The new Zoom H8 portable audio recorder extends the proven, professional features of the H6 with more tracks and inputs, new microphone capsules and flexible, app-based operation via a touch display. Zoom now allows up to 12 audio tracks to be recorded simultaneously (MIC IN, Backup Recording, 1-4, A, B, and LR).
Different capsules can be used via the H8 capsule connector. As with the H6, an XYH-6 microphone is supplied, which contains two unidirectional microphones that are matched to each other for picking up sources placed directly in front of the recorder. In addition to the already available Zoom Microcapsules, more will be added later in the 3rd quarter and will support up to 4 capsule inputs thanks to the updated Zoom Capsule System 2.0. These include the combined XY / AB microphone capsule XAH-8, which allows switching between a compact XY arrangement and an AB arrangement with extended stereo width, and an Ambisonics microphone capsule (VRH-8) with four condenser microphones for immersive 360° audio recording.
The H8 has four XLR inputs with dedicated pad switches and gain controls on board, and two additional XLR/TRSCombo jacks with Hi-Z switches that allow for optional recording of line signals, microphones, or direct connection of electric guitars and basses. And if that's not enough for you, you can connect the optional XLR expansion capsule EXH-8 instead of a micro plug-in module, thus providing 4 additional XLR inputs for a total of 10 connection options. Each additional input is equipped with its own gain control and a pad switch. If a power supply is connected to the EXH-8 capsule, it even provides phantom power.
Zoom H8 with EXH-8 (left) or XAH-8 (right)
The supplied XYH-6 X/Y capsule also has a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack socket as an additional input for mic/line sources. Other connection options on the recorder include a 3.5 mm headphone output and a stereo line output, for example to pass on sound to a camera. Gain, Lo-Cut, EQ, compression, limiter, noise gate and much more can be adjusted. Also functions like Auto-Record, Pre-Record and Backup-Recording are available.
BWF-compliant WAV formats with up to 24 Bit / 96 kHz or various MP3 formats are recorded on SD, SDHC or SDXC cards. The H8 can also be used as a multitrack USB audio interface. Connected via USB to a PC, Mac, iPad or tablet, up to 12 recording channels are available simultaneously.
A lot has changed in terms of operation. The recorder has a 2.4" (320×240) color LCD touch screen and comes with three apps, each of which offers specific interfaces and functions for different application scenarios -- audio recording, music and podcast production:
The Field app is intended for outdoor recording, sound design, conferences and the like. It offers direct access to large-format level meters for each track to control the level. You can also quickly change input type, high-pass filter, compressor, limiter, noise gate and other important settings.
The Music app provides direct access to all important functions such as audio levels, faders and volume indicators. With 10 inputs and 12 recording tracks, even larger ensembles can be recorded. Mixes and overdubs can be created in Zoom H8 and recordings can be edited with EQ and compressor. The H8 can be connected to the Zoom Guitar Lab software via USB, giving access to its amp and effect selection.
The Podcast App makes the production of professional podcasts easier and offers special SoundPads, which can be used to trigger sound effects or start background music via touch screen. The producer can choose from 13 sounds or load his own sounds via SD card. The podcast app supports up to four microphones and two sound pad channels.
The Zoom H8 can be connected to an iOS device with an optional Bluetooth adapter BTA-1. There, level meters can be monitored and triggered independently of the H8 application mode REC, PLAY and STOP.
The Zoom Recorder is powered by 4 AA batteries, which should last up to 15 hours. The optional AD-17 power supply offers unlimited recording time.
The H8 weighs 354 g and measures 116.4 mm (W) × 163.3 mm (D) × 48.6 mm (H). It costs 520.84 Euro incl. 16% VAT, including licenses for a free download of the Steinberg Cubase LE music production software and the WaveLab Cast editor software. Delivery is scheduled to start in August.