Portable Recorder Updates

Zoom H5 & Rode i-XY Portable Recorders.


29 September 2014


$40 | rodemic.com

Phones have been on a steady diet since the Motorola Brick made every designer self-conscious over weight. It’s a good thing for your pocket, but our inability to get a good grip on these skinny beauties has spawned an entire industry of shopping centre phone screen fixers. This is where the Rodegrip shines. It’s an iPhone accessory for the butter fingers amongst us. The plastic handle lets you wield your phone like a pistol in use, and folds away completely to fit into your pocket. The Rodegrip comes in three flavours to match your iPhone 4, 5 or 5s, and 5c. Presumably, there’ll be iPhone 6 variants coming soon. You can also use it to mount your phone on a camera hotshoe, or sit the grip flat and use it as a mini table-top base for the mount. A great, well-designed little accessory that’s worth carrying around if you’re serious about your i-XY.


Zoom jumped straight from the H4n to the H6, going from four to six inputs and solving a lot of the H4n’s niggles in the process. Only now has the numerical gap between the two been filled, and the H5 transitions the new H6 tech into H4n form factor — really, it’s a worthwhile update to the H4n.

On the shortlist of useful features aped from the H6 are removable capsules — which are interchangeable with those from the H6; dials instead of click buttons for gain — this time with bars over them, which is one step up from the H6; a power switch that won’t fall off; level setting that trims to -∞; -20dB pads on inputs 1 and 2; and backup recordings of the X/Y mic recording that are 12dB lower to cater for random peaks.

The main H4n-specific feature that has been lost is rotatable capsules — fixed at 90 degrees — you have to upgrade to the H6 X/Y capsule to get the wider 120-degree option. You also don’t have Stamina Mode, which locked you into stereo 16-bit/44.1k to conserve battery juice. There’s no need now, as you can get 15 hours out of a pair of AAs at the same setting.

While the H5 doesn’t have the full-colour screen of the H6, and is more like the H4n display. It’s rearranged to indicate the state of each channel’s low cut filter, comp/limiter, MS decoding, 48V, and pads. 

The new design of the H5 X/Y capsule also has suspension rings around the capsules to reduce handling noise. And with 52dB of gain, the ability to handle 140dB SPL, and pads or backup low level recordings on inputs, the H5 will go places the H4n never could.

Price: $499 (expect to pay $379)
Dynamic Music: (02) 9939 1299 or sales@dynamicmusic.com.au


$199 | ixymic.com

Apple can sure bite back sometimes. As soon as Rode released the first i-XY, Apple did the dirty and changed its iOS device connector from the longstanding 30-pin style to the slimline Lightning adaptor. The unannounced transition hurt a lot of accessory manufacturers who lost a million potential customers overnight as iPhone 5 coveting set in. Rode always intimated it would bring out an updated i-XY, it was just a matter of how long it would take to design a sufficient support system to fit multiple phone thicknesses, and without the weight of the stereo condenser pair shearing off the slimline connector. Luckily, Rode waited long enough for the arrival of the 5c, packaging a set of shims with the new i-XY to compensate for its thinner body. It would seem easy enough for Rode to also do the same for the 6 when it’s available.

The old i-XY hasn’t gone anywhere, the i-XY-L just updates the line to cover iPhone models above the 4. It still syncs up perfectly with the Rode REC app, still has great sounding ½-inch stereo X-Y capsules with a 24-bit/96k-capable onboard AD converter to usurp the iPhone’s. The main changes are cosmetic, with a new support system that ensconces the end of the phone and slides over the home button, covering it with a button extender of its own. It also allows you to access the headphone jack on newer phones, now on the phone’s base.

My favourite bit about the new i-XY, which seems trivial, is Rode enlarged the carry case just enough to fit the i-XY in with its foam windsock. With the old one, you had to carry them separate or toss up whether to chuck the foamy in your bag. The new i-XY is everything you’d expect from an update to Rode’s successful i-XY. Still the perfect audio accessory for your iPhone if you’re serious about having a great capture device on you at any time.


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