Transcripts of Living Blindfully are made possible by Pneuma Solutions, a global leader in accessible cloud technologies. On the web at

You can read the full transcript below, download the transcript in Microsoft Word format, or download the transcript as an accessible PDF file.



Introduction.. 2

Description and Physical Layout 3

Setting Up the Zoom H6 Essential 8

A Look at the Settings. 11

The Completely Inaccessible File List, and Working With Recordings You’ve Made.. 21

Recording Content, Inserting Markers. 24

The Mixer 28

Using Storage Mode With a PC… 29

Using the H6 Essential as an Audio Interface.. 30

Controlling the H6 Essential Via Its iPhone App.. 36

Conclusion.. 42




This is a comprehensive review and demonstration of Zoom’s H6 Essential Recorder from a blindness perspective. Because of its length, it may help you to know that it’s segmented by chapter. So if you’re listening in a podcast player that supports chapters, bring up the chapter list. You’ll be able to get to the sections you’re interested in.


It’s Jonathan Mosen in the living room at Mosen Towers, beginning our review and demonstration of the Zoom H6 Essential Recorder. I’m using the microphone that the Zoom Recorder comes with. This is a capsule that slots on to the top of the recorder. And the way that you can slot microphones into this recorder and swap them out is kind of the same as professional photographers swapping out different lenses for different occasions.

I should first say that Zoom has provided me with the H6 Essential so I can produce this review and demonstration for you. They haven’t heard it in advance. There are no caveats. This is not a paid advertisement, so what you’re hearing is my opinions. I’ll do my best to tell you what I like about the recorder, (and there is a lot to like, given that it is fully accessible, as are all the members of the new Zoom Essential family), and where there might be room for improvement.

We’re going to set this recorder up from scratch in just a minute. But before I do that, who might want this recorder? Who might want the Zoom H6 Essential?

Well, this is the big brother of the family. It’s the most capable, and therefore, it’s the most expensive. It’s coming in at $299 US.

I have to say, though, you get a lot of power in the package for that price. With the Zoom H6 Essential, you can record onto a total of six tracks at the same time. Now, 4 of those inputs can take XLR cables, and they can also take TRS cables. So they’re combo jacks. The TRS cables are 6.3 millimeters, so they are the larger ones.

It’s an intelligent recorder in the sense that when you plug in a TRS cable, it’ll set a lower level than it will if you plug a microphone with an XLR connector into the same input. That’s important because there’s actually no way to set levels on this recorder, and I’ll talk about that at some length a little bit later.

That leaves us with track 5 and 6, and that relates to the microphone that I’m using now.

Zoom will have a range of microphone accessories available. For now, the standard Zoom XY type microphone is in the box. That’s what I’m talking into. You’ll also be able to get a shotgun microphone accessory and some others as well, I understand, and an accessory that will give you 2 additional inputs if you want to record from six different sources at once.

You may not need this much capability. If, for example, you’re just recording yourself in the field, or you occasionally record with someone else, you may only need 2 tracks, and something like the Zoom H4 Essential might be enough for you. If you’re thinking of recording bands with this, and you certainly can do that by plugging it into mixes and other peripherals, then the Zoom H6 Essential may be what you need.

And this is a big moment for Zoom because the original Zoom H6 is a venerable recorder. A lot of people have them. Podcasters use them. People recording bands use them. People doing nature recordings use them.

Although, that might be a suboptimal use case for this recorder because people have commented on the preamps of these recorders being a little bit noisy. If you’re in a very quiet environment, and you talk softly, and you have to increase the gain of the recording, you might hear a little bit of noise from the electronics of the recorder. So there has been a bit of disappointment expressed that the preamps of the recorder have not been upgraded.

However, the big bonus of the Zoom Essential Series is that they record in 32-bit float. That has accessibility benefits as well. As I mentioned when I spoke with Samuel Greene from Zoom, because blind people don’t have to look at the meters, they don’t have to worry about clipping because you can fix any problems like that in post-production by taking it into a tool such as Reaper.

And as many people know, the really big deal about this recorder from a blindness point of view is that, like all of the Essential Series, it is accessible using spoken prompts. It’s easy to set up. It comes talking out of the box.

There are one or two areas where it does not talk, and that’s a disappointment. We’ll go through and show you some of those in the course of this recording.

Description and Physical Layout

I’m in the studio now, back on my Audient EVO 16 with a Heil PR40 connected, and I’ll describe the recorder as well as orientate you to its features.

The recorder is light, but it’s not pocket-sized, unless you have a very big pocket. You can easily carry it in one hand, though.

If I hold the recorder up to the mic and tap it, yep, it’s quite plasticky, but it’s a solid, firm kind of plasticky. That’s a typical look and feel for Zoom. So if you’ve owned another Zoom product, you’ll find that it’s quite similar to their normal build quality. I think they pay greater attention to what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside, and that probably does keep the price down.

For orientation purposes, so we’re all synchronized here, I’m gonna lay this on a desk so that closest to me, when I feel the top side of the unit, is the display, and that’s quite tactually distinctive. We all know what a display screen feels like.

So let’s go to the top of the unit, and that is where you will find the capsule connection. When you take the recorder out of its box, there is a cap in the capsule connection place. You’d want to remove that before you attach any capsule to the unit, and you do that by feeling on the top side of the unit, and you find that there’s a little kind of a hinge at the very back of the unit on the top. I get my thumb in there, and I pull it away from the recorder so the connection loosens, and then you’d slide the capsule or the cap up towards the ceiling, and it just comes right off. You won’t be able to detach it any other way. It’s quite secure when it’s on.

I’m going to attach the XY microphone now by doing the same sort of thing in reverse. So at the top of the accessory, in my case, the XY capsule, you can definitely feel a little clip that you can push your finger into. Now, that clip wants to be upward facing, and it wants to be on the far end of the unit. So I’ve got it positioned right now. And now, I’m going to slide the capsule.

So it’s a kind of an interesting gesture. Hopefully, if you can pull the other one off, you’ll see how it’s supposed to reattach, and it snaps in place with a satisfying click.

So it kind of goes in on runners as well. So if you want to line up the grooves there, it’s a little tricky the first few times. But it’s probably not something that you’ll do terribly often either.

You might want to attach and detach the accessory that Zoom provides. If you do use the accessory sometimes, but not at other times, Zoom does recommend putting the cap back on to protect the connector.

And of course, you may well get additional accessories over time. But I think most of the time, I would be using it with XLR microphones, so I’m unlikely to do this too often. So there is a bit of a knack, but you will get the knack as you do it more and more.

If you are an owner of the old Zoom H6, that’s the recorder that’s been around for over a decade now, your old capsules are not compatible with the new H6 Essential. Zoom says that this is to better support 32-bit float.

Regarding the capsule that comes in the box, Zoom says, “By having left and right diaphragms faced inward perpendicularly to each other, a wide recording range can be covered while fully capturing sound sources in the center. Moreover,” continues Zoom, “since the points of recording are almost the same, no phase differences occur between the left and right channels. Providing a three-dimensional sound with natural depth and width, this technique is ideal for recording when you want to capture a specific sound source that is nearby or at a medium distance.”

So that’s the capsule on the very top end of the unit. Now, we’re going to navigate from top to bottom on the front of the unit.

The first buttons that you will encounter relate to arming tracks. If you’re a seasoned audio pro listening to this, you will know what arming tracks are. But I’m also conscious, as I record this, that the Essential series may encourage new people to get into portable recording now that we’ve got something so professional that is so accessible.

So let’s talk about arming tracks. Essentially, what that means is that you can record from 6 different sources at once. And you may have 6 different things connected, potentially, but you might not always want to record all of those things. Every track that you record consumes additional storage space and, I presume, battery life, too. So you only want to arm the tracks that you actually need to record. And these buttons arm and disarm the tracks. It’s not as accessible as I would like it to be, and I’ll talk about that a bit later. But the top left-hand button is to arm track 1. Now we’re going to skip the middle button for now. The top right-hand one is to arm track 2.

And then, there’s quite a big gap. And if you feel carefully, you’ll detect the speaker grill for the Zoom H6 Essential. It does have a built-in speaker that can be handy for using the voice prompts, and it’s a pretty good speaker.

