Recording with Zoom H6 interface

What am I doing wrong here?

Mac OS 10.14.6
Audacity 3.2.1

I’m trying to record directly to Audacity from a Zoom H6 with the XY-6 mic capsule. It “works” insofar as I can record a track, but the track has terrible audio quality, which includes unexpected background noise that is not present in the environment. For the sake of comparison with a track recorded to the Zoom H6, I recorded both ways and posted the results here:

The first half of that track was recorded directly to Audacity, the second half was recorded directly to the Zoom H6 and then imported as a wav file.

Some relevant settings:

For recording directly to Audacity, the Zoom is set to “Audio Interface” mode. I’ve then selected “Stereo Mix” or “Multi Track”, both of which produce essentially the same result. The sound preferences on my Mac are set to use “H6” for sound input. The Mac’s system input level meter appeared reasonable.

I assume that the problem is my own user error, but after looking around I can’t figure out what I could be doing differently.

Possibly (accidentally) recording from the computer’s built-in mic ?, (rather than from the H6).

Apparently “H6” can be selected as the recording device in Audacity

Assuming Audacity is hearing the H6, not the mac’s internal mic (click Audio Setup button in Audacity and check input and output if unsure):

  1. When using the H6 in interface mode, are you connecting the H6’s cable directly to a USB A port on the mac (preferred), or through an adapter into thunderbolt/usb-c port? If the latter, are you using a cheap adapter, the overpriced but reliable apple thunderbolt to USB-A adapter, or a powered USB hub?

  2. Did you choose bus power when selecting interface mode, or battery?

I’m wondering if the cable (particularly if indirectly connected) struggles to both power the H6 and carry a clean signal.

  1. Does the same issue occur if you try recording into e.g. garageband?