How to Reduce Handling Noise on Your Zoom Handy Recorder

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Author: Tosh Lubek Published: 18th January 2024

If you use a handheld microphone, you’ll know handling noise can be an issue. Small movements of your hand as you grip the microphone can produce sounds that can be picked up by the mic capsule and heard on your recording. The same is true when using a Zoom Handy recorder, such as the H4n, H5, and H6.

When I use my Zoom H4n and H5 for audio and video production, handling noise isn’t normally a problem. That’s because I don’t handhold the recorder. It’s usually mounted on a camera or sits on a desk.

But when I handhold a Handy recorder, when using it like a reporter’s interview mic, or when I record ambient sounds and sound effects, handling noise can be an issue.

In an interview scenario, the repeated twisting of the hand so that the mics point at the interviewee and then yourself, will cause the handling noise. When recording sound effects, any handling noise can become more noticeable if you need to increase the mic gain to record quiet sounds.

To reduce handling noise, the obvious answer is to stop holding the Zoom Handy recorder directly. That’s easy to say, but how is it done in practice?

How to mount your Zoom Handy recorder

I’ll demonstrate a few ways to minimize handling noise with my Zoom H5 recorder that involves avoiding direct contact with the recorder. In most cases, this involves using the ¼”-20 tripod mounting hole on the recorder’s rear. Don’t worry if you don’t have an H5 recorder; most Zoom Handy recorders have a mounting hole on the back or base, including the H1n, H2n, H4n, H4nPro, H5, and H6.

Zoom HS-1 Hot Shoe Mount Adapter

You can mount the recorder on the camera’s hot shoe mount if you’re recording video. Zoom produces the HS-1 Hot Shoe Mount Adapter. It costs about twice as much as cheap equivalent adapters on Amazon and eBay, but it’s a better quality product and isn’t expensive at about $15.

Zoom HS-1 Hot Shoe Mount Adapter, Attach Your Zoom Recorder to any DSLR…
  • Hot Shoe to 1/4″ adapter
  • Allows you to attach your H1 or H4n to a DSLR video camera
  • Complete your recording setup!
  • Country of Origin: China

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zoom MA-2 Mic Stand Adapter

Zoom also produces the Zoom MA-2 Mic Stand Adapter, which allows you to mount the recorder on a mic stand using a standard mic clip. This accessory has a standard ¼”-20 tripod threading at the top of a tapering plastic body. Screw this into the mounting hole on the Zoom Handy recorder and then slip the tapering handle into the mic clip.

Zoom MA-2 Tripod to Mic Stand Adapter, Fits In Standard Mic Clip, Mount…
  • Japanese Version
  • Japanese Manual Only
  • No US Warranty
  • Adds a sturdy handle to the recorder that allows for use with a microphone stand

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Camera Handle Grip Mount

You might think you could use it as a handle after attaching the MA-2 Mic Stand Adapter to a Handy recorder. It would work to some extent, but the hard plastic material transmits sound to the recorder. A rubberized camera handle grip like the one from Chromides is a better option. Once attached to a Handy recorder, it lets you move the recorder with reduced handling noise, even though it is intended as a simple camera stabilizer or LED light handle.

ChromLives Camera Handle Grip Support Mount Universal Handlegrip Camera…
  • This Universal Handle Grip features 1/4″ screw on top. Easily mounted to any dslr camera,LED video…
  • Compatible with any devices with 1/4″ thread hole, such as add to a ball head mount to acheive 360…
  • Superb metal construction body with durable rubber on surface.Anti-slip and ergonomic design, very…
  • This listing is for the handle grip only.Will comes without lanyard/camera/smartphone mount.

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Handy Recorder Shock Mount

Both Rycote and MOVO produce shock mounts for Zoom Handy recorders. Portable recorders can be mounted on a camera hot shoe, boom pole, light stand, or mic stand using Rycote shock mounts and their patented Lyre technology. A 180-degree swivel head lets you point the mic capsules in the required direction. They offer excellent isolation and handling noise reduction, but they cost over $100.

Rycote 041119 General Purpose Shock Mount for Portable Recorder, Black
  • Ideal for mounting small profile recorders
  • Provides excellent isolation from vibrations and handling noise
  • Allows portable recorders with a 1/4″ female thread to be mounted on a camera hot shoe, boom pole,…
  • Shock mount uses Rycote patented Lyre technology

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A cheaper option is the MOVO SMM5-B Universal Portable Recorder Shock Mount. It fits the Zoom Handy recorders and other recorders with a 1/4″-20 tripod mounting screw hole. The suspension design is different from that on the Rycote shock mount but does the same thing without the 180-degree swivel head.

Movo SMM5-B Universal Microphone and Portable Recorder Shock Mount – Fits…
  • UNIVERSAL DESIGN: Will mount and attach to most cameras and recorders via standard hot shoe or…
  • REDUCE VIBRATION – Walk and capture moments without picking up noise with a microphone mount that…
  • 1-YEAR WARRANTY: We’ve got your back. Our products are designed to ease your technical woes, not…
  • UPGRADED DESIGN – the discreet, low-profile design of this portable recorder shock mount helps…

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Photography Camera Tripod

You can mount the recorder on a tripod since Handy recorders have a tripod screw mount hole on the back. However, not all tripods are made equal when it comes to mounting a portable recorder.

