Samson Technologies is about to release its smallest portable recorder to date. The Zoom H1 Handy Recorder is capable of recording up to 24-bit/96kHz WAV or 320Kbps MP3 using its built-in or external stereo microphones, and has an easy-to-use hardware-based user interface, where all of the controls are placed within easy reach. It weighs just a couple of ounces, runs on one AA battery and records to microSD.

Placing the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder's onboard microphones in an X/Y pattern puts them at the same distance from the source of the audio and avoids phase shifting issues. It is said to provide the same professional-quality stereo imaging seen in the company's popular H2 recorder and the Q3 we have previously featured.

Despite its diminutive size, the H1 is heavy on features, as the company's Mark Wilder confirms. "Don't let its size fool you. The H1 Handy Recorder features our studio-quality microphones and our award winning recording technology at a very affordable price," he stated.

The Handy Recorder's built-in microphones can capture sounds in a number of recording formats, from 16-bit/44.1kHz to 24-bit/96kHz broadcast quality WAV, or as 48Kbps to 320Kbps MP3. Recordings are saved to an included 2GB microSD, which is of course expandable up to 32GB per card (enough for over 50 hours of recording time at 16-bit/44.1 kHz). The device also includes a stereo line-in, should the user wish to use an external microphone, and a reference speaker at the bottom, which allows for a quick sound quality check. A headphone jack allows for continuous monitoring.

The H1's hardware-based user interface places all of the controls within fingertip (or thumb) reach, including input level, volume level, playback and pause, marker, forward and rewind buttons. An LED screen to the front shows information on recording levels, file format, time elapsed, remaining battery life and recording time.

As well as obvious musical applications, the H1 can also shoe mount its way onto modern digital SLRs (such as Canon's T2i shown here) to give a movie some quality stereo sound to go with the high definition video. Like Roland's R-05 featured recently, Samson also sees the handy recorder being useful for interviews, lectures, recitals and business meetings.

Onward connectivity to computers or laptops is catered to by a USB 2.0 port, and power is supplied by a standard AA battery, which is said to be good for about 10 hours of use.

The Zoom H1 Handy Recorder is available from the end of July for US$99.

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