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Zoom H6 -- Audio plays back but can't find on card to download

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Dre Mark
Zoom H6 -- Audio plays back but can't find on card to download
on Feb 17, 2016 at 10:38:25 pm

I used an SD card that was not formatted for the H6. I believe this is the root of how it happened, but now how can I fix it...

Recorded a 3-hour show on the non-zoom formatted SD card. A warning did pop up when zoom was switched on, "Move other H series's files. Are you sure?" I think "yes" was chosen (my assistant was running this equipment for me). ALL THE FILES PLAYBACK on the H6 just fine.

When the card it put in a card reader on a mac (or PC) no files show up. We even ran the card through a file recovery program but it didn't find anything.

How do we get the audio off of the card? Of course, we need the audio now, so I'm hoping someone out there has the magical answer.

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Victor Osaka
Re: Zoom H6 -- Audio plays back but can't find on card to download
on Feb 22, 2016 at 8:33:59 am

There may be a solution but, the last resort will be to play it (in realtime) from the H6 and record to your computer or another digital recorder via the lineout.

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Victor Osaka
Re: Zoom H6 -- Audio plays back but can't find on card to download
on Feb 22, 2016 at 8:39:05 am

I just found this post: Could it work for your situation? Maybe.


David Blumenfeld Re: ZOOM H4n Material lost on SD Card
by David Blumenfeld on Oct 7, 2012 at 4:34:26 am

I picked this up off of another post after my batteries died on Zoom 4hn at the end of a 1 hour interview. IT WORKS! Even if it reads 0 on your card!

Dear H4n Mac users,

I thought all was lost. My batteries ran out during a shoot (phantom power drain horror) and when I got back to the studio the file came up as 0kB. But thanks to hints from forum member aumeta I've managed to recover it. I thought you all should know it can all be done on a mac using freeware. Follow these steps:

1. As soon as it happens remove the SD card and don't use it. Unknowingly, I did use it, but for less time than I had previously recorded, so I was still able to rescue a large portion of my file. The SD card works a lot more like a tape than you might imagine. So when the batteries fail, it will start recording the next file at the start of the file that failed when your batteries went. This means if you've recorded, say, a 25 minute track, then the batteries have run out, and then you've recorded 2 more 2 minute tracks on the same card with new batteries, that you can still recover the last 21 minutes of your track. Clearly, it's better to recover all of it, so next time, carry a spare SD card, and stop using the battery damaged one!

2. Back in the studio, plug in your SD card into the card reader so it mounts.

3. then open
What we're going to do is unlock some advanced features on another utility Disk Utility

4. Once Terminal has started up copy and paste this in:
defaults write advanced-image-options 1
then press return

5. Now open
Applications>Utilities>Disk Utility

6. Select your SD card in the list of drives, then click the New Image button

7. What we're doing is making a copy of the entire SD card, including all the empty bits. This allows the audio program we'll use which can read RAW files to read the entire disk image as one enormous audio file.
So, in the Image Format tab select "Entire Device" and have encryption set to "None" and save your disk image to a drive big enough to hold it.
instructions with pictures are here (ignore the last section about file juicer it will not help your problem

8. Now you've got a file that you can open in your audio program. One that can do it is a piece of freeware called Audacity which I found out from the forum post by johnsantic.
Download the Mac version from here:

9. Here I'll adapt John Santic's instructions from this post which saved some files for me which we're'n't 0kB (
"The normal way to load an audio file into Audacity is to use the typical "File > Open" command. But they have another way to read in a file in case the header is damaged or missing. This uses the "Project > Import Raw Data" command. The next step is to select your new disk image in the dialog box that opens.

