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Zoom H6 All Black 2020 review

The Zoom H6 is a fantastic portable audio recorder for true professionals in need of good quality recording. But you do pay for it...

Zoom H6 All Black 2020 review
(Image: © Zoom)

Our Verdict

The Zoom H6 is a professional-grade recorder, and comes with the features and clarity of audio to match. It also has a high price too, so if you are not a professional, we suggest something a little less intense.

For

  • Outstanding recording quality
  • Loads of pro features
  • Good inputs and storage options

Against

  • Complicated to use
  • Relatively expensive

The new and improved Zoom H6 All Black 2020 edition is an incredible piece of kit. If you're a professional within the creative industries, who needs the absolute clearest sound when it comes to audio recording, this is a great choice. It's among our top picks for the best digital voice recorders, but for non-professionals it's a poor choice, as you'll likely pay for features you simply won't use. 

The six-track recorder’s removable, high-fidelity microphones and four XLR/TLS inputs make it exceptionally versatile and a good choice if you record audio for a living. 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 All Black is an ideal choice.

Zoom H6 review: Features and audio quality

When tested against an equivalent Roland and Tascam models, capturing over two hours of audio, the Zoom H6 comes out on top. While all devices captured excellent standards of voice and audio, the Zoom H6 edged out its rivals... but you'd expect this for a piece of kit that costs in excess of $300. What's more, we found it easier to capture great audio with the Zoom H6, thanks to its fully-fledged set of features. The gain on the microphone is easy to use with the track levels and EQ settings, making it simpler to get the most out of it.

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 fairly standard on the Zoom H6 - it can record onto SD cards of up to 128GB in size, which makes it versatile enough for all uses.

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.

The Zoom H6 comes packaged with 4x AAA batteries to get you started, and you can download Cubase LE and Wavelab LE software for it. If you need to adjust audio after recording, we have a guide to the best audio editing software too.

Should you buy the Zoom H6 All Black 2020?

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. The main downsides are price and complexity - if you're a professional, this isn't an issue, but students and more casual users will find better options at far more affordable prices.