H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

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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gnieuwsm
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H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by gnieuwsm » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:03 am

I'm considering an H6 for mobile/field recording. One consideration is whether it can be synced to my Tascam DP24 in the studio to provide more inputs. Does anyone know if this is possible?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by Wulfraed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:08 pm

What do you mean by "sync"... For example, the R16/R24 can "sync" via messages sent over USB from the master to the slave device. This means pressing record on the master will also start record on the slave. Same for rewind and play.

If you mean, aligning track start and end... Consumer level audio gear is not manufactured with the most precise clocks. Even between units from the same manufacturer devices will run at slightly different clock speeds -- meaning the nominal sample rates will vary by a subtle amount between the devices.

Many years ago (and now lost when web sites went under) I performed a test between two Canon video cameras (Standard Definition miniDV upper-end consumer $800 and High Definition HDV pro-sumer $3500), a Zoom H2, HD16, R16, and SuperScope CD recorder.

I started each device recording, performed a single hand-clap (don't have a clapper board). Left them running for 30+ minutes. Performed a second hand-clap, and stopped the devices. I then moved the files into Sony Vegas Pro, shifting them left/right as needed to align the wave form of the starting hand clap. Scrolling to the end revealed:

The two video cameras were practically identical in alignment (not a surprise since video clocks need to be more precise than audio clocks). The SuperScope recorder was only a few frames (30 frames per second) out of alignment -- the SuperScope is a near pro-grade recorder capable of duplicating copy-protected audio CDs without going through a DAC (play back) and then ADC (record) [this copy feature is one reason the unit was as expensive as it was -- has two decks, one for playback only, the other for record/playback].

The three Zoom recorders were up to 15 frames off, and none were in alignment with each other. 15 frames is half a second over a 30 minute period.
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by gnieuwsm » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:44 am

Thanks.

By "sync" I mean hooking the two devices up to run as master/slave 9it doesn't matter particularly which is which). Would that mean that the clock on the master device is used on the slave as well, or simply that "record" would engage at the same time on both, but each would use it's own clock?

Essentially, I'm recording music andante to know if the tracks recorded on a Zoom H6 and tracks recorded on the Tascam DP24 will work together when moved to a DAW for mixing.
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by Wulfraed » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:12 am

The only why to synchronize transport operations would be if the TASCAM is capable of putting out the exact (undocumented) signals used by the optional remote control for the H6.

As for using the tracks later in a computer, even the linked R16/R24 capability only links operational controls, not the time-base. As my long ago test illustrated, using tracks from different devices tends to require some use of time-stretch features in the editor software to make them align (so one will need something like a clapper board signal recorded by all devices at the start and end to give a good wave form on which to make the adjustment).

You only need the clapper to be recorded on one track per device per start/stop session as you would apply identical edits (time-stretch/shifts) to all tracks from the device session. All the tracks from a device/session are under the same clock.
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by gnieuwsm » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:42 am

So it sounds like there's no guarantee that it would line up accurately, though it might be fixable in post. I guess the only way to really know is to try it out and experiment. Thanks for the response.
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by emmrecs » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:42 am

gnieuwsm wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:42 am
So it sounds like there's no guarantee that it would line up accurately, though it might be fixable in post. I guess the only way to really know is to try it out and experiment. Thanks for the response.
Depending on the length of any continuous recording, say of about 15 minutes or more, I'm prepared to almost guarantee it won't line up accurately! And the "drift" may well not be consistent, i.e. gradually getting worse over the duration of the recording, in my experience.
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by sciurius » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:53 am

My tests with R24 and H2n showed an accuracy of 99.995%. That's less than 0.2 seconds per hour.
So it may be worth to test it in your situation.
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by emmrecs » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:03 am

sciurius wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:53 am
My tests with R24 and H2n showed an accuracy of 99.995%. That's less than 0.2 seconds per hour.
So it may be worth to test it in your situation.
That's a very good outcome.

However, your test involved two products from the same manufacturer so, presumably, some "common elements" in the actual hardware used (clock, etc.)

The OP wants to use devices from two different manufacturers, hence quite "different" hardware, chips etc., etc. I'm not sure how that situation might affect the outcome.
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by sciurius » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:18 am

Yes, that's why I wrote "So it may be worth to test it in your situation.". The outcome doesn't need to be bad. Or good.
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Re: H6 - can it be synced to other recording devices?

Post by Wulfraed » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:34 am

I'd forgotten that I'd had a BOSS BR-600 in that test I'd performed years ago... And it was off around 8-10 frames in the other direction from the Zoom devices. So in all, between the BR-600 and a Zoom, there was close to 1 second of difference at the end of 30 minutes.
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Superscope PSD-300; BOSS BR-600, Zoom HD16cd, Zoom R16, BOSS BR-800, Zoom H2n
Now to (re)learn to play an instrument

Lanikai S-C, SMC-E; GoldTone Banjo-Uke; Flatiron 1C, A5; Big Muddy M1-W; Ovation MM68AX, CSE-44; Orpheus Valley Fiesta FS; Taylor NS-72ce, T5-S1; Musima (4st, 20 fret, tenor-tuned) banjo; bongos, dumbeks, bodhrans, hand drum, tambourine; recorder: soprano, alto, tenor; Cedar Flute (5 sizes); Pennywhistle (3 keys); Casio keyboards

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