Zoom North America has announced the forthcoming release of the H5 Handy Recorder, which can make use of the same interchangeable microphone and expansion heads as the company's flagship H6, but comes in at roughly half the price. The new multi-track audio road warrior also sports a roll bar to help prevent accidental changes to input gain levels, is capable of recording broadcast quality audio files, and features two XLR/TRS combo inputs with phantom power at three different voltages.

Zoom's new four track handheld audio recorder comes supplied with an X/Y stereo capsule with shock-mounted microphones to cut down on annoying handling noise, and extended signal capacity. The company claims that a maximum sound pressure level of up to 140 db allows the H5 to handle louder sounds than any other Handy Recorder, and it also benefits from up to 52 dB input gain and -45 dB sensitivity (1kHz at 1 Pa). It can also use any of the other four snap-on/snap-off input capsules currently in production.

The device records direct to an SD memory card (comes with a 2 GB card, but supports up to 32 GB), and supports both BWF-compliant WAV format at up to 24-bit/96 kHz resolution and 44.1 kHz MP3 files at bit rates of up to 320 kbps. It features a built-in compressor and limiter to help make input level fluctuations less of a worry, a lo-cut filter to keep wind noise in check, and for the musician, the H5 sports its own metronome and chromatic tuner. Users can control playback speed and pitch, loop playback and it's possible to mix down a multitrack recording to stereo on the recorder itself.

The H5 can be held in the hand, mounted on a tripod, or an optional adapter makes it possible to mount the recorder directly to a hot-shoe-packing stills or video camera. It can be set to automatically start a recording when a particular sound level is detected, and shut off when the sound drops below that level, and a useful Backup Record feature will capture a duplicate recording at a lower input gain, so even if your original multi-track recording is distorted, you still have a second one to fall back on.

To the bottom of the Handy Recorder are two XLR/TRS combo inputs with individual gain controls to allow external microphones and/or line-level instruments to be connected to the recorder – 12, 24, or 48 V phantom power can be activated for one or both inputs.

There's a USB audio interface for data transfer to and from a computer or mobile device, a 3.5 mm headphone jack for monitoring, a mono speaker to the rear and a stereo line-out for cabled connection to a camcorder's line-in jack.

Zoom reports that users can expect up to 15 hours of continuous recording before the two AA-sized alkaline batteries in the belly of the best will need replacing, but the H5 can also be bus powered.

The Zoom H5 Handy Recorder will be available from June 1 for US$269.99.

Product page: H5 Handy Recorder

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