drum recording comparison - Zoom H6 vs. Zoom H2

edwicht

Junior Member
Hi folks!

Ever wondered how an admittedly old Zoom H2 would fare against a more flexible Zoom H6 in a drum recording situation for a full band mix?
No?
Well, here's an answer, anyway.


Cheers and have a good one!
 
Cool, thanks. Great playing.
So the H2 is a single stereo mic a few feet in front of the kit, but what is the mic setup with the H6?
It looks like Three overheads and then close mics on kick and snare. Is there a room mic?

I hear much more room sound in the h2 setup whereas the h6 setup is more direct.


Edit: I'll also add that having listened to it a few times, including now with a decent set of headphones, I prefer the H2 setup! I just think there's is a more natural balance to the kit and the cymbals, and the room adds depth and fullness, particularly to the snare, that gives the whole mix a much greater depth. In comparison I think the direct sound of the H6 setup sounds flat.
Perhaps the H2 with a little added oomph from the kick mic would be the perfect setup!

Edit edit...
I think the volume of the H2 parts is louder than the H6 parts, no? Or perhaps you've gone a bit further with the compression on the H2 - that's my guess as the tom tom part certainly sounds quite crushed and crunchy on the H2 version vs very clean on the H6 part. I love it- for me the H2 recordings get further and further ahead of the H6 recordings with every listen. It would be interesting to know what processing you've done though as it all makes a big difference.

A fun experiment - thanks for sharing.
 
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edwicht

Junior Member
That's some substance right here, thanks for your reply!

So, the H2 in this case is actually two stereo mics. One's facing the drums, the other's facing away from the kit, the second of which I mixed in quite a bit lower, obviously. The H2 has got two stereo capsules (90° and 120°) that you can record simultaneously.
You're really close regarding the H6 setup, though. There's indeed a spaced pair and an additional mono LDC in terms of overheads as well as a close mic each on kick and snare. There is no room mic - the mono overhead is kinda doing that job for me, -ish. The sixth and last mic is the 'wurst' mic. It's typically a 57 sitting above the bass drum batter side hoop pointing in between the snare and floor tom.

As far as processing goes, I mainly used eq, compression and tape saturation on the individual tracks as well as the stereo buss. Also a bit of transient shaping on the kick and some reverb (snare and mono OH) and that's about it.

And to a degree, I'm with you about the H2 sound. There's something about it. I especially love how the snare drum just barks. That's such a cool sound.
I still find the disadvantages too severe in order to prefer it, though. The lack of low end you mentioned is one thing, the cymbals to me are pretty rough to say the least and most importantly for me - because the H2 seems to have such a mid heavy frequency response - the drums get in the way of the guitars quite serverely. You really notice on the palm muted rhythm guitar bits.

And that leads to another thing. The levels of the H2 were actually quite a bit lower than the ones of the H6 buss. The H2 tracks just seem to be more audible, frequency-wise and the unit itself is actually compressing internally, as well. Whenever the red light is blinking on the H2 it goes into hard limiting which you can't avoid as you can't exactly fine tune the input levels. You've only got hi-med-lo and the low setting still hasn't got quite enough headroom to really stay clean with drums.

I guess a proper mixing guy could make more of the H6 tracks, as well. In the end I don't really-really know what I'm doing. I kinda just turn dials until I can about hear everything that's there.

In the end, though, that little fun experiment sparked some ambition in me.
At some point I'll have to see if I can record some legitimate punk tracks using only the H2 for all the tracking. (;

Thanks again for your input, in any case!
It's nice being able to reflect on other peoples (well spoken) points of view at times!
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Man the Zoom H2 sounds like just the replacement for my old Zoom Q2HD I'm looking for (it's about to fall apart and electronics doing funky things)-I like this one has a port for an extra mic. I see it has 2 or 4 channel recording too. Thanks for posting this.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that the H2 audio kills the H6 audio. To me, the H2 tracks are alive and vibrant, while the H6 sounds like the life has been squeezed from it.

I don't know anything about these cameras, but that's how I hear it.

Thanks for posting this. Great playing, by the way!

GeeDeeEmm
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
With respect...just an old dog (and H6\Q2Hd owner)...

Let me start off with saying that I think your playing was great-loved the energy and interaction with track. Drums sound good too.

But the recordings are an apples to oranges comparison of two very different recording techniques and mixes. So many variables, (too many variables) between them for this to be an objective comparison...

Starting with close miking with no "real" room mic on the H6, the loss of natural reverb due to close miking, single stereo mic vs. close mics (why not use the onboard mic that comes with the H6 to compare with the onboard mic of the H2?)...etc.

The H2 sounds thin, no bottom end at all, no body to it etc. Sounds like what it is-a mic in a room with a drum kit. It's about what I get with my now ancient Q2HD. The H6 at least gets close to how you would want a kit to sound, but is really left undeveloped. Even the levels aren't equal to the H2. I think you could crank the snare mic up and add some reverb and it would blow the H2 away...

