Zoom H2n vs. Zoom H1n: How Do They Differ?

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Zoom has a long history of producing high-quality audio recorders for multiple purposes. If you love podcasting and want to include interviews or on-the-scene reporting, the H2n and H1n are essential items to consider adding to your resources.

The Zoom H1n uses a straightforward design with clearly labeled buttons and commands. It doesn’t require additional apps or software to use, which means you can put batteries in it and record straight from the box.

You’ll notice the Zoom H1n is lighter and a little smaller than the H2n, but that comes at a price. When you choose the H2n, you’ll receive a better overall recording experience. The microphones pick up the nuances in sound frequencies more reliably, translating to a more authentic listening experience.

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What to Expect from the Zoom H2n vs. the Zoom H1n

The Zoom H2n is built to record musical performances and other live events, while the Zoom H1n is more for interviews, personal thoughts, or vocal descriptions.

Both voice recorders provide natural sound without distortion, using the X/Y configuration to ensure audio clarity.

The Zoom H2n offers two- or four-channel surround sound features to deliver a better stereo performance while only needing 2.5 volts. It also includes a data-saving feature that reduces the risk of corruption if you’re recording when the battery runs out.

Here are some of the other key comparisons to review if you’re looking at the Zoom H2n vs. the H1n for your recording needs.

Related: Using Zoom H1n for Interviews: A Review

Key Features of the Zoom H2n

  • Users receive over 20 hours of operation when using two standard AA alkaline batteries with this voice recorder.
  • It features an A/B repeat, file division, normalization, post-encoding for MP3 files, and a surround mixer.
  • Records in WAV or MP3 files at 24-bit, 96 kHz and 320 kbps.
  • It offers a clear, natural sound with its stock setup that requires less modification or editing when creating podcasts.
  • The voice recorder is 2.7 x 1.7 x 4.5 inches in size.

Key Features of the Zoom H1n

  • Users receive approximately 10 hours of usable time with this voice recorder while using two AAA alkaline batteries.
  • The built-in stereo condenser microphones use a 90-degree X/Y format while offering the option to use a plug-in mic.
  • Records in WAV or MP3 files at 24-bit, 96 kHz and 320 kbps.
  • Records loud environmental noises, even with a windscreen available in the accessory pack, which means more editing work is necessary.
  • The voice recorder is 5.4 x 1.9 x 1.2 inches in size.

The Zoom H2n is short and stout, while the H1n is long and skinny. If you want something lightweight and portable, the H1n is the better choice, but the H2n offers a better overall recording experience.

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Why Choose the Zoom H2n over the Zoom H1n?

The H2n offers not one, not two, but five built-in microphones. Image Source.

Although the Zoom H2n and H1n provide essential recording functions, the H2n delivers the best authentic listening experience. This outcome is possible because the H2n uses five microphones and four recording modes to ensure more configuration options are available.

There can be times when the H1n distorts the sound, especially when using the MP3 recording function. That outcome is less likely to occur with the H2n.

The H2n also offers a compression function to ensure the recording is clear and concise, making it ready to add to your podcast with minimal editing. It comes with a 2 GB SD card while offering the same USB features as the H1n.

Users also receive Steinberg WaveLab LE with both voice recorders and a one-year warranty on their purchase.

Zoom H2n vs. Zoom H1n: Which Is Better?

It could be argued that podcasters would benefit from having both Zoom voice recorders in their collection. Each one shines when it is given a specific purpose. If you only need one, then a closer look at your recording needs is necessary.

The Zoom H1n works well for interviews, one-on-one conversations, or recording a class lecture. Although you can’t skip between files, that issue is easily managed by transferring the file to your DAW or other software tools after the audio recording work is complete.

When using the Zoom H2n, you can take advantage of its longer battery life to record more audio for your podcast. It does better with natural sounds and interviews in chaotic environments, but it still picks up some background sounds.


What stands out are the pre-record, auto-record, and metronome on the Zoom H2n. It limits data after recording with compression, which you cannot get with the H1n.

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