Zoom H5 VS Zoom H6

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Table of Contents

Whether you are a podcaster, videographer, or vlogger, the Zoom H-series comes with some of the best microphone recorders in the industry for you. The recorders here are portable and equipped with the latest microphone for capturing clear audio with details. You can use the audio files in videos or for podcasting or live streaming. 

The Zoom H5 comes as a successor of Zoom H4 and features multiple advanced content creation and audio recording options. It comes with a compact design, XY recording microphones, and multiple recording options to record detailed audio that you can sync with your videos.

The Zoom H6 is an even more advanced version that takes this digital microphone to the next level. It comes with a better design, a richer screen, and longer battery life.

This article will compare and contrast the two microphones Zoom H5 and Zoom H6, for your convenience. We will look at the salient features of the two digital recorders so you can have an idea of which one suits your needs the most.

Zoom microphones are an excellent way to record audio out in the field. You can record lectures, presentations, and other audio when on the go.


Zoom H5 Vs Zoom H6


• Design


Let’s look at the design of both H5 and H5 and see how both microphones are similar or different.

Both recorders are lightweight and very portable. They are designed to fit in a pocket so you can carry the recorders with you while on the go.

However, there is a slight difference between the weight and dimensions of the recorders as well. Zoom H5 weighs 9.52 oz or 269 grams.

Zoom H6, on the other hand, comes with a little more weight. It weighs 14.46 oz or measures 410 grams. That makes it a little less than double the weight of Zoom H5.

If we look at the build quality, the Zoom H5 comes with a decent build quality that you can count on. It has a durable body yet compact enough to be stored easily. The rugged build of the microphone is easy to carry out in the field. It is constructed to remain stable, and the optimal position of microphones allow you to capture clear audio.

Both digital recorders are made sturdy and have a rugged build, but the Zoom H6 is heavier and slightly larger than the Zoom H5. 

There wasn’t much left in Zoom H6 to improve the build quality of Zoom H5. The brand sticks with the same winning formula and provides the same rugged build that can abuse working on out in field and travel trips. The Zoom H6 is equally portable and made sturdy to handle daily wear and tear well. As compared to H5, H6 weighs slightly more than its predecessor.

A very distinct difference between the two designs is that Zoom H5 has a metal bar that keeps it well stable and secure on a flat surface. The Zoom H6 does not come with a metal bar and may displace easily with a slight touch or push. The Zoom H5 has a slighter edge in this regard as the metal bar renders it more stable on the surface.


• LCD Display


Both Zoom H5 and Zoom H6 have large displays that help to operate the digital recorders and allow you to choose different options conveniently.

The Zoom H5 has a large display, but it looks pretty common as it is not a colored display and not as intuitive as the Zoom H6.

Zoom H5 has a colored backlit display that is easy to read and provides all options. Zoom H6, on the other hand, comes with an entirely intuitive display. It has a 2” colored LCD that is nicer and even easier to work with. The colorful screen allows you to navigate different options conveniently. 

Another small difference is between the design. Zoom H6 has a slightly down shaped display that is easy to read. This difference seems negligible, but the Zoom H6 is easy to read when the recorder is attached with an XLR mic. You don’t have to move it when you want to read the display.


• Phantom Power


Both recorders provide phantom power to the condenser or XLR microphone attached to it. The battery life can be shortened due to the phantom power supply being supplied to the microphone.

Zoom H6 provides phantom power to all its four XLR mic inputs. The two XLR inputs mounted on the top of the microphone cannot receive phantom power in both mics.

So if you are connecting these ports with a dynamic microphone, they should work fine as a dynamic microphone does not require any phantom power. However, a condenser microphone requires phantom power, and if you connect them with these inputs, they won’t get the required phantom power and may not work very well.


• Mic Capsules


Zoom H5 is a four-channel microphone with interchangeable microphone capsules. It can connect two additional microphones with XLR and TRS. It can capture five records at a time that makes it a good option for recording music.

Zoom H6 comes with even more options. It features four XLR/TRS, which allows you to record four mics at a time. The two additional ports make it even more functional and allow it to be connected with 6 XLR ports at a time.

Both H5 and H6 come with interchangeable capsules that can be swapped easily when needed, like a camera lens.


• Inputs & Outputs


Zoom H5 comes with two line inputs with both XLR and TRS combo. That means it allows you to connect the digital recorder with two convenient devices. That makes the mic suitable for interviews where you need a maximum of two microphones attached to the recorder.

