The Zoom H5 + Sound Comparison with the Zoom H1n

Zoom H5
Zoom H5

Disclaimer: this is not a paid sponsorship, I am only expressing my own personal remarks of this product.

I recently just received the Zoom H5 from Amazon and decided to do a comparison with it’s little brother, the Zoom H1n. Although I didn’t have the Zoom H1n for that long, I don’t plan on completely ditching it, as I would like to use both to their fullest advantage.

Immediately out of the box, I noticed that the size of the Zoom H5 is noticeably larger than the H1n. This is to compensate for the added features such as the 2 XLR inputs on the bottom and their corresponding input dials. It definitely had a sturdier feel to it but I didn’t feel like testing that part out.

  • Out of the box we have:
    • The main unit with an XY mic attached
    • The case it comes in
    • A mini USB cable
    • A sponge Windscreen
    • 2 AA batteries
    • An operational manual with Wavelab LE, Cubase LE, and their respective access code sheets
  • Main physical features include:
    • An interchangeable XY Mic
    • An input dial volume for the XY mic
    • The Display
    • Input dial volumes for the 2 XLR inputs at the bottom
    • Track buttons and indicators for the XY mic, and the 2 XLR inputs
    • And Your trusty Recording button with the basic stop, play/pause, and back and forward buttons

On the left side you have:

  • On the left side you have:
    • A line out jack
    • A headphone jack
    • Volume button for headphones
    • A mini USB port
    • And a power/hold switch to turn on the device
  • On the right side you have:
    • A mic/line input jack on the XY mic
    • A remote jack
    • An up/down scroll button for menu navigation
    • The menu button
    • And an SD card slot that supports up to 32 GB
  • The bottom side includes your 2 XLR inputs.
  • The back includes a speaker and where the AA batteries go.


What I like about the zoom H1n is that it’s really small and compact. You’re able to just slip it into your pocket and then whip it right back out in a jiffy, making recording really fast and convenient. It’s also a lot lighter and weighs practically nothing.

The Zoom H5 is bulkier and might be a tight squeeze in your pockets depending on the articles of clothing you are wearing, unless you are using a tote bag. However, it’s not significantly heavier either. It is still easy to carry around and your arms aren’t going to get sore from holding it too long.

Quality wise, the Zoom H5 does sound a lot more cleaner than the H1n. You can hear a clearer distinction in the stereo specialization versus the Zoom H1n. I’ve also noticed that the gain noise is noticeably quieter than the H1n.

What’s also nice about the Zoom H5 is that the microphone capsules are interchangeable between the Zoom H5 and H6. You’re able to use a shotgun mic, a mid-side stereo mic, and dual XLR TRS combo input capsule, making this very versatile.

If you’re on a budget, you’ll probably want to start out with the Zoom H1n, as it is a lot more forgiving of the wallet, and it is good for most scenarios overall. When you’re ready to upgrade your field recorder or you get bored of your current one, the Zoom H5 would be excellent due to it’s versatility and clean sounding audio quality.

I hope you found this helpful in determining what kind of field recorder you looking into getting. I’ve only ever had the Zoom H1n and now the Zoom H5. In the future, I would love to get to know more field recorders and share my experiences of them with you all.

Download the Zoom H5 + Zoom H1n sounds here (zip file):

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