Zoom H1 Field Recorder Setup

Back in the Zoom H1 accessory episode of The Frugal Filmmaker, I said I would elaborate on a field recorder setup. This is a fairly painless process of attaching a few add-ons to make your little recorder (no matter what the brand) more practical in an on-set recording scenario.

The main pieces you'll need are your recorder, some kind of XLR adapter (I'm using Sign Video's XLR-PRO, a dual adapter you can also find used on eBay) and an XLR female to dual male Y-cable. Then, just attach your recorder to the XLR adapter and the Y-cable to the box. I'm also using the Sima Quikonnect system which allows quick interchangeability between various recording devices and mounts (camera, recorder, tripod, stabilizer rig, table dolly). That's what those hunks of plastic are you see attached to the box (and one you can't see on the bottom of the Zoom H1).

The XLR-PRO allows me to use any kind of pro XLR audio I want to plug into the H1. As a passive mixer, it also lets me adjust the audio level of each stereo channel--something I can't do on the recorder itself. The Y-cable gives me two mono channels, one I set normally (-12db) and one I run slightly lower. This is a backup track in case an actor speaks loud enough to go past 0db and peak the audio, causing distortion. If that happens, I now have an alternate track that should hit at the appropriate level, with no distortion.

All that remains now is a way to mount the whole rig on your body. I didn't want anything hanging around my neck, so I used the Vivitar mini-tripod/hand grip and stuck it in my belt. It worked well and allowed easy access to the controls.

This setup makes your Zoom H1 that much more versatile, if you already have the parts (or can get them used). If you buy the recorder and XLR box new, you'll be spending $250. In that case, you may as well get the Zoom H4n. You'll still need a Y-cable though.


dwaisman said…
Great article.
I would like to add that the H4n allows you to record 4 channels. I actually use the 3.5 connector for lavaliere microphone and the XLR for shout guns or ambient sound or to record music instrument.

Thanks for the article
Unknown said…
Hi Scott, I can't seem to email you directly to ask some questions. Basically I live in the UK and can't seem to find the XLR mixer you use. Also I'm not very DIY savy so I'm not sure how you've attached everything? Please could you guide me