First handheld sound recorder with interchangeable mic system
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Runners and gunners are well familiar with the Zoom H series as a bonafide serious field sound recorder when shooting video on location. But the latest design, dubbed the Zoom H6, turns things up to eleven by making the microphones modular and attachable, so sound engineers can choose a different attachment for each condition.
I’ve been a fan of Zoom since the H1 (which I was able to get on clearance at Target, of all places, for under $40!). The ability to be able to have a handheld recorder that can plug in an external recording source and get superior sound quality is an ideal tool for a runner and gunner on location when he’s working with a limited crew or shoestring budget.
The H4n has been very popular of late, but the Zoom H6 really goes the extra mile by giving not only interchangeable options, but additional sound leveling capabilty to boot.
Here’s a basic list of the H6’s features:
• 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
• Optional Hot Shoe Mount to attach your H6 to a DSLR video camera
It’s clear by looking at these features that Zoom is continuing its focus of catering to the indy filmmaker and field reporter who needs to juggle light and ultra mobile media assets and still get professional quality results. And use of old school analog looking level knobs makes for a more tactile feel to sound engineers who won’t have to take their eyes of their subject while they’re adjusting sound levels.
One of the beefs with the H4N is that users had to deal with tiny buttons of plus and minus that they’d have to continue to press to get to the desired level. Not really ideal when you’re wanting instant level changes during a scene.
I also dig the color audio levels. That’s a nice touch, and the ability to monitor up to six channels at once is fantastic. And while I’m sure there’s plenty of uses for the various mic modules, like the side mic and shotgun mic, I don’t know why any shooter would want to go beyond the XLR/TRS input, so they can plug in their own boom and still get the sound they’re used to. That, for my money, will be the most popular option for filmmakers.
Now in their cryptic press announcement, Zoom didn’t offer an MSRP or release date, but word is that the price should hover around $400 for the H6 itself, with modules being around $50-75 each, or under $600 for the entire set. If that’s the case, I think I’d just get the H6 and buy the XLR attachment separately. Piecemeal is usually the way to go for me, as whenever I buy a complete package, there’s always something that doesn’t get used.
BTW – Zoom is sold here in the US by Samson, while the UK is handled by Zoom UK. Other distributors can be found here.
Hat Tip – NFS