Zoom expands its lineup of portable recorders with the new H8. With a touch screen interface and “apps” for various recording applications, the H8 brings a new workflow to the H series. With extensive connectivity and exchangeable capsules, it’s designed for a wide range of mobile recording applications, such as field recording, location sound, conferences, podcasting, and more.
The H8 is the new top-of-the-line model in Zoom’s ever-popular lineup of hand-held portable recorders, and the first to feature a touch screen interface. According to Zoom, the app-driven interface allows the H8 to adapt to a variety of applications: music, field recording and podcasting, each with a unique setup and workflow.
Each “app” provides dedicated controls and features for the task. The Field app offers large meters and quick access to things like low cut filters, limiters and noise gates for applications like location sound and conferences. The Music app has features for multi-track recordings in the rehearsal room or studio. It also connects to Zoom Guitar Lab via USB. The Podcast app has four pads for triggering sound effects and music beds. You can use the 13 included sounds or load your own from an SD card. This app accommodates four mic channels and two channels of sound pads.
In terms of hardware, the H8 offers four XLR inputs (1-4), two XLR-1/4″ combo jacks (A/B) and the Zoom mic connector for the exchangeable capsule system. You can activate phantom power separately for inputs 1-4 and A/B. There’s a stereo line out and a headphone output. The USB port can be used for mass storage and connecting to Guitar Lab. It also turns the H8 into a multichannel audio interface for your PC, Mac, iPad or tablet with up to 12 channels of simultaneous recording at up to 96 kHz / 24 bit.
The H8 features the next generation of the exchangeable capsule system introduced on the H5 and H6. According to Zoom, it’s backwards compatible with the H6 system and comes with the same XYH-6 dual capsule out of the box. Depending on your application, you can swap it for one of three new capsules that deliver up to four channels of audio. The XAH-8 is a stereo capsule that can be arranged in either XY or AB configurations. The VRH-8 is an ambisonic mic capsule with four condenser microphones and a built-in accelerometer for automatic alignment. Zoom says that this allows you to capture immersive 360° audio recordings. Finally, the EXH-8 is an expander capsule with four additional XLR inputs. This capsule brings the total of available XLR inputs on the H8 up to ten, which is quite remarkable for a compact, portable recorder.
The H8 runs on USB bus power, an AC adapter or four AA batteries. Zoom claims that it lasts for about 15 hours on one set of batteries while using the XY mic and recording one stereo channel.
With additional features like remote control from a smartphone (with an optional Bluetooth adapter) and an integrated guitar tuner, the H8 is the most feature-rich portable recorder of the H series. It looks like a very versatile device for all sorts of mobile recording applications.
Price and availability
The Zoom H8 is available for pre-order now, with shipping slated for August 2020.