10. Another dialog box should open which asks for audio parameters, this should be the same as the way in which you recorded the file:
In my case this was:

- Signed 24-bit PCM (ie 24 bit WAV on the zoom)
- Little-endian [this means the audio data in the file is least-significant-byte first - it will be the same whether you recorded at 24 or any other bit rate]
- 2 Channels (Stereo)
- Start offset = 910 [this is the normal size of an H4n header, you should also try 0 and 2 if you are at 24-bit, or 0, and 1 for 16-bit]
- Amount to import = 100%
- Sample rate = 48000

After you click "Import", Audacity reads in the file. What you'll probably find is large blocks of interference with audio files inbetween. If you find your lost recording, select that section, then use the command "File > Export" and save it under a different file name, with the same settings as your other original sound files. Joy! OK so you'll probably lose a tiny bit at the end and at the start, but I'm sure you'll live having recovered the vast majority of what you thought was lost forever

11. If you don't find your audio file in there this time do not despair. Instead just go back to the start of part 10 and enter in a different start offset (0, 1 or 2) and you'll find a different portion of the audio you recorded will appear. I found my lost file on the second attempt when I set it to 0. Just keep on trying.

I thought I'd messed up the whole project. Now I'm full of the joys of life, and thought I should share it with you all.




Post subject: Re: Ran out of Battery and found only a 0Kb file? There's hoPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:11 pm

new to this board

Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:12 pm
Posts: 1
I just wanted to affirm Jimmybulb's post. Thank you! and to anyone else who did the behind the scenes work to make recovery possible, you rock! I spent 4 hours troubleshooting and downloading random freeware programs, but when I found this post, all was saved except about 15 seconds that were somehow corrupted. I ran the process twice through to see if the file would come out clean but it didn't so I'm guessing somewhere in the process of my Zoom H2 becoming unplugged, the file became corrupted. I'm not really sure. I was recording a wedding and it finished. Because my batteries were dead, I had confidently plugged my zoom H2 into a power strip thinking it was the ultimate, safe source of power. Well, the sound board just happened to be plugged into this power strip and the sound engineer unplugged it after the wedding. The zoom power was cut off before I could stop recording. Note to self - set up at least 2 layers of good quality audio backup if possible.

A couple helpful notes.
1. Don't stop trying if you get an audacity file that is ALL interference. You probably got the audio parameters wrong. The sample rate, offset, stereo or mono, little endian all seems to matter. I tried multiple settings before I got the right one and sometimes the audio came out as all interference (LOUD interference) or super slow low voices.
2. All the freeware recovery programs I tried didn't do what I wanted. Most recover deleted files, pics, etc.. not fix audio files without a header.
3. I tried 0 for the offset, and it came out as pure interference. 1 and 2 both worked in my case. I was recording 16bit, stereo, at 44kHz.
4. DEFINITELY choose a low percentage to import to test first. Setting it at 5% for about 7.4GB of a card only took about 30 sec to process on my macbook pro.

Good luck!

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Dre Mark
Re: Zoom H6 -- Audio plays back but can't find on card to download
on Feb 22, 2016 at 2:11:01 pm

Thanks Victor, I found that post as well. The method DOES work, however, my recovered recording was super-warp-speed chipmunk. I tried to slow it down but just got a lesser warp-speed chipmunk.

I'm going to try recording into another Zoom if I can get my hands on one.

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Nathan Mileur
Re: Zoom H6 -- Audio plays back but can't find on card to download
on Sep 27, 2016 at 2:40:59 pm

Thank you so much. Our work zoom was recording fine - but once we got the card in, there were entire files missing. The folders were there, but the WAV's weren't. This process recovered them all. Thank you so so much.

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von kozy
Re: Zoom H6 -- Audio plays back but can't find on card to download
on Jun 22, 2017 at 1:12:53 am

I head the same problem with my H6 just few days ago.

I guess the problem was that I ren out of the storage on the SD card, while recording, so when i tried to move the files from the SD card to PC, i couldn't see any of the audio files on the SD card (my Win7 would only show me endless rows of nameless sub-folders), and at the same time i could still see and listen to all of the recordings on H6!

But the SD card was full!

So i deleted some of the files (one project) when the card was in the H6 and i hoped it would work when the card is less then 100% full, but it turned out, that i still couldn't see and do nothing with the card in my PC. I still couldn't see any files on the card!

So i tried to restore the files from the SD card with "free version" as my last resort to recover raw files from the SD card, but instead of restoring the remaining files from the SD card, i could only recover deleted files.

So I decided to delte all the projects form the H6 (Project menu > Trash > Delete all) and try to recover all of them from the SD card in to PC. I ren the and managed to recover all the deleted files from SD card...

I hope this helps!

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