Zoom H6
Abbey Road, To Go
by HENRY PHILLIPS

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.




CONTINUES BELOW 

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.


$400, bhphotovideo.com


TAKE BETTER ADVENTURE PHOTOS
TAKE BETTER NIGHT PHOTOS
TAKE BETTER BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS

STATEMENT

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.



METHODOLOGY


The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.


THE CATEGORIES


Motoring   Watches   Style   Technology   Sports   Outdoors   Home   Spirits

WRITERS


Jeremy Berger

Ben Bowers
Alex Bracetti
Nick Caruso
Ed Estlow
Jon Gaffney
Jonathan Gallegos
K.B. Gould
Bradley Hasemeyer
Jason Heaton
Mike Henson
Amos Kwon
Matt Neundorf
Scott Packard
Austin Parker
Henry Phillips
Peter Saltsman
Chris Wright
Eric Yang


CREDITS

Produced by Ben Bowers, Chris Wright, Eric Yang
Designed by Eric Yang
Edited by Chris Wright
Photography by Henry Phillips, Eric Yang
Special Thanks to Braun, Scroll Kit and Say Media

RESOURCES

Media Inquiries, Corrections  support@gearpatrol.com
2014 Submissions  100@gearpatrol.com