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-   -   New Zoom Recorder Announced: Zoom F4 (https://gearspace.com/board/all-things-technical/1110844-new-zoom-recorder-announced-zoom-f4.html)

jimjazzdad 19th November 2019 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yannick (Post 14329779)
My Zoom F8 sounds better than most highend gear before 2000 ...

Isn't it a paradox that, as the fidelity of the recording gets better, the equipment choices of the target listener (music consumer) become worse and worse? I was recently auditioning some late 1960's state-of-the-art stereo gear - Tannoy Gold monitors, Sugden Class A amplifier and a Thorens TT with SME arm, V15 Mk II etc. I was impressed by how good it sounded on recently recorded material. But we who listen to music on speakers bigger than the ones in laptops or tablets are outliers in a world where the majority of music consumers prefer MP3 through earbuds. Makes you wonder why we bother to record serious musical performances with good equipment ...
jummpp

studer58 19th November 2019 01:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimjazzdad (Post 14331399)
Makes you wonder why we bother to record serious musical performances with good equipment ...
jummpp

Why....for our own enjoyment (and perhaps for those whose material we record)....and to post samples here also, of course ! kfhkh

panatrope 19th November 2019 11:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yannick (Post 14329779)
My Zoom F8 sounds better than most highend gear before 2000 ...

Maybe because you are using it with additional skills acquired over the intervening 20 years?

DirkP 20th November 2019 01:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimjazzdad (Post 14331399)
Isn't it a paradox that, as the fidelity of the recording gets better, the equipment choices of the target listener (music consumer) become worse and worse? I was recently auditioning some late 1960's state-of-the-art stereo gear - Tannoy Gold monitors, Sugden Class A amplifier and a Thorens TT with SME arm, V15 Mk II etc. I was impressed by how good it sounded on recently recorded material. But we who listen to music on speakers bigger than the ones in laptops or tablets are outliers in a world where the majority of music consumers prefer MP3 through earbuds. Makes you wonder why we bother to record serious musical performances with good equipment ...
jummpp

Depends a lot on the earbuds used...
If you have a look at the amount of money, people are willing to pay for earbuds these days, this is much more than ever before. And we don't just have overpriced trash products like BEATS. I see a lot of people here in Germany walking around with good Sennheiser, AKG etc. earbuds conected to their smartphones.

I guess a part of the problem is space and size. The speakers in contemporary iPhones for example are incredible good in relation to their size. The iPhone 11 really shocked me. It's the same with cameras: smartphones have small size sensors that are much worse than APS or Full Frame sensors, even than the 1" sensors in compact cameras. But the AI, the computational power in smartphones is better than in even 5.000,- Full Frame cameras.

If you want to live in a big city today, rents are enormous, you only have limited space and you have neighbours. A lot of younger people don't even buy TVs these days and watch Netflix or Amazon Video on iPads, Notebooks or Smartphones. Even Notebooks become a kind of rarity - I know a lot of younger doctors with a relatively high income, who only use computers at work and only have a Smartphone or a Pad at home.

On the other hand, if younger people go to clubs or to a cinema or to concerts, they are confronted with incredible audio quality. Much better than ever before. This could lead to something good. Don't stay at home, go out, meet other people, if you want to really experience music. Young people who are into music go out nearly every weekend. Isn't it really crazy to install a Dolby Atmos System in a 15 square meters living room?
Live music has a kind of renaissance, at least in Berlin where I live. And the clubs are still there.

I get your point and I often beg my younger bandmates or other musicians to at least buy a pair of active speakers for 200,- or 300,- to listen to music at home. I'm a bassplayer and I'm pretty aware of the physical aspects of listening to music that you simply don't get with earbuds or small speakers.

But esp. younger people can spend their money only once. When I was young - a stereo was the most important thing you wanted to have, the coolest thing on planet earth - maybe besides a first car or a motorcycle. But you can spend your money only one time. If you were young today and had to decide between a good smartphone with all the possibilities and a stereo with large speakers, what would you buy? I would buy a smartphone and later some decent earbuds. And then some decent active speakers. I'm just dissapointed that many leave the active speakers part out.

Samc 25th November 2019 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimjazzdad (Post 14331399)
Makes you wonder why we bother to record serious musical performances with good equipment ...

Because if it’s not recorded and mixed well, it wouldn’t be listenable on the earbuds and computer loudspeakers.

classicalguitari 17th January 2021 12:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by valseTrage (Post 12393858)
To get an idea of the sound quality of my zoom f4, I made some comparison recordings against an RME UCX. I used 1 microphone at a fixed position and I did my best to keep the same instrument position as well. There is one piece on bass clarinet and one on clarinet, each piece is repeated twice on each recorder.

Wow, thank you !

classicalguitari 17th January 2021 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by valseTrage (Post 12393858)
To get an idea of the sound quality of my zoom f4, I made some comparison recordings against an RME UCX. I used 1 microphone at a fixed position and I did my best to keep the same instrument position as well. There is one piece on bass clarinet and one on clarinet, each piece is repeated twice on each recorder.

