Whether it was letting your better half dissuade you from painting the living room "Kickass Orange" or letting your better half dissuade you from getting a foosball table, compromise is everywhere, and it's usually not such a bad thing.
Zoom hates compromise. In 2006 the longtime manufacturer of audio production and recording equipment introduced the H4 Handy Recorder, which took the compromise so often associated with handheld multi-track recorders and politely told it to take a hike. The H4 mated studio-quality condenser microphones with a 4-track recording mode to make portable CD-quality recording possible anywhere. While the H4 quickly became an industry standard, Zoom wasn't resting on their laurels. In 2009 they released the H4n, which brought a more intuitive user interface, innovative XLR inputs that doubled as 1/4 phono jacks for musical instruments and an upgraded preamp for even better recording. Not surprisingly, the H4n was a hit with musicians on the go -- but it also found a welcome audience with the new market of DSLR videographers looking for portable, high-quality audio.
So we arrive at 2013. Zoom has held an iron grip on the portable recording industry for seven years and needs to improve on an excellent product. Well they did, and they did it with the H6. The new recorder takes everything that mobile maestros loved about the H4 and H4n and adds versatility and power. Two more dedicated XLR/quarter-inch inputs make for an astounding six channels of recording, but it's what Zoom's done with the two channels on top that's most exciting. Previously a fixed x/y mic on the 4/4n, those two channels can be swapped out with different "modules" for varying recording scenarios. Use the standard x/y mic for live stereo recording, switch to the shotgun module for recording interviews and dialogue or pop on the EXH-6 for two additional XLR ports and have a recording studio in your pocket.
As a worthy successor to Zoom's previous efforts, the H6 brings pro-quality recording and versatility to the masses who can't drop thousands on external microphones and the like. Most importantly, it will let you record "Here I Go Again" on the 20-piece drum set your better half failed to dissuade you from buying.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
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