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Old 04-15-2020, 05:25 PM
jjhturbo jjhturbo is offline
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Default zoom (h4 vs h5 vs h6, etc.)

Hi, first of all, I am sorry if this topic has been discussed on numerous occasions.

I have played guitar for many years, but I am a recording newbie, and have only recently been reading about the zoom handheld recorders. I just need something relatively easy to use with both XLR and 1/4" inputs. Been trying to understand the differences between the H4, H5 & H6 models in particular. Can someone give me a high-level overview of each? I was leaning towards the H4 until I saw some comments that the H4 takes a long time to "boot up"? Not sure if the same applies to other models...

Thank you very much in advance.
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Old 04-15-2020, 08:52 PM
keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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I used an H6 for many years since they first came out, 4 or 5 I'd guess, but sold it a couple years ago. Haven't used the others, but they are similar from what I've gathered, though clearly they cut some corners to meet different price points.

What is it you intend to do with it? I see some folks get the idea it's a digital recording kind of workstation, but really, they are more like "field recorders" with a lot of folks using them as adjuncts to video recording.
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:15 PM
jjhturbo jjhturbo is offline
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Thanks for the reply. I am looking for something portable and relatively easy to use for recording ideas/tunes on guitar, or piano, or vocal. Hence, the desire for something with a stereo mic as well as xlr and 1/4" inputs. Secondarily, I would like to use it for decent recordings of live events. I don't anticipate doing a lot of layering/mixing, so I dont need a lot of inputs.

Perhaps, a zoom recorder is not even the direction I should go? Honestly, just not sure what all is out there.
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Old 04-16-2020, 01:01 AM
RodB RodB is offline
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I have an H5 and am very happy with it.

This is what i understand are the main differences between it and the H4n Pro, and H6:

All 3 have the same spec preamp / converter, so no significant quality of sound differences (thatís comparing the H4n Pro not older H4).

The built in mics are different, the H4n Pro and H6 have more robust ones that are adjustable between 2 fixed angles, the H5 oneís are not adjustable, and more vulnerable to physical damage (based on my 1st hand experience of a very small drop)

The H6 can record 4 external mics the other 2 only 2 mics.

The H4n Pro gives much more on board ability for manipulation, effects, editing than the other 2 that only support simple overdubs.

From what you say you might consider the H5, but if i was to go out and buy one now I would go for the H6, for above reasons and a better display/interface.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:33 AM
jjhturbo jjhturbo is offline
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Thanks, Rod. Can I ask...how long does it take for your H5 to "boot up"? And it does have both XLR & 1/4" inputs, correct? (along with the built-in mic)
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Old 04-16-2020, 09:06 AM
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The iZotope Spire is worth a look too if you are considering one of the Zoom recorders. I have both a Spire and H5 and find the Spire is bit easier to use than the Zoom. Both are great quality products to get you started with home recording. They work pretty good with their supplied on board mics but you have the option to use higher quality outboard mics with both. I find it works best to take my audio files from both to my DAW and do mixing and EQ. I use Reaper as my DAW.

Good luck, itís a fun rabbit hole to fall into!
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:46 AM
RodB RodB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjhturbo View Post
Thanks, Rod. Can I ask...how long does it take for your H5 to "boot up"? And it does have both XLR & 1/4" inputs, correct? (along with the built-in mic)
I just checked - about 8 secs.

Yes the H5 has two combo inputs XLR/TRS, the H6 has 4. I can record from the built in mics and my separate mics at the same time.
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Old 04-16-2020, 12:01 PM
jjhturbo jjhturbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RodB View Post
I just checked - about 8 secs.

Yes the H5 has two combo inputs XLR/TRS, the H6 has 4. I can record from the built in mics and my separate mics at the same time.
Perfect, thank you. And from what I've been reading, it looks like the zoom devices can be powered via battery or power adapter. I'm assuming if I want to plug it in, I can use any 5v usb power adapter.
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Old 04-16-2020, 12:06 PM
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I have a Zoom H5 as well. I often use two external mics (AT 2035), but the built-ins are workable for what I do also. Here's a demo I was working on last night, just working on my eq'ing skills which are inconsistent. Recorded with just the Zoom H5 about 12" back and pointing at the soundhole, just offset towards the bridge a bit.


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Old 04-16-2020, 01:21 PM
jjhturbo jjhturbo is offline
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Very nice, Barry! I think that is fantastic quality (and great playing). The sound quality is definitely much better than I expected from something like the zoom. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 04-16-2020, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjhturbo View Post
Very nice, Barry! I think that is fantastic quality (and great playing). The sound quality is definitely much better than I expected from something like the zoom. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you!

The Zoom is good product. To protect the Zoom when you plug in cables you have to be sure the Zoom is secured somehow in case a cable gets tugged. I have a bar that attaches to a mic stand which the Zoom screws onto. This keeps it safe while recording with cables attached. Otherwise you just have to be careful with it.

As you can see we have plenty of dog toys too,
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Old 04-18-2020, 02:59 AM
Silverspur Silverspur is offline
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Iíve been doing a lot of recordings with a H6 and it meets my expectations. Iíve also found a couple other uses :

1) with 4 combo inputs (expandable to 6 with an adapter), a stereo 1/8Ē input (in place of the xy mic), phantom power, and battery operated option, I can use it as a mixer to gig with my Bose S1 Pro; and

2) use it as an interface to do live streaming either directly connecting it to my MacBook Pro or to my Sony mirrorless.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-18-2020, 12:48 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Most Zoom recorders can function as an audio interface if that is useful, but the H5 apparently has an issue that impacts that use. So if a person foresees needing that functionality I would avoid the H5.

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Old 05-19-2020, 08:21 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
Most Zoom recorders can function as an audio interface if that is useful, but the H5 apparently has an issue that impacts that use. So if a person foresees needing that functionality I would avoid the H5.



Fran

What is that issue with the H5? I just tried my H6 (with the SGH-6 mic) as an iPad USB mic and I was very pleased. Is the H5 different?
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:37 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkingston View Post
What is that issue with the H5? I just tried my H6 (with the SGH-6 mic) as an iPad USB mic and I was very pleased. Is the H5 different?
This is exactly how I use my H4N and and it works like a charm.
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