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Old September 5th, 2013, 02:00 PM   #16
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

OK Greg, thanks for those comments.

I nipped out and got myself a pack of good quality 470 ohm resistors and wired up two male Neutrik XLRs with a resistor across pins 2 & 3 as suggested, and repeated the tests. For convenience, I'll repeat the explanation of how it was done:

Quote:
I recorded two empty WAV files at 96kHz/24bit on channels 3 and 4 of a Zoom H6. (This time the 470 ohm test resistors were connected to the channel 3 & 4 XLR input sockets, so what was recorded was still basically silence and circuit noise).

On Channel 3, I recorded as follows
from 00min 00sec with the H6 gain fully down at 0
from 01min 00sec with the gain at 1
from 02min 00sec with the gain at 2
from 03min 00sec with the gain at 3
and so on up to
from 10min 00sec until the end at 13min 00 with the gain at 10

On Channel 4, I recorded as follows
from 00min 00sec with the H6 gain fully down at 0,
from 11min 00sec with the gain fully up at 10 (as Ch 3)
from 12min 00 sec I switched on the -20dB pad on the Ch 4 input
After importing the two new files into Audacity, the result now looks a little different.

Ignoring the first minute with the gain at zero and also the second minute where there is again a strange offset of the noise pattern, I see the following:

•the noise at gain level 2 comes in at almost exactly -96dB
•there is a slight increase at gain level 3 to about -84dB
•the noise level stays much the same through gain levels 4 and 5
•another slight increase at gain level 6 to about -72dB
•slight increase again at level 7 to about -64dB
•at level 8 up to about -58dB
•up at gain level 9 to about -52ish dB
•stays much the same at gain level 10, and this is matched by Ch4 underneath.

The -20 dB pad on Ch4 at 12min 00sec puts a click on BOTH channels which is not so good, but otherwise does not seem to affect the noise level much.

I will continue to amuse myself by testing the other inputs (well 1 & 2 at least, as the plug-in XLR module for the L & R channels is not available yet).

Usual disclaimers apply to all the above, but it may be of interest to some.
Attached Thumbnails
Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?-zoomh6_470ohms_test.jpg   Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?-test_470_ohm_xlr.jpg  


Last edited by Colin McDonald; September 5th, 2013 at 02:29 PM. Reason: Added a photo
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Old September 6th, 2013, 07:49 PM   #17
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

It's incorrect that you're recording "silence." Even the best low noise resistors generate noise, it's called thermal noise. Johnson?Nyquist noise - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I believe you'll find that any device that adds gain increases the volume of this noise. It's hard to imagine things working otherwise.

I've tried to give an indication of the self-noise generated by the H6 preamps by comparing them to the preamps in my RME UFX. I output a pretty quiet test tone, registering about 50 dB, and recorded it with a single mic through a splitter and into the two recording devices.

I did this with both a battery powered condenser mic and a low output ribbon. You can download clips and compare them for yourself: Zoom H6 vs RME UFX | Homebrewed Music

In other articles I've done some music recording comparing the two recorders: Zoom H6 – Acoustic Guitar Shootout | Homebrewed Music including a bit of video:

And I've used the recorder for my latest two slack key videos.

I haven't tried the recent competitors from Tascam and Fostex, but this Zoom H6 sounds very very good to me.

Fran
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Old September 7th, 2013, 04:10 AM   #18
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

Fran, welcome to DVinfo and thanks for your contribution and links, very interesting.

You may not have noticed that I had already referenced your link earlier in the thread in post #8 after coming across it when googling 'H6 review', but it's great to hear from you personally.

Yes thanks, I am aware of the thermal noise issue when using resistors and did make a ( very!) fleeting reference to it my post #12. My maths is rather rusty so I was hoping some kind soul would make a simple suggestion to improve the first 'test' - thanks again Greg for the value of the resistor!

As I said in my disclaimers, I make no claims for the significance of my quick 'tests', but there must be some method of determining accurately the level of self noise in mic preamps under known conditions and I was curious to know whether anyone (other than Zoom themselves, one would hope) had done it.

I am in the process of doing some comparison tests myself using a matched pair of Rode NT1As (because of their low self noise and reasonably high output) on the H4n and the H6 but have not noticed a huge difference so far. It sounds fine on your comparisons though.

Thanks again for coming in on this.

Last edited by Colin McDonald; September 7th, 2013 at 09:10 AM. Reason: Fixed another typo
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Old November 9th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #19
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

I wonder what has happened to the promised additional modules? UK dealers were told to expect availability by mid October. No sign of the XLR module at all, and the APH65G shotgun mic is still on "preorder" status.

