Zoom H6 Handy
Handheld 6-track digital recorder
Our take on the Zoom H6 Handy by Crutchfield's David Brown
A whole lot of recording power in the palm of your hand
To call the Zoom H6 a handheld recorder doesn't do it justice. Sure, you can easily hold it in your hand. But don't confuse this device with simple voice recorders. This is a portable 6-track studio with swappable mic modules and lots of advanced features. Whether you're recording your band's live performance, capturing some studio magic, or in need of high-quality audio for video production, the H6 has you covered.
Use the H6's XY mics and XLR/TRS inputs to record your band's live performance.
Choose from two included mic modules
One of the secrets to the H6's impressive versatility is its modular microphone system. The H6 comes with two microphone “capsules” that connect to the recorder. Try the XY mic capsule to capture a tight stereo recording of your band working through some new material during a rehearsal. Or connect the MS capsule, which uses a mid-side mic configuration to capture directional and ambient sounds. This is valuable for video applications like location shoots for news programs. You can even adjust the width of the stereo image in post-production with the H6, which offers some cool possibilities for music production as well.
Balanced inputs for mics, instruments, or line-level signals from mixers
The included mics aren't the only way to capture audio with the H6 recorder. There are four combination inputs for XLR or 1/4" balanced cables, each with its own gain control knob and pad. That means you can record 4 separate tracks in addition to the stereo tracks captured by the mics, for 6-track simultaneous recording. For instance, if you wanted to record your band's rehearsal, you could plug in your vocalist's mic, an electric guitar and bass via an effects module or mixer, as well as a keyboard directly into the H6. Add the EXH-6 XLR/TRS capsule to add two additional inputs in place of a microphone capsule to connect stereo outputs from a mixing board. That's an impressive level of connectivity from such a compact recorder.
It's also a USB audio interface for your computer or iPad®
You don't have to use a computer to tweak the recordings you make with the Zoom H6 recorder. There are limiters, compressors, and a low-cut filter built right into the recorder. Plus, the full-color display is your portal to the internal mixer, so you can apply those effects individually to each track as well control pan and volume levels as you create a stereo mixdown. If you decide to connect this recorder to your computer or iPad, you'll be in for a treat. The H6 can also be used as an audio interface for your digital audio workstation (DAW). That means you can use the H6 to input audio signals directly to your DAW. You can even monitor those signals from the H6's headphone output prior to sending them to the computer, thus eliminating latency problems. Don't have DAW software on your PC or Mac®? Experiment with Cubase LE, included with the H6.
Optional accessories to make the H6 even more versatile
In the course of half a day, I went from never having picked up the H6 to recording a song, editing and mixing, and mixing down to an MP3.
— David, Crutchfield A/V Writer
- 6-track simultaneous recording
- includes swappable XY and MS (Mid-Side) microphone capsules for high-quality stereo recording
- 4 balanced mic/line inputs with phantom power for use with dynamic/condenser microphones and line-level signals
- can serve as a USB interface for a PC, Mac, or iPad (requires Camera Connection Kit, not included, for connection to iPad)
- overdub recording mode for additional recording alongside a previously recorded take
- rotary gain controls with -20dB pad for all inputs
- built-in mixer lets you create a stereo mix from multitrack recordings
- Backup Recording captures a "safety" recording at lower input levels in case the original is overly distorted
- Pre-Record function keeps the device always recording, so when you "start" recording the file captures the previous two seconds of audio
- Auto Record can start recording when input levels are detected
- built-in limiter, compressor, and low-cut filter
- compatible with Zoom SGH6 Shotgun Mic capsule and EXH-6 Dual XLR/TRS capsules
- editing features include mark, trim, divide, and delete
- playback options include loop, variable speed, and variable pitch
- full-color 2" LCD display
- built-in speaker
- built-in chromatic tuner and metronome
- records linear PCM WAV files (BWF) up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution
- records stereo MP3 files with selectable bit rate up to 320kbps
- up to 21 hours of operation with included "AA" batteries (with XY mic, 16-bit/44.1kHz)
Connections and Dimensions:
- stereo (left/right) inputs for included microphone capsules
- 4 locking XLR/TRS mic/line inputs with selectable phantom power (+12, +24, or +48 volts)
- 1/8" (3.5mm) mic input with plug-in power (on XY mic capsule)
- 1/8" (3.5mm) line out
- 1/8" (3.5mm) headphone jack with dedicated volume control wheel
- USB 2.0 port (Mini Type B) for connection to a computer
- input for remote control (included with Zoom APH-6 Accessory Pack)
- slot for SD/SDHC/SDXC cards
- threaded insert for connection to a tripod or a DSLR camera with the optional HS-1 adapter
- camera strap mounts
- 3-1/8"W x 8-7/16"H x 1-7/8"D (with XY mic capsule installed)
- weight: 14.5 oz. (with XY mic capsule installed)
- 2GB SD card (installed)
- USB cable
- protective case
- 4 "AA" batteries
- Cubase LE software DVD-ROM
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- H6 Handy Recorder 6-track portable recorder
- XYH-6 XY stereo microphone
- MHS-6 MS stereo microphone
- Foam wind screen
- 4 "AA" batteries
- 2 GB microSD memory card
- microSD card adapter
- Clear plastic case (for microSD card and adapter)
- 59" USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Mini-B USB on other end)
- Hard plastic carrying case
- Cubase LE6 software on DVD-ROM
- Operation Manual
- USB/Cubase LE Startup Guide
- Warranty Registration Information
- SD Card Usage Precautions
Simply fantastic, easy to use and perfect for adding quality audio to my videos! Can't belive how much video have improved for viewing and presentations.
Sal, Schenectady, NY
Zoom H6 Handy Reviews
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Overview: The Zoom H6 is a portable 6-track digital audio recorder with four main inputs and two additional inputs from a unique plug-in capsule. The H6 can record in either WAV or MP3 onto SD memory cards. A 2" full-color LCD screen (320 x 240 pixels) shows the input levels of all six tracks, and lets you maneuver through the menu with ease. The unit comes with two plug-in mic capsules, wind screen, music production software, batteries, a 2 GB SD memory card, and a USB cable. The entire kit stores safely in the supplied hard plastic carrying case.
Main Inputs: The H6 has four main inputs (numbered 1-4) with combo connectors that can accept either XLR or 1/4" balanced or unbalanced phone cables (or TRS--Tip-Ring-Sleeve). All of the connectors use the industry standard "Pin 2 hot" protocol on the XLR, and "Tip hot" protocol on the TRS connectors. The inputs can handle both mic-level and line-level signals with ease, with internal switching contacts automatically detecting the signal type. Each of the main inputs has a dedicated gain control knob, and feature a -20dB pad to prevent distortion from high-level signals. If you are using high-quality condenser (powered) microphones, a simple menu option provides Phantom Power (+12, +24 or +48 volts) to any or all of the main inputs.
Input Capsules: The rear panel of the H6 contains a proprietary connector for one of the two supplied plug-in mic capsules, or other optional capsules. These capsules provide a two-channel input to the recorder (marked L and R) and have a single rotary level control. The supplied capsules include:
- XYH-6: The XYH-6 capsule adds two matched high-quality unidirectional microphones to the H6, mounted in the X/Y miking configuration. This configuration covers a wide area but still captures sound sources in the center, making it very useful for live stereo recording. The microphones on the XYH-6 can be rotated to change the angle from 90 degrees to 120 degrees for a wider stereo image.
- MSH-6: The MSH-6 capsule has a large single microphone screen with two mic elements inside, positioned directly on top of one another in a Mid-Side configuration. One of the mics is unidirectional, while the other is bi-directional. The unidirectional mic (Mid) is most sensitive to signals coming from directly in front and less sensitive to signals coming from behind or from the sides. The bi-directional mic (Side), placed perpendicular to the Mid mic, is mostly sensitive to signals directly in front and behind, and less sensitive to signals coming from the sides. The Mid microphone picks up signals from the center while the Side microphone creates ambience and directionality by adding or subtracting information from either side. In post-production, you can adjust the width of the stereo image. The MSH-6 is a good microphone for studio recording, as well as rehearsal and live concert recording.
