Zoom H6, Deity S-Mic 2 , Sennheiser MKH 416

rob aylestone

Well-known member
It's mainly because the 416 is the most common shotgun - it's length and usefulness is great - and of course, there is a bit of a cheat for many people. Shotguns usually sound horrible in hard walled rooms because they also pick up the reflection that bounce off the real wall and fire back towards the mic. If you put loads of absorption maybe even a duvet hung from a boom mic stand, a 416 has more voice and less 'room' bounce back. They can go a little further away giving more space for scripts or even side by side computer monitors, but they are a very neutral mic, with little at the bottom. If this suits your voice, fine - but it does not work for everyone. I doubt that anyone with a rich low voice like James Earl Jones would get on very well with a 416. Your list of location sound mics has nothing to do with voice over mics - just shotguns - and some of them long ones. I guess I'm trying to say that shotguns don't flatter and are revealing mics - which might not be best for voice overs. I can't comment on the clips I recorded because I have not listened to what I recorded apart from removing the pop as I pulled the plugs out and put them back - I just snipped out the cracks. If I get a chance I'll chop them up tonight and normalise them all.

I get the impression you just want to buy one mic and use it for everything. That rarely works.


Well-known member
I've listened to Rob's excellent example, and truthfully, the H6 preamps are definitely NOT the problem. At anything approaching normal use, the noise level, even at a setting of 7 is very good. If you were using an SM7B and having to push the preamp to the max just to get an adequate signal, then yeah, the preamp noise would be evident.

I split off each of the noise sections and then analyzed them, no processing or normalization here. This is just the raw data. At the first level, it was almost -90db! Even at level 7, it -67.5dB. That's certainly well below the ambient noise being recorded. 30 years ago, those would easily be professional level noise figures.

Rob Noise Levels.jpg

You should not be having to push your preamps above 5 when recording. If so, then you are simply not providing enough sound level for the system to record. I would be wary of spending $1000 or more on a microphone to try to overcome poor recording technique. The 416 and Deity spec out almost identically with -32dB sensitivity and 12/13dBA noise ratings. Assuming that the readings are done properly, they should allow for a very good comparison.

Of the mics you have listed, if I was going to try to lower noise, the Rode NTG8 and Senn MKH8070 both have much higher output, with lower noise floor than the 416 or Deity.

Before I spent a dime, I would set my system up, Level at 4, get in position, TAKE OFF THE HEADPHONES, and do a recording as if there were 5 people in front of you. Heck, maybe get 5 people sit down, and see if your levels aren't better.

DON'T TALK TO THE MIC. Talk to the people.

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I'm glad you said that - I did wonder if maybe I was missing something? I've never thought of the Zooms as being noisy. I very rarely even give gain much consideration now - even at a distance I was aware that going above half way was just too much, and even trying to speak quietly was quite difficult. Just for my own interest I might do the test again - with the reference mic for comparison - but just going through the mic box one by one - I might have some spare time tomorrow - not really certain - but If I take the studio mic box to the other location where I recorded this one (hopefully without the lifeboat calling the coastguard half way through) I could swap the mics one by one - the video types, the stage types and studio types.

My SM7B is still with my fiend so that is out, but I can try a few LDCs and SDCs, cardioid and hyper cardioid dynamics, some omni, some different shotguns, and some much cheaper ones too - I'm sure there are a couple of cheap Samson condensers I could put up with a 414 for a comparison and of course SM57,58, Beta 58 and some other random stuff? Worth doing, or pointless?


I posted these over on another forum where someone was saying the H6 is noisy, and in a studio setting, yes, maybe, which is why I said *way back* that for that kind of dual use case the F series is a better option. BUT, for live use, it's completely fine. Here are two videos of the same performer in the same club, about a year apart. The first is with a Zoom H6, and the second with the Zoom F8. In both cases, he's using one of the club's SM58s. There's some difference in how I mixed, but in a live setting, which is where these things are targeted, anyway, the difference is negligible. Good for wireless lavs, dynamics, condensers, whatever. I would probably not use an SM7b in a studio with the H6, and honestly, I'd not use either as an interface, which I had to do with the F8 for a while in early pandemic days. Too fiddly, limited sampling rate options, and driving external monitors *and* a headphone amp is tedious with the F8, not an option with the H6. But, I digress...

H6 recording

F8 recording

p.s. there is no noise reduction in these recordings


Well-known member
So, after all these tests, do you think that my Deity has its normal self-noise or it could be defective?
I think your Diety is fine.

Read the last two sentences of my last post again..

Before I spent a dime, I would set my system up, Level at 4, get in position, TAKE OFF THE HEADPHONES, and do a recording as if there were 5 people in front of you. Heck, maybe get 5 people to sit down, and see if your levels aren't better.

rob aylestone

Well-known member
You never did a test we heard when you were speaking properly. Normal voice to mic distance, normal presentation voice level and your gain on the H6 will be no higher than what? 4? That’s perfectly workable, but you don’t seem to have tried it. Yesterday I had issues keeping my voice quiet enough at any setting over 5. I don’t do voice overs because my voice lacks the commercial sound, and is simply conversational. I can sing, but I’m not a singer. What I got from your voice was that to work it needs character. The Deity mic is no doubt a fine product but not (yet) a mainstream one. From what I know about them, they’ve been designed to improve on a 416, to entice people with less money to take a chance.

I suspect the problems you have are NOT equipment issues, just errors in what you are doing with them. For me I always view recording spaces as dark rooms, and the microphones as torches. some torches light up more of the room than others. If all the things in the beam are what you need, that torch is a good one. Things in the shadows or the dark I can’t see. With some torches, the beam is too narrow for the subjects if they move about as they work, so you need a person to move the torch constantly. The analogy works if you also consider you have a video camera. Some torches don’t provide enough light and the pictures are feeble and noisy. Other torch to subject distance mean you need to stop the lens down as it’s too bright but then sometimes you start to see how big people’s noses are and can see their spots! This why I don’t use shotguns in small rooms with less than perfect cast or crew. Too easy to get a bad recording. In my studio, the shotguns were in the store, but the camera still had the wired lav connected. No point is putting it away because sound wise, it bests the shotgun every time.
Meditation-relaxation for sleeping, as an example of what you can do with Deity S mic 2 and as the example of my voice as well. Sorry for mumbling. :-)
Last edited:

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I don't like that at all - the nice calm music with a quite cutting through voice - it doesn't match the music - not the actual voice, but the capture is not sympathetic.