With the revolutionary Zoom H6 Handy Recorder, the bar is raised. Four interchangeable input capsules - X/Y, MS, Shotgun, and Dual XLR/TRS Combo - make the H6 the ultimate chameleon of the audio world, and its advanced preamps make it the best-sounding one too. Whatever your application - live recording, professional film/video work, live broadcast or electronic news gathering -the H6 can handle it with ease.
XYH-6 X/Y Capsule
The capsule adds two matched high-quality unidirectional microphones to your H6. This kind of microphone is most sensitive to signal coming from directly in front, and less sensitive to signal coming from behind or from the sides; in technical terms, they are said to utilise a cardioid polar pattern. Playing back stereo X/Y tracks in mono results in a fuller sound than you would get with one microphone, but if mono compatibility is critical (for example, in television production), the Mid-Side (MS) mic technique can be a better choice.
MSH-6 MS Capsule
MS (“Mid-Side”) recording: an incredible technique that allows you to actually adjust the width of the stereo image after it has been recorded, making it especially useful for film, video and television projects. Sound like magic? Read on. Although the MSH-6 MS capsule appears to be just one microphone, it actually contains two mic elements, positioned directly on top of one another. The basic concept behind MS recording is that the Mid microphone picks up signal coming from the centre, while the Side microphone creates ambience and directionality by adding or subtracting information from either side. The Mid-Side technique works well whenever you need a variable amount of room sound. It can also be used for studio recording, and its convenience and flexibility make it a good option for rehearsal and live concert recording as well. Another benefit is that it provides total mono compatibility, making it an excellent choice for stereo recordings that may eventually be played back in mono, such as TV broadcasts.
SGH-6 Shotgun Capsule
Shotgun mics have a narrower focus than an average microphone. However, shotgun mics are not the audio equivalent of a photographic telephoto lens. Even though they do an above-average job of picking up sounds that originate from a short distance away, they always sound better when they’re physically close to the sound source.
EXH-6 Dual XLR/TRS Combo Capsule
Both EXH-6 inputs are combo jacks that accept either XLR or 1/4” balanced (TRS) or unbalanced (TS) connectors. They can handle both mic- and line-level signals, which means that you can connect either microphones or line-level devices like mixers, portable music players, electronic keyboards, or electric guitars or basses with active electronics (passive electric guitars or basses can also be connected with the use of a mixer or effects device). Internal switching contacts automatically detect the circuit of choice. Each EXH-6 input offers a dedicated analog gain control knob as well as a -20dB pad that allows you to prevent distortion even when high-level signals are introduced; in fact, with the use of the Pad switch, the H6 can input 30dB louder signal and 14dB softer signal than any other Handy Recorder model. In addition, a built-in instrumentation amp allows signals to be transmitted with minimal noise even when long cables are used.
The H6 offers four main inputs (1-4), plus two additional inputs (L, R) that are derived from whichever capsule (X/Y, MS, Shotgun, or Dual XLR/TRS Combo) is plugged into the unit. The supplied XYH-6 X/Y capsule also provides a secondary input for connecting an external mic- or line-level signal via a stereo 1/8” Mic/Line In mini phone jack. When a connection is made to that jack, signal from the X/Y microphones is muted.
Each of the six inputs (that is, 1-4 as well L, R) have a dedicated gain control knob as well as a -20dB pad, allowing you to prevent distortion even when high-level signals are introduced. In fact, with the use of the Pad switch, the H6 can input a signal 30dB louder and 14dB softer than any other Handy Recorder model. In addition, all capsules utilise higher voltage preamps (5 volts instead of the more commonly used 3 volts) for distortion free recording, even at high volumes. A built-in instrumentation amp allows signals to be transmitted with minimal noise even when long cables are used.
The H6 Line Out is an unbalanced stereo 1/8” phone jack, located on the bottom of the H6, beneath the LCD display. It carries the analog stereo output signal, as determined by the H6’s internal mixer.
