Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder Review


Image: Merriment Entertainment - Zoom

Regardless your audio experience, if you are looking to do a podcast, audio for video, sound design, or documentaries, the Zoom H5 portable handheld recorder is the ideal product for you. This handheld recorder lets you quickly record up to four input signals regardless of your audio, features a swappable stereo microphone capsule, four track recording, and two channel inputs. From personal experience, learning how to use this recorder is an easy process.


The Zoom H5 handheld recorder offers the abilities to record with six interchangeable microphone capsules that can be easily switched out from one to the other.

Example Of Available Mic Options:

Image: Zoom

• XYH-6 X/Y CAPSULE: The XYH-6 X/Y capsule comes standard with the H6. This capsule is capable of recoding high-quality unidirectional microphones for both H5 and H6 recorder models. This microphone is known to utilize a cardioid polar pattern. They are sensitive to signal coming from directly in front, but they are less sensitive coming from behind or from the sides. This microphone can be moved to a 90 degree angle to 120 degrees for a wider stereo image.

Image: Zoom

• XYH-5 X/Y CAPSULE: The XYH-5 X/Y can also be used with the H6 recorder model. This capsule comes featured with the H5 model that offers two unidirectional condenser microphones set at a 90 degree angle. What is great about the XYH-5 microphone is the shock mount that is attached to minimize any noise and vibrations. This microphone design is great for handling loud sounds.

Image: Zoom

• SGH-6 SHOTGUN CAPSULE: The SGH-6 Shotgun microphone is available for both H5 and H6 recorder models. The design of a a shotgun is great at picking up sounds from the front while rejecting sounds from the sides. When using this microphone, you want to only use it when you cannot position a microphone in front of a sound source. A shotgun mic should always be close and near the sound source to pick up the direction of the sound.

Image: Zoom

• MSH-6 MS CAPSULE: The MSH-6 capsule comes with the H6  model and is available to use with the H5 model. This microphone is known to follow a bi-directional pattern. It has two mic elements that are positioned directly on top of one another. This microphone is sensitive to signal coming from directly in front, but is less sensitive to signal coming from the sides or rear.

Watch Zoom H5 Overdubbing Tutorial:

Video: Zoom


Recording features include a Pre-Record
 function that saves two sections of audio before you press the record button to start recording. In film, this feature is great for unexpected starts in between the filming and recording of scenes. The backup record feature automatically records a duplicate set of L/R tracks with 12db input gain. Auto record is also available to automatically stop and start the recording at sound levels. Files that are supported are 44.1kHz and 48 kHz WAV.

Image: Zoom

Zoom H5 handheld recorder can record up to three stereo files, and up to six monophonic WAV files.

Supported Formates:

• 44.1kHz / 16-bit

• 44.1kHz / 24-bit

• 48kHz / 16-bit

• 48kHz / 24-bit

• 96kHz / 16-bit

• 96kHz / 24-bit

The H5 can record with two AA batteries, with a use time of 15 hours before needing a re-charge with the help of an optional AD-17 AC adapter.
Image: Zoom

The H5 model features both an input and an output. These inputs offers both a mic and line level signals for microphones, mixers, and wireless receivers. Both inputs have a gain control knob, and provide an additional mic/line input with the 1/8 inch mini phone jack.

The line outputs allows you send audio to and from the recorder from the input of another device. This features an additional headphone output for volume control where you can use both outputs to route your audio by DSLR.

Watch Zoom H5 Inputs and Outputs Tutorial:

Video: Zoom


Zoom H5 comes with a free production software that you can download the licenses as well for both the Steinberg’s Cubase LE and the WaveLab LE audio editing software. H5 also offers the ability to work as an USB audio interface for your computer that is completed with a Loop Back function that makes it easy to playback music.

Watch Zoom H5 Updating Firmware Tutorial:

Video: Zoom


• Includes detachable X/Y capsule (XYH-5) capable of handling 140 dB SPL.

• Shock-mounted mics for reduced handling noise.

• Compatible with all Zoom input capsules.

• Four-track simultaneous recording.

• Records directly to SD and SDHC cards up to 32 G.

• Up to 24-bit/96 kHz audio in BWF-compliant WAV or a variety of MP3 formats.

• Two mic/line inputs with XLR/TRS combo connectors, each with selectable phantom power and -20 dB pad.

• Built-in effects, including low-cut filtering, compression, and limiting.

• Auto-record, Pre-record, and Backup-record functions mean that you'll never miss that perfect take.

• Multichannel and stereo USB audio interface for PC/Mac/iPad with Loop Back function.

• Powered by two AA batteries or via USB with 15 hours of operation.
Image: Zoom


Purchasing Options

Read to purchase your Zoom H5? Click here to see what store options are available to you!