And under the speaker, you have the same arrangement, except the middle button this time is slightly below the other 2 track arming buttons, whereas the one on the top row is slightly above. So there’s a kind of a cool pattern to this. The left-hand button of this row is for arming input 3, and the right-hand button is for arming input 4.

So if we go back to the top row, the one where tracks one and two live, you’ll notice that slightly above, you’ll find another button. And this is the button that arms the microphone input. Presumably, it will also arm the inputs if you choose to get the module that adds a couple of other xlr inputs to the mix.

So there may be situations where most of the time, you want to use professional mics that you may own already, but you’re not bothered by the little protrusion that the microphone adds to the top of the recorder. You might see that it’s handy to have sometimes, so you can just disarm that particular microphone if you’re using others and you have no need for it by pushing this button. It’s a toggle, and it’ll beep every time you toggle it. You’ll also be able to hear what’s on by listening to the mix through your headphones. So that is the top button that sticks out slightly above the inputs 1 and 2 buttons.

What’s the button that goes slightly below the input 3 and 4 buttons? That one is the mixer button. That plays an important role, particularly given how many inputs we have to play with. I’ll talk about the mixer a little bit later and demonstrate how you work with it.

Underneath those controls, we have what you would call the transport controls. It’s easy to orientate yourself to those because right in the center is a lovely tactually distinctive big round button, and that is the one for recording. There’s not exactly a dot on the record button, but there is a kind of a recession that makes it even more tactually distinctive. So I think of the record button as the centerpiece of the transport controls. Not an unreasonable way to think, given that we are looking at a recorder here.

On the top left of this group of transport controls, so to the left of the record button, you have the stop button. This performs some other functions as well from time to time.

On the right of the record button at the top, you have play pause. And the next row is skip back on the left, skip forward on the right.

And those actually are all the controls on the top of the unit. So it’s a very simple layout, given how powerful the device is.

And under that, you’ve got the LCD display, which as I say, is very tactually distinctive.

And that brings us on to what you would call the front of the unit, the front side of the unit.

On the top of the front side, there is the all-important power switch on here. If you’ve used a Zoom recorder before, you may well have seen a control like this. It’s pretty common in Zoom. you push this power switch to the left. And it’s spring loaded so it’s not going to slide into position, but you hold it for a second or two to power the unit on or off. You will get audio response to that action.

And if you flick it to the right, it does stay in place then, and that locks the unit. If you’re traveling with it, you may want to guard against accidental battery usage (and depending on how bumpy a ride you’re on, or whatever random accidental recording of who knows what) by putting it in the lock position. And you can also lock the recorder when you are actually recording, to ensure that something doesn’t get stopped when you didn’t mean it to.

When we move to the right, you will find a change of surface that feels rubbery. And this has a little stopper that pulls out, and it doesn’t attach to the unit. So it’s possible, and highly likely if you’re not careful, that you will lose this. So if you’re going to pull out this thing, make sure you put it in a safe place.

This exposes the port for a Zoom Bluetooth adapter. When you connect the Bluetooth adapter, you can power some of the functions of the recorder from your smartphone.

If you’ve used some of the F series recorders (and we’ve talked on this podcast before about the F3 and the F6), this is how some of us have been gaining some control over some of the preferences, by using the iPhone app.

There is an H6 Essential app. I will briefly cover that later, and we’ll take a look at how accessible it is. But for most use cases now, since this is accessible, you probably don’t need to worry about that anymore.

But if you do want to have a play, then you will need the zoom BTA1 adapter, And you might have one lying around. I’ve got one lying around, I believe, from other Zoom recorders that I’ve previously purchased.

Now, we’ll have a look at the left side of the Zoom H6 Essential, and start at the top left. And you will find very prominent jacks here. This is the XLR combo jack so it takes XLR plugs, as well as TRS plugs, and you find two of them. The top one is input 1, and the bottom one is input 3.

The knob on the left-hand side of the unit is the headphone volume, and it does have a physical stop at either end. So you can feel it when you’ve turned it all the way up, and all the way down.

Logically enough, directly underneath the headphone volume is the headphone socket itself. It’s a 3.5 millimeter stereo headphone socket.

You may think that there’s another socket directly underneath the headphone jack. But actually, that’s not a socket. It’s just a screw there. And there’s a screw on either end of the USB-C port, which is what’s next.

It is a marvel, this USB-C port. I tell you it’s a marvel because you can use it for all sorts of things. If you want to, you can connect a battery pack to this. In my technological bag of tricks that I carry with me everywhere, I always have a very high capacity battery. And I can just connect that to the USB port, and the recorder will get its power from there. Even if you’ve got batteries in the device, if you connect a USB-C power source and it detects it, it will prioritize using that source over the batteries.

You can also connect this to a computer, so that it will appear as a drive. And you can get the files that you’ve recorded in the Zoom H6 Essential off the recorder and onto your computer, so you can work with them in your digital audio workstation of choice.

You can also connect it to your smartphone. Android has had this for years. It’ll just be USB-C to USB-C.

If you’re running an iPhone 15, it is also now that easy. You can have a look at the recorder, which will come up in the Files app of iOS for you. You can browse the files in the iOS Files app and copy them if you need to, or play them from a recorder.

And you can also use the Zoom H6 Essential as an audio interface.

And there is indeed another 3.5 millimeter socket on the left-hand side, but it’s right at the bottom. That is for line output.

Voice guidance doesn’t get sent to the line output, so we’ll be recording from the headphone jack. If you do get confused about which socket is which, just remember the memory aid that the volume control for the headphone jack is right by the headphone jack itself.

On the right-hand side of the unit, opposite input 1 is input 2, and opposite input 3 is input 4. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Working our way down the right-hand side, you’ve got the Enter key for navigating the menus. And above the Enter key, you’ve got the menu scroll wheel, and this just spins incessantly. So if you ever find yourself at a loose end, you can just sit here spinning that wheel, and it’ll go on forever. Yeah.

Working our way further towards the front of the unit on the right-hand side, you will feel a little flap. Mercifully, this one does not completely detach from the unit, but it pulls out quite a long way. And that’s where you can insert the microSD card. It supports microSDHC and microSDXC, which means if you really want to knock yourself out, you can put a 1 terabyte card into the Zoom H6 Essential. That’s going to keep you recording for a very long time, even at 32-bit float.

And just while I am talking about recording for a very long time, Zoom says that there is a 2 gigabyte limit per file. How quickly you reach that limit will depend on the sampling rate.

There is only one bit depth on this recorder, and that is 32-bit float. Although as we’ll see later, you can export to other bit depths. But you do have choice of sampling rate.

Whenever you reach that 2 gigabyte limit, Zoom says the recorder will start another file. And it promises that that will be seamless so you won’t lose a moment of your recording when that process happens, if you’ve been recording a while.

You’re probably familiar (if you’ve used microSD cards before) with how this works. There’s nothing unusual or challenging about this. Although microSDs are small, so when you insert the card, you may want to do this on a table or some surface where if the card drops, you know exactly where it’s going to drop. Because I have spent many happy hours searching on floors for microSD cards, and they are very hard to locate by touch if you drop one and it skids away on the floor somewhere. [laughs]

You pull the flap away from the unit. The slot will then be exposed. You slide the SD card into the unit, and there’s only one way it will go. So if it feels like it’s not engaging, don’t force it because it should smoothly go in, and it’s a spring-loaded socket. So it’ll give a little bit when you insert the card the correct way and pop out ever so slightly.

If you want to remove the microSD card, then you can just push in on the SD card, and it will pop out when you release. Very simple spring-loaded arrangement.

The recorder does act, as I say, as a storage device. So there’s probably not much need to remove the card. If you get a good quality card and it’s got lots of storage, you can copy everything off USB onto another device whenever the need arises.

On the underside of the unit, if we go from the top to the bottom, you’ve got the attachment there for mounting a tripod or similar thing.

And then underneath that, you have a battery compartment which is pretty standard. It takes 4 AA batteries. The batteries go in in alternating ways. And remember that the flat end of the battery is the one that normally goes up against the spring, and that is the case with this as well. So you should be good to go to insert those four AA batteries.

