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Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 | 17 comments

Zoom H6 Handy Recorder Announced

Zoom H6 and attachments

Zoom H6 and attachments

Making the rounds in some audio circles on the internet this morning is the announcement of the Zoom H6 Handy Recorder.

Zoom’s news post about the device is a bit spartan but the interchangeable mics including a Mid-Side as well as the ability to record 6 channels is eye-catching.  Specs:

• The world’s first handy recorder with interchangeable mic system
• XY mics capture remarkable stereo depth and clarity
• Mid-side mics provide continuously variable stereo width
• Four XLR/TRS inputs for external mic/line connections
• Up to six channels of simultaneous recording
• High-definition audio of up to 24-bit/96kHz
• 6-in/2-out USB audio interface
• Over 20 hours of operation with 4 AA batteries
• Supports SDXC memory cards up to 128GB
• Optional Shotgun mic and external XLR/TRS inputs available

4 AA batteries might mean better battery life over the Zoom H4n or it could just be compensating for the additional XLR inputs drawing phantom power. The color screen with level meters is a welcome addition over the H4n.

Also be sure to check out a video here by audiofanzine taking a look at the Zoom H6 in person at Musikmesse 2013. And Zoom’s own news post here.


  1. So the big question for us… can you do 6-channel 24/96k? Or are you limited to 24/48 when doing multi-channel recording?

    • The issue with 96k is it’s not providing any extra useful information and can even cause problems because of high frequency harmonics (>20kHz). If you want to slow down an audio file, you might suggest that you would benefit from having more samples in between (for example if you recorded something at 96kHz you would be able to slow it down to 50% speed without having to use software to interpolate the extra bits). The problem is, anything that was captured because of high sample rates is stuff you wouldn’t otherwise hear (and probably don’t want to). Those high harmonics are not musically realated to any of the natural frequencies.

  2. Looks very good. I like the idea that you can switch the X/Y mic for two additional XLR ins. For this price segment it offers a good flexibility.
    Let’s hope the pre amps are good, then I definitely will give buying it a thought.

  3. I want too know the price and place i can by””””””

  4. Looks ok. i am not in impressed with the layout at all. i certainly would not put six channels in a handheld. if you want to use one of the builtin mics and external inputs for whatever reason, your going to have cable noise from the hanging cables.

    But, it does push the limits which is a good thing. I would guess price range for $750 – $1200.

    • how about $400? That’s street price…

  5. Most important is the: battery life with phantom – in zoom h4n it’s just unusable – and the quality of preamps, as h4n has really high noise level. If they improved these it could be the device of the year! If not it’s just more expensive h4 – external inputs practically unusable with phantom and internal mic is just an other electret mic – the same as any of rode-with-aa-baterry mic.

    • I don’t have a problem with the noise floor on the H4n – it’s no different to the other handhelds (with the exception of the D50 and M10), but the Rolands Tascams Olympius are all using the same “logic” preamps – try good mics with it, if you use NTG2 or the like sure you’re going to get some hiss.
      Phantom power not an issue with me don’t use P48 use P24 in the H4n – lasts awhile 3-4 hours and maybe go “Stamina” I realise this setting records at 16/44,1 but on a recorder like this no biggie not using 24/48.

      I agree though they should have improved on the H4n – maybe with true line input, faster boot time when you turn it on, can’t think of anything else as I think the build quality is great and the rubber does a great job of minimise handling noise, the lack of a roll cage over the XY never bothered me as I don’t drop things this size.

      I think the H6 was developed awhile ago probably when the Roland R26 turd came out, we all know that flopped and is horrible.

      I predict unlike the other HIT handy recorders this will FLOP big time, I mean we have or will aquire mics these built in ones look pathetic, this looks really toy warehouse.

      I thought Zoom was going to keep owning the low end in recorders but now I think they’ll have some serious competition when BlackMagic Design releases there rumored B.M.A.R.

      • Thanks for these tips, i will try to apply them as much as possible.
        I realized that 24 v phantom give me more of operation time, but the pity part is i use Rode NTG3
        and this one operate only with 48v (works with P24, but there is significant drop on heights and some kind of distortion present). Stamina is not really option, 16/44.1 sets significant limits on the postproduction. However, even with MKH 416 on P24 and stamina mode i did not get more then 1,5 h. battery life (only one phantom powered mic.) And more interesting thing, anybody else experienced – if you use setup Boom + lav mic, both connected via XLR, the battery is wasted much faster? When i connected lav receiver via jack the problem was solved. Most probably h4n has no intelligence to realize when the phantom source is really needed – in this case it could be rally nice to setup every input separately ….
        I cannot imagine how this new (quite promising ) zoom device can handle 6 phantom powered inputs .
        Noise level is problem with my NTG4 Rode mic, which is nice quiet mic for ambients recording.
        Actually, any gain higher then 80 – 85 cause always notable preamp noise.
        Still, Zoom h4n is amazing device for that money. But i found these limitations really annoying,
        i wish i have bigger budget for a little bit better device – or at least for the proper field mixer :)

  6. Now all they need to do is bring one of these out with a time code component.

  7. Why am I using a stereo recording kit that is at least 5 time the price of that wonderful machine and still will do. I must be stupid…

    • …because you get what you pay for, Florian. ;)

  8. The world’s first handy recorder with interchangeable mic system

    I thought Nagra had that distinction.

  9. The H4n has served me well as a backup unit for a bag system. I could use the extra 2 channels on the H6. Layout isn’t great like the Sound Devices but for $400 I’m not going to gripe but a solid external power connector for a BDS system would be nice. I doubt I’d use their mics for anything other than quick wild sound.

  10. Wel , I just want to know to wich high frequency it recors an plays by its speaker .
    Like up to 40 kHZ ?
    Nowere in the manual it sais that , why .
    Thanks for any information
    Regardas Markus Werder

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