Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2017
This is the audio solution I'd been searching for for my YouTube videos. It's really an all-in-one device - a pocket or belt clip-sized recorder (for a separate wired lapel mic), a standalone microphone and a USB desktop microphone. I'd tried a couple of wireless mic systems to allow me to move around in my videos without being tethered to the camera, but I just wasn't happy with the sound quality from any of them in the consumer price range. The Zoom H1, though, sounds great and achieves the same purpose while also filling those aforementioned extra roles that I never really expected it to.
The included microphones (it has two for stereo) sound great - very high fidelity with low noise. Noise has been one problem I've had with every other microphone system I've tried, wired or wireless - either there's a lot of noise and/or hiss, or the sound is muffled on the high end as that's how the inherent noise is being controlled. But that's not true of the H1. If anything, despite the relative lack of noise it's a little too bright, but I'm pretty confident that a basic windscreen could tame that.
Workflow using a separate off-camera audio recorder is a little different than recording through the camera, but with Davinci Resolve (even the free version) it's a snap to sync it up, so don't worry about it if that's what's holding you back. There's basically one extra step, which is to import the audio files in addition to the video files, but you can tell Resolve to just sync everything up by waveform (assuming you also recorded audio on camera) and it'll compare the files and automatically link and sync your audio files to their video files. I assume other apps have similar functions, although with some you may need to do it manually, which would make a slate helpful.
With this recorder, while shooting myself I will typically have the H1 on my belt with a Sony ECMCS3 lapel mic connected and attached to my shirt. This allows me to move anywhere while filming (my camera also allows smartphone control), and I just need to remember to press record on both devices - honestly, this has been easy to get used to doing. The H1's record button is so big that you can just press it by feel, without looking at the recorder, which is, well, handy.
If there's any minor criticism I might have, it's overall build quality, construction and design other than the big record button. The unit is plastic, and it's that nasty slippery smooth plastic that forever feels yucky and sweaty after the first few days of use without constant cleaning. Also, the buttons other than the record button are tiny and recessed, all the better so you don't accidentally press them, but initial setup can be a bit of a challenge as a result, as is changing settings whenever you need to.
I've also noticed that there seems to be slightly more noise when I switch to 24k sample rates rather than 16k. For me, I don't need 24k since I'm just recording my speaking voice, but for someone recording music, it might be a concern. It's still a very tiny amount of noise, but I tested in silence and I could hear it through headphones with the volume turned up a fair amount. It was true with either the built-in mic or external mic activated, so I'm pretty sure it is the recorder. For what it's worth, I had auto level control turned off, and had the record level at around 75.
Still, at around $100 (or much less for the white one as I write this), I consider this recorder a bargain. I'm recording literally all of my audio with it at this point, and it sounds great for both "live" stuff and in-studio voice-overs.
I do recommend a few accessories to make this recorder truly useful and versatile. The first is a belt clip. Second is a desktop tripod. Third is an external lapel mic. And fourth is probably a windscreen to tame the high end (though I don't have one that fits yet myself). With a windscreen you don't really need a pop filter either, though I'm using one now myself. It's also handy to have a mini-USB cable to use the recorder as a USB mic, but you probably already have like 15 of those. With those things, you can do anything with this recorder, and you're going to get great, near-pro quality sound for not much money.