You can use rechargeables, but the Zoom recorder itself will not charge them. So take a battery charger with you when you’re traveling.

Setting Up the Zoom H6 Essential

I’ve reset the Zoom H6 Essential, so it’s now as if it were coming out of the factory. I’ve inserted a new micro SD card into the slot, and I’ve got a good set of rechargeables in the device.

All I have to do now is go to the front of the unit and switch it on by moving the power switch to the left and holding it in place for a couple of seconds, and then it will spring back if I let it go.

[power on sound]

Female voice: Guide sound, off.

Jonathan: And immediately, we are given a prompt asking us about the guidance. It is amazing that this recorder talks out of the box. We don’t have to turn accessibility on. Other people have to opt out of accessibility, if they don’t want it. How cool that it’s accessible by default.

And because it’s implemented like that, I think it’s educating a lot of sighted people about accessibility. I’m quite struck when I hear reviews of the Zoom Essentials series from sighted people – how many people mention the accessibility because they’re confronted with it, and how many people think it’s cool.

To navigate the options, we use the wheel on the right-hand side of the device to scroll through our choices.

Guide sound: English and beep.

Beep only.


English and beep.

Jonathan: Other accessibility languages are supported, and you can download those from the support page on the Zoom website.

I’m going to press Enter, which is the button just below the scroll wheel on the right-hand side of the device.

Guide sound: Language: English.

Jonathan: We’ll go through and see what other languages there are, though.

Guide sound:French.








Jonathan: Now, we’re back to English.

You don’t need too much pressure to turn this little wheel, actually. It’s quite sensitive.

So I’ll press Enter.

Guide sound: Date format: Year, month, day.

Jonathan: We have other options, so we’ll scroll through.

Guide sound: Month, day, year.

Day, month, year.


Year, month, day.

Jonathan: I’m happy with year, month, day. That’s actually how I name all my audio files.

So I’ll press Enter to accept.

Guide sound: Set date time.


Jonathan: I’ll just confirm we’re on the right year.

Guide sound: 24.

Jonathan: Yes, that’s correct. So I’ll press Enter, …

Guide sound: Year.

Jonathan: and scroll down.

Guide sound: Month.

Jonathan: And we’ll set the month.

Guide sound: 1.

Jonathan: Ah. We’ll go up, actually.

Guide sound: 1.

Jonathan: So these menus do tend to wrap around. So we’re on 3, because I’m recording this in March.

Guide sound: Month.


Jonathan: And we’ll select the day.

Guide sound: 1.

Jonathan: And that’s right, it’s march the 1st.

Guide sound: Day.

Jonathan: And I’ll go down.

Guide sound: Hour.

Jonathan: And now, we have to choose the hour. I’d better check the time. Ooh, I’m told it’s [2:12]. Alright, so we will go into the hour.

Guide sound: 0.

Jonathan: Just be mindful of this, you have to set it in 24-hour format.

Guide sound: Hour.

Jonathan: Now, I’ll go down.

Guide sound: Minute.

Jonathan: It’s not too bad in terms of responsiveness.

Guide sound: Minute.


Jonathan: And we’ll choose okay.

Guide sound: Battery type: alkaline.

Jonathan: And we have…

Guide sound: NIMH.




Jonathan: I’m going to choose the second option, …

Guide sound: NIMH.

Jonathan: And press enter.

Guide sound: Done.

Battery level: high. Rec standby.

A Look at the Settings

Jonathan: Now, we’re in the recorder, and you will hear that the microphone has been activated on my Zoom H6 Essential.

So I’m going to disarm it right now by pushing the very top button on the recorder.

[1 short beep]

And it beeps. And this is one thing that does trouble me, is that it doesn’t tell you whether an input is armed or not armed. And the beep is the same, so if I push it, it beeps to tell me it’s now armed and I can hear that it’s armed. And it beeps again in exactly the same way. Maybe hearing it say armed or disarmed would be too much. I’m not sure. But a high-pitched beep for armed and a lower-pitched beep for disarmed I think would be a very welcome enhancement to the recorder.

Now, I’m in standby mode and just by pressing record, I can start recording. It’s really that simple. Although if I try and do that now, we’ll get this…

Guide sound: No rec track.

Jonathan: because none of my inputs is armed at the moment.

What I’d like to do first is just scroll through the menus, because this is the big deal about these recorders for blind users. We can suddenly traverse all the options like everybody else can. So I’m going to scroll down with the little wheel on the right of the recorder.

Guide sound: Input settings.

Jonathan: And we’ll go into input settings and see what our choices are. I’ll press enter just below the dial.

Guide sound: Microphone.

Input 1.


Input 3.

Input 4.


Jonathan: So we don’t have anything connected to any of those inputs yet, but that doesn’t matter because you can still configure them. So let’s have a look at one of them and see what the options are.

Guide sound: Microphone.

Jonathan: The microphone option is a bit special because it pertains to the microphone capsule. So if I go in here, …

Guide sound: Low cut.

Jonathan: Low cut filters can be useful for filtering out things like wind noise, or maybe there’s some sort of hum going on where you’re recording, or something of that nature. It can take away rumbly, noisy things that you don’t want.

My preference, at the risk of being challenged by superior audiophiles out there, would be to leave the low cut filter alone while I’m recording because I can take care of it in post production and have a lot more granularity over what I need to change, should I need to change anything.

But if you want to, you can enable low cut filters here. We’ll go in.

Guide sound: Off.

80 Hertz.

160 Hertz.

240 Hertz.


Jonathan: And it’s off right now, and that’s the way I will keep it. So we’ll go back, …

Guide sound: Low cut.

Jonathan: and scroll down in the microphone settings.

Guide sound: Mono mix.

Jonathan: Mono is off by default. But if you want to put the microphone capsule that you’re using in mono, you can enable it here. And you know what that sounds like because that’s the setting I had enabled when I recorded the little introduction from our living room at the beginning of this demonstration.

Now, that’s all we have.

Guide sound: Back.

Jonathan: So we go back, …

Guide sound: Microphone.

Jonathan: And go down and have a look at what you can do with one of the combo jack inputs.

Guide sound: Input 1.

Jonathan: We’ll pick on input 1 because it happens to be there.

Guide sound: Low cut.

Jonathan: We’ve got the low cut option, just as we had with the microphone.

Guide sound: Phantom.

Jonathan: Now, this is important. This gives you the chance to supply phantom power to something that is plugged in to this input.

You want to be careful to leave this off unless you know that you need it, because there is the potential for damage to a microphone receiving power at it that doesn’t actually need it.

If you’re using a condenser microphone, then one option that you have is to supply phantom power to it from the recorder. It’ll use a bit of juice, and some microphones do have the option to power themselves via a battery in the microphone itself, particularly if that microphone is designed for field recordings.

We’ll go in here.

Guide sound: Off.



Jonathan: Some recorders offer varying degrees of phantom power. But to the best of my knowledge, this is supplying the standard 48 volts.

So we’ll go back, …

Guide sound: Phantom.

Jonathan: and scroll down.

Guide sound: Stereo link.

Jonathan: You can link two inputs together. You’ll want to do this if you’re recording, say, from a mixer, and that mixer is sending stereo and you want to preserve the stereo.

I have a pretty cool microphone that I have for stereo field recording, which has a couple of XLR cables coming out the end of it. And it does a very nice job of recording in the field. And I’d want to link two inputs together to get stereo for that as well.

In the past, when I have done demonstrations for example of a Samsung TV or a Sony TV, and I’ve used previous Zoom recorders to record those, I would also link two inputs together for a demonstration like that as well.

You could also make up a cable that has the two 6.3 millimetre plugs at one end to go into your Zoom recorder, and a 3.5 millimetre jack at the other. And you could plug that into your smartphone with a USB adapter or a lightning adapter, depending on what smartphone model you have. And then, you can do demonstrations, if you want to, of apps on your iPhone, because you’d be able to plug a microphone into one of the inputs. You would have two of those inputs linked in a stereo pair for your iPhone. You could even just use the microphone that comes with the recorder. But if I have the option, I think for something like that, I’d use a highly directional dynamic mic in conjunction with your iPhone.