After extending the legs of a standard photography tripod, the camera mount and recorder can be quite far from your subject. But a tripod with an extending horizontal center column (like a boom arm) lets you position the recorder closer to your subject.

The Amazon Basics 50-inch tripod, below, is an inexpensive option, and can also be used for your camera.

Amazon Basics 50-inch Lightweight Camera Mount Tripod Stand With Bag,…
  • Camera mount tripod stand with zippered storage bag
  • Adjustable height with 3-section, lever-lock legs for simple adjustments
  • Folds down quickly and made of lightweight aluminum for easy portability
  • 3-way head allows for tilt and swivel motion; portrait or landscape options

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Meanwhile, the K&F Concept 67-inch tripod with a horizontal center column is better and more flexible, albeit at a higher price.

K&F Concept 67 inch Camera Tripod Horizontal Aluminum Tripods Portable…
  • 【Transverse Center Column】Central column moves from 0 to 180 degrees, can be rotated…
  • 【Strong Stability】25mm large diameter aluminum alloy tube,the load capacity can reach 22.04lbs…
  • 【Compact & Flexible】5 sections leg can adjust the height from 22” to 67”; the N. weight with…
  • 【Metal Ball Head】Can be rotated 360 degrees, helping to expand camera activity range when…

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mini Tripod

The mini tripod may be the most useful type of tripod. The tripod can be used as a desktop mount, and the ball head is adjusted to point microphone capsules toward the speaker. Alternatively, fold the tripod legs together and use the tripod like the camera handle grip. These mini tripods also have a use when you don’t need to reduce handling noise. Even when recording with XLR mics, I’ll sit the H5 on my desk using my mini tripod and angle the recorder towards me. That gives me a good view of the LCD display, allowing me to keep an eye on the recording levels.

Manfrotto Mini Tripod with Universal Smartphone Clamp, Made in Italy, for…
  • COMPACT: Weighing just 220 gr/0.49 lbs and only 26 cm/10.2 Inch length when closed the PIXI Smart…
  • MADE IN ITALY, CULTURE FOR QUALITY AND DESIGN: the same standards of quality, innovation and design…
  • UNIVERSAL: It includes a universal smartphone clamp, with multiple 1/4 Inch thread attachments,…
  • VERSATILE: Works as a stable holder and can also be used as a comfortable ergonomic grip to capture…

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Light stands

Modern light stands include a ¼”-20 tripod screw in addition to a spigot connector on the top. I’ve used this type of light stand with my Zoom H4n. It works, although you cannot angle the recorder to point the mics towards the speaker.

Amazon Basics Aluminum Light Photography Tripod Stand with Case – Pack of…
  • 6.7-foot light stand for supporting and positioning standard lights, strobe flash lights,…
  • Includes (2) 6.7-foot light stands, each with a 1/4-inch screw tip, and (2) carrying cases
  • Made of durable yet lightweight aluminum with a black finish for long lasting strength
  • Adjustable height from 2.8 to 6.7 feet for easy customizing

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Microphone stand Thread Adapter

I’ve already mentioned using a mic stand with Zoom’s MA-2 Mic Stand Adapter. You can also use a thread adapter, like the one from CAMVATE below, that fits on a mic stand’s 5/8″-27 thread and gives you a 1/4″-20 thread. These are often used to mount camera monitors, but just as easily you can attach a Handy recorder. Adding a ball head will allow you to point the mics at the person who’s speaking.

CAMVATE Thread Adapter Microphone Stand 5/8″-27 Female to 1/4″-20 Male for…
  • The Mic Stand Adapter provides 1/4″-20 Male to 5/8″-27 Female. 5/8″-27 female threads fit standard…
  • Material: Nickel Brass
  • 2 Pieces
  • Weight:12g

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Summary

So, that’s seven ways you can use your Zoom Handy recorder to reduce or prevent handling noise on your recordings. These include attaching the recorder to some kind of stand to avoid doing it or using some type of handle that reduces or prevents the transmission of sound to the recorder. Some of these solutions can also be combined. For instance, you could use the Rycote or MOVO shock mounts with the camera grip handle or mini tripod to help reduce the transmission of sound vibrations to the Handy recorder.    

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Portrait of Tosh Lubek

About the author: Tosh Lubek is a multi-award-winning broadcaster, writer, and video producer, with 40 years of experience in professional broadcasting and has been using Canon video and stills cameras since 2010. He has worked with radio and TV broadcasters, advertising agencies, and direct clients on a variety of projects including radio and television advertising, online video production, corporate videos, award ceremony motion graphics, and theme park sound design. Tosh has won numerous awards, including a Radio Academy Awards Gold Sony, a Gold, Silver, and Bronze World Medals in the New York Festivals International Advertising Awards. Since about 2007 he has been creating YouTube videos. Tosh has been a sponsor of the “video booth” at HashTag Business Events across the UK.

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