Zoom cuts the cost of 360° audio recording with H3-VR Handy Recorder
Zoom could have just developed a special microphone head for its nifty H6 to capture 360° audio when shooting VR footage, but opted to release a feature-packed stand-alone Handy Recorder instead. The H3-VR is an all-in-one Ambisonic audio recording solution, so you won't need to buy a dedicated microphone setup, a separate audio recorder and a powerful laptop or computer for making the audio VR ready.
The H3-VR has been designed as a one stop shop for capturing and processing 360° audio for VR, AR and Mixed Reality video content. Its microphone head features four matched capsule mics arranged in a similar fashion to expensive 3D audio solutions like Sennheiser's Ambeo VR Mic, and a single knob gain control to adjust all four microphone capsules at the same time.
The 3 x 3.1 x 4.8-inch (76 x 78 x 123 mm), 120 g (4.2 oz) conical unit features built-in Ambisonics A-to-B format conversion and can record up to 24-bit/96 kHz resolution. It can also record binaural stereo WAV files up to 24-bit/48 kHz resolution to enhance two-dimensional video with 3D audio, normal stereo can be recorded too, at up to 24-bit/96 kHz resolution, and Ambisonic recordings can be converted to 5.1 surround sound with the help of the free-to-download Zoom Ambisonics Player software. Audio files are saved to an SD card, or recordings can be streamed to an external device over USB.
Audio/visual drift and jitter is kept to a minimum by a clock accuracy of 0.5 ppm, users can monitor the 360° audio recording in real time courtesy of a 3.5 mm jack with volume control and a second 3.5 mm output with independent volume control allows for line-out connection to a camera. An integrated limiter prevents clipping and distortion, while a high-pass filter removes unwanted low-end rumble. The included 6-axis motion sensor not only ensures that the backlit 1.25-inch monochrome LCD screen to the rear is always showing the settings the right way up, but means that the device can auto calibrate the recorded audio to match the video.
The H3-VR is powered by two AA-sized batteries for the promise of up to 24 hours of up time before they'll need replacing, though the recorder can be connected to a power bank over USB or an optional AC adapter. And an optional Bluetooth adapter is available for those who wish to remotely control the H3-VR using an app running on an iPhone or iPad, handy for staying out of the 360° footage.
The H3-VR is priced at US$349.99 and will ship at the end of October with a foam windshield, dual mount adapter and a pair of batteries to get you started. The video below has more.
Product page: Zoom H3-VR