H5 USB interface suffers degraded quality

Discuss the Zoom H6, H5, H4, H4n, H2, H2n, and H1. Please don't "post and run". Participate in the discussion. Thanks.
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H5 USB interface suffers degraded quality

Post by dlagonfry » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:51 am

Since I was unaware of this problem ahead of buying the H5, I'd inform people of the issue, and hear if anyone has found any alternative.

The most common usage I have for the H5 is live audio recording, and as such use it in usb interface mode. The difference in audio quality is quite significant if you know what to listen for.

Recording through USB interface gives a very different quality compared to recording stand alone, directly to SD card.

Nice sound (SD card): https://clyp.it/vna5xnob
Strange sound (USB): https://clyp.it/hq2o1cei

The latter has a weird, metallic sound to it, as if it had a strange bandwidth compression.

I asked zoom about this, and they answered very quickly (good customer support!). They are aware of the issue. I asked if there were plans on fixing it, and if there was a time line. They could unfortunately not give any good answer to that.

I'll come back with an update if I get it. But, before that, perhaps other people with an H5 can do this comparison? It is more noticeable for some frequencies. Has anyone found a work-around?

(Using line out is kinda a non-solution. The H5 digitizes the signal. Using line out converts it back to analog, for it to be re-digitized, with extra noise. This does however not carry along the metallic sound)

Related threads:
H5 - Pure tones recording/playback and weird sound
Has some theories as to why, but does not account for difference between same levels, same volume, and only difference being USB/SD.
Zoom H5 audio interface for Cubase LE 8 issues
problem with Zoom H5 in USB
H5 audio interface
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Fran Guidry
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Re: H5 USB interface suffers degraded quality

Post by Fran Guidry » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:20 pm

I'm an old fogey with degraded hearing, but I don't hear an artifact in the second recording.

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Re: H5 USB interface suffers degraded quality

Post by still_fiddlin » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:47 am

Well I can see and hear the compression, and there's a slight difference in the EQ. I'd check to make sure all of the input settings were consistent in both modes.

How do you have the DAW set up to use the Zoom as an interface, i.e., 44.1/48/96khz?

I have an H6 and honestly found that using it as an interface would be reserved for only those times I needed more channels when recording at home, and that's never happened. Too fiddly with all those menus, small screen and little knobs. I just record to SD and then copy all the files into projects.
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