For podcasters, it’s always important to make sure the recorder can deliver the best quality recordings. When it comes to podcast devices, the Zoom H6 and Podtrak P4 are two recorders that provide reliable performance, and they are quite popular among podcast creators.
If you are in the market for a new podcast recorder, the Zoom H6 and Podtrak P4 are both decent choices. But they do have some differences – let’s see which recorder you should get for podcasting and you don’t always have to waste your money on a more pricey model.
Zoom H6 vs Podtrak P4 – Exterior Design
Since you are hesitant between the Zoom H6 and the Podtrak P4 recorder, portability is definitely an important factor for you. The good news is that both Zoom H6 and Podtrak P4 are lightweight – the Podtrak P4 only weighs 290g and the Zoom H6 recorder itself weighs 280g. You might feel the Zoom H6 is a bit heavier because the XY mic capsule adds 130g to the recorder.
Dimension-wise, the Podtrak P4 is slightly wider than the Zoom H6 as they put all the XLR inputs on the top of the recorder, so the upper part of the Podtrak P4 is fairly big.
I personally love the Zoom H6 when it comes to design. It has a black finish and its knobs for controlling levels are larger than the Podtrak P4, which is easier to operate. Although the XY microphone capsule makes the Zoom H6 taller and needs more protection, the Zoom H6 comes with a more advanced color display that offers you more recording info compared to the Podtrak P4 Podcast recorder.
What I like about the Zoom H6 is that it can mount on your tripod or camera as long as you have a hot-shoe adapter. Another advantage Zoom H6 has is its changeable mic capsule. Besides the included mic capsule, you will have some optional capsules and accessories to buy including the mid-side capsule and shotgun capsule.
To power the recorder with batteries, you need 2 AA batteries for the Podtrak P4 while the Zoom H6 requires 4 AA batteries, which is also why the continuous recording times of the Zoom H6 is much longer than the Podtrak P4.
Zoom H6 vs Podtrak P4 – Inputs & Outputs
In terms of microphone jacks, both recorders have 4 built-in microphone input jacks. What is different is that the Podtrak P4 only supports mic cables with XLR connectors while the Zoom H6 has 4 XLR/TRS combo inputs. What needs to be mentioned is that the Zoom H6 also can work with the EXH-6 Dual XLR/TRS Input Capsule, which allows you to have two XLR/TRS microphones.
However, as a recorder made for podcasts, the Podtrak P4 offers four 3.5mm phone jacks at the bottom, so everyone in the room can monitor the recordings conveniently without a complicated setup.
Also, to incorporate remote interviews from different locations, the Podtrak P4 allow people using their phone to record their voice and send back the signal to the phone via the Smartphone connection jack. And you can also connect the recorder through the USB port to get the signal from the computer. Besides, the Podtrak P4 provides a jack for Zoom’s BTA-2 wireless adapter and audio can be input through Bluetooth.
Unfortunately, the Podtrak P4 does not have a separate line-out jack, but you can achieve the line-out function with one of the headphone-in ports.
Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that the Podtrak P4 does not allow you to play the recordings through the recorder itself while the Zoom H6 has a built-in speaker on the back, so the Zoom H6 is absolutely more suitable for using outdoor.
Recording Quality – Zoom H6 Is Clearly Better
As for the recording quality, the Zoom H6 is more impressive from this perspective. When it comes to recording formats and quality, the Zoom H6 supports a higher bit rate and a sampling frequency up to 24bit/96kHz. Besides, the Zoom H6 also provides more formats in WAV and MP3.
On the other hand, the Zoom Podtrak P4 only output 16-bit/44.1 kHz WAV recordings. It might be not enough for producing professional audio recording files, it is fairly decent for podcasting use.
Zoom H6 vs Podtrak P4 – Features & Settings
The Zoom H6 and Podtrak P4, they might not have a huge difference on the outside – as they’re both portable and handy. However, they can be totally different audio recorders when it comes to their features.
Benefits of the Zoom H6
Obviously, the Zoom H6 is a recorder that is much more complicated and versatile than the Podtrak P4 – and there’re many recording features that you can’t achieve directly with the Podtrak P4.
The Zoom H6 offers plenty of recording settings such as auto-recording, pre-recording, backup recording, overdubbing, and more. And it also comes with a number of playback settings for you to adjust to get the best recording effect onboard. For choosing a recorder that can be anywhere with you, the Zoom H6 is beyond the standard expectations and takes the lead compared to the Podtrak P4.
Benefits of the Zoom Podtrak P4
Although the Zoom Podtrak P4 does not have many fancy features for audio editing and recordings, it helps podcasters greatly with some great designs, which can’t be easily done with the Zoom H6.
First, the Zoom Podtrak P4 has a built-in sound pad system to which audio files can be assigned, this is a pretty convenient and useful module for podcasts and live streams when you need to insert prerecorded audio, sound effects, or ads.
Second, the audio interface function of the Podtrack P4 is not the same as the Zoom H6. With the Podtrak P4, you can still use the recorder normally in the audio interface mode, and the audio can also be played from the connected device. The Podtrak P4 is more than a USB external micro when the audio interface is enabled.
Price – Podtrak P4 is a perfect budget choice for podcasting
The Zoom H6 is kind of pricey compared to the Podtrak 4, the current version of the Zoom H6 is $319.99, and its original retail price is $349.99. If you prefer the pre-2020 version which has more accessories and capsules, it’s no doubt that the cost would be higher.
The Podtrak P4 is considered to be affordable in Zoom’s product lineup, it only costs $199.99 right now with an MSRP of $219.99.
Final Verdict – H6 vs Podtrak P4
The Zoom H6 is more feature-packed, and it has greater options for recording modes, settings and quality. The Zoom H6 is more versatile and it provides more possibilities for recording podcasts, audio for video, instruments, and more.
Of course, the H6 might not be as easy-to-use as the Podtrak P4, especially for podcasters. With extremely simple operation, you can record podcasts nicely with the Podtrack P4, even your guests are not around. If you are looking for a recorder that is only for podcasts, the Podtrak P4 can be a budget-friendly choice that gets the job done perfectly.