- Optional Capsules: The optional SGH-6 shotgun capsule adds a professional-quality highly-directional microphone to the H6. The SGH-6 is ideal for recording audio for film, video, live theater, or electronic news gathering (ENG) applications. The EXH-6 adds two more XLR/TRS Combo inputs to the H6. Each input on the EXH-6 has a rotary level control and -20dB pad switch, but does not support phantom power.
Outputs: The H6 features a 3.5mm unbalanced line output, located beneath the LCD display. It allows you to send a stereo signal to a camcorder or other device. A 3.5mm headphone jack with a dedicated volume control on the left side lets you monitor your recordings in real time, or privately listen to playback. A Mini-B USB port (2.0 Full Speed compatible) on the right side provides a digital output of either a stereo mix or the six individual input signals.
File Types: The Zoom H6 can record in two different basic file types: WAV and MP3:
- WAV: WAV files are uncompressed. The H6 can record up to six monophonic WAV files, or up to 3 stereo files in any of six formats: 44.1kHz/16-bit, 44.1kHz/24-bit, 48kHz/16-bit, 48kHz/24-bit, 96kHz/ 16-bit, or 96kHz/24-bit. WAV files are automatically time-stamped, making them compliant with the Broadcast Wave Format (BWF). This allows you to precisely synchronize the audio with on-screen action in video post production.
- MP3: MP3 files are compressed to reduce file size, making them easier to store, upload and download. You can record only stereo files in MP3. Available bit rates for recording MP3 include: 48k, 56k, 64k, 80k, 96k, 112k, 128k, 160k, 192k, 224k, 256k, and 320k bits per second.
Recording Media: The H6 records audio directly to SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards up to 128 GB. A 2 GB microSD (with a full-size adapter) is included. You can record approximately 3 hours 8 minutes of audio at 44.1kHz/16-bit WAV or 34 hours 43 minutes at 128kbps MP3 with a 2 GB card.
Recording Features: Three special recording features of the H6 can help prevent bad quality or missed recordings:
- Pre-Record: When Pre-Record is engaged, the H6 will continuously record in the background while you wait for an event to begin. When you hit the Record button, the recorder keeps the previous two seconds and adds it to the beginning of the file.
- Backup-Record: The Backup-Record feature automatically records a duplicate set of L/R tracks but at an input level 12dB less. If the original L/R tracks are distorted, it is likely the backup recording is fine.
- Auto-Record: The Auto-Record feature allows the H6 to automatically start recording when a certain level of sound is detected. When the Record button is pressed, the unit goes into Standby mode. As soon as the incoming signal exceeds the set Start Level, the unit begins recording. An equivalent Autorecord Stop function stops recording when the input signal level drops below the set Stop level.
Effects: The unit has built-in effects, including low-cut filtering, compression, and limiting. The low-cut filter reduces the effect of wind noise and vocal pops. The compressor/limiter can be used to raise low-level input signals and lower high-level input signals.
Playback Features: The H6 offers the following special playback features:
- Playback Speed: You can adjust the playback speed in a range from 50% to 150% of normal.
- Changing the Pitch: The pitch can be changed in semitones for each track separately while keeping the same playback speed.
Power Requirements: The H6 is powered by 4 "AA" batteries, and can use either alkaline or rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH). Battery life with alkaline batteries is more than 20 hours. The optional AD-17 AC adapter allows you to power the H6 from ordinary household current.
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Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs
by David Brown
How easy is it to create and mix a multi-track recording with this versatile recorder? David Brown found out.
Why did you buy this?
Ease of operation and recommendations. [ John Dec 16, 2017 ]