about 4 hours (it also comes with a mains adapter, uses SD cards up to at least 4gb and has a range of recording formats including MP3 in various qualities.
Can't fault it really. User interface is somewhat basic, but is completely functional. Slightly plasticky, but what do you expect for the price? Some say it seems to resemble a man's electric razor, but that's kind of cool too. If you're going to record large files, think about getting a high-speed card reader connected to your computer: the USB cable will transfer, but it's slow. Apparently the Zoom will also function as an audio-digital interface, but I haven't tried that yet. And, of course, it's incredibly portable.
I think this device is destined to be a long-lived classic of the ilk of the 80's-era Akai sampler. Great value for the money, and hugely empowering. Better than devices 2-3 times the price.
Pros Very easy to use, sounds great
Cons Only comes with a 512MB SD card
Summary I'm a musician and I bought this to captures song ideas that are created when I rehearse with my band. It has three gain settings so you can recording anything from a full rock band to birds chirping in your back yard. It also has four built-in condenser mikes so you can record in surround sound. I bought a 2GB SD for $20 so I could have more recording time. I can't say enough about how wonderful this has been to have in the band setting. The files are very easy to copy to your desktop. I record rehearsals then share out the song ideas for other players to work on. Awesome device!
"best of the 3"on by hhjgfku
Pros better display/easier to adjust the recording levels/nice mic placement/compact design
Cons external mic jack flimsy,side switches not recessed enough,internal mics have no bottom..very mid heavy
Summary much better design than h4..the mics are placed in such a way that you can place it in your shirt pocket...they changed the level setting function so you can adjust the record levels without messing with the h4's complicated jog dial(which is a major hassle since the jog dial always seemed on the verge of breaking) also when you messed with the jog dial to adjust the levels while recording ,you could hear it on the recording...that is eliminated by the h2..plugging in a external mic turns off the the internal mics and unplugging the external mic turns on the internal mics...with the h4 you again had to push a lot of buttons to switch mics...but ,when setting the levels if you dont get them high enough you will have hiss...and you have to set the attenuators right or you will have clipping(although when you look at the levels you can tell if it is clipping if you know what to look for) also the on-board mics frequency response drops like a rock on the low end..although the mics do have a smooth sound.. just not as crisp and transparent as I like ...but you can solve that problem by using a external mic(I use a audio-technica at-4041 condenser mic with a deneke 48v portable external phantom power supply and that sounds excellent)..I have also used the at853a mini cardiod condenser mic with the at8531 power module ...also audio-technica....
Pros Price is incredible for the results you get.
Cons Feels a bit frail in the hand, although I always mount it via tripod or mic stand.
Summary Great for quick recordings of practice or live gigs.