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Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2

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Will Fly 03 Dec 18 - 07:27 AM
Nick 03 Dec 18 - 11:33 AM
Will Fly 03 Dec 18 - 12:10 PM
Tattie Bogle 03 Dec 18 - 07:51 PM
Joe Offer 03 Dec 18 - 08:44 PM
Will Fly 04 Dec 18 - 04:35 AM
Will Fly 04 Dec 18 - 04:37 AM
GUEST 04 Dec 18 - 04:56 AM
Will Fly 04 Dec 18 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,nickp (cookieless) 04 Dec 18 - 07:22 AM
Will Fly 04 Dec 18 - 08:36 AM
Will Fly 04 Dec 18 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,Richard Robinson 04 Dec 18 - 09:39 AM
Anglo 04 Dec 18 - 09:51 AM
Will Fly 04 Dec 18 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Dec 18 - 10:47 AM
Will Fly 04 Dec 18 - 11:44 AM
treewind 05 Dec 18 - 05:16 PM
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Subject: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Dec 18 - 07:27 AM

I've used a pair of Zoom H2 recorders for making audio and video for several years now. One of the H2s has, for whatever reason, decided to record at a very low input level, no matter what settings I fiddle with. Which means that I have to whack the level up with Audacity - which means that the level of ambient noise on the channel is also increased.

So I decided to invest in a Zoom H6, which comes with two detachable mics - an XY configuration, pointing at opposed 90 or 120 degree angles - and an MS globe mic. I also got the H6 accessory pack as part of the bundle, and got a remote control, power plug and hairy windshield! The H6 also has 4 XLR/jack inputs, which I may or may not use, but is handy to have.

These things all sound complicated but, after a look at the controls and a run through the menu, the basics are not massively different from the old H2 - just more bells and whistles and better quality build. The bundle was bought from Gear4Music and cost £289. Looking forward to using it in action very soon...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Nick
Date: 03 Dec 18 - 11:33 AM

It does look a little like a cross between some sort of beard trimming or fancy hairdressing implement and a breathalyser. be interested to hear what it is like. My ten year old H2 is still going strong but will no doubt end one day and it is something I will definitely replace as I'd miss it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Dec 18 - 12:10 PM

I've done a few rough and ready recording bits on it this afternoon, and it sounds OK. I'll get a proper setup this evening and will pair it with the remaining H2 - might even plug in a Shure M57...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Dec 18 - 07:51 PM

Does it take a higher capacity SD card? My early version H4 only takes up to 2GB cards.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Dec 18 - 08:44 PM

Hi, Will - are those full-sized XLR inputs, or the mini size? Phantom power?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 04:35 AM

SD card: I transferred the 16Gb card from my old H2 into the H6 - no problem with either.

XLR inputs: These are full-size, and there is phantom power available.

The main, interchangeable mics take recording channels "L" & "R". There are 4 XLR inputs, each with its own recording level control. So, in essence, there are up to 6 tracks - 4 independent XLR tracks and a stereo input.

I tested it last night, in conjunction with the other H2 on this:

Autumn Leaves

The H2 is on the left (basser) side, and you can see the H6, with a screw-in mic mount, on a mic stand to the right. The H2 was a little too hot for my liking, and I'll bring it down in level next time I use it. I'm going to try out a couple of Shure mics in the XLRs sometime today - just to see what the sound is like.

In the recording, the H2 and H6 tracks were equalized with Audacity, and the two tracks synched and exported as an mp4 with Garageband. Dave the Gnome - if you're reading this, I want to get the balance right before doing your tune recording.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 04:37 AM

Incidentally, you can download the manual from this page:

Zoom info and manuals


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 04:56 AM

There is an attachment that can be used instead of the mic ones that would allow 6 Combined XLR/TRS inputs. The 2 this adds do not have phantom power.

You can get 6 independent inputs with this. Also, tracks can be independent or stereo pairs. You change this by briefly clicking a pair of buttons (eg. 3 and 4) together. This also works with the "XLR attachment" but the mic attachments are fixed as a stereo pair.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 05:07 AM

I also forgot to say that the current bundle gave me a free download of Cubase LE and Wavelab LE - which I've yet to get to grips with. Cubase LE is downloading as I speak - all 6gb of it!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: GUEST,nickp (cookieless)
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 07:22 AM

Hi Will, just curious because I often record low and boost later to avoid overloading (edirol r-09 as it happens).

