Zoom Q2HD Review
Coming off its predecessor the Zoom Q3HD, Samson Technologies (the company that owns Zoom) has released another portable audio/video recorder with the Zoom Q2HD. Zoom has kept much of the same functionality from the Q3HD intact but has also added some new and useful features that a lot of Q3HD users felt were missing. For an overview of the features on the Q3HD that are also available on the Q2HD, check our our review of the Zoom Q3HD. So what’s new on the Q3HD?
Zoom introduced the mid side recording feature on their portable digital audio recorder the Zoom H2n. Be sure to check out our review of the Zoom H2n if you want to know more. For those of you not familiar with mid side recording this is a recording technique that is especially useful for film and broadcast media where recording ambient noise is crucial. The great thing about the H2n as well as the Q2HD is that you have the ability to adjust the width of the stereo filed that you are capturing. For someone who wants to be focusing their attention on the look of the video and not have to constantly point the microphones in the direction of their audio source, this is very useful feature.
The audio fidelity on the Zoom Q2HD is quite good as the microphones have been ported over from their popular line of portable audio recorders. What the Q2HD has in terms of audio fidelity it lacks in overall video quality. While it does have the option to record video from SD formats all the way up to 720 and 1080 HD formats, the consensus is that the video is only a little better than what you can capture on an iPhone. While this may be a letdown for some, the Q2HD seems to not really be a high quality video recorder but rather a portable recorder that can capture great audio and also allow for video recording.
Live Stream in Real Time
One feature that a lot of our readers and followers were asking about on the Q3HD was whether or not it had the ability to stream video over the internet. While that feature was not available on the Q3HD you can rejoice in the fact that it is available on the Q2HD. It’s as easy as connecting your Q2HD to your computer via USB (the Q2HD does not come with the USB connection. This is available in a separate accessory package or you can connect with a USB Mini to USB cable typically found with digital cameras). You don’t have to just use USTREAM as the Q2HD works with other popular video streaming sites like Flash Media Live Encoder and Skype.
For us one major drawback from this was that the Q2HD will not run off USB power, have the ability to be charged via USB, or run from an external power source. It runs on two AA batteries and the battery life is less than stellar especially when recording at full HD audio and video. You do not have the ability to connect a power source like you were able to on the Q3HD which seems like an odd move especially when this has the ability to stream online. Don’t expect to stream anything longer than a couple hours on fresh batteries.
New Menu Option
With the Q2HD you have all of the same functionality within the menu that you had on the Q3HD with the ability to add a low cut filter, adjust lighting for concert and night shots, and the ability to adjust your sample rate for audio and video definition. One feature that will be especially appealing to the amateur or someone just needing the Q2HD for very basic audio/video capture is the Auto Gain adjustment feature. You have the option to set gain adjustment to solo, meeting, or concert. To get the best out of your recordings it makes the most sense to adjust these levels manually with the gain adjustment but its nice to know that if you are loaning this out to a less tech savvy friend, they will be able to use it with relative ease.
In addition to the new auto gain options you also have the option to connect this to your computer to use the microphone within your preferred recording software. If you go into the USB menu you can see you have a selection for either SD card or microphone which decides whether you want to transfer your recordings or connect this to your DAW as a microphone. This is not going to be the ultimate solution for all things audio for you but it is nice that Zoom has made the Q2HD so versatile and packed it full of useful features.
There are some substantial improvements to the Q2HD that were not available on the Q3HD like mid side recording and the ability to stream your video online. These are noteworthy improvements that we found to be very useful, but we found the exclusion of a connection for an external power source and the overall quality of the video to be its major faults.
In spite of those limitations this is a solid portable audio/video recorder for all kinds of situations. If you are an avid concert goer that has been frustrated with the audio fidelity of your smart phone, then you should consider picking up the Q2HD for your next live show outing. If you are a journalist, business professional, or student and need an audio/video recorder that wont break the bank and get the job done, this is certainly an option to consider. Samson made these recorders with the musician in mind which is really where this recorder shines. If you are someone who wants to video their live shows or acoustic bedroom jams without any hassle, this will end up being your go to unit.
What do you think of the Q2HD? What features have you excited? What features do you think should be on the next Zoom recorder? Let us know in the comments below and we can talk about it.
The Q2HD is a portable audio and video recorder from Zoom with a lot of great features in a small affordable package. You’ve got pristine 24 bit 96k audio recording and you’ve also got the ability to customize the stereo image. You can shoot video in 1080p, 720p, or WVGA with the option for 60 fps on the last two in addition to the standard 30 frames per second . The Q2HD records onto SD and comes with a 2GB card. You can also hook it up to an iPad or your computer and use it as a USB mic inside any DAW of your choosing. You’ve even got the option to stream video online from the Q2HD in real-time through a website like Ustream.
Let’s take a quick look at the menu. First up we’ve got our video quality options. Next we can turn our camera off if we just want to use the mic. We’ve got some different exposure options available in case you don’t have much light or in case you have too much. Next we’ve got our sound quality options. We can record in an uncompressed .WAV format or in a compressed .AAC format if we want to conserve on memory. We can adjust our mid-side mic focus from a 150 degree wide field to narrow 30 degree pickup or we can cut the mid-side out of the image completely. We can select a low cut filter to reduce any ambient hum in a recording. We’ve got a couple gain presets if we don’t want to bother with the gain knob on the side and we can turn monitoring on and off. And here we can set the Q2HD to function as a USB mic.
So there’s the tour of the unit now let’s take it for test drive.
In addition to the nice big VU meters, we can see all of the settings we just selected in the menu conveniently displayed right here on the screen. Then after we’ve finished recording we can go into our footage and do some simple editing on the fly with the trim and divide functions.
The best part about the Q2HD is it’s versatility. It works as a USB mic, you can plug it up to a laptop for live streaming, and it records full HD video. And while the video quality is about the same as that of the iPhone, the audio quality is fantastic for the price point. This is a great tool for musicians, parents capturing recitals, filmmakers on a tight budget, or anyone who just needs an affordable high quality video/audio solution. Does that sound like you? Well, head over to UniqueSquared.com to pick one of these up for yourself. If you have questions leave them on the related blog. You’re watching UniqueSquared.com.