June 14, 2013

Zoom's Heavier-Duty H6 Audio Recorder Coming in July Priced at $400

A few months ago Zoom revealed the first details about their new H6 audio recorder, a heavier-duty big brother to the indie and small production workhorse, the H4N. We guessed that it would be coming in at $400 back in April, and that's exactly the price that Zoom has revealed for the base package. There are a lot more accessories and places for expansion this time around, so check out the introduction below.

Here are two introduction videos for the H6 (thanks to planet5D for the find):

Some of the 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

The capsules are a really interesting idea for those who are operating alone, as you can get the right mic at the right time for whatever situation you're in. My biggest complaint with the previous Zoom was that changing levels on the fly was practically impossible. Now that there are control knobs on the front of the recorder, it will be much easier to get more precise levels whenever you need them.

It will be interesting to see how much more improved the pre-amps are on this little guy, especially since that is one of the chief complaints from those who are used to working with slightly more expensive recorders. Even if it's as good as the old one and you've got a better recorder, this could still be a secondary recorder for additional mics or backup.

So who's getting one of these come July?

Links:

[via planet5D]

Your Comment

36 Comments

Hey Joe,

In your opinion, would you buy a H6 or the Tascam 60D?

June 14, 2013

0
Reply
Jason

Not sure if the Juicelink's reviewer was correct about the TASCAM D60 but it seems to not make smooth level changes while recording! It has "discrete steps". This seems to be a design defect if true. Hope the new Zoom will be able to make smooth levels adjustments while recording.

June 14, 2013

2
Reply
Rob

Yes, it is indeed true: although there are knobs, the gain steps up in audible intervals. For me, it doesn't really matter, as I rarely adjust levels on the fly during a recording. And the D60's dual-recording mode (recording a track at a lower gain to provide a backup if the primary track input spikes) is a nice safety feature.

June 14, 2013

1
Reply
Swissted

I do like being able to change level as I'm recording, though if I have an open channel, I can just record a lower level. This still leaves me on the fence, but good to know.

June 15, 2013

-2
Reply
Jason

Wow looks great, and good specs too....

June 14, 2013

0
Reply
Peter

That looks great and I was thinking the Tascam DR-60D was going to be my next purchase. The new Zoom put's me firmly in a dilemma! Love the form factor of the Tascam, love the feature set of the Zoom!

June 14, 2013

-2
Reply
Darren Wolff

Not trying to hate at all, but this thing just seems ridiculous to me. If you need 6 channels, you need an audio person. Can you imagine this thing on the shoe or a camera strap with that many XLRs plugged in?
As a podcasting recorder, etc I can see its value, but as an indie film tool, it just seems like it's caught in an awkward place between run and gun and a dedicated audio person. Also, still no locking XLRs?

June 14, 2013

-1
Reply
Tim

A lot of audio guys I know actually do use a zoom or similar. I see this as perfect for them.

June 14, 2013

2
Reply
Gabe

Tim, Your imagination is running rampant; no one is going to plug XLRs into it then mount it on their DSLR hotshoe. Now you are being ridiculous.

June 14, 2013

-1
Reply
Henry

Henry,

Then how do you make this "one man band" friendly and still take advantage of the extra inputs? With the orientation of the volume knobs, it's not like you can safely just toss it into an audio bag without it accidentally messing with the knobs. If you're using this as a cheap run and gun audio solution, how do you boom while keeping this thing out and available for adjustments?
Again, not trying to get into a flame war, I'm legitimately trying to understand how people will use this in the field, in a way that makes this advantageous over the existing H4N or DR100mkII.

June 15, 2013

-2
Reply
Tim

I can see myself using six channels for wedding ceremonies quite easily. Example:

-- two XLR inputs for two wireless lavalieres, one on priest and one on groom
-- dynamic microphone pointed at soundspeaker for backup, split into two XLR cables, set to different levels in case it's a little high or a little low
-- dynamic microphone pointed at musicians, split into two XLR cables, set to different levels

June 17, 2013

0
Reply

I use a Manfrotto Super Clamp to attach my H4N to the boom pole. That's exactly what I plan to do with the H6N.

June 29, 2013

-1
Reply

Wonder about those Pre-amps. Would it be fantastic if they provided us some clips comparing them with other products. Maybe they're watching?

June 14, 2013

0
Reply

If the pre-amps are better yes I am getting one, else not.
Also, TASCAM's latest has a great feature I read at one of the blogs is that it creates 2 files:
1 with the level you set and 2nd with a -6db gain just in case you blow out your levels!
For a run and gun person that is more important than 6 channels.
Although I trust the Zoom and the h4n has been a workhorse for 2-3 years for me.