So, so much flexibility here. We’ll show you how this works. We’ll go into it.

Guide sound: Off.

Stereo link.

MS Matrix.

Jonathan: If you choose stereo link, because we’re on input 1, it will automatically link input 2 as the right channel. So input 1 will be your left, input 2 will be your right.

I am no expert on the Matrix option that is also here. But my understanding is that if you record in this format, it means that you can adjust the stereo width after you’ve recorded, which is really quite amazing. I believe that Reaper works with the files that this option creates, but I’ve not experimented with it myself.

But I’m going to scroll through…

Guide sound: Back.

Jonathan: and go back, because I don’t want to create a stereo pair at the moment. If I did though, it will create a stereo wave file.

Typically, what happens when you record is that you get a separate wave file for each track that you have armed. And the Zoom H6 Essential, on top of this, also records a stereo mix of everything that you’re recording. Obviously, the stereo mix won’t give you as much control, and we’ll talk about how you can set that mix up to be optimal a little bit later. But it does give you a backup. So essentially, the Zoom H6 Essential is making 2 recordings of everything that you do. One with the stems, if you will, where each track or stereo pair is its own file, but also there’s that whole mix as well.

The one exception to that, by the way, is if you choose to record at 96 kilohertz. If you do that, the Zoom recorder is not going to produce a stereo file.

So we’ll go back.

Guide sound: Stereo link.

Jonathan: And that’s what you can do when you’re configuring the inputs of the recorder.

So we’ll go back, …

Guide sound: Input 1.

Jonathan: and we’ll go back one more time. So I’ll scroll to the top, …

Guide sound: Microphone.

Jonathan: and go back.

Guide sound: Battery level: high. Rec standby.

Jonathan: And we’ll keep scrolling.

Guide sound: Output settings.

Jonathan: Now, we’re on output settings. So we’ll see what you can control here.

Guide sound: Line out level.

Jonathan: This is self-explanatory. If we go in here, …

Guide sound: 0.

Jonathan: you can increase or decrease the line out level.

Now, this is one of those occasions where I’m going to press the stop button to just pop me right out of this. It might be the quickest way.

Guide sound: Battery level: high. Rec standby.

Jonathan: I’m in recording standby. And I think it’s in the right place, but I’ll just verify.

Guide sound: Rec settings.

Output settings.

Jonathan: Yeah I went down and up, and I’m still on output settings.

Guide sound: Line out level.


Jonathan: And that’s all I have right now for the output settings.

So we’ll go back.

Guide sound: Battery level: high.

Rec settings.

Jonathan: Now we’re on to rec settings – recording settings.

I’ll press enter.

Guide sound: Sample rate.

Jonathan: The default sample rate for the Zoom H6 Essential is 48 kilohertz. And as somebody who records a lot of speech, that’s ample for me. I will leave it that way.

There’s only one bit depth, and that is 32-bit float.

We can go in here by pressing enter, …

Guide sound: 48 kilohertz.

Jonathan: and I’ll go up.

Guide sound: 44.1 kilohertz.


96 kilohertz.


Jonathan: So we’ll go back, …

Guide sound: Sample rate.

Jonathan: and I’ll scroll down.

Guide sound: Pre rec.

Jonathan: This option gives you a little bit of a buffer. Maybe you’re waiting for something to start, and it does start. The moment you notice the event starting, if you press pre-record, by default, if you’re at 44 kilohertz or 48 kilohertz, it will save 2 seconds. Ahead of when you press record, you only get a second if you take it up to 96 kilohertz.

Guide sound: Rec source.

Jonathan: We can record from 2 sources. We’ll go in here.

Guide sound: Pre-mixer.

Jonathan: The default is pre-mixer.

Guide sound: Post-mixer.

Jonathan: We’ll talk about the mixer a little bit later. But pre-mixer is fine, and I will probably always leave it at that for reasons I’ll explain when we get on to the mixer.

Guide sound: Back.

Jonathan: I’ll go back.

Guide sound: Rec source.

Rec start tone.

Jonathan: Many of us liked to turn this option on in the past because it gave us some audible clue that the recorder was in fact recording. The downside is that it does insert the tone onto the actual recording because that tone can sometimes be useful for movie producers who want to sync audio and video.

So we can go in here, …

Guide sound: Off.

Jonathan: And have a look at the options.

Guide sound: Minus 40 DBFS.

Minus 20 DBFS.

Jonathan: This determines how loud the tone is.

Guide sound: Minus 12 DBFS.

Minus 6 DBFS.

Jonathan: And this is relevant because it can be a handy reference in terms of setting levels for post-production.

Guide sound: Back.

Jonathan: I’m going to leave this one off. I don’t see any advantage in having it on anymore.

Guide sound: Rec start tone.


Jonathan: Let’s have a quick look at this.

Guide sound: Off.



Jonathan: Zoom has chosen to leave this metadata off because there are apparently some compatibility issues sometimes when metadata is stored in the WAV files. And I don’t really see any need to turn this on because the file names tell me what I need to know about my recording.

Guide sound: Metadata.


Jonathan: And that’s what we have on this menu.

So we’ll go back, …

Guide sound: Battery level: high. Rec standby.

Jonathan: And continue to scroll down.

Guide sound: SD card.

Jonathan: Now, we’re on the SD card option.

Guide sound: Format.

Jonathan: And the first time you insert an unknown SD card into the unit (and that will certainly be the case when you first power on your unit with a new SD card inserted), the recorder may well perform some tests on that card and just ensure that it’s up to snuff because you certainly don’t want to be making that critical recording, only to find that the SD card wasn’t keeping up and wasn’t making a good recording. So you can go through that process.

We can format the card. Be careful.

Guide sound: Quick test.

Full test.

Empty trash.


Jonathan: When you move something to the trash, it’s no longer visible on the recorder, but it does go into a trash folder on the SD card for safekeeping. If you want to get some storage back, then you can empty the trash either on the recorder, or by deleting the files from the card itself when you’ve got it in storage mode.

Guide sound: Format.


Jonathan: And we’ll go back.

Guide sound: Battery level: high.


Jonathan: Let’s take a look at the handy dandy multi-purpose USB port.

Guide sound: File transfer.

Jonathan: We’ve talked about these options when we were looking at the USB-C port earlier.

Guide sound: Audio interface.


Jonathan: We’ll have a play with some of this a bit later.

So we’ll go back.

Guide sound: Battery level: high.

System settings.

Jonathan: Now, we’re onto system settings.

Guide sound: Language.

Date time.

Display brightness.




Jonathan: Interesting that the Zoom H6 Essential pronounces accessibility properly and I know that the Zoom H1 Essential does not, so go figure. Maybe there’s hope for the Zoom H1 Essential, eventually.

The Bluetooth options will only be relevant if you have that Bluetooth adapter that I discussed in the previous section.

Let’s take a look at accessibility.

Guide sound: Guide sound.

Jonathan: This is the option that first came up when we booted the recorder, so we don’t want to change that.

Guide sound: Volume.

Jonathan: You can change the volume of the accessibility prompts.

Guide sound: Mild.





Jonathan: So we’ll choose that one, …

Guide sound: Volume.

Jonathan: and go down.

Guide sound: Version.

Jonathan: This tells us the firmware version.

Guide sound: Version 1.00.


Jonathan: If there were a firmware update available for the H6 Essential, we could install it. But there isn’t, so we won’t. [laughs] I’m sure there will be one eventually.

Guide sound: Back.

Jonathan: And we’ll go back.

Guide sound: Back.



Factory reset.


Jonathan: It’s important to understand what happens if you go into help. Sighted people are not getting a user guide on the screen, and I’ve heard some people who were initially playing with the Essential Series saying, “Ah, the help isn’t accessible.” It actually is accessible because all that’s coming up on the screen is a barcode, and if you take your phone and you scan that barcode that’s on the screen, you will be able to get the help to which it points.

I’ll go down.

Guide sound: Back.

Battery level: high.

The Completely Inaccessible File List, and Working With Recordings You’ve Made

Guide sound: File list.

