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Author Topic: Upgrading Zoom H6 preamps  (Read 4449 times)

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Offline achabloop5080

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Upgrading Zoom H6 preamps
« on: August 18, 2014, 11:51:47 AM »
Hi guys,
I'm stepping down my recording rig for a project I'm working on: recording solo classical grand piano in my living room, so I need a very simple setup (I'm the pianist also).
What I have is a great piano (Yamaha C7) in a very good "medium size" room and a beautiful collection of Schoeps mics (MK4s, MK21s, MK2Ss).
My recording tests are very very good so far but I'm thinking on eventually upgrading and "bypassing" my Zoom H6 preamps.
A DAV BG1 or SD USBPre 2 connected to the Zoom with gain at 0 for example.
How much difference should I expect comparing the 2 setups?
Is it worth this kind of upgrade or should I stay with Zoom preamps?
Thank you

Gianluca

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: Upgrading Zoom H6 preamps
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2014, 11:59:32 AM »
I'd think almost any outboard preamp will perform better than what's in there.  As comps around here show preamps can make a very substantial difference in the recorded sound.  Given the nature of the mics and the material I'd think you would want something better.  It doesn't have to be hugely expensive as long as it is good (such as a Tinybox). 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Upgrading Zoom H6 preamps
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2014, 03:03:07 PM »
The DAV preamps appear to be well regarded over at Gearslutz.com (search what Plush has posted about them).   I don't know if you can bypass the internal preamps on the zoom.  Not saying you can't, I just don't know. 


Offline DSatz

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Re: Upgrading Zoom H6 preamps
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 06:30:03 AM »
In a whole lot of consumer recording equipment, the microphone and line inputs are connected to the very same circuitry, aside from any microphone powering that may be built in. The only difference is that the gain of the input stage is lower for the line inputs, because a lower degree of negative feedback is set for the circuit whenever a plug is inserted into the mike input. (Lower negative feedback -> higher gain and vice versa.)

So a lot of the time when people here talk about "bypassing" the mike preamps of a recorder, there's no actual bypassing going on; line-level signals go through exactly the same active stages of amplification as if you plugged mikes into the mike inputs. You're just dividing the gain between two components (the outboard preamp and the recorder) instead of having one component (the recorder alone) provide it all.

Of course the outboard preamp may be more suitable in some way (impedance, powering, noise floor, overload limit, frequency response, distortion, freedom from interference, visual sex appeal) than the recorder, or it may simply be more to a person's liking. And there are some recorders that really do have an extra stage for bringing microphone signals up to aux or line levels. I'm just saying that the concept implied by the usual language doesn't correspond to how consumer gear really works a lot of the time. Sorry if this spoils anyone's sense of purism ...

--best regards
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 09:48:20 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline hi and lo

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Re: Upgrading Zoom H6 preamps
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 02:26:26 PM »

So a lot of the time when people here talk about "bypassing" the mike preamps of a recorder, there's no actual bypassing going on; the signals are going through exactly the same (and exactly as many) active stages of amplification as if you plugged the mikes into the mike inputs. You're just dividing the gain between two components (the outboard preamp and the recorder) instead of having one component (the recorder alone) provide it all.


This is an all to common misconception here at ts.com. The general thought process is that "Line Input = Straight Wire" whereas "Mic Input = Coloration" which is simply not true. Every line input to a recording device will still have an amplification stage before the A/D that cannot be bypassed and can theoretically color the signal. Line inputs are not a straight wire.

Years ago (well over a decade), mic inputs had a notoriously bad reputation vs. their line in counter parts, but technology has drastically changed and the quality of mic inputs on the most common recording devices (i.e. the M10) have exceptional performance and sound quality considering their cost and size. If you don't like the mic input on the recorder you're using, chances are pretty slim that the line input is going to be significantly better and it's probably wiser to simply consider a new recorder with better overall performance.

I agree that outboard preamps should be considered for their feature set first and sonic characteristics second.

Offline yates7592

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Re: Upgrading Zoom H6 preamps
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2014, 03:04:02 PM »
I totally agree wirh DSAtz and hi and low. I remember asking a similar question some time ago about whether it was possible to totally bypass a recorders pre's and got an inconclusive response. But this just makes total sense.

 

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