Newly Released Zoom Essential Line: H1, H4 and H6 with 32-Bit Float Recording

February 5, 2024
4 mins read
Zoom H6 Essential in Man's Hand

Zoom is known to be the most reputable handheld recorder series on the market. As we enter the new year of 2024, Zoom has launched a refreshed version of their classic recorders, H1, H4, and H6, with a new Essential line. Featuring the same counterparts, the Essential status comes from the 32-bit float recording capability. What does this mean? Well, it has the ability to produce clip-free recordings without the need to set gain levels. That sounds like a game-changer!


The Classics Revamped

The H1, H4, and H6 series have been staples in all aspects of audio, from podcasting to music and film.

The anxiety of running out of storage has now been resolved, with each recorder capable of handling up to a whopping 1TB of storage. A new color LED screen on the H4 and H6 has also improved aesthetics. The XY capsules maintain their high-quality sound production, perfect for on-the-go scenarios.

The look and feel of these new Essential recorders have a sleek design with an all-black futuristic look, alongside the revamped monitor screens, with the H1 Essential having an OLED screen and the H4 and H6 Essential featuring a color LCD screen for extra vibrancy.

Zoom has also taken accessibility into account with a new audible menu feature. All three models can be powered by either a battery, an AC adapter, or USB-C.

Lastly, each model can record in 32-bit float, a shining moment for this Essential lineup.


32-bit Float Recording


Zoom has, in the past, introduced 32-bit float recording to their F6 recorder. Now, this impressive feature has been introduced to their handy recorder line, which essentially eliminates the need ever to set gain levels and greatly reduces, if not completely eliminates, the possibility of clipping in audio recordings. Furthermore, 32-bit allows for a wider range of audio to be captured, in addition to a much larger dynamic range, making it perfect for all types of sound applications.


H1 Essential – $99/€109

This entry-level handheld recorder is suitable for all film, music, and podcast audio fanatics. While it may be the most basic in their line, it certainly holds much power regarding its recording capabilities. It is a great tool for field recordings and can be used as a USB microphone that can be easily connected to your computer. With a built-in speaker, you can monitor any recordings for quick referencing. 

Quick Specs: 

  • 32-bit float recording: perfect audio with no need to set gain
  • 120 dB SPL 90º XY Mics
  • Records up to 96kHZ sample rate
  • New OLED Display
  • Overdubbing, auto-record, pre-record, and timer functions
  • USB Microphone Function
  • Audio guidance function for the blind and visually impaired
  • 10 hours of battery life on 2 AAA Batteries or USB-C Bus power

H4 Essential – $199/€219

For those needing some additional XLR ports, the H4 Essential has it covered. The H4 has been a highly popular choice for many audio experts and hobbyists due to its compact yet powerful features that result in high-quality recordings. The new essential model features a new colored LCD screen on the top panel, two XLR/TRS combo inputs for external microphones, and a 3.5mm jack input for Lavalier microphones. The H4 Essential can also be paired with your IOS device to control and monitor the recorder remotely. 

Quick specs: 

  • 4-track 32-bit float recorder with Dual A/D Converters
  • Clip-free recording with no need to set gain
  • Records up to 96kHZ sample rate
  • Color LCD Screen
  • 130 dB SPL XY Mic
  • 2 XLR/TRS combo inputs with locking connector
  • 3.5mm mic/line input for lavalier mics and line-level sources
  • Built-in mixer to adjust each track’s audio level
  • Built-in speaker for quick reference playback
  • 3.5mm line output for headphones or to connect to a camera
  • Voice Guidance accessibility for the visually impaired
  • 32-bit Float audio interface for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices via USB-C port
  • Use as an interface and record to SD card simultaneously
  • Using the BTA-1* Bluetooth Adapter, sync with wireless timecode devices via Bluetooth
  • Use the BTA-1* Bluetooth Adapter to pair with the H4essential Control App for iOS
  • Record to SD cards up to 1TB
  • 10 hours of battery life on AA battery (2x) or USB-C Bus Power (BTA-1 Adapter not included

H6 Essential – $299/€329

The H6 Essential levels up the robust build and adds even more power to its system. With an additional 4 combo XLR/TRS inputs and the 32-bit float feature, you are guaranteed professional quality recordings across the board. Some features include the seamless connection to a camera through the line output, an onboard speaker, and specially designed recording and rotary controls for a quieter operation, perfect for those quiet recording scenarios. Like the H4, you can use the H6 Essential via Bluetooth in addition to pairing with Bluetooth timecode devices for syncing up audio and video. 

Quick Specs:

  • 6-track 32-bit float recorder with Dual A/D Converters
  • Clip-free recording with no need to set gain
  • Records up to 96kHZ sample rate
  • Interchangeable Mic Capsule System 3.0 with 32-bit float support
  • Included X/Y Mic Capsule captures up to 135 dB SPL
  • 4 XLR/TRS combo inputs with locking connector
  • Color LCD Screen
  • Built-in mixer to adjust each track’s audio level
  • Built-in speaker for quick reference playback
  • 3.5mm headphone output plus 3.5mm line output
  • Voice Guidance accessibility for the visually impaired
  • 32-bit Float audio interface for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices via USB-C port
  • Use as an interface and record to SD card simultaneously
  • Using the BTA-1* Bluetooth Adapter, sync with wireless timecode devices via Bluetooth
  • Use the BTA-1* Bluetooth Adapter to pair with the H6 Essential Control App for iOS
  • Record to SD cards up to 1TB
  • 10 hours of battery life on AA battery (2x) or USB-C Bus Power

The new Essential series is due to be released in Q2 of 2024.

If you are looking for an upgrade this year, these will certainly be a good bang for your buck, especially with the 32-bit feature. If having a super dynamic recorder is important to your individual needs, the Essential Series is a solid first choice. Hopefully, we can snag a review unit or two.

All images via Zoom


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Zoe Sones

Zoe Sones is a UK-based composer who focuses on acoustic contemporary classical and ambient electronic composition. In her works, she explores an array of textures and timbres of both instruments and nature’s very own sounds. She enjoys creating haunting electronic drones, writing harmonically rich and serene chords, while also being a bedroom DJ.