Jonathan: Now we’re on the file list.

And if I press enter to go into the file list, …

Guide sound: File list.

[2 short beeps]

Jonathan: Nothing. Not a sausage.

Guide sound: Back.

Jonathan: Every time you scroll the wheel, you’re getting to a different file on the recorder. And then, you eventually get to the back button.

[2 short beeps]

Obviously, that’s quite the letdown, not being able to hear the file names as you scroll through. And hopefully, that could be fixed in a future firmware update.

Let me talk about the way that files are structured. You will have seen that we have some control over the file naming conventions.

When you create a new recording in the Zoom H6 Essential, you are creating a new folder on the SD card. And in that folder will be a file for every track that you’re recording.

Just to emphasize, if it’s a stereo track, because you’ve linked 2 inputs, then you’ll get a stereo file. Otherwise, they’ll be mono files, and you can pan them yourself in your digital audio workstation.

And you get a stereo mix. And that folder will be given a name based on the date and time format that you specified.

So if I’m scrolling through here and I push Enter, I don’t think it plays the file.

Guide sound: Play view.


Jonathan: Now obviously, you want to be really careful here because you don’t know what file you’re trashing.

We’ll go back up here to Play view, and press Enter. And now, let’s scroll through.

Guide sound: AB repeat.

Output settings.



Jonathan: And if I were to press Play at this point, I’m pretty confident that we’ll get the file that we are now in. I’ll go ahead and do that.


Okay. Now, I am recording.

That was, I think, my very first test recording. So it does play the file that you’re in, and have a listen and work out what the file is.

Now, we have some other options here.

Guide sound: Output settings.

Jonathan: If we go to the output settings, …

Guide sound: Line out level.

Audio normalization.

Jonathan: This is one of two normalization options available in this recorder.

Normalization is the process of having a file peak at a particular value at its loudest point. And if you switch normalization on for playback, this will ensure that regardless of the input value of the recording, the recording is played back normalized to a particular rate. So if it turns out there’s not a lot of gain there, (you’ve got a good recording but it’s quiet), this may really help when you’re proofing your recordings.

I’ll go down now.

Guide sound: Playback speed.

Jonathan: This is cool. Let’s go in and see how much speed adjustment we have.

Guide sound: 100%.






Jonathan: Interestingly, it doesn’t wrap.

So we’ll go down.

Guide sound: 50%.


Jonathan: It goes down to 50%.

Guide sound: 70.


Jonathan: Now, we’re back to default speed.

Guide sound: Playback speed.


Jonathan: And those are the options that we have when you are playing a file.

We’ll go back.

Guide sound: Export.

Jonathan: There may be some situations where you want to use your recording in a recorder that doesn’t support 32-bit float. And if that’s the case, you can export the file so that it’s in a format that whatever you’re using can handle.

There’s pretty widespread support for 32-bit float now, but this is a good safeguard.

Guide sound: Bit depth.

Jonathan: You can control the bit depth of the export. You can’t control the bit depth of your actual recordings. You can choose 16, 24, 32-bit float, quite a bit of flexibility there.

Guide sound: Track.

Jonathan: You can also export only specific tracks, or the stereo mix.

Guide sound: Range.

Jonathan: And also specify the range that you’re exporting, because it does take a bit of time on this recorder to do an export.

Guide sound: Normalize.

Jonathan: This might take some time because it’s writing a new file and normalizing it as it writes. So if you have the option to do this on your digital audio workstation, I would always do that if I can.

Guide sound: Export.

Jonathan: Having set these up the way you want, you can then push the export option and wait for it to happen.

Guide sound: Cancel.

Jonathan: And we can cancel.

The other option we have in this setting, …

Guide sound: Trash.

File list.

AB repeat.

Jonathan: is the AB repeat, and you can specify a section of the file to repeat.

So as you can hear, I don’t think that the word breakthrough is too strong a word to use in terms of how much configurability we now have access to. It is a pity that the file list isn’t accessible.

And one thing you’ll notice is that the speech gets kind of tiresome because of the speed. I suspect that these are prerecorded spoken prompts, but it would be great to have some control over the speech speed. Once you’re zooming around the recorder (if I may use that expression), it would be great to be able to speed this up by quite some margin.

The process of recording though is very simple. Once you have a microphone connected, whether it be the Zoom device or one of your own, just make sure you’re in standby. And if you’re not, you can press the stop button to get you right there. That is the one to the top left of the transport controls by the round record button.

Recording Content, Inserting Markers

Guide sound: Battery level: high. Rec standby.

Jonathan: I still have the Zoom capsule connected to the recorder. So I’m going to switch off my Heil PR40, which is connected to my audio interface. And then, we will arm the track on the Zoom recorder, and you’ll be able to hear me talking through the capsule because I’ve got a cable running from the EVO 16 to the Zoom H6 Essential.

[1 short beep]

Now, we are recording through the little microphone here, and I’m pointing it in my general direction.

One thing that people have observed with this recorder is it’s fine if you hold it still. But if you fumble it about a little bit, there is indeed quite a bit of hand noise. And this is some feedback that is coming through on all the Essential recorders.

We’ve explored the menus, and that’s great. But the way that you record with this is really straightforward.

We’re in that standby mode. All I have to do is press record.

[1 short beep]

You hear a beep over the headphones. You don’t get that beep if you are listening over the built-in speaker, which I’ll demonstrate for you in a minute. But we are now recording, and it really is as simple as that. I can just chat away. I don’t have to worry about setting levels.

And when I am done, I will push the stop button.

[2 short beeps]

It makes a double beep. And I’m ready to play this recording back simply by pressing play, and it will immediately replay the recording I’ve just made. Let’s do it and it will switch off my…

[noise that suggest a hand may have bumped the microphone]

Ooh! You’ve got to be careful with that. [laughs] There’s no windscreen on this mic at the moment, and it really does need one so you have to be quite careful with plosives and things of that nature.

Anyway, we’ll press play.


You hear a beep over the headphones. You don’t get that beep if you are listening over the built-in speaker, which I’ll demonstrate for you in a minute. But we are now recording, and it really is as simple as that. I can just chat away. I don’t have to worry about setting levels.

And when I am done, I will push the stop button.

You hear a beep over the headphones. You don’t get that beep if you are listening over the built-in speaker, which I’ll demonstrate for you in a minute. But we are now…

Guide sound: Battery level: high. Rec standby.

Jonathan: We’re on some sort of AB repeat mode there which I really should switch off because it’s just in a loop, and it will go on forever, and that would be terrible.

But that is how it works. It’s really that simple. Press record, do your thing, press stop, and then press play, and it will play it back again.

If you want, when you’re playing, you can skip through the files.

And there is something that’s pretty cool about recording as well. So I’m going to make another recording.

[1 short beep]

We’re recording again, and I want to show you something that doesn’t work if you’re monitoring over the speaker, but does work when you’ve got headphones connected.

I’m going to turn the little wheel.

Guide sound: Output settings.



Jonathan: Here, we can insert marks – as many marks as we need into the recording. And the significance of this is that that does affect navigation in the recording. And I haven’t tried this yet but I presume, you can import the marks into Reaper as well.

Where this could be handy is if you are doing a podcast interview, for example. And certainly, if you’re me, you ask a question and you think, “I really could phrase that better. I want to start again.” If you can put those markers in the file, it allows you to get to those pain points to clean them up afterwards much more easily.

So I’ll just press enter on the mark thing.

Guide sound: Mark.

Jonathan: And it confirms mark.

And now, we have created one. I’m going to talk a bit longer, and I’ll push the button again.

Guide sound: Mark.

Jonathan: There’s the second mark.

Now I’ll press stop, and we’ll have a play with this.

I’m back now coming through the Heil PR40 in the EVO 16, and I’m going to press the play button.

We’re recording again, and I want to show you something that doesn’t work if you’re monitoring over the speaker, but…

Now I’m going to navigate to the right by pushing the right navigation key on the bottom right of that transport group.

And it confirms mark.

And I’ll push it again.

This is the second mark.

So that’s the cool thing. If you are recording and you want to get to specific points in the file, you can add those markers.

