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Zoom has been producing innovative and practical devices for more than 30 years. Today another small revolution is on the horizon — multipurpose portable recorder Zoom H6. Zoom created the device for all sound recording occasions. This device transcends quality and functionality of modern recorders on the market.
This model is called chameleon in the world of audio for a reason. You can truly use this recorder for dozens of applications. Let’s take a look at the main features of the device.
The Zoom H6 can record 4 sound sources and a stereo file from its own microphone, so the scope is quite wide, from recording sound for a home podcast to shooting a movie or recording live performances.
The incredible features of this simple device made it indispensable at movie studios, for operators of large news channels and professional video studios. Simultaneous recording of up to six audio tracks, a set of capsules for high-quality recording in any place and situation have made the recorder truly famous in professional circles.
Zoom H6 has interchangeable microphone capsules of various types and purposes. H6 includes XYH-6 – microphone capsule, MSH-6 capsule of Mid / Side type, and additionally you can buy SGH-6 Shotgun capsule.
With the recorder also come foam windscreen, 2 GB SD card, 4 AA batteries. Everything is in a plastic case, with special sections for each part. It is worth mentioning about the XYH-6 capsule itself, this microphone has a diaphragm with diameter of 14.6 mm. It is the largest size among the available recorders. The stereo angle is changed from 90 to 120 ° by turning the capsule.
The Mid-Side MSH-6 capsule also turned out to be good in its own way, it produces very little noise and has wider stereo image. The stereo level can be adjusted from mono to +6 dB.
Materials and Ergonomics
The H6 itself is made out of rubber plastic; the colorful LED display is located at an angle for easier use when the recorder is placed on the surface. On the top there are 4 analog knobs, a switch to reduce the input signal level by 20 dB., underneath you’ll see knobs for choosing and editing a track.
On the sides there are combo inputs XLR-TRS. Headphone output has a separate input and volume control. On the bottom there’s a battery holder and strap inputs.
Soft press record button for Pre rec option produces no noise, so there will be no click from a button in the track. The recorder has a folder architecture for recording and storing your projects. This was done for easier allocation of your sound material, for example, for rehearsal records, select the folder FOLDER01, and for the concerts FOLDER02.
ZOOM H6 has all the necessary functionality for audio recording and simple post production:
- 10 thresholds Lo-cut 80-237 Hz;
- three compressor settings;
- three limiter settings;
- phantom power with a choice of voltage 24/48/48 volts;
- Plug-in power for lav mic;
- attenuation of the line output from 0 to -30 dB
- level indication in the form of an arrow.
H6 has four main inputs (1-4), plus two additional inputs (L, R) upon connection one of the capsules (X / Y, MS, Shotgun, or Dual XLR / TRS Combo). The XYH-6 X / Y also has a secondary input for external microphone connection or a linear instrument through a 1/8 “Mic / Line In mini jack. When connected through this input, the signal from the X / Y microphones is turned off.
All four H6 main inputs (1-4) allow you to use XLR or 1/4” balanced or unbalanced connectors and cables. They are compatible with a microphone or a line signal, which means you can connect external microphones, mixers, synthesizers, electric and bass guitars with active electronics (or passive if you have the necessary amplification devices – a mixer or guitar processing devices).
Each of the 6 channels (1-4 main, plus L, R from capsules) has a separate level control knob. In addition, the 4 main inputs and the EXH-6 capsules are equipped with a -20dB pad switcher to prevent distortion of the signal when recording very loud sound.
In fact, this pad switch enables H6 to receive signals 30dB louder and 14dB quieter comparing to any other portable recorders. Also, all capsules have overvoltage preamps (5 volts comparing to the most commonly used with 3 volts) for clean recording without distortion at high volume.
Built-in instrumentation amplifier can transmit signals with a minimum level of noise, even when using sufficiently long cables.
If you use high-quality condenser microphones with H6, user-friendly menu allows you to feed phantom power to the microphone (+12, +24, or +48 volts) to any or all 4 main inputs (1-4).
Inexpensive condenser microphones that require a small plug-in power supply (2.5 volts Plug-In Power) can be connected to X / Y capsule’s 1/8 “stereo jack.
Recording and Editing
ZOOM H6 supports WAV 44.1 / 48 /96 kHz recording quality and MP3 48-320 Kbps. Multi-track recording is possible only in WAV format.
The home page display has all the information about the project: working folder and project number, current recording time, input signal indication, level and panorama of each track, recording format, phantom power, compressor or limiter status, readiness of auto-recording, remaining time to record, battery level.
- Auto-record by signal level;
- Prerecord buffer for 2 seconds;
- Backup – recording. It records copies of the track from microphones with reduced volume level of 12 dB;
- Selecting the name of the project by default (ZOOM0001… ZOOM0010) or by recording the record;
- A sound marker for capturing marks at the beginning or at the end of an audio file to facilitate further editing with a video track;
- Overdubbing — recording several options in the same track.
In terms of editing you can rename, normalize, raise the volume level, add voice tags to the project, divide one file in two and made all the corrections, meaning you can separate the beginning and end of the track where various technical noises can be heard.
USB-connection allows you to use H6 as an audio interface apart from regular recording functions. There are two modes, Stereo mix 2 in. / 2 out. And Multi-track 6 in. / 2 out
- Convenient location of Gain regulators.
- Fast editing of any channel. Solo listening mode of each channel before and during recording.
- Works as an audio interface when connected to a computer
- The ability to record 6 channels simultaneously
- Pre-recording function
- Multi-functional recorder
- Gain adjustment knobs are loose.
- The Mid-side microphone sensitivity is low and there is a lot of noise.
- A separate folder is created for each recording: It doesn’t display the date, the wav file itself does not contain a date in the title, which can be quite confusing
Well, it remains only to agree with the statement of the manufacturer – Zoom H6 is really a chameleon in the sound recording industry. You can use H6 for any application — be it rock band recording, interview, concert etc. — and adapt it to any situation where you need high-quality recording, mobility, flexibility and functionality.
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