Tascam vs Zoom H1 Audio Samples

Thanks to Steve for coming out and strumming a few chords as an audio test of these two Ultra Portable Audio recorders. Unfortunately I screwed up big time. It was late, I was in a rush and just pulled everything out of the box and started recording. I sorta rushed with the lighting too, but that cheap 3 Piece lighting kit definitely came in handy - found here: http://cheesycam.com/new-800w-barndoor-softboxes-3pcs-lighting/

The Zoom H1 recorder right out of the box is set to it's highest recording level, while the Tascam DR-08 audio recorder was set to a much lower compressed version. I didn't find out until I got home which doesn't make this a fair fight. Still the Tascam DR-08 sounds pretty amazing with the audio compressed much lower than the Zoom H1. I'll be doing this test again but next time getting the settings better matched. Didn't want this simple test to go to waste, so I'll just post it up as an example of why using a portable audio recorder over the 'in camera Microphone' is always the better choice.

23 thoughts on “Tascam vs Zoom H1 Audio Samples

  1. Pingback:

    Tascam DR-03 Solid State Fixed microphones » CheesyCam

  2. Lensdude

    Looks like you are having too much fun opening new packages every day to redo this test? You must have a lot of closet space in your home... 😉

    I think several people are waiting?

  3. On the next setup, please do a dialogue test in addition to music. I suspect that most users on this site are looking for a device capable of recording the human voice 95% of the time. The levels from once device to the other might be leveled to favor music or speech, so it is best to test for both situations.

  4. Emm

    Post author

    You'd be correct. The Tascam was set incorrectly compared to the Zoom. I need to reset and start over.

  5. I think the Zoom sounds like it has more of a full spectrum than the Tascam. Playing it loud through M-Audio BX5a monitors you can really hear that the Tascam sounds a bid to "mid" sounding. At least for my taste.

  6. Lensdude

    I listened to this with headphones. Both sound very close to my ears, but this is a compressed Vimeo video.

    Like you say it would be better to set both to the same settings, having both peeking at -12db. I would also record some room noise and human speech (say some sentences with lots of p's and s's.) Then upload the uncompressed audio files to a server. We really do not need the video and the lighting here...

    Another good test would be to include a comparison with the Zoom H4n if you have one...

  7. Very nice, listening with earphones it's clear that in this comparative the Zoom H1 sounds better than Tascam. But as you wrote, the Tascam compression was not in the best set up. Still i'm very happy with the Zoom H1 result. I still waiting to receive my order. i can not wait!!!

  8. Joshua

    Emm, can you do a test of the noise floors with these? In my testing the H1 introduces a lot of background hiss and a weird pulsing sound into the recording. At first I thought it was the lav mic, but then I tested just the H1 and had the same issue.

    To see what I mean set the level to 100 and just plug in a cable into the input and hit the record button. It will just record the noise from the units circuitry. Or just plug in a lav mic and keep it powered off when recording. It gets better when you drop the level to about 50 or so, but that is a lot of gain loss. WAV or MP3 makes no difference. Curious if the TASCAM is any better.

  9. Emm

    Post author

    Yeah I can upload the actual files, but it still sucks that they don't match. Gotta redo the test with the correct settings.

  10. Nick

    Honestly, I heard no difference whatsoever, but we are talking about a web-compressed upload. Would be much better if we could listen to the actual files with high-end headphones.

    We await your verdict!

  11. Michel

    It sounds like a quite low mp3 compression.
    In case you do the test again, can you compare the noise level as well? Sounded pretty good on both, even with heavy compression of Tascam.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    I was on 5DM2 with my 100mm Macro F/2.8. It serves as a nice portrait lens too! Since my studio was quite a mess, using longer lenses with a 2.8 aperture, I can blur out the back pretty nicely. I wish I had my 85mm F/1.2 or 70-200 F/2.8 with me at the time, those would have been my first choices with this setup. To camera right I had a main light on 50% with softbox. To camera left, it was probably only 10%. The hair light in the back gives a nice highlight over the shoulders and hair helping to seperate the subject from the dark background. At first I had the lens flare out of shot, but decided to keep it in just to add something to the dirty plain background. That light was on full with barndoors. If I had more time I would have done different lenses with multiple camera angles and added some movement like camera sliders. Luckily I didn't put alot of effort into it, since I 'failed' on my audio settings. HAHAH.

  13. Cheesyfan

    Sounds good and looks good, can you draw or explain your 3-point lighting set up...distance (doesn't need to be exact) and what ISO and f stop you were using? Looked great. Thanks!

  14. Serge

    Wow the Tascam sure sounds a lot better than the zoom even at its lower setting, It is warmer and and cleaner. The Zoom sounds a bit bass-y and muted a bit. Great now I want a Tascam and I already have my pre-order Zoom on the way should be here monday or so. Looking forward to the other test.

    Thanks Emm!

  15. Emm

    Post author

    I don't want to let the cat out of the bag too soon...LOL. I do have a personal preference for several reasons, but i'll save that for the final review. =)

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