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User Review

An audiophile's travel buddy! - Reviews Zoom H6

I did a lot of research, reading countless reviews and watching many video tutorials before choosing the Zoom H6 as my portable recorder of choice. Within the price-range and portability, it seemed the Zoom H6 couldn't be rivalled in terms of features. So what happened when I finally got it? Well at first, I was quite shocked at its size! Honestly, I was expecting something 50-60% bigger and was pleasantly surprised at how small and light it was.

As I dove into using it right away, I found all of the features that sold me on it were easily accessible and equally useful. My primary use for the H6 will be for on-site sound recording for film. For my approach to sound design, having 4 independent, low-noise preamps with individual gain knobs on the outside of the device was a key feature. I like to set up the X/Y microphone as a general stereo distance mic centred on my subject. Then I can use preamps 1 and 2 to drive two shotgun mics forming a closer x/y field to my subject. Then I like to use mic preamps 3 and 4 to power two condenser mics further and to the sides of my subject, to capture the performance space. Being able to do all of this simultaneously while monitoring all of my levels on simple display screen without any thumbing through menus is a huge advantage to the H6.

As a musician, I was most excited to dive into the M/S microphone for recording acoustic demos. I travel often with my Martin LXK2 acoustic and have found the Zoom H6 to be a competent companion for recording demos on the go. The M/S mic is perfect for capturing a raw sound that I can upload into Pro Tools later and adjust the stereo image to taste. Below I walk through an acoustic demo with the H6.

Placing the M/S mic aligned between the direction of my voice and the guitar's 12th fret, I found I could vary the amount of vocal sound versus ambient guitar sound by adjust the side microphone's volume. This was really nice when monitoring my performance, because with the sides turned up I better heard my foot tapping to stay in time and also got the added resonance of the room to help my singing. What I discovered when I exported this file to my computer, was that I got a .wav file with the 'Mid' information on the left and the 'side' information on the right. This seemed pretty intuitive, so I loaded up a Pro Tools session with 2 mono tracks. On track one I put the left channel and track 2 I put the right channel. However, I left them both panned center, meaning my 'mid' and 'side' mics were now overlapping and by lowering the volume of one or the other I could adjust the stereo image and how prominent my vocal was in the mix. It's almost like multi-tracking but with one mic! See how it works in these examples

Mono (the side channel is muted and we hear only the 'Mid' mic):,m.473957.html

Mid 0 / Side -15 (I've brought up the sides just a bit to add some 'room' back into my take):,m.473958.html

Mid/Side at Unity (both with faders up):,m.473959.html

Mid -6/Side 0 (Here I've brought the Mid channel down just a hair so the vocal sits a little further back in the mix:,m.473960.html

PT Mix (I found I could play with the levels of each track and then add plugins and effects to achieve a fun, unique low-fi demo sound):,m.473961.html

There's many reviews and technical tutorials that go in depth with the professional applications for the H6 and I suggest checking them out! But if you're also a musician looking for a good multi-track recorder, then thrown the rule book out the window and play with the variety of different mic inserts and features. All in all, the H6 is an incredibly powerful, yet intuitive recording tool that after a little initial learning curve can be an audiophiles perfect travel buddy!