Let’s see what else we can do when we’re playing a file.

We’re recording again and I want to show you something…

If I hold it down, then it is skipping forward. We don’t get any kind of skipping sound though, but I believe it is skipping forward like a CD player.

If I press the navigate left button, …

We’re recording again, and I want to show you something…

We get to the beginning of the file.

If I press it twice quickly, …

[1 short beep]

Now, we’re recording…

You heard a beep, and we went to the previous file. So you can do basic navigation this way.

And while I really do want the file list to be accessible, this does mean that you can play the files on your recorder and navigate through them. You can do a double press of the right-hand navigation key to skip to the next file. But that marker feature is particularly useful.

What I’d like to do for comparison is unplug the Heil PR40 that I’m using right now here in my studio, and I will plug it in to the recorder instead. We’ll do a recording on it, and you can just hear how that is sounding.

Hello! Here we are on the Heil PR40. I’m slightly stressed because the spaghetti junction that is my studio doesn’t bear talking about. So actually disconnecting the Heil PR40 from where it’s connected normally and plugging it into the recorder was a Herculean task. I’m just waffling away, so you can get some impression of what this sounds like. You may be able to notice a difference, you may not.

One thing I will say though is that the Heil PR40 is a quiet ish mic. It’s not as quiet as some of the Shure mics (I think it’s the Shure SM7B, or one of those mics that is extremely quiet and they often need cloud lifters and things). This mic is on the quiet ish side, and what that means is that when I listen to myself through headphones, it’s really quiet compared to the volume of the microphone capsule that we were using before.

And this is where another feature of this recorder that we haven’t looked at yet comes in.

So having done a wee bit of recording on the Heil PR40 and imported that recording into this project, I’m going to go back, plug the Heil into the Evo again, and we will show you the mixer feature which could be a very important facility, if you want to accurately and comfortably monitor what you’re doing.

Alright. I’m back in Reaper on the Evo. So that last little bit was recorded directly on the recorder with this same microphone.

I want to make a couple of observations, while I remember to.

One thing that I do find irritating is that every time I turn the headphone knob to adjust the volume, you get that it beeps high when you’re turning it up and it beeps low when you’re turning it down. I don’t think that’s necessary because if you’re playing things through the headphones, you will hear that the volume is changing. And actually, I find that beep a distraction, and not adding really any value.

The second thing I would say is that this issue of not being able to tell when a track is armed and when it’s not is a really annoying thing because in that example, I was just playing with buttons and I’d plugged in the Heil PR40 to input 1. So obviously, I wanted input 1 armed. And I could hear that it was armed, so that was good.

But somewhere along the line, I had armed track 3 and there’s nothing plugged into it, so I was recording an empty track which unnecessarily uses disk space, and it may well have a detrimental impact on battery.

So I do hope Zoom comes up with a way to indicate to a blind person when a track is armed and when it’s not. Even a high-pitched beep for armed and a low-pitched beep for disarmed would do it, or a beep and a double beep. Just at the moment, there’s absolutely no indication whatsoever whether by pressing the button, you’re arming or disarming the track. And I think, that’s quite a serious defect.

The Mixer

Let’s now talk about the mixer feature.

I recorded on the Heil PR40 to give you an example of where this could be useful.

When you plug a microphone in that’s a bit quiet, you may not have sufficient gain in your headphones to monitor comfortably. Or you may be working with several sound sources where one is a lot louder than the other, and you want to be able to ensure that you’re monitoring everything equally in your headphones.

When you record in 32-bit float, your levels don’t matter. And that’s why Zoom has made this point very loud and clear by offering no input control for level whatsoever.

But monitoring comfortably is important, and that’s why you have the mixer. And if you really want to, as we saw when we were going through the recording settings, you can record post-mixer, which means that all your volumes are going to be reflected in the tracks.

But you don’t have to do that because you’ve got 32-bit float here, and you can adjust volume to your heart’s content in post-production afterwards. So for me, the primary use case here is just making sure that you can hear all of your tracks comfortably in your headphones.

So let’s push this magic mixer button. Just to refresh, this is the one that is below slightly the tracks 3 and 4 buttons. So we’ll push that.

Guide sound: Microphone.

Jonathan: Now, we can choose the thing that we are adjusting. Input 1 was where I had the Heil PR40, and it was way quiet in my headphones.

So I’ll go back down to input 1, …

Guide sound: Input 1.

Jonathan: press enter, …

Guide sound: 0.

Jonathan: and it’s at 0 right now, so we can just keep going up.

Guide sound: 2.

Jonathan: Okay. We can scroll all the way up to 40 quite quickly.

Guide sound: Minus…


Jonathan: And all the way down is mute, so you can mute the track entirely.

So if I decided that my Heil PR40 (when I was in the studio working with this recorder) would always be plugged into input 1 for consistency, I might like to leave this set to, say, 6, just increase it a bit from 0 and see how I go. But it’s no problem at all to go in here and adjust every input.

No doubt this is a personal preference thing, but I like this user paradigm very much. I would far rather have a unit that has a few controls and the software mixer, than a unit littered with controls, and you put the thing down for a couple of weeks and you forget what everything does. Really, you’re not going to have to go in here and play very much. And even if you do have to, it takes no effort at all to find the input that you want and increase how loud it is in the mix.

Using Storage Mode With a PC

When you’ve made that great recording with your Zoom H6 Essential and you want to get that recording off your device, you can connect it to the USB-C port (We’ve talked about this a bit before.), and then your Zoom recorder will become a drive on your computer. The drive letter that it gets will vary, depending on other devices that are connected to your computer at the moment. Mine is coming up as drive E.

When you choose storage mode, you have two choices, and this is the case with the audio interface option as well. You can choose PC/Mac, or you can choose mobile device.

The difference between those two options when you see them, pertinent to the USB port, is that the PC slash Mac one is going to attempt to get power from the bus of the computer, thus saving you battery. The mobile device option assumes that there’s not going to be sufficient power, or maybe there’s going to be sufficient power, but your iPhone battery or your Android device battery may be unacceptably drained and you don’t want to do that, so if you choose the mobile device option, it won’t try and use the power of the device it’s connecting to to power itself.

In the root of the SD card, …

JAWS: 240301000823, 1 of 4.

Jonathan: we’ve got a series of folders, and these conform to the file naming convention setting that you elected to use. So if I down arrow, …

JAWS: 240301001309, 2 of 4.

Jonathan: and I press Enter, then what we find is that we have a couple of options in here.

JAWS: Not selected, 240301001309TRLR.wav, 1 of 2.

Jonathan: So you’ve got the left right track there. And if we go down, …

JAWS: 240301001309TRMic.wav, 2 of 2.

Jonathan: that is the track from the microphone.

And it probably makes no practical difference actually, at the moment. But when you have multiple tracks, it really does make a difference.

So when you find the files that you want, you can copy them somewhere, obviously, to work within your digital audio workstation. You can use File Explorer to move them off the card, and somewhere else to conserve space if that’s necessary. So very straightforward.

What I have found is that it’s advisable to choose the mode that you want the Zoom Recorder to be in before you connect the cable.

Using the H6 Essential as an Audio Interface

This H6 Essential Recorder is a really capable device. But there’s one more thing that I want to explore with you where it is very useful, and that is that it can act as an audio interface either for your mobile device or for your computer.

Let’s start with the mobile device first.

I’m using an iPhone 15, so all I have to do is run a USB-C cable from the port of the iPhone to the port of the Zoom H6 Essential. If you have an older iPhone that uses a Lightning port, you’ll need the USB Camera Adapter Kit, another dongle from Apple, that you can obtain from the Apple Store.

I am going to scroll through.

Guide sound: SD card.

Rec settings.

Output setting.

Input setting.

File list.

System setting.


Jonathan: And that’s the one I want.

Guide sound: File transfer.

Audio interface.

Jonathan: That’s the one I want there, too.

Guide sound: Channel.






Jonathan: So let’s have a look at what’s here in the audio interface options.

First, let’s have a look at channels.

Guide sound: Stereo mix.


Jonathan: I’m going to choose stereo mix for the iPhone

Guide sound: multi-track.