Zoom H6, on the other hand, is built for a wider purpose. It comes with four inputs that allow you to connect the microphone with four microphones. Four microphones allow you to use the digital recorder for bands, shows with multiple speakers, and


• Battery


Both mics come with exceptional battery life. They provide long hours of battery life that is helpful to record when you are out and can’t recharge. Both are similar in having powerful battery lives, but Zoom H6 takes the lead in this aspect.

Zoom H5 features AA batteries. It provides a battery life of up to 15 hours with alkaline batteries.

Zoom H6, on the other hand, has extended battery life than its predecessor. It is powered by two but four Alkaline batteries that improve the battery life of this digital recorder. It almost doubles the battery life with two more alkaline batteries. It can provide a battery life of up to 20 hours straight that is very reassuring when you are out in the field where a replacement is impossible.

We still recommend you keep some extra batteries with you as both H5 and H6 provide long battery life, but when you connect the digital recorder with a microphone, it can reduce battery life. Especially if mics are taking phantom power, the battery life can reduce considerably. The battery life of any recorded device depends on different variables, but overall, both Zoom H5 and Zoom H6 provide a long hour of battery life.


• Sound Quality


Both microphones require excellent sound quality. Both Zoom H5 and Zoom H6 provide superior audio quality and record crystal clear audio. They sound much better than previous Zoom recorders like Zoom H4.

When we look at the noise reduction, both Zoom H5 and H6 provide a 20 dB noise reduction pad for reducing the noise.

Which One to Select?


Both microphones are excellent digital recorders that provide high-quality sound recordings.

Zoom H5 is a good mic that can be used for interviews and situations where you need two XLR outputs. It is light in weight, so that makes it the right travel partner as well. The mic weighs less than Zoom H6 as well.

Zoom H6, on the other hand, is great for situations where you need to connect more mics with the recorder.


• Memory Capacity


Zoom H5 can store your audio files directly to SD and SDHC cards up to 32 GB. The H6, on the other hand, can record to SD cards up to 128 GB. This higher capacity can come in handy if you record huge large amounts of audio files and wish to keep them on a single high-capacity card. 


Advantages of Zoom H5


• Allows Four XLR/TRS Inputs


The mic features more preamps than Zoom H4, allowing you to connect two XLR or TRS mics with the recorder. The more preamps allow you to record with more mics, and you can use the recorder in situations where two or more people are talking.


• Affordable Price


Zoom H5 is a far more affordable option. If you have a limited budget and need to decide between the Zoom H5 and H6, then certainly H5 wins the game.


• Built-in Windshield


The mic comes with a windshield that helps you eliminate the external noise or record podcasts in too windy conditions.


• Stable with a Metal Bar


The Zoom H5 has a metal bar as a part of its design. The bar keeps the recorder stable and secure in one position. In many situations, you need to place the recorder on a flat surface while recording. The metal bar keeps the recorder in an optimal position.


Disadvantages of Zoom H5


• Allows Fewer Inputs


The mic provides more inputs than Zoom H4, but if you need even more preamps, Zoom H6 is the digital recorder.


• Simple Display Screen with Backlight


The display screen of Zoom H5 is not intuitive and may not help you scroll different options as readily as Zoom H6.


Advantages of Zoom H6


• Versatile Use


The Zoom H6 provides more XLR inputs and allows you to use the mic for videos or other recordings with multiple users or instruments. The ports made the recorder more versatile than its previous versions.

Another good thing about Zoom H6 features the shotgun microphones for recording the directional audio and helps you make use of the device for filming with the DSLR cameras.


• Comes with SDXC Card with 128GB of Storage


The Zoom H6 can record more audio files with its extended memory system. It features a 128GB storage that gives you more leverage while recording long audio sessions.


• Long Battery Life


The digital recorder uses four alkaline batteries. Like an improved memory card capacity, the Zoom H6 comes with better battery life as it uses more alkaline batteries.


Disadvantages of Zoom H6


• Expensive


Zoom H6 is costly if we compare it with its previous version.


• Not Secure


Despite all the goodness, the Zoom H6 lacked the metal bar that keeps the recorder secure in one position. Without the metal handlebar, the recorder is more prone to move with a slight touch


• Weight


It weighs a bit heavy and is larger than the H5.


Final Words


Both microphones work well and record excellent audio. But their build and uses make them specific for certain jobs. Despite all the similarities between the two microphones, both are apt for certain situations.

Zoom H5 is a good option where you need fewer microphones. It is good for one to one interviews. But if you think you need to plug in more microphones one day, you should invest in Zoom H6, a more improved version, and allow more inputs.

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