It is fitting that with our theme of “Broken” this month I would accidentally wash my Zoom H1 Handy Recorder in the washing machine. I had taken the H1 with me to GDC just in case any cool sounds popped up for me to record (they didn’t). So when I got home and tossed the backpack in the wash to get the San Francisco grime off of it I completely forgot the very light H1 was inside! Fast forward to me opening up the washing machine and finding the H1’s body sans-capsules and the capsules and their housings in various places in the machine.
So like you are supposed to do with any electronic you get wet; I did not turn it on and I waited for it to dry out (notice the condensation inside the screen). After 2 or so days I thought I’d give it a shot, put in a fresh battery and very much to my surprise the thing turned on! So like you are supposed to do with any electronic with exposed wires; I stripped the ends and started touching them together!
Just touching the wires together got an OK pop and distortion, I assume the sound I got was all digital so there wasn’t going to be much gradation or differences in the type of sound I got simply from touching the wires together.
It wasn’t until I started running the wires under water or spraying them with liquid did I get more interesting sounds (second half of the above recording).
Now the recording won’t win me any awards but it is decent source and was simply me making the best out of a crappy situation. Everything still works so if I didn’t have the soldering talents of a toddler I could make the H1 almost as good as it was before. But since the capsules weren’t fantastic anyway; I am more inclined to just use the H1 with the line-in for hazardous contact or hydrophone recordings (the H1 had already proven itself taped to the underside of my car hood with a lav). The capsules I might be able to do something fun with my Arduino so everything should work out in the end. The H1 is a pretty sturdy recorder, despite how cheap it feels so if you’re in the market for an $89-99 recorder, this might be something to look into.
All that said: if someone wants to send me a Sony M10 I’ll give you my address.