Zoom, the Japanese company best known for its guitar effects pedals, has launched a new high-definition audio and video recorder targeting the musical market. Shooting H.264 video at either 1080p or 720p, the Q2HD features a microphone setup known as Mid-Side, combining a unidirectional front-facing mic with a bidirectional mic on the side of the unit. The pairing allows the device to record a stereo field of anywhere between 30 and 150 degrees, useful for situations such as concerts, where sound sources are likely to change or re-arrange.

In terms of connectivity, the Q2HD provides a standard line out for audio, as well as Mini HDMI and Mini USB. When connected to a computer, the device is capable of streaming via Ustream, a feature which Zoom seems keen to promote — it's also billed as the world's "first USB Mid-Side mic," with the ability to act as a high-quality iPad microphone using Apple's USB camera connector.

As Engadget points out, the HD camera feels like an add-on to Zoom's core competency, and the company's previous attempts to marry audio and video have met with limited success. Still, available for $200 later this month, it could provide a cost-effective alternative to a two-device setup for users who need to record in both formats.