The Zoom H6 is the best digital voice recorder for creative professionals. The six-track recorder’s removable, high-fidelity microphones and four XLR inputs make it exceptionally versatile and a good choice if you record audio that’s meant to be heard. The H6 is the size and weight of a brick, but its solid construction makes it durable enough for traveling and location recordings. For audio professionals – musicians, Foley artists, sound engineers for film, podcasters and more – who record sound for an audience, the Zoom H6 is an ideal choice.
The H6 went head-to-head against the Roland R-26 in our tests. We recorded over two hours of audio with each handheld recorder, and both devices captured exceptionally great audio. This made it difficult to determine which recorded the best audio. All in all, both portable recorders are recording studios built to capture the highest-fidelity audio possible, and you likely won’t find much of a difference in their audio quality or the audio quality of other recorders in their price range – when you pay more than $300 for a handheld recording studio, you expect high-fidelity audio. That said, we found it easier to capture great audio with the Zoom H6. The gain on the microphone is easy to use with the track levels and EQ settings.
The digital recorder’s best feature is its interchangeable microphones. It comes with two microphones: an XY microphone and a mid-side microphone. You can also purchase four other microphones, each designed for a specific purpose. This makes the H6 the most versatile portable recorder on the market. It even has marking features that make it easy to sync up audio with videos.
Storage isn’t a major concern for most digital recorders because 4GB to 8GB is enough to last a student or a business professional for years. This isn’t the case for creative professionals, who record big audio files that can quickly fill up gigabytes of data. Storage capacity is one of the Zoom H6’s downsides – it only comes with 2GB of storage. That said, it’s one of the few digital audio recorders on the market that is SDXC compatible. While SDXC’s can hold up to 2TB of data, the device is currently only compatible with 128GB SDXCs.
One disadvantage of having so many controls packed in this device is its complexity. A beginner can easily become overwhelmed with all the buttons and features. At 100 pages, the operation manual is like a short book. Of course, the number of controls means you can do a lot more with the H6 than other digital voice recorders. If operating most recorders is like driving a car with an automatic transmission, then using the Zoom H6 is like sitting in the cockpit of a jet plane. What you gain in versatility, you also gain in complexity.
The Zoom H6 is one of the best digital voice recorders because of its versatility and control features. You can swap out microphones to match your recording situation. In addition, it has prerecord, auto-record and backup-record modes, as well as EQ controls, six tracks, and four XLR/TRS inputs. With all these options, it's like a recording studio in your hands.