Personally I have no use for the shotgun module when there are so many "real" shotgun mics available - I bought the H6 because of its ability to record 6 channels. So far we're stuck with either using the unbalanced 3.5 mm jack input on the X/Y module or the having the recorder placed as a microphone ie in the performance area with all the impracticality that entails.
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Old November 10th, 2013, 11:09 AM   #20
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

The XLR module is in stock at US retailers.

Fran
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Old November 10th, 2013, 04:53 PM   #21
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

That's good to know, Fran - I hope it won't be long before it arrives here.
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Old November 10th, 2013, 09:15 PM   #22
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

Mine arrived just 10 minutes ago,,,,, heavy little sucker.
The overall weight comes to a couple of grams under 600g (the same as 600ml drink bottle of water)
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Old November 20th, 2013, 12:46 PM   #23
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

The Zoom EXH-6 XLR/TRS Combo Modules are in stock now at UK dealers. 59.00 seems to be the going rate for now.
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Old November 22nd, 2013, 01:05 PM   #24
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

... but it's not what I pad for mine! :-)

I'll try the same noise tests I did before (on the main 1/2/3/4 channels) but on the L/R inputs using the EXH-6
module.

Also, having read on another forum about possible difficulties in matching levels on the EXH-6 module to the main 1/2/3/4 XLR inputs, I'll try a test tone on all of them in turn.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 10:06 AM   #25
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

Would this work directly w a hot mixer output? I set it to line input for the mix pre D normally. If I can dial it directly into the H6 it would be great. Else I need an additional pad.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 07:54 AM   #26
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

In church on Sunday, I recorded from the line outputs of a Phonic AM 642D mixer via the EXH-6 XLR/TRS Module inputs (with the 20dB pad in) mainly to test the auto -12dB backup on the main L/R tracks. It worked fine with a hot signal that I was trying to peak on the H6 at -12dB without using the limiters (NOT an important recording, just playing about!). It only clipped once on an unexpected cough. The limiters would have taken care of it had I used them and the backup was fine.

Interestingly, the H6 performed very well but I really will have to stop using the Shure PGX-1 radiomics if we are recording services. The gate and compander operation is really quite intrusive and poor compared to using my Sennheiser G2's and G3's. I was not aware of any noise contributed by the H6 preamps but the gain was well down at less than 3 so I wasn't expecting to.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 08:07 AM   #27
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
I think it needs a well respected magazine, like Sound On Sound, to do a well researched and proper review of the machine.

I think that SOS are getting one for review.
I just discovered that the H6 was reviewed in the November edition. I am a little disappointed in the review which doesn't tell me anything I didn't know already.

On the subject of preamp noise levels
Quote:
Budget recorders also tend to introduce slightly higher levels of audible noise, but this too was pleasingly absent.
was all that the review contributed to the discussion. Somehow I was expecting a bit more from SOS.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 08:16 AM   #28
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

Colin, I'm going to use the dreaded words "auto levels" and ask if you know for sure whether the H6 performs in the same way as the H4; that is does it respond to a spike in the sound by lowering the auto levels for the rest of the recording. There are times when auto is the best for me to use but the H4's implementation of it makes it unusable for me. Thanks.

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Old November 27th, 2013, 10:00 AM   #29
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Re: Anyone used a Zoom H6 yet?

Peter, the Zoom H6 does not have an "auto level" function as such, so no, the H6 does not perform in the same way as the H4n.

Have a look at the user manual and you will see what I mean. The recording level has to be set physically with the gain knobs (called "input volume" controls in the manual) for each channel separately. An auto recording start (and stop) function is available but that is not what you want.

What is needed is to get the hang of checking or at least estimating the required input gain with reasonable accuracy, then take care of unexpected peaks using the compressor/limiter function and a -12dB back up recording if desired. This is a much better idea than using auto gain which will inevitably produce a "pumping" effect. The preamps on the H6 are quieter than on the H4n, so there is a bit more leeway for recording at a "safe" level that is unlikely to clip. Whether it is worth recording at 24bit settings I leave to others with less rusty technical and mathematical skills to say - the general consensus is that 24bit recording isn't effective on the H4n because of the high noise floor.

BTW, a came across a little nugget of information on another forum about the compressor/limiter function but I will need to start another thread about that as I don't think it would be acceptable to repost on this forum without permission.
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