The interview started a split-second before you were ready. The conductor lifted his baton just as you were checking a cable. The talent went back on-air a moment too soon. No problem… as long as you’re using the H6. Its Pre-Record function automatically keeps the H6 silently but continuously recording in the background, all the time. Then, when you hit the RECORD button, it keeps the previous two seconds and appends it to the beginning of the file. It’s as if the H6 had started recording two seconds before you actually got to hit the button.
Backup-Record - the ultimate safety net. When turned on during the recording of WAV files, the H6 automatically records a duplicate set of L/R tracks, but with 12dB less input gain. Even if the original L/R track is distorted, chances are the Backup version is fine. You can listen to either set of tracks simply by going to the Backup File option in the PROJECT menu. When turned OFF, you’ll hear the original L/R tracks; when turned ON, you’ll hear the lower-level Backup tracks instead. Pick the one you prefer and use it as your L/R master. Bacon saved.
The Auto-Record function allows the H6 to automatically start recording when a certain level of sound is detected. When turned ON and the RECORD button is pressed, the H6 doesn’t immediately start recording; instead, it goes into a standby mode; as soon as an incoming signal exceeds the Start Level you’ve set, recording begins. There’s an equivalent Auto-Record Stop function, too. When turned ON, as soon as incoming signal drops below the Stop Level you’ve set, recording ends.
The H6 provides an arsenal of effects that allows you to add polish to your recordings and compensate for any problems or limitations in the acoustics of the recording environment. The H6 allows you to choose from three compressor settings and three limiter settings. The two “General” settings (Comp1 and Limiter1) are all-purpose settings that will work well on most kinds of program material. The Comp2 and Comp3 presets are optimised for use with vocals and drums, respectively, while the Limiter2 and Limiter3 presets are optimised for use in live concert recording and small room “studio” recording, respectively.
Battery Life And Recording Times
The H6 requires just 4 AA batteries - either alkaline or rechargeable NiMH - for power. Battery life (when using alkaline batteries) is more than 20 hours, even during continuous recording. An optional AD-17 AC adapter (included in the APH-6 Accessory Pack) allows you to power the H6 from any standard wall socket.
Supported File Types
The H6 can record audio in two different basic file types: WAV and MP3. The H6 can record up to six monophonic WAV files (or up to three stereo files) in any of the following formats: 44.1kHz / 16-bit 44.1kHz / 24-bit 48kHz / 16-bit 48kHz / 24-bit 96kHz / 16-bit 96kHz / 24-bit. All WAV files recorded by the H6 are automatically time-stamped, making them fully compatible with the Broadcast Wave Format (BWF); in other words, they are “BWF-compliant.” This is especially important when recording audio for video, because it allows the audio to be precisely synchronised with the onscreen action in post-production. MP3 recordings are compressed, making them much smaller than WAV files, and thus much easier to upload and download.
Note that when the MP3 file type is selected, the H6 only records in stereo; if you want to record in multitrack, you must select a WAV file type. The H6’s internal mixdown function allows multitrack WAV projects to be easily reduced down to stereo MP3 (or WAV), with independent control over each track’s level, panning and pitch.
The H6 As An Audio Interface
Connect the H6 to your laptop or desktop computer via USB, launch your favourite DAW or use the included Cubase LE software, and start laying down your tracks. You can even connect the H6 to an iPad (camera connection kit required).
