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Zoom H6

ZOOM H6 Handy Recorder

4.5 4.5 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

The H6 is a portable battery powered 6 channel recorder with detachable mics and 4 XLR inputs with phantom power. The XY mic module is much quieter than the MS mic module. The XLR preamps deliver plenty of clean quiet gain. USB connection allows use as an audio interface.


4th September 2013

ZOOM H6 Handy Recorder by Fran Guidry

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Zoom H6

I've been waiting for a hand held recorder with preamps that match the capabilities of a mid-level prosumer audio interface. The Zoom H6 has arrived and delivers.

The obvious gee-whiz feature of this recorder is a set of replaceable modules. Two are included, an XY mic module and an MS mic module. The XY module also provides a 1/8" stereo input with plug-in power for mics that require it. The XY mic module is comparable in quality to the Sony PCM-D50 built-in mics. The MS module is much noisier than the XY unless the side mics are turned off completely, resulting in a mono capture.

Two additional modules have been announced but are not yet available. One of these is a mono short shotgun mic, the other provides a pair of additional XLR inputs without phantom power.

The four channels of phantom powered XLR/TRS inputs are the real meat of this recorder. In my comparisons these preamps are very close to my RME UFX in performance. With all four preamps delivering P48 phantom _and_ the XY mic module operating, four fresh AA batteries powered the unit for about 4 and a half hours.

The user interface has really been cleaned up. Physical knobs set the level for all the inputs. Menu navigation is handled with one button and one flipper but is not needed for normal recording tasks, only for setting up details like phantom power voltage and recording format.

A 20 dB pad is included on each XLR/TRS input. I haven't tested but I'm hoping that this will solve the problem of clipping when connecting to mixer tape outs.

The overdub capabilities of the H6 are limited compared to the H4n, but that's not a feature I use so I haven't explored much.

My first Zoom recorder was an H2. I was excited when the H4n came out, hoping it would deliver quality similar to my home studio rig at that time (a John Hardy preamp into a Lynx Two). But the H4n failed to measure up to the Fostex FR2-LE, let alone the Lynx/Hardy combo. I returned that H4n. Now with this Zoom H6 I'm satisfied that the audible performance is good enough to make it my sole recorder/interface.

15th October 2015

ZOOM H6 Handy Recorder by donbodin

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Zoom H6

THE GOOD
2 Interchangeable microphone capsules included. 6 channel simultaneous recording. Great sounding mics for the price. Individual pad, gain & phantom for all inputs. Ability to use as an audio interface.

THE BAD
Runs on AA batteries.

If you saw the video than you know that I was excited about was the ability to use the Zoom H6 as an audio interface and utilize the stereo capsules as to record into my DAW. The noise floor was very very low and I was even surprised to “hear” that while plugging in my SM57 and Neumann TLM 103, the pre amps for the XLR inputs sounded just as clean if not better than my aging Digidesign 003 preamps.

After my initial test it is clear the Zoom H6 blows my Rode VideoMic out of the water. It will be a great field recorder for me to capture more bird songs, wlll come in handy while traveling as my main mic input and audio interface. It will take a few more tests, but my feeling is that the H6 XY mic capsule will be a welcome addition to my studio recording as well – utilizing it as an audio interface at times when I fell capturing the sound with a stereo matched mic set up will benefit my reordering.

The thing I was the happiest about with the H6 is the versatility. The ability to get a lot of uses out of one piece of gear. The Zoom H6 has the potential to be very useful in a number of ways for me, as a composer who sometimes needs to capture environments, dabbles in sample library development and often has to work out of a hotel room from my laptop.

I would have liked to have seen a dedicated lithium battery and charger for this kind of unit. Similar to that of an SLR camera. And if I am gonna be really picky, I would have liked to have a 10ft or 15 foot USB cable included for my purposes.

As you can see I am very happy with the sound quality or I wouldn’t even consider it for studio use.

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