The Zoom H2n is my favorite portable recorder of all time, not because it’s got the best recording quality of them all, but mostly for its versatility.
You can record in a variety of patterns, from X/Y to Mid-Side and even 2-channel or 4-channel surround sound.
It can work as a standalone recorder or as an audio interface if you connect it to your PC via a USB cable.
It allows you to record high-quality audio almost anywhere, i personally use it a lot when recording outside, all i need to do is put a deadcat windshield on it and that’s it, no wind plosions at all.
The Zoom H2n has a really simple user interface which is easy to understand and operate.
I think that the Zoom H2n is the best portable recorder you can get.
Once you purchased it and you need to learn how to use it, you should read this guide on how to use it properly.
The Zoom H6 is the king of portable recorders, it is by far the best one you could ever purchase if budget isn’t an issue.
It feels like a tiny studio on the palm of your hand, the Interface is very similar to how every DAW looks, only a lot smaller.
But it’s extremely easy and intuitive to use.
The amount of inputs that you get on such a small recorder is astounding.On the sides you get 4 combo XLR and 1/4″ inputs, and if that wasn’t enough you can get a capsule which allows for two extra XLR inputs.
The available capsules for the Zoom H6 are; the XYH-6, MSH-6, EXH-6, SGH-6 and SSH-6, all with their own Gain control Knob and all of them are interchangeable.
What makes this Recorder great?
It can record up to 6 simultaneous tracks at great quality! This is great either for recording multiple instruments, musicians or podcast members. It gives you a lot of versatility.
It works as an Audio Interface: Even though you don’t need a computer to record audio when you have the H6, you could still use this recorder as an Audio Interface to record directly into your DAW with multiple microphones.
You will need to download the drivers from the Zoom website to be able to use the recorder this way though. Here’s the link to the official download page.
Included Microphone Capsules
The Stereo X/Y (XYH-6):
These are actually two cardioid microphones set up in an X/Y pattern. You can control how much of a stereo image you want to pick up by adjusting the angle. It can go from 90 degrees all the way to 120 degrees.
If you don’t have any external microphones, you can always use the X/Y and place the recorder in front of the sound source.
The Mid-Side (MSH-6):
This capsule also has two built-in microphones, one cardioid, which is facing forward, and one with a figure “8” pattern, which picks up sound from the sides.
This one is great because it allows you to control how much of a stereo image you want by increasing or lowering the volume in the side microphone.
This can also be done after recording, even in the DAW with a plugin you can download from the Zoom Website.
If you want to know more about the Mid-Side recording technique, make sure to read this article I wrote on the topic!
Even though the Zoom H6 is much better overall, I still recommend the Zoom H2n simply for what it offers at such an affordable price.
If, however, you need a recorder to plug some external microphones in or if you need to record multiple tracks at the same time, then the Zoom H6 is your best bet.