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My continuing quest to find the best equipment for journalists and photographers.
If you’re a serious journalist – or a photographer adding a soundtrack to your work – you need a recording device.
In fifteen years doing interviews I’ve worn out a Tandy dictaphone and three Olympus Pearl Corders (all analogue) and an Olympus DS-2300 (digital) recorder.
They all did their jobs but have two main drawbacks. Firstly, the quality of audio is so poor that it can’t be broadcast in any form and, secondly, the background noise make it very difficult to pick out words – often requiring time-consuming multiple playbacks.
The Zoom H2 is a revelation. Retailing between £110 and £150 it offers broadcast quality recording. It is used by BBC radio journalists. It was recommended to me by a man who advises and works with BBC staff.
Musicians, particularly bands, have also had great success in recording demos with the Zoom H2, utilising its multi-directional microphone system.
The quality of audio is outstanding. Unlike traditional dictaphone recorders, it does not pick up heavy background noise. Three recording levels also allow distant sounds such as crowd chanting.
Also, you have a choice of recording formats, making the machine much more versatile than the Olympus which uses its own file formats and must be converted with separate software.
The only downside to the H2 is the controls on the menu screen which are fiddly. The screen is not the easiest to navigate.
In the age of multi-platform journalism, to have the option to broadcast your audio recordings is crucial. This Zoom H2 is ideal.
NOTE: As with previous recommendations, these opinions are totally independent.
NOTE TWO: Zoom H4 is also available but costs a whole lot more.