April 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tool Review: Zoom H1 Accessory Pack

Review of the accessory pack for the Zoom H1.


Music credits: Hot Swing by Kevin MacLeod used under Creative Commons 3.0 (http://incompetech.com/)

What are fashionable Zoom H1s wearing these days? Find out on today's episode where we talk about accessorizing your Zoom H1.


Hi Makers, Builders and Do-It-Yourselfers, Harley here.

In the last episode, which I'll link right here, I did a mini-review and test of the new Zoom H1 I received. I didn't have time in that episode to do a review of all the accessory pack that came with that package deal. So, we'll do that in this episode. This accessory pack I bought as a package deal but you can also get them individually from Amazon and probably other retailers. But in this episode, we'll review each of the six items that comes in this accessory pack and see what it looks like.

First up, we'll take a look at the power, the electrical stuff. It came with a little adapter, an AC adapter. It runs off 100 to 240 volts AC, 50 to 60 her, so it'll run pretty much anywhere in the world. It does only have the spade connectors for the US. If you wanted to run it somewhere else, all you'd need is an adapter, you don't need an electrical adapter, just the physical adapters. The cable is just a standard USB cable. It plugs in one side to the Zoom H1 and the other side to your computer. Or to this device right here. All this will do is power it instead of using batteries. There's no charger in it so you can't put rechargeable batteries in it and charge it from this. So, really all this is good for is to run -- if you're on location you have power and you want to plug in and not use batteries. Other than that, for my particular purposes, this doesn't really do me much good. It is nice to have one more cable on hand to kind of clutter things up but again this is something that you don't necessarily need the accessory pack for if this is all you need.

The case is the next thing on the list. This is actually kind of nice. It's a padded case. It's not a soft case, but it's not a hard case either. It's kind of in-between. It does have a belt loop on the back that you use velcro to adjust or put on something besides a belt too I suppose. It's got a little hand strap that is -- it just kind of clips on here. You could use the hand strap for something else if you wanted or it can just snap on there. It does have two zippers that open up and, as I mentioned before, it has a little elastic strap in there, so if it was on your belt or hanging on something, it wouldn't just flop open. And there's a little space inside here, looks like it's probably to put extra memory chips in for extra storage. I don't think you could probably put batteries or anything in there. I'm guessing -- I can't think of anything else you'd put in there besides memory chips. This, and it is custom molded for the Zoom H1. This is probably one of the best parts of the accessory pack in terms of usability and something you couldn't get somewhere else.

Ok, this wind screen is another thing that probably only comes in the accessory kit. For my particular purposes, since I'm going to be using a lav mic most of the time, I don't know that it'll really help me much personally. But if you're going to be using it in this kind of configuration it probably wouldn't be a bad thing to have. I'll do a simple test here with and without the windscreen. So, first of all with:

Peter Piper picked a peck of picked peppers. Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers? If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

And now we'll try it without:

Peter Piper picked a peck of picked peppers. Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers? If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

And now finally for the two holders. First is this little tripod thingy. It looks kind of cute and all, but frankly it doesn't really work well. It's a little bit top heavy. The base isn't wide enough. The Zoom fits on here about like -- about this long. By the time you get it on there it just really wants to tip over. You can get it balanced so it sort of works but, yeah, I'm not terribly impressed with it. The Zoom is just a bit big for this particular tripod. If you're going to need something like this, my recommendation would be to get one of the small Gorilla Pods. I haven't tried it, I don't have one on hand, but just because of the way they're designed and their adjustability, I suspect they'd probably work a lot better than this does. This just doesn't have enough adjustability, it's not a wide enough base. The other thing you might be able to get some beanbags or sand bags to weight it down. That would probably help quite a bit. It's just the Zoom is too big and the center of gravity is just such that it doesn't really work very well.

In my unboxing video, I hypothesized that this little device was for holding the Zoom H1. I have since changed my mind on that. I've got some more clarity on it after reading the instructions. And I think what this is for is for putting it on a mic stand. After you've attached it in like that you can slide it into the mic stand and it holds it just fine. I think for mic stands that are tapered, where the clips are tapered, I think this would work just fine. I have seen some clips where they're parallel to each other for straight-sided micas. I'm not sure this would work all that well. It's always worth a try anyway.

So there you have it. That's all six items. Overall you have to decide for yourself if it's worth the twenty bucks, or in my case, ten bucks. Really, the only two things, well three things I guess, that you couldn't get somewhere else would be the holder for the mic stand, the case and the little foam padding thing. This isn't worth getting. This is only good if you're not going to run off batteries. And this you can get anywhere. So, these are the only kind of custom things in the box. You have to decide for yourself if it's worth it. For me personally, yeah, it's worth ten bucks, particularly for the case. I think the case is going to be the best thing for me out of all this. And then having extra cables is always nice.

That about wraps up this episode. I did recently notice that Scott over at The Frugal Filmaker has a episode on alternatives to things found in the accessory pack. If you find that interesting, I'll leave a link down in the description. Until next time, go make something. It doesn't have to be perfect, just have fun.