NAMM 2024: “You’ll never have to adjust levels” - Zoom’s new Essential Series handheld recorders have 32-bit float for clip-free recordings every time, and are more accessible than ever before

Zoom H6 Essential
(Image credit: Zoom)

NAMM 2024: To paraphrase S Club 7, there ain’t no field recorder like a Zoom handheld audio recorder, and the company has now refreshed its Essential Series with three new models: H1, H4 and H6.

Starting at the top of the range, the H6 (£342/€391) has dual AD converters and can record up to six tracks. A colour display shows the waveforms for these, and there’s also a built-in mixer. You get four XLR/jack combo inputs, plus an interchangeable XY microphone capsule.

Connect the H6 to your computer via USB-C and it can also be used as an audio interface, while simultaneously being capable of recording to SD card.

The H4 (£226/€260) is the successor to the H4nPro and gives you four tracks to work with. The XY microphones are said to have been improved, and there’s a colour display. Soft touch recording and rotary controls, meanwhile, are designed for quiet operation, and as with the H6, you get those USB-C audio interfacing capabilities.

Finally, we have the H1 (£114/€129), which is billed as “the easiest to use recorder in the world”. There’s a built-in stereo microphone, and you can also engage a mono mode. Your waveform is displayed on an OLED screen, and this one can be used as a USB microphone.

All three new models in the Essential Series have 32-bit float recording, so you’ll “never have to adjust levels”. They’re also notable for their accessibility features - menus can be navigated through audio descriptions that are offered in multiple languages. The H6 and H4 are also compatible with the optional BTA-1 Bluetooth adapter, which enables you to sync them via timecode and control them remotely using the companion iOS app.

Find out more about the new Essential Series on the Zoom website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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