Equipment to record and podcast seminar presentation


I’m looking for some advice on the best portable recorder & microphone combination to use to record a seminar presentation for audio podcasting.

Currently, a Zoom H2 without external mic is used for this purpose. The sound has been pretty good and it’s not intrusive - the speakers forget that it is there and get on with the presentation - but the device has, apparently, developed a ‘buzz’ and needs quite a bit of post-production to resolve. I’m no audio expert, but speech sound a little ‘distant’ on the H2 (it’s just laid on the table in front of the presenter currently) and I think a dedicated mic would capture a better sound.

We could just get a Zoom H2n, which seems to have similar audio quality to the H2. It’s good value but, ideally, I’d like something a little better.

Based upon my own research, I’d like to get an Audio Technica AT803b lavalier microphone and hook it up to a Zoom H5 (this would cost about 500 euro/$570 USD/£360 GBP). I think as presenters can’t be guaranteed to speak correctly into a microphone on a stand and will be pretty stationary this might be the best option.

Having the ability to record using the internal mics of the Zoom H5 is an important consideration for joint presentations, workshops, or in case the lavalier mic ever develops problems.

Any opinions on the quality of either the Zoom H5 or the AT803b, or suggestions of superior alternatives (at a similar price point), would be very welcome.


The Zoom H5 and the AT mic both are fine. I just wonder if you’ll use the four tracks the Zoom H5 is capable of recording?

Maybe a Zoom H2n or so and a pair of lavs would be better?

I would get one omni lav and a cardio one. In quiet, big rooms you could use the omni, in less great acoustical environments the cardio.

Thanks for the help.

Would a Zoom H2n take an xlr lavalier microphone? That’s the only reason for preferring the H4n or H5 over the H2n.

Well the H2 does not have XLR mic jacks. For that you need the H4 or better. A battery powered lavalier like the AT you picked out would probably work with the appropriate adapters, and there are plenty of mini-phone jack lavaliers out there that should work as well, so you don’t have to make the leap to the “pro” XLR connectors. However if you ever decide to invest in a phantom-powered mic you will need more than just cable adapters to plug into an H2.

If you don’t want your H2 any more, I’ll take it. I’ll pay shipping.

H2s are still going for new equipment prices on eBay. They are extraordinary performers in a small, modest cost package.

Josh Turner did the whole beginning of his YouTube career on an H2.

I understand the siren song of making a system “much better” and playing with new toys. I also understand the engineering imperative of always making a system more complicated, but who is going to train the people how to use the new stuff? It’s not just “set it out there” any more. You have to deal with cables, batteries, microphone placement, hum pickup, etc. You plan to graduate to a full audio production system with all the problems that come with it.

How much do you want for the H2? As is.


If you’re in Southern California, I’ll come pick it up.


Do you know how to drive a lavaier?

and it’s not intrusive

Lavaliers are very intrusive. They’re placed on the speaker’s chest in the shadow zone under their chin, roughly a third down between the chin and navel. Frequently called a “tie tack” microphone, it works best when the subject is wearing a tie or a jacket or something else that has a “cloth feature” in the front.

The next speaker is wearing a t-shirt or worse, a woman with a silk blouse. Go ahead and put the microphone on. I’ll watch. If you don’t do something, the sound for that performance will be lower in volume with added room noises and paper shuffling.

And that’s if everything goes well. At least once a month, a speaker, under the stress of public speaking will leave still wearing the microphone. On a good day it will rip itself free from the performer. On a bad day it will damage the cable and put the recorder on the floor.

Do you know what it sounds like when the batteries start dying? On my lavaliers, the volume starts to dip and I keep a spare set of batteries. Sometimes I’ll replace them right before an important show whether they need it or not.

The AT803B Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone is discontinued by the maker.