Anyway, no real criticism, other than this is not really a true comparison between these two units as far as my experience goes.
 
I think the OPs point is not about directly comparing the two units, more about what can be achieved with each unit. It's pretty clear that close miking vs not close miking are going to be two different ball games - the point, I suspect, is that you cannot close mic with the H2 and you can with the H6, so the video gives a flavour of what kind of outcomes you could achieve with each unit.
I took it as a close multi mic vs minimal mic comparison and enjoyed it for what it was, what I and others have noted that I think is interesting is that taking the two recordings for what they are, the minimal setup has more depth and dimension to the mix that would give a vocal plenty of space to sit in front, whereas the close mics sound flat and one dimensional. Take from that what you will - perhaps it's a lesson on the importance of the sound of the room.
 

edwicht

Junior Member
Couldn't have put it better, Midiglitch.
What a lad!

Appreciate the kind words of everyone on my playing, as well!
Thanks guys!
 
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Mongrel

Silver Member
I think the OPs point is not about directly comparing the two units, more about what can be achieved with each unit. It's pretty clear that close miking vs not close miking are going to be two different ball games - the point, I suspect, is that you cannot close mic with the H2 and you can with the H6, so the video gives a flavour of what kind of outcomes you could achieve with each unit.
I took it as a close multi mic vs minimal mic comparison and enjoyed it for what it was, what I and others have noted that I think is interesting is that taking the two recordings for what they are, the minimal setup has more depth and dimension to the mix that would give a vocal plenty of space to sit in front, whereas the close mics sound flat and one dimensional. Take from that what you will - perhaps it's a lesson on the importance of the sound of the room.
My apologies if I sounded critical of edwicht's post. My quibble is not with the OP at all. I understand the point was not some exhaustive study or something....

The issue is that some are being left with the impression that the H2 is *superior* to the H6, or perhaps is capable of something the H6 is not capable of. In my experience this is not true. The H6 is capable of the same type of "in the room mix" as the H2 using either of the supplied onboard mic units. The advantage goes to the H6 in that you can *also* use four to six mics (with an accessory) in many configurations, nit just close miking, but Glyn Johns type setups which would give you a fuller "room" sound.

Even using my "good" headphones the quality of the H2 recording would only serve as a quick capture of a rehearsal and is nowhere near ready for prime time.

That is really the only part that puzzles me-the preference for the H2 as if it sounded like "When the Levee Breaks" or something. Lol
 
My apologies if I sounded critical of edwicht's post. My quibble is not with the OP at all. I understand the point was not some exhaustive study or something....

The issue is that some are being left with the impression that the H2 is *superior* to the H6, or perhaps is capable of something the H6 is not capable of. In my experience this is not true. The H6 is capable of the same type of "in the room mix" as the H2 using either of the supplied onboard mic units. The advantage goes to the H6 in that you can *also* use four to six mics (with an accessory) in many configurations, nit just close miking, but Glyn Johns type setups which would give you a fuller "room" sound.

Even using my "good" headphones the quality of the H2 recording would only serve as a quick capture of a rehearsal and is nowhere near ready for prime time.

That is really the only part that puzzles me-the preference for the H2 as if it sounded like "When the Levee Breaks" or something. Lol
I may have missed it but I don't recall any mention of when the levee breaks, or nostalgia for 'bonham's drum sound in this thread... 'lol'.
Don't overthink this bud - all that has been said is that between the two recordings presented I prefer the H2 one for the reasons stated. Just my opinion, ymmv, etc.
 

edwicht

Junior Member
So guys, this thread made me kinda want to just goof around a little more, so I went and recorded two more takes of the same ol' drum part using the H6.
This time there's no video and band mix, though. Couldn't be bothered setting up the video stuff and - as I usually do whenever I finish a youtube video - I had already deleted the Reaper project with the guitars.

Here we go, though:

The fist one is the exact same six mic setup as before but with less (no additional stereo buss compression) and lighter (on the individual tracks) post processing to try and go for a more organic overall sound:
https://soundcloud.com/model-n-7%2Fh6-six-mics-organic
For the second example I got rid of the snare drum close mic and the wurst mic and replaced those with the stereo mic capsule of the H6 itself in order two get kind of a 'best of both worlds'-deal:
https://soundcloud.com/model-n-7%2Fh6-four-mics-stereo-capsule
Again, this is not supposed to be a 'this is better and this is worse' kind of post. I was just up for experimenting some more because to me discovering stuff or trying new things that I haven't done before is just plain fun. And that's what it's about: Having fun doing stuff.
 
What I really liked about the video you made was that it cut back and forth between two different mic'ing setups in the context of a mix with other instruments. That's not something that there are many videos of. It gave some context to the comparisons and I think that's really important because it's easy for us as drummers to forget that drums don't very often exist in isolation - they play a supporting role to the vocal and other instruments.
 
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