Zoom H8 Overview
With three app-driven modes that instantly configure the color touchscreen for podcasting, music production, or location recording, the Zoom H8 portable handheld recorder lets you quickly record up to eight simultaneous input signals via a workflow that’s highly optimized for your task. Plus, it’s compatible with an array of capsules (available separately) for easy expansion into 10-input recording, Ambisonics 360-degree audio, and more.
Like other H-Series Handy recorders such as the H5 and H6, you can hold the H8 in your hand, attach it to a mic stand or tripod, or mount it to a camera (shoe mount available separately); the H8 packs an impressive array of features into a lightweight body that’s more than ready to meet the varied demands of podcasters, musicians, sound designers, and content creators. The bundled Cubase LE and WaveLab Cast software programs give you the tools you need to edit, refine, export, and upload your projects.
From the intuitive, tactile controls to the plentiful battery life and powerful audio processing functions, the H8 is well equipped for producing pristine audio for complete musical arrangements, independent films, and panel podcasts. It can supply phantom or plug-in power for condenser mics, or accept direct connections from guitars, keyboards, or drum machines. No matter the source, selectable auto-recording and pre-recording ensure that you’ll never miss the start of a take, and stereo safety track recording provides duplicate tracks at a lower level to avoid distortion.
Operating the H8 is extremely intuitive and user-friendly thanks to the 2.4″ color LCD touchscreen and the three app-driven modes optimized for podcasting, music, and field recording workflows at the touch of the screen.
- Podcast App: With four mic channels and two sound pad channels readily available, the Podcast app makes high-quality podcast production easy. Use the 13 pre-loaded sounds or load your own from an SD card to trigger sound effects, music beds, and more from the dedicated Sound Pads.
- Music App: Record up to 10 input tracks, overdub, mix, and enhance your recordings with EQ and compression, all while the Music app puts important controls such as audio levels, faders, and metering at your fingertips. Plus, you can connect to Zoom’s Guitar Lab via USB to access a vast assortment of amps and effects.
- Field App: Designed for location sound, sound design, conferences, and more, the Field app gives you instant access to large meters for every track, so you can make sure your recordings never clip. It also lets you quickly adjust input type, lo-cut filtering, compression, limiting, the noise gate, and other key settings.
Zoom’s Capsule System 2.0 allows up to four channels of audio to be added to the H8’s capsule connection, creating new ways to expand your recording capabilities through the addition of new separately available capsules.
- XAH-8: The XAH-8 capsule delivers pristine stereo recordings via its two condenser microphones. Easily rotate the capsules from a tight X/Y pattern to a wide AB pattern to enhance the stereo image of your recordings.
- VRH-8: The VRH-8 is an Ambisonic mic capsule that utilizes four condenser microphones to deliver immersive 360-audio recordings. A built-in accelerometer helps ensure the capsule is always perfectly aligned, while the onboard Ambisonic decoder automatically handles the necessary conversions, saving you time in post-production.
- EXH-8: The EXH-8 capsule provides four additional XLR inputs, giving you a total of 10. Each additional input has a dedicated gain knob and pad switch. You can even use your favorite condenser microphones—just connect a power source to the EXH-8 capsule to supply phantom power.
The H8 boasts multichannel recording at up to 24-bit / 96 kHz resolution; up to 12 tracks (mic capsule, backup recording, XLR 1-4, XLR-1/4″ combo A and B, and LR stereo mix) are available.
Record all channels simultaneously or utilize the overdubbing function to add layers of instruments after an initial recording. Adjust levels and pans for your tracks, then use the H8’s internal mixdown function to blend your tracks down to a stereo file.
Maximize portability by recording directly to an SD card (up to 2GB capacity), SDHC card (up to 32GB capacity), or SDXC card (up to 512GB capacity). A 2GB card will yield over three hours of 16-bit / 44.1 kHz stereo recording time using the BWF-compliant WAV format for uncompressed audio quality and industry-standard file compatibility. Note that media cards are available separately, and larger capacity cards will increase startup times.
Alternatively, use the H8 as a 12-in/2-out USB 2.0 audio interface (at up to 24-bit / 96 kHz) with your Mac or Windows computer. For audio interface operation with an iPad, an Apple Camera Connection Kit is required and available separately.
The H8 offers selectable recording functions designed to prevent you from accidentally missing the start of a performance. By keeping moments of audio that happen prior to you pressing the record button, the pre-record option ensures that you’ll never cut off the beginning of a great take. Auto-record can automatically start recording when a user-set sound level is detected, making it great for voice-activated recording.
Backup record enables the H8 to automatically record a duplicate of the L/R input with less input gain. Even if your original track is distorted, chances are the backup version will be fine!