Can you confirm files 1-2 are two takes of the same piece on rme ucx, 3-4 on the zoom, and then likewise from 5 to 8 ? I'm not equipped with good speakers to listen to them, and it's hard to tell the differences for me (except what I believe to be just different takes on the same recorder). It will be interesting to listen to them again when I have access to a better audio setup.

IronFilm 9th February 2021 05:15 AM

Wish they hadn't discontinued the F4! The Zoom F6 is simply NOT the same when it comes to a replacement.

I have a dream! My wishes for future F Series products:

New beefier processing power for the new F4n/F12 OS platform (the F8n/F6 gets dropped, for instead an awesome F4n/F12). This new OS gives features like graphical EQ (for post-fade), half a dozen busses, routable headphones (mix & tones), and Noise Reduction.

Update the F4 to an F4n, that has 4x XLR + 2x TA3F + 3.5mm to be a 10 track recorder. Also has 2x XLR + 2x TA3M outputs (for four outputs in total). Let all inputs and outputs be selectable in the menus as pro line, consumer line, or mic level. Update the screen to a be a super bright color screen. Have an expansion port on the top so that a "Zoom CL4" could be added to it (like the Sound Devices CL6, this adds extra controls for when you want to mix/control more than just the core four channels of the F4n, but rather all eight). Improved headphone amp.

For 95% of people this F4n could replace (or rather, be an upgrade!) to their F8n.

Then for the F12, have everything that is good about the F8n & the new F4n, but also make the F12 be... 12x XLR inputs (2x with AES stero) + 6x TA3F + 3.5mm + USB-C (for a 26 track machine, so you can record at least a couple of USB inputs as well, on top of everything else), Outputs would be 2x XLR (with AES) + 4x TA3M + 3.5mm. Have 3x full size USB as well (for a back up thumb drive of the recordings, the new Fn Control Surface, and a USB keyboard, all at once without needing to use a USB hub). I'd dream of a full size HDMI output as well, that could send the small built in screen to any HDMI screen. Add a bluetooth antenna to give the Zoom app crazy boosted range, like the 8 Series. Would be nice if the "Zoom CL4" is stackable so you could use 2x CL4 with the F12, to give extra control over 16 inputs at once (the 8 direct controls on the F12, plus the bonus extra 2x 4 with the CL4). Understandably, the F12 would need to be bigger than the F8n, and even if it needs to be double the thickness, that's fine! Is still a very compact recorder! I'd buy this, even if it is double the cost.

loujudson 9th February 2021 05:20 AM

You don't want much, do you? Maybe you could design, build, and market your own ideal recorder system! Or get a computer? :-)

I am completely happy with my F8 as a remote recorder, and also use it in studio to transfer analog tapes for later ingest to the computer. No bells or whistles needed.

IronFilm 9th February 2021 05:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loujudson (Post 15284287)
You don't want much, do you? Maybe you could design, build, and market your own ideal recorder system! Or get a computer? :-)


Yes, it seems like "a monster", but no more so than the F8 was itself? In fact, I'm proposing a relativity "small" leap forward from a F8n to a F12? When compared to what the F8 itself was as a leap forward vs the likes of an H6 etc. At the core I'm really "only" just asking for a bit more I/O, plus improved firmware (to do EQ/NR/busses), plus a CL4 as an addition to the existing F Control.

Are my requests/dreams so OUTRAGEOUS?? (I intentionally didn't include the likes of SuperSlot, or DANTE, as I knew these would appeal to an even smaller niche, and have an even heavier burden attached to the costs of delivering these)

Look at what Zoom already has with the Zoom Livetrack L8: sub $400! Has 3-band EQ for every channel (and heaps of other features too). Why not dream of having this available post fade for the F4n/F12? Look at the price leap from a Zoom Livetrack L8 to a L20 (the biggest price increase, we can ignore the small jump from a L8 to L12 if you wish), if the price leap was the same from a F8 to a F12, I'd still be down with buying a F12 if it had all of these features I laid out.

The likes of Brusfri is dirt cheap software, RTX Voice is even *free*. We're going to see NR becoming more mainstream, definitely might be in the next generation of the F Series. (in way the F8/F4/F8n/F6 are all "the same generation", soon it will be coming up to six years since the F8 was announced. Is it is so unreasonable to think about there being a new generation of F Series coming in the next year or two?)

Sure, for many people 8 channels are plenty! Heck, even four channels is plenty for most buyers of the F8.

That's why I proposed an upgraded Zoom F4n, it would be a better fit for most people! Especially as this F4n could fairly easily do even six channels (or 8 in a pinch).

But there are people who want *MORE* out of their F8n, be it more outputs, or more inputs, or something else.

Sure, for you it makes much more sense to get the likes of say a Behringer XR18 or X32 Rack or whatever, all hooked up into a PC to record it with Reaper / ProTools / BoomRecorder / Metacorder / whatever.

But for many other people they need one or more