TPS082: Zoom H6 and Crowdfunding for Podcasters

There are many ways to record your podcast. One of my favorites is directly to a digital audio recorder. The Zoom H6 is the newest in a long line of audio recorders but this one stands out amongst them all. With four truly dedicated microphone inputs and the ability to add two more XLR combo inputs, the H6 is a portable podcasting studio.Zoom H6 kit

Beyond the number of channels you get with this device (4 built in) you get what I consider the most important part of this device, upgraded preamps. The microphone preamps inside the H6 are strong enough to power gain hungry mics like the ATR2100 while still providing clean sound. Each input provides both mic power and phantom power (selectable by channel) if you need it. 

Battery life has been increased with the addition of two more AA batteries for a total of four and if you use lithium batteries you can get around 20 hours of recording time. That time will likely decrease significantly if using phantom power.

Each channel can be monitoring visually via the color LED display which allows you to see the levels for each mic you have plugged into the H6. The SD card slot has been upgraded to work with SDXC (eXtra capacity) cards and there are separate headphone and line-out outputs (this was the same output on the H4n).

One of the coolest upgrades to the Zoom is the ability to use it as an audio interface. The H4n had this capability as well but the H6 gets a significant upgrade to USB 2.0. This allows the H6 to output each channel to its own track inside your audio editor. The H6 also comes with audio editing software that will allow you to record multichannel. This function allows you to have total control in the edit with the ability to remove any single person’s audio without affecting the other. You also get to give each track its own specific processing by adding effects to each track individually.

Additional features I like:

  • can be powered via the USB bus of your computer
  • on-board compressors and limiters
  • interchangeable capsules – comes with the XY pattern stereo mic and Mid-Side mic.
  • analog gain controls – no need to go digging through menus to change audio levels for each channel. Each channel has its own dedicated gain knob.
  • tripod or camera mount – 1/4 20 threaded screw on back allows you to mount the H6 to your camera via adapter or to a tripod/boom pole.
  • single touch record – you used to have to press the record button twice before you were recording.
  • fast boot time – the H6 has significantly sped up the time it takes to start the device. It used to take forever to turn on and load the SD card; that’s been reduced to mere seconds.

Areas that could use improvement:

  • lockable gain knobs – the gain knobs do not lock and therefore they could easily be knocked out of position if you were using the H6 in a more mobile setup.
  • lockable XLRs – one of the advantages of pro-connections such as XLR are that they are usually lockable. The XLR inputs on the H6 do not lock however they are snug and I don’t have any concern that my mics will come unplugged.
  • no included power adapter – the H6 does not come with a power adapter for plugging into the wall to provide power. For convenience and satisfaction a plug should probably be included. However, the H6 is powered through the USB cable so technically it doesn’t need to come with a plug but I’d rather not need a computer.
  • noisy headphone output – the headphone amplifier seems noisy and therefore doesn’t provide an accurate reproduction of the sound you are capturing.

Overall I love the H6 and I plan to upgrade to this new version of my Zoom H4n. This entire episode was recorded using the Zoom H6 coupled with a Heil PR40 microphone.

Have you heard about Patreon? It’s the newest crowdfunding platform except this one was created with podcasters in mind. I really like Patreon’s approach to funding content creators. Instead of attempting to fund one large project that may or may not succeed, Patreon allows a podcaster’s community to support your content through small payments made per month or even on a per episode basis.

I’m testing it out with my YouTube channel. Check out my page and video that talks more about what I like and how it works.

Links* mentioned on this episode:

Do you need a reliable host for your audio or video podcast? Consider moving your show to Libsyn.com (my chosen host) and get your first month free when you use promo code: podcasthelper at checkout. If you’d like to use Blubrry to host your podcast (my other recommended host) you can get a free month by using the same promo code: podcasthelper

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About Ray Ortega

Full-time podcast producer and host of The Podcasters' Studio and Podcasters' Roundtable, I enjoy sharing my ten years of experience making podcasts to help others improve or start their own show.

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