Zoom ZDM-1 Mic Test and Comparison

Zoom North America, the electronics company not the video conferencing tool, has been making great audio equipment for ages. Many podcasters have used their digital audio recorders for a long time. But they recently began offering some really compelling products designed specifically for podcasters, starting with the PodTrak P4 recorder/interface. This was followed by the ZDM-1 microphone and then by the PodTrak P8

The Zoom ZDM-1 in my studio on the Heil HB-1 boom arm

Today, we're taking a look at the Zoom ZDM-1 Podcast Mic, which is a large-diaphragm dynamic microphone targeted at the budget-conscious and/or beginner podcaster. It has a supercardioid polar pattern and the company boasts that it has "built-in noise protection and impressive sound rejection for clear, focused, broadcast-quality recordings." So we're going to do a little test in a real-world podcast recording environment so you can hear how it sounds. 

In The Box

Before we check out the audio test, here's what comes in the box: the microphone, a windscreen, a pre-installed stand/arm mount, and a threaded adapter. You can also get the mic in a podcast kit that also includes headphones, a cable, and a desktop stand.

Full Product Specs*

  • Large-diaphragm dynamic design captures smooth, broadcast-quality sound
  • Super cardioid polar pattern provides focused pickup and excellent isolation
  • High SPL handling ensures clean recordings every time
  • Internal shockmount provides isolation from bumps and handling noise
  • Built-in humbucking circuit rejects electromagnetic interference
  • All metal body and grille stands up to daily use
  • Includes pivoting mic stand mount and threaded adapter

TYPE: Dynamic
POLAR PATTERN: Supercardioid
SENSITIVITY: -54 dBV.Pa (2.0mV)
MAX. SPL: 135 dB
DIMENSIONS: 150 mm (5.9 in) x 54 mm (2.12 in)
WEIGHT: .4 kg (.89 lbs)
*Specs retrieved from Zoom Corp website

Audio Test

I plugged in three different low-cost dynamic microphones and recorded a back-to-back test with them so you can hear not only how the ZDM-1 sounds, but also hear it compared to a couple other mics in a similar price range. The audio not been processed except to reduce the noise floor across the entire file so all three mics were treated the same. The mics were running into the PodTrak P4 and all three inputs were set at about 6.

Zoom PodTrak P4

  1. ZDM-1 (with windscreen) - 0:00
  2. ZDM-1 (w/o windscreen) - 1:30
  3. Behringer XM8500 - 2:30
  4. Shure SM58 - 3:34

The Zoom mic runs about $80 (on sale this month for only $60), the Behringer XM8500 is about $40, and the Shure SM58 is usually about $100. As mentioned above, you can also get the ZDM-1 in a kit that runs about $120 and includes headphones and more.

Now if you'd like to hear the same recording but with the audio normalized to -6 dB you can check that out below.

So which mic do you think sounds the best? Let me know in the comments!


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