June 14, 2013

0
Reply
Archie

SO glad to finally have a quality recorder with 4 XLR inputs standard. The one man band will now rock even harder. \m/

Seriously though, it's really not uncommon to need more than two mics going in a run and gun environment. And in the interest of lower budgets, streamlined productions, and covert operation, having a dedicated sound guy is not always an option. In my case, it is almost NEVER an option. So being able to go up to SIX channels by myself is just amazing! So much more production value "bang for the buck."

Anyway, very glad for this product. I will be buying most likely.

June 14, 2013

-1
Reply
dv

for those who wants very good pre-amps, consider Marantz PMD661 and Fostex FR-2 LE they are the best for <$1000 range

June 14, 2013

0
Reply
Peter

I have an FR-2 LE. It's awesome! Sure, only the two XLR/Instrument inputs but it can do everything I need it to. It even records up to 96Khz/24bit.

June 14, 2013

1
Reply
Nick

Wouldn't you recommend waiting until we actually know what preamps this has and have comparison samples? I fully expect we will get what we pay for but still...can't hurt to wait.

June 14, 2013

1
Reply

All of my wants. Getting one.

June 14, 2013

0
Reply
Hubert

I have a H4, paid for it's self numerous times over... I like supporting a company that gives the consumer what they want, but also options for what they 'might' want in a product. I will pre order this for sure.

June 14, 2013

-1
Reply

It would be great if there was a cheaper version without any capsule at all. I don't think I'd be using the capsules.

June 14, 2013

-2
Reply
maghoxfr

This capsule connection looks fragile. Also I bet the recording time isn't 20h with the phantom power on. The first H4 ate AA very quickly with phantom.

June 14, 2013

1
Reply
Rip

Yep, best to hook up external battery for these sorts of devices if you want phantom. There must be a DC in port. Otherwise it's out of juice in about 15 minutes.

June 17, 2013

-1
Reply

Oh. I think i may pick one up....

June 14, 2013

0
Reply

Received my DR60D a few days ago - learning curve was about 2 minutes - a very nice bit of kit and it can even be powered by a phone charger so no extra expense having to buy a custom adapter. As I don't ride the pots when recording the discrete step issue isn't a problem - not that it's very noticeable anyway. Overall I'm really pleased with the sonic performance and am looking forward to pairing it up with the BMPCC when it arrives.

June 15, 2013

-1
Reply
Bob Jones

I have a problem with gain control of the external mics being directly on them. If you need to change volume on the fly, you will hear the operation of the wheel.

That and battery life. Is it powered by AA batteries again?

June 15, 2013

0
Reply

Impressive. Game changer with the interchangeable options. This will be the start for every company trying to do the same.

June 15, 2013

-3
Reply

It is not "The world’s first handy recorder with interchangeable mic system".
You never heard of Nagra? Like in Nagra SD, or Nagra Ares?

June 15, 2013

0
Reply
Marcel

Incredibly versatile considering can be used as a 6 channel audio interface as well as recording to sd cards. Not too sure about mounting on a hot shoe though - especially with the added weight of the shotgun mic add on....

June 16, 2013

-2
Reply
Ed

here is a very good comparison sheet on noise level:
http://www.avisoft.com/recordertests.htm

June 18, 2013

-2
Reply
Peter

maybe once it is out it also can be moded by OADE brothers: http://www.oade.com

June 18, 2013

-1
Reply
Peter

How about industry standard time code and sync lock for easy DSLR and prosumer cam shooting? How about no audio drifting for longer recordings (say of 10 minutes or more)? I'm talking to you Zoom and Tascam...

Why they can't bring these simple add-on's to these ultra-portable products that are used on a professional level every single day? It's not like they're expensive to implement.

Are they trying to keep Red Giant's PluralEyes in the market longer?

June 20, 2013

1
Reply
Dan

I agree with Tim, if you need four tracks you need a sound peraon.

No sound mixer would use this. Sound people use Zooms as a back up or sometimes on a two track shoot with a dslr. I might hook it up to a mixer for interviews, but I would never rely on its preamps. It's in no way made for use in a bag which means you could use it on a table but forget about moving with it. $400, 4 preamps and built in mics?

If sound is 50% od a moving picture, this will get you 12%.

June 20, 2013

0
Reply
rick cardone

$400 then of course now they have created a new cash cow by selling mic's and add ons so whats the extra cost for those and does it come supplied with crossover mic in the first place?

June 21, 2013

-2
Reply

If you need 6 channels of audio, also consider the Tascam DR-680. I picked one up at B&H for $430! Stellar mic preamps, but you will need external mics. Of course, you'd need external mics or line level sources for more than 2 audio channels on the H6 as well, so this is a relevant point. For me, the most crucial issue is the quality of the preamps. As you add more mics, the quality of those preamps becomes even more important. I'm just sayin'...

June 22, 2013

0
Reply
Dave

It sounds good but the Preamps are the most important part of it. I´ll test it. Hope they are better than the Tascam DR-680.

June 25, 2013

0
Reply