When the H6 is set to “Stereo Mix” in the USB menu, it acts as a 2-input / 2-output interface; when set to “Multi Track,” it acts as a 6-input / 2-output interface. The H6’s onboard INPUT&OUTPUT mixer allows you to create a custom stereo or six-track mix for output via USB, with independent control over the level and panning of each track, as well as access to effects like low-cut filtering, compression and limiting. In addition, signal that is input to the H6 can be monitored directly before it passes through the connected computer or iPad for zero latency (that is, without any delay). There’s also a handy Loop Back mode that allows you to blend stereo signal coming from the computer or iPad with signal coming into the H6 inputs, useful for live streaming via the Internet or for adding narration to a musical backing track.
|SD card||16MB to 2GB|
|SDHC card||4GB to 32GB|
|SDXC card||64GB to 128GB|
|XYH-6 X/Y mic|
|Sensitivity||-41 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa|
|Input gain||-∞ to 46.5 dB|
|Max sound pressure input||136 dB SPL|
|XYH-6 Mic/Line In|
|Connector||1/8" stereo mini jack|
|Input level||- ∞ to 46.5 dB|
|Input impedance||2 k Ω|
|Plug-in power||2.5V supported|
|MSH-6 MS mic|
|Mic types||Unidirectional and bi-directional|
|Sensitivity||-37 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa (unidirectional) -39 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa (bi-directional)|
|Input gain||-∞ to 42.5 dB|
|Max sound pressure input||120 dB SPL (unidirectional) 122 dB SPL (bi-directional)|
|Shotgun mic (SGH-6)|
|Mic Type||Unidirectional (mic unit x3)|
|Sensitivity||–39 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa (each mic unit)|
|Input Gain||–∞ to 50 dB|
|Maximum Sound Pressure Input||122 dB SPL|
|Inputs 1 to 4|
|MicConnectors||XLR / TRS combo jacks (XLR: Pin 2 hot / TRS: Tip hot)|
|MicInput gain (PAD OFF)||-∞ to 55.5 dB|
|MicInput gain (PAD ON)||-∞ to 35.5 dB|
|MicInput impedance||1.8kΩ or more|
|MicMax input level||+22 dBu (PAD ON)|
|MicPhantom power||+12V /+24V /+48V (Phantom power can be turned on/off independently for Inputs 1 - 4)|
|MicEquivalent Input Noise (EIN)||-120 dBu or less|
|Jack type||1/8" stereo mini jack|
|Rated Output Level||-10 dBu when output load impedance is 10k Ω or more|
|Jack type||1/8" stereo mini jack|
|Output Level||20 W +20 W into 32 Ω load|
|Built-in speaker||400mw 8 Ω mono speaker|
|Sampling frequency||44.1/48/96 kHz|
|Bit rate||16/24 (Mono/Stereo, BWF-compliant)|
|Maximum simultaneous recording tracks||8 (L/R + INPUT 1 to 4 + L/R backup) (Backup recording: -12dB lower than set L/R input gain)|
|Bit Rate||48/56/64/80/96/112/128/160/192/224/256/320kbps Maximum simultaneous recording tracks: 2|
|Recording Time (With 2Gb Card)||03:08:00 (44.1 kHz / 16-bit WAV) 34:43:00 (128kbps MP3)|
|Display||2.0-inch full color LCD (320 x 240 pixels)|
|Mass Storage Class operation|
|Class||USB2.0 High Speed|
|Audio Interface operation:|
|Class||USB2.0 High Speed|
|Inputs / Outputs||6 / 2|
|Bit rate||16/24 bit USB bus powered operation possible|
|Audio Interface operation|
|Class||USB2.0 Full Speed|
|Inputs / Outputs||2 / 2|
|Bit rate||16 bit USB bus powered operation possible (iPad operation supported in stereo mode only)|
|Power Requirements||AA size (LR6) battery x 4 Alkaline or NiMH type AC adapter: AD-17 (DC5V/1A/USB-type) (optional) USB bus power|
|Battery life (with alkaline battery, continuous recording)||Over 20 hours|
|Dimensions And Weight|
|H6||77.8mm (W) x 152.8mm (D) x 47.8mm (H), 280g|
|XYH-6||78.9mm (W) x 60.2mm (D) x 45.2mm (H), 130g|
|MSH-6||58.0mm (W) x 67.6mm (D) x 42.1mm (H), 85g|