Zoom H6 Six-Channel Recorder

Back when the Canon 5D ignited the DSLR video revolution it quickly became apparent that the new crop of film producers and directors would need to learn how to capture professional sounding audio. While the 5D excelled at video, it fell flat on its face when it came to audio acquisition. The built-in mic was only good for producing a reference at best. Guitar effects company Zoom stepped in to fill this void with the H4 HandyRecorder and later the H4n. Although many recording options existed at the time, Zoom captured the market. Videographers could now record audio on a portable device and sync it with their footage back in the editing suite.

As a follow-up to the H4n Zoom recently released the H6. The Zoom H6 is a robust upgrade to the H4n offering four XLR/TRS inputs expandable to 6 with an optional XLR/TRS Capsule. The Zoom H6ships with two input capsules — X/Y Mic and MS Mic Capsule and makes a fourth: Shotgun Mic Capsule. Each mic has independent gain controls as well as an optional -20db pad for those recording from soundboards. New also to the Zoom H6 is a headphone output in addition to the previously available line out and speaker. Other exciting upgrades are advanced mic preamps and an angled color LCD screen.

Some of the standout features that should appeal to the DSLR videographer crowd are pre-record and backup-record options. The pre-record option helps you recover from pressing the “record” button too late by capturing two seconds of audio before you hit the record button. When you activate the backup-record option the Zoom H6 will create duplicates of your L/R channels but at 12dB lower than where your input gain was set. This lower decibel backup can help you recover from clipped sound.

Construction of the Zoom H6 is more rugged than its predecessor and weighs in at about 10 ounces, depending on the attached capsule.

The Zoom H6 is a worthy replacement to the H4n and comes highly recommended.


Zoom H6 Product specs

Recording Media
SD Card 16MB to 2GB
SDHC Card 4GB to 32GB
SDXC Card 64GB to 128GB
X/Y Mic
Mic Type Unidirectional
Sensitivity -41 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa
Input Gain ∞ to 46.5 dB
Maximum SPL 136 dB SPL
MS Mic
Mic Types 1x Unidirectional, 1x Bi-Directional/td>
Sensitivity -37 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa (unidirectional), -39 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa (bi-directional)
Input Gain ∞ to 42.5 dB
Maximum SPL 120 dB SPL (unidirectional), 122 dB SPL (bi-directional)
Mic/Line In
Connector 1/8″ (3.5mm) Stereo Minijack
Input Level ∞ to 46.5 dB
Input Impedance 2 kΩ
Input Impedance Plug-In Power 2.5 V supported
Inputs 1 to 4
Connectors Combo XLR/TRS (XLR: Pin 2 Hot/TRS: Tip Hot)
Input Gain ∞ to 55.5 dB (Pad Off)
Input Gain ∞ to 35.5 dB (Pad On)
Input Impedance 6.8 kΩ
Maximum Input Level 22 dBu (Pad On)
Phantom Power 12 V /24 V /48 V (Independent Per Channel)
EIN EIN -120 dBu or less
Line Outputs
Jack 1/8″ (3.5mm) Stereo Minijack
Rated Output Level -10 dBu when output load impedance
is 10 kΩ or more
Phone Output
Jack 1/8″ (3.5mm) Stereo Minijack
Output Level 20 W +20 W into 32 Ω load
Built-In Speaker 400 mw 8 Ω mono speaker
Recording Formats
Sampling Frequency 44.1, 48, 96 kHz
Bit Rate 16/24-bits (Mono/Stereo, BWF compliant)
Max Simultaneous Recording Tracks 8 (L/R + INPUT 1 to 4 + L/R backup)
Backup Recording 12 dB lower than set L/R input gain
Sampling Frequency 44.1 kHz
Bit Rate 48/56/64/80/96/112/128/160/192/224/256/ 320 kbps
Max. Simultaneous Recording Tracks 2
Mass Storage Class USB 2.0 High Speed
Audio Interface (Multitrack Mode)
USB Class USB 2.0 High Speed
Inputs/Outputs 6/2
Sampling Frequency 44.1, 48, 96 kHz
Bit Rate 16/24-bit
Audio Interface (Stereo Mode)
USB Class SB 2.0 Full Speed
Inputs/Outputs 2/2
Sampling Frequency 44.1, 48 kHz
Bit Rate 16-bit
Battery Life
Continuous Recording with Alkaline Battery More than 20 hours
H6 3.06 x 6.01 x 1.88″ (77.8 x 152.8 x 47.8mm)
XYH-6 3.10 x 2.37 x 1.77″ (78.9 x 60.2 x 45.2mm)
MSH-6 2.2 x 2.6 x 1.6″ (58.0 x 67.6 x 42.1mm)
H6 9.4 oz (280 g)
XYH-6 4.3 oz (130 g)
MSH-6 2.8 (85 g)



I purchased the Zoom H6 Six-channel recorder before writing this review.