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Zoom H6, first modular audio recorder presented
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  • Modular add in mics seem like junk. The base recorder may be good if the pre's are nice.

  • An unboxing video - Zoom H6. (*Japanese)

  • I suggest to check the video below if you do not have much time to check all of them, as Robert is as always good.

  • In my first effort at comparing the H6 to some other recording chains I hooked up a Rode NT4 stereo mic to the H6 and a pair of Shure KSM141s to an RME UFX. I thought the result was a very good showing by the H6, but my level matching was pretty poor and the use of different mics for the two chains reduced the quality of the comparison.

    I set out to do something a bit more rigorous. I powered the NT4 with a battery, connected one channel to a passive splitter, and fed the signal to the H6 and the RME UFX.

    Here are some test tone and room tone clips:

    http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/media/2013-08-28-h6-rme/Low-Tone-RME.wav

    http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/media/2013-08-28-h6-rme/Low-Tone-Zoom.wav

    and these are music clips:

    http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/media/2013-08-28-h6-rme/Music-RME.wav

    http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/media/2013-08-28-h6-rme/Music-Zoom.wav

    To my ear the H6 preamps perform as well as the RME.

    Fran

  • In fairness, a condenser microphone like the NT4 will give a pretty decent output, so the H5 should be able to handle it no problem--it really shouldn't stress the pre-amps. A low output dynamic microphone, on the other hand, would be a test that I'd be interested in hearing.

    Having 4 XLR inputs with phantom power is nice (mind you, the module that gives you 2 extra XLR's apparently doesn't offer phantom power), but I'd rather have 2 good channels than 4 or 6 so-so channels.

    In fairness, if you're using it only for filmmaking you probably using shotguns or lavaliers, so it's not necessarily as big of a deal, but if you're someone like me who would also use it with low output dynamic microphones, the noise floor of the preamps become more of a concern. (Though a CloudLifter or FetHead can alleviate that somewhat.)

    Non-locking XLR connectors is a bit of a bummer, seems Zoom still hasn't figured that out.

  • Interesting that you mention using low output mics to stress things a bit more. I expanded my comparisons a bit and used a ribbon mic as the source, with the gain maxed out on both the H6 and the RME.

    http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/media/2013-08-28-h6-rme/Ribbon%20RME.wav

    http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/media/2013-08-28-h6-rme/Ribbon%20Zoom.wav

    Full story here: http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2013/08/28/zoom-h6-vs-rme-ufx

    Fran

  • I've got mine. Seems very good !

  • @gabilourson

    Can you make short video with sound samples how it works?

  • Non locking XLR connectors are not such a big deal.

    I like Roberts video's since he appeals to the engineer in me, however he gave a pretty good yank on the cable to the H6 to get it to disengage. This actually can be a benefit. Can you imagine somebody trips over your mic cable. Do you want to loose connection or have the camera/recorder rig ripped from your hands? Generally the non-locking sockets are reasonably stable. I don't have an issue with this point. (BTW I use Juicedlink preamp for my sound).

  • This was shot with the H6 XY mics:

    Fran

  • A friend of mine bought the H6 for DSLR video work and ended up returning it. Here's the problem - there is no way to protect yourself from unexpected signal overloads. You can't record a second file at a lower volume level when using the XLR inputs. You can only do this when using the built in mic. And the limiter is absolute crap. Yes, it will limit the recorded level of the signal, but it does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to reduce the distortion from an overloaded signal. Apparently the limiter is downstream of the mic preamp and not upstream where it needs to be.

    So, for a one man band, who needs a recorder he can depend on to produce undistorted audio, this is not a good product.

  • hi guys, I do not have much time to make a video with zoom H6 tests as recommended by Mr Vitaly Kiselev! What I can tell you is that I shot for the first time with my GH2 and H6 last night and I am very happy with my purchase! The H6 is really better than the H4N, no doubt! The battery is much longer even with two microphones phantom power. The buttons are convenient, the unit turns on and off almost immediately. The fact that the XLR would block does not bother me at all. The microphone MS seems excellent to my ears and the function that allows to save an additional file-12db is great. Certainly, the H6 is heavier than the H4N, but for all these reasons I do not care! In short, the H6 is now my new boyfriend in the adventure that I expect, as I now begin until April 2014 filming of a new television documentary ...

  • And of course, i forgot : you can change level with BUTTONS, not with boring internal MENU....

  • I'm prepping for a shoot which will involve a lot of interviews. In the past, I've relied on a cheap lapel mike plugged into the camera, but for this project I'm thinking of investing in an H6 and perhaps its shotgun-mike attachment. So I have a couple of questions.

    1) Other recorders offer sound "bracketing," where a second track is recorded about 16db lower than the main: this protects against moments when the sound spikes too high during a shoot. I've heard that the H6 both has and does not have this feature. So I need to know whether it has it or not.

    2) The strategy I'm probably going to follow is to use the H6's mikes to record the overall room sound (with the interviewee's voice audible), and a lapel mike to isolate their voices. I know this question doesn't say anything about the actual shooting conditions or anything, but is this a decent strategy to follow?

    3) Any recommendations on a cheap lapel mike that works well with the H6?

  • @Brian_Siano The "bracketing" or safety track feature is only available when using the "LR" input, that is, the replaceable modular mic/input device. It's absolutely not clear from the specs or docs if this feature works with the shotgun module, but that module is described in the Zoom promo material as "mono." Presumably the safety track (Zoom calls it "backup recording") works with the XLR module, but that would require two similar mics co-located and not requiring phantom power.

    So overall this feature looks like a good marketing point but not a good operational one. I have the opinion that the MS module is similarly more useful for marketing than recording.

    Fran

  • Thanks, @Fran_Guidry. That leads me to a related question. Do other recorders, such as the Tascam or the Zoom H4, offer that backup/bracketing capability for mikes attached by the XLR ports? Or is this a feature generally confined to the LR inputs? (I'll check the documentation on those other recorders in the meantime.)

    ADDENDUM: It's hard to do searches for this feature, because it's called different things: bracketing, backup, dual recording, etc.

    It's on the Tascam 40 (and apparently can be used with external mikes) , but not on the 100.

    Zoom has it on the H6, but only for the LR mikes: it's not on the H4 as far as I can see.

    If I'm wrong, someone tell me.

  • I bought an H6 recently, after using the H4n for several years. It's a well thought-out upgrade, virtually everything that was annoying and clumsy about the H4n has been improved in the H6. In particular, the H6 pre-amps are noticeably quieter than the H4n's, the full-color LCD is far more legible, and the real-time level knobs are terrific. The plug-in X-Y mic cartridge is fine, and I appreciate the option of swapping it with an additional 2-XLR input module.

    I understand the frustration others have over the H6's limited file-bracketing, but with 24-bit sampling I've never had a problem reserving enough headroom for transients. My only real gripe is the primitive SD card file system, but it's really not much worse than the nuisance of dealing with AVCHD's PRIVATE folder cluster.