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Zoom H5 — first gripes from first impressions

published Feb 27, 2019 10:25   by admin ( last modified Feb 28, 2019 11:26 )

Let me first say that I like the Zoom H5 audio recorder and USB audio interface. But since it easier in the beginning, and I got it yesterday, to find some things you would like to be better, I'll start with some gripes:

  1. The headphone volume buttons. These should have been a knob instead I believe. The reason being that with a knob you can more quickly turn the volume down, if by mistake something loud is coming in.
  2. The headphone output makes a slight pop sound on each change in volume. It's probably not loud but I will check that with my other sound card, because our brains are not good at estimating the volume of short (<<100ms) noises.
  3. Unclear when it's running on USB when set to be in recording mode. I eventually made sure it was indeed running on USB juice, by simply removing the batteries and it booted up without them. There is a setting to control this when used as a sound card, but not afaict when used as a recorder.

    But it seems to run fine on USB when in recording mode. Maybe the heuristics are that if you plug in a cable when in in recording mode, it's for that sweet sweet USB juice, since there is no other reason to have USB in that mode.
  4. The weird bursts of random noise incident. After transferring the files to my PC, all recording had bursts of noise and hiss at maximum volume. I returned the SD card and upgraded the firmware from 2.0 to 2.10. One of those things fixed it. Or possibly a combination of them. Internet said, from what little I could find that it could either be a problem with PulseAudio (I run Linux) or with the card.

    For all I know it could have been a problem with PulseAudio still, but I did convert the files to FLAC from WAV with ffmpeg and the problem persisted. But I guess still don't know for sure!
    Actually, these burst were clearly visible in Audacity, so it cannot have been a Pulseaudio problem. Phew. And now I found a file from the old card, and it still has the bursts. So there.

    I tried the files with Audacity, VLC and aplay. Same problem everywhere. Maybe Zoom used a non standard WAV format for a while?
  5. The menu selector button has edges that are a bit too sharp. Minor gripe.