Stereo mix.

Jonathan: So press enter on that. And now, what have we got?

Guide sound: Mode.

Jonathan: We’ll go and have a look at that.

Guide sound: Audio interface with rec.

Audio interface only.

Jonathan: When you choose audio interface with rec, that means that you can record on your recorder as well as record using the device as an audio interface on your iPhone or your PC. You may want to record in two places for redundancy purposes, in case something goes wrong with one recording. Or it could be that you’re streaming live from your iPhone or your PC, and you want to make a recording on the recorder.

Guide sound: Audio interface only.

Jonathan: I’m going to choose audio interface only for now.

Guide sound: Power.



Jonathan: I’m going to leave it on battery for now.

Guide sound: Connect.

Jonathan: And now, we can connect as an audio interface. So I will push that button to connect.

Guide sound: Battery level medium.

Audio interface.

Jonathan: And we get that battery level is medium. I’ve been working away on this for some time.

Now, I’m going to cable up the zoom with the iPhone 15 and we will see what happens. Actually, this is the first time I have tried this, so we’re all on an adventure together.

VoiceOver: Alert. Are you connecting a pair of headphones?

Jonathan: Okay. That’s very distorted because the output of the iPhone is now coming through the H6 Essential. Let me just back off the volume at the iPhone end.

That doesn’t seem to be helping at the moment.

VoiceOver: Other device, button.

Jonathan: Yes, it is.

VoiceOver: Headphones, button.

Other device.

Jonathan: We’ll choose other device.

Can we just, …

VoiceOver: Facebook, 1 new item.

Jonathan: Okay. So the volume doesn’t seem to be helping on the iPhone end, so I’m just going to turn that way down here on the headphone jack.

[a series of short beeps]

VoiceOver: Mona.


Jonathan: Alright.

VoiceOver: Mushroom FM folder, 3 apps.

Jonathan: And now, we are hearing the sound of the iPhone from the H6 Essential which is now being an audio interface.

What I’m going to do now is open Ferrite, which is a reputable recording program.

Open ferrite.

And now, let’s see.

VoiceOver: Messages.


Jonathan: It can’t hear me. Okay. It can’t hear me. Maybe Siri’s not working because of the device I chose. So we will do Braille screen input.

VoiceOver: F-E-R. 1 app. Ferrite.

Jonathan: Why didn’t I do that in the first place?

I’ll flick right with 2 fingers.

VoiceOver: Portrait.

Jonathan: And now, we’re in Ferrite. If I flick through, I should be able to see the source that it’s recording from.

VoiceOver: Left channel.

Right channel.


Monitoring, on.

Zoom H6 Essential driver, button, adjustable.

Jonathan: So we didn’t even have to install anything. We just connected it up. And I’m using the cable that came with the iPhone, so no special cable. And it’s now working as an audio interface for the iPhone.

So how well does this record? Well, I guess the thing we need to do is arm the microphone.

And yeah, I can hear that. I shouldn’t really thump it.

It’s a lot quieter now because I’ve turned the volume down, because the iPhone was just so loud.

VoiceOver: Input level.

Zoom H6 Essential driver, button.


Record, button.

Jonathan: I’m going to double tap record.

VoiceOver: Record.

Jonathan: Now, I should be recording.

VoiceOver: Record, button. Record, button.

Right channel on.

Stop, button.

Jonathan: Yes, I am recording. And I’m just gonna tap the microphone on the zoom recorder to be absolutely sure that I’m recording from where I think I am, and to prove that this works as an audio interface.

We’ll push stop.

VoiceOver: Stop.

Jonathan: And now, we’ll find that file.

VoiceOver: Search library. Search field.


New recording. Type, cath audio. Duration: 20 seconds, button.

More content available.

Jonathan: We’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Play. Ferrite.


Now, I should be recording. Yes, I am recording. And I’m just gonna tap the microphone on the Zoom recorder to be absolutely sure that I’m recording from where i think i am.

Jonathan: Alright. That’s a bit quieter than VoiceOver, so I would need to do some work on that, and work out what’s happening there.

But as you can hear, I was tapping the mic, and that’s tapping of the mic came through the recorder, so it is working just fine as an audio interface. This means that you can plug in this little gadget to your iPhone, you can use a professional kind of microphone.

Now, because the Zoom H6 Essential is a jolly good recorder, there’s probably not much value in connecting this as an audio interface to your iPhone and just recording. But of course where it can be very handy is using it for streaming, or technologies like Zoom and other teleconferencing systems, and having really good quality mobile audio on the go.

So that’s a brief look at using this as an audio interface on your iPhone.

Now, we’re covering using the H6 Essential as an audio interface for your computer. And this is not working as well as i had hoped.

The way I’m recording this at the moment is into Reaper, with the Zoom H6 Essential as an audio interface. But I’m having to use the stereo mix driver, which means it’s using Windows default sound support when I use Asio.

I am able to hear output as i would expect. But whenever I record from any of the inputs, I’m getting silence. They are all selectable. I can find all 6 inputs available in Reaper. And I can choose them, but it is not giving me any kind of sound whatsoever.

I don’t know whether this is a problem with the initial version of the driver or whether it’s something unique to my system, so I’m not going as far as saying it doesn’t work, because I know Asio drivers can be a bit convoluted and difficult.

What I can say is that Focusrite, Audient, and other drivers are working fine for me in Reaper, but I cannot select inputs and have them work from the Asio driver, so I’m currently using the standard Windows one.

What I found is that when you do this, the mixer settings affect the level of the inputs. And when I tried to record originally from the microphone with it set to 0, it was clipping really badly, and I’ve had to take it down to around about minus 30 to get what we’re getting now.

So this means that if you want to use your Zoom H6 Essential for tasks like maybe broadcasting with when you’re on the go using Station Playlist Streamer or indeed Station Playlist Studio itself, that’s going to work fine if you’re going to use it for certain other applications like the one that’s built into Windows for recording. That’s going to work. For me at least, the Asio driver is not working.

I should also mention while i’m in this audio interface mode that the H6 Essential boasts loopback. When you go into output settings, loopback shows up, but it only for me shows up when you’ve connected it in the default stereo channel mode. It doesn’t show up in the Asio driver which is where I would want to use it, because I would expect to be able to use loopback as an input in Reaper and I can’t. It does work in this stereo mode, though. But as I say, to me, it has limited utility in this mode.

For example, if I’m recording an interview with someone using a conferencing tool like Teams or the other Zoom [laughs] and I want to balance between me and the person on the other end, or maybe apply a bit of compression or equalization to the person at the other end, I can’t do that because it’s all going into one stereo channel.

So the loopback is extremely limited compared to something like the Focusrite VoCaster 2, or the products from Audient. It does work, though.

So I’ve now got JAWS routed to the Zoom H6 Essential in this mode. And if I query the title, …

JAWS: Zoom H6 Essential Review Modified – Reaper v7.11 registered to Jonathan Mosen licensed for personal/small business use.

Jonathan: We can hear that clearly. So it may be fine, if you’re willing to get the balance correct in the first instance, make sure that you’re about level with whatever your computer is doing, you would be able to use the H6 Essential in this mode to record screen reader demos. And I know there’d be quite a bit of interest in that.

So who knows what’s going on with the Asio driver? Maybe it will get addressed. But this is what I’ve found with the audio interface mode so far when using it with my PC.

Now I didn’t want to waste your time with you hearing me try this, but I did actually reconnect the Zoom H6 Essential to my iPhone and turned loopback mode on, and it works there, too.

So my previous caveats still apply. When you’ve made your recording, the levels will be fixed all on one track if you record this way. But it is super simple. And if you do take the time to get the balance right, what it means is you could even use the voice memos app, if you want to, or any kind of recorder that’s available on your iPhone, and record a screen reader demo by enabling loopback, making sure that the Zoom H6 Essential is the audio interface you’re recording from, which it seems to do by default. That’s all it takes, and you’ll be able to record whatever your iPhone is producing.

Controlling the H6 Essential Via Its iPhone App

Now, I’m going to take the little rubber cover off the front of the recorder (I mentioned this when we were orientating you to it.), and I’m going to put it in my pocket in a very safe place. Because as I say, it comes completely off. And I’m going to insert the Bluetooth adapter. Luckily, this is the same Bluetooth adapter that worked with my F3.

So I already have it, and I’m going to plug it into the recorder and it should slot in. There it goes. And it clips into place, and it kind of sticks out a little bit.

So when you’re not using this, you’ll want to put the Bluetooth adapter away somewhere. And then, put the little rubber cover back in the unit.

Let’s get to a common reference point. I’ll press the stop button.

Guide sound: Battery level: high. Rec standby.

Jonathan: Yes, I’ve put the batteries on charge since we were last here. It takes a while to do these demos, I tell you. [laughs]

Now, we are going to go back into system settings, …

Guide sound: File list.

System settings.

Jonathan: and press enter.

Guide sound: Accessibility.


Factory reset.



Language.Date time.

Display brightness.



Jonathan: There it is.

Guide sound: H6 Essential control.

Jonathan: We’ve got a couple of options here. This first one is actually the one we want. But the other option, …

Guide sound: Time code.

Jonathan: is for time codes.

Guide sound: Back.

H6 Essential control.

Jonathan: And that’s all we do.

And actually, scarily, the system has stopped responding from an accessibility point of view.

So now, we need to go to the iPhone and run the app. I’ve not done this before, so we’ll see what happens.

Open H6 essential control.

VoiceOver: Alert. H6 Essential Control would like to use Bluetooth. H6 Essential control uses Bluetooth to connect and control your H6 Essential.

Don’t allow, button.

Allow, button.

Jonathan: Obviously, we have to allow this or it’s not going to work.

VoiceOver: H6 essential Control.

Jonathan: What have we got?

VoiceOver: Empty list.

Jonathan: Let’s just see if it comes up.

VoiceOver: H6E_95518B5250EA.

Jonathan: There it is. I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Connecting.


Jonathan: It can take some time.

Guide sound: Battery level: high. Rec standby.

VoiceOver: Zoom.

Jonathan: Now, the Zoom H6 Essential sounds happy.

Let’s see what’s happening on the phone.

VoiceOver: Zoom.

Stop, image. A white rectangle with a blue border.

0 seconds.

SD card. 99 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds.

Battery level: 4/4.


48 kilohertz.


Input 1.

Input 2.

Input 3.

Input 4.

Jonathan: I’m just flicking around the screen.

VoiceOver: File list, button.

Input setting, button.

Output setting, button.

Hold, Button.

Mixer, button.

Stop, button.

Play/pause, button.

Rec, button.

Rewind, button.

Fast forward, button.

Headphone volume: 96, adjustable.

H6 Essential control.

Jonathan: There is a lot of control from here. And interestingly, I’m going to go back to file list, …

VoiceOver: File list, button.

Jonathan: and double tap.

VoiceOver: Empty list.

Jonathan: It will take a second to populate, I think.

VoiceOver: Back, button.

Jonathan: There we go.

VoiceOver: Selected. 240301_172210.


Jonathan: Well, I have mixed feelings about this because it’s kind of like going back to the bad old days, where we used to have to use an app like this to control these recorders, and this file list is fully accessible in here.

I can double tap that file, …

VoiceOver: 240301_151202.

Jonathan: and flick right.

VoiceOver: Play/pause, button.

Jonathan: We can play the file, …

VoiceOver: Back, button.

Date created: the 1st of March, 2024.

Length: 1 minute, 5 seconds.

0 hours, 0 minutes, and 0 seconds.

Play view, button.

Trash, button.

Mixer, button

Stop, button.

Play/pause, button

Rec, button


Jonathan: So they seem to have done a very good job of the accessibility. Can I perform a 2-finger scrub to go back?

I can’t, so I’ll go to the top.

VoiceOver: Zoom. Back, button.

Jonathan: And there’s the back button.

Guide sound: Battery level: high. Rec standby.

VoiceOver: Selected. 2…


Jonathan: That’s got the Zoom recorder talking. And you can hear there what it sounds like on the speaker, by the way, because I haven’t Demonstrated that. Although I should hold it a bit closer to the mic when I do that before this review is done.

VoiceOver: Battery level: 4/4.

48 kilohertz.


Input 1.

Input 2.

Jonathan: If I double tap input 1, …

VoiceOver: Input 1.

Jonathan: It doesn’t tell me whether it’s armed or not. But I can double tap…

VoiceOver: Input setting, button.

Back, button.

Input settings, heading.

Battery level: 4/4.

Microphone, button.

Input 1, button…

Jonathan: I don’t see any change there that indicates that I’m adjusting input settings. Or maybe, I have to choose an input.

VoiceOver: Microphone.

Input 1, button.

Jonathan: Well, yeah, okay. So I’ll double tap input 1.

VoiceOver: Back, button.

Jonathan: There we go.

VoiceOver: Input 1, heading.

Battery level…

Low cut, off, adjustable.

Phantom, heading. Selected, phantom off. Phantom on.

Input 1 and 2 linked, heading. selected, input 1 and 2 link off. Input 1 and 2 link, stereo link. Input 1 & 2 link MS Matrix.

Mixer, button.

Jonathan: And if you go into the mixer, you will be able to adjust the faders. It’s a little bit idiosyncratic, and I haven’t quite worked out what’s going on on that mixer screen. But I’m sure I would, if I played with it some more.

So this is quite an accessible way to control your recorder. And if the file list is really important to you, then for now, at least, hopefully as a temporary workaround, you do have full access to the file list by getting one of these Bluetooth adapters and using the app.

Obviously, I can’t comment because I’m not using Android, on how well this works with the H6 Essential app, which I presume must exist for Android.

And just before we get ready to conclude, let me show you the speaker. I’ll bring it up a little closer to the mic, and just scroll through a couple of things.

It’s got a good speaker. It’s a larger recorder. It’s not huge, but it’s larger, and that does allow more room for a speaker.

Guide sound: File list.

Input settings.

Output settings.

Rec settings.

SD card.


System settings.

Jonathan: I quite like that speaker.


And that’s pretty much it for the Zoom H6 Essential.

It is amazing to me how quickly we adapt to greater accessibility. It wasn’t that many weeks ago that we didn’t know these recorders were coming. And now, many blind people have them in their hands. And we’re loving the freedom, the flexibility that this degree of accessibility Offers.

And I know Zoom is really excited about this. I’ve talked to some quite senior people, particularly at Zoom North America, and they are stoked by the reaction that the Zoom recorders are getting in the blind community, and they deserve considerable praise for introducing this level of Accessibility.

It’s right that we should point out the shortcomings though, and there are some, and we’ve pointed some of those out throughout the review.

There is one little disconnect that is very frustrating, and that is that while a lot of the recorder is accessible, the user guide is not. It is a PDF file, and it’s one of those PDF files where it says to perform this function, press the Button, and there’s a graphic and you have no idea what that graphic means. As you get to know the recorder, the manual becomes more Useful because you can work out what button they’re referring to by context.

Samuel Greene at Zoom has been fantastic about putting together cheat sheets or little guides for all the Essential series Recorders, and that’s very much appreciated.

It’s a different thing, though. Those orientation guides are great, but they serve a different purpose from making the user guides accessible, and those user guides absolutely need to be accessible.

If you’re going to go to all the trouble of making an accessible recorder, and Samuel was saying that about 25% of the development time on the Essential series has been on Accessibility, which is a whopping amount of development time, then surely, you’d want to make sure that those blind users that you’re cultivating Can make the most of the recorder by adding alt text to all those graphics, So blind people actually know what you’re talking about when you read the user guide. That is a very significant shortcoming in this whole Essential series lineup, and it could be so easily fixed.

It doesn’t detract from the breakthrough, though. It is huge. I’m sure that there’ll be more developments, and that there’ll be plenty of blind people feeding back to Zoom on how this is all working.

So that is the Zoom H6 Essential. It retails for $299 US. You get a lot of power, and a lot of accessibility at a good price point.

We are discussing the zoom h6 essential and other recorders in our Blind Podmaker email group. If you want to subscribe To ask some questions or share your thoughts, you can send a blank email to That’s