Like I had mentioned, the Tascam DR-08 was due in today's mail bag. Here it is in all it's plastic glory. Not that plastic is totally bad, even the Zoom H1 has it's share of plastic for the build. I haven't placed them side by side yet, but the Tascam appears to be in similar size and function. Will do a nice little test later tonight for audio quality and then run through the pros and cons of each item that I can think of.
2 more Zoom H1 Digital Portable Audio Recorders finally arrived from my pre-order. Wow, seems like that took forever, but I don't feel bad since even the top retailers are still showing 'out of stock' on this item. So in short, the pre-order still worked. Now i'm just waiting for my Redhead Windscreen for the Zoom H1 to drop in any day now for some wind tests examples.
One more day and the Tascam DR-08 should drop in for a nice side by side review against the Zoom H1. Since the H1 is already slightly cheaper it has an advantage, but i'm curious to see if Tascam can get more market share in the DSLR Ultra-Portable Audio recorder game.
The Tascam DR-08 Portable Digital Recorder is designed to target the same audience as the Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder. In fact many of the audio specs and recording features are dead on to the function of the Zoom H1 recorder. Even though the Tascam DR-08 was announced and released earlier than the Zoom H1, I doubt it ever really 'took off' as quickly with DSLR video shooters for a few reasons. Zoom already had a huge foot in the door from the H4n multi track recorder. DSLR users spread word of this inexpensive quality recorder and it quickly became the standard. Besides the lack of marketing into DSLR video the Higher pricing possibly played a rold in holding Tascam back from exploding as quickly as Samson's Zoom.
The recent announcement of the Tascam DR-08 Portable Digital Recorder
was almost invisible to the DSLR market. The estimated street price of $200 or higher for something so tiny and less functional than the Zoom H4n didn't make much sense to DSLR shooters. The reason this article is being posted now is the recent drop in pricing over at Amazon. This Tascam DR-08 Portable Digital Recorder is now available for $135.00 getting the pricing closer to it's Zoom H1 competitor.
Besides the slim profile which would make this a more suitable 'in pocket' audio recorder to replace wireless setups, there's also more flexibility to the microphone positions than that of the Zoom H1 giving it the ability to lay flat on the table and still target your subject. The Tascam does require more batteries than the Zoom H1, but i'm more interested in the build quality and relative size comparison against the Zoom H1. For $200+ dollars the pricing on this portable audio recorder would be a huge deal breaker. Now that pricing is coming in at the new $135.00, just slightly over the Zoom H1's $99.00 dollars, i'm curious if the extra $35 dollars is worth the upgrade. If you're interested too, I'll have the Tascam DR-08 vs Zoom H1 Portable Audio Recorder side by side comparison later this week.
The Zoom H1 has become my favorite go to audio recorder for a quick take. I can get this setup on just about anything fairly quickly. I shot a demo about LCW's BigEye viewfinder found here: http://cheesycam.com/quick-review-lcw-bigeye-profinder-dslr-view-finder/ using only the on board microphones and the X/Y stereo configuration sounded sweet. Of course I was in a controlled studio and just like any microphone, it's completely vulnerable to small breezes. The sad fact is the basic Zoom H1 package does not come with any type of windscreen.
If you're wondering about a DIY, I actually had a go and failed pretty miserably. Sure, whatever fuzzy little monstrosity I created made a slight difference, but nothing like a Redhead Windscreen. There's actually different types of fur, thickness of fur, length of fur, acoustically transparent backing, and a bunch of other things to consider for best performance. By the time I got the materials, tested a few, and had wifey sew everything up, I put in more than enough funds where I should have just purchased one. In fact, I did purchase one and wifey to this day gives me dirty looks about wasting her time whenever I strap on the purchased Windscreen. Well you don't start appreciating good gear until go through some of the pains I guess.
So i've been waiting on everyone's favorite brand Redhead Windscreens to finally release a Zoom H1 version. Redhead Windscreen is owned by active Vimeo Member and Audiophile iamkalaniprince. Just a few days ago the Zoom H1 version was announced, and i'm excited to get a hold of a couple since I have multiple H1's. The above video is an example shot with a Redhead Windscreen on a Zoom H4n, but there's a long list of Audio recorders that are supported. You can find more information about RedHead Windscreens at http://www.redheadwindscreens.com/.
Below: Current list of RedHead Windscreens supported Portable Audio Recorders
Well I wanted to do a cool little Zoom H1 Portable Audio Recorder video review, but looks like bhphotovideo.com beat me to it. I'll just post theirs instead since they touched on a lot of what I wanted to talk about. One of the things they point out is the use of the LAV microphone. Everyone's been talking about using this method since this unit is so small and portable, you can save some big bucks from buying a wireless mic kit. They even found a way to jamb this thing into a Microphone Shock Mount.
click image for Zoom H1 kit
I'll still do my own little video review, but i'll talk about some things I don't like about it. My intent was not to use the built in microphones on the Zoom H1, but if you're planning to, get the foam windscreen which is part of a separate Zoom Kit (above). It's nice that the Zoom H1 leaves everything out to control many functions like WAV or MP3 settings, but these buttons are completely exposed. Using it as a body pack, I fear these buttons will be easily pressed. They should have placed these switches under a cover like the Rode VideoMic. There is a 'Hold' feature, but that only works to disable the playback buttons, not the other feature buttons.
The unit is also mainly plastic. It's nice because it shaves some weight, but feels real fragile. Not something I'd throw in my bag without a hard case, or at least the case shown in the Zoom H1 kit above. Even the microphone covers are chrome plated plastic. DSLR's as of now have terrible audio compared to the Samson recorders. For the audio quality of the Samson Zoom H1, the features this little gadget has, and the low low price point of $99 bucks + Free Shipping, it's a must have item for any DSLR shooter. The only thing we need to narrow down now is what's the best 'bang for the buck' LAV mic to use. My search continues for the cheapest and best LAV mic to use.....
Ok, it is official. Comments and emails are flying in that UPS tracking updates are being sent out for Zoom H1 orders at BHPHOTOVIDEO.com - here's the link to order. I did the pre-order thing from another vendor and just received an email from them that they only received 20, and are waiting for another 20 in a few weeks. This means that although the Zoom H1 finally met it's release date, there's limited supply still and slowly trickling in. B&H is a large company, but even they experience out of stock inventory on hot products. I got mine on order with expedited shipping, so unless someone beats me to it, i'll have a video up on Tuesday. Available at BHPHOTOVIDEO.com - here's the link to order the Zoom H1.