You say "Which means that I have to whack the level up with Audacity - which means that the level of ambient noise on the channel is also increased." In my non-technical brain this is a digital recording so I would assume that ambient noise would be at the same comparative level regardless. Using tape would be a different matter with tape noise.

Am I wrong in that assumption (simple science please!)? If so I must start using a higher level.

Thanks, Nick


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 08:36 AM

Well, in my experience (for what it's worth, which may not be much!), there's always a certain residual background "presence" in recording. I won't say it's always a hiss, but that's the nearest I can get to explaining it. Wikipedia calls it "...ambient noise level (sometimes called background noise level, reference sound level, or room noise level) - the background sound pressure level at a given location".

So, if a recording input level is low, it may be that the difference between that recording and the accompanying ambient noise may be quite low. The effect of amplifying the recording level, say with Audacity, is to increase not only the sound but the ambient noise surrounding it. Recording at a higher level, and with the mic closer to the sound source seems to make ambient noise less of a presence. That's what my ears tell me at any rate.

I won't swear to all of this; merely to say that, when using the two Zoom H2 recorders - one of which was recording at a very low level and had to be amplified quite considerably with Audacity - the overall sound, including ambient noise, was boosted. This is how it seemed to me. I can't figure out why one of the H2 machines is losing its recording level. The settings on both machines are exactly the same - and I've checked and double-checked - but, at equal placement from the sound source, one wave is much, much lower than the other.

Regardless of all that, I'm glad I bought the H6. The ability to plug in my XLR-cabled Shure mics is certainly a bonus!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 08:41 AM

Forgot to add:

My own recordings are, of necessity, made at home and not in aurally perfect conditions. That's a consideration.

When recording, I usually try and get the input volume just peaking without going into the red. The H2s display is rather primitive in this respect, but the duff one, even at full recording level setting, couldn't get even halfway up the scale.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: GUEST,Richard Robinson
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 09:39 AM

"It does look a little like a cross between some sort of beard trimming or fancy hairdressing implement and a breathalyser"

*grin* so I had to go and look for a picture ... it does, doesn't it ?

How convenient is it to put in a pocket ? Serious question - I use my H2 mainly for informal stuff, sessions and the like, and what makes it the Best Machine Ever, from my POV, is the way it's a simple clean-lines little box that slips into a single pocket with nothing sticking out to get in the way, and has everything you need, with external mics and power source in other pockets if it's worth the extra nuisance. It looks like the H6 might not be so convenient in that respect ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Anglo
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 09:51 AM

All the stuff I read about Logic Pro, which I recently acquired for recording software, is that if you use at 24-bit rather than 16 you can record at lower level with less noise.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 10:17 AM

Richard R - the H6 comes in a little black suitcase, with compartments for the recorder, the two mic heads, and anything else you fancy. Very neat but not as convenient for the pocket as the H2. I bought a screw-in grip for the H2, so it could be used with a mic stand, and I use that with the H6. I also have a scrcew-in, 4-footed little stand for the H2 - great for sessions recording, but I haven't tried it on the H6 yet.

Anglo - thanks for the 24-bit info - I'll investigate.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 10:47 AM

There's no noise floor with digital recording. We shouldn't confuse ambient noise (picked up by a mic) with tape hiss (built in to the recording medium, nothing to do with mics).

Background noise (i.e. a fridge hum or battery hum or wind rattling a window) does not get quieter or louder relative to the record level. Changing the recording level doesn't magically make microphones quieten a car outside.

The only thing that will alter that is how close your mic is to your guitar or voice.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 11:44 AM

Thanks, Matt - that's clear. The old H2 was as close as it could get to the guitar without actually being on the fretboard. Still too low.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zoom H6 replaces my old H2
From: treewind
Date: 05 Dec 18 - 05:16 PM

"There's no noise floor with digital recording"

There is, but it's so low it's rarely a problem.
For a 16 bit recording it's 96dB below clipping level.
So if you don't let your peaks go over -20dB while recording (as a precaution against unexpected clipping), you'll still get 76dB which is better than the ambient noise in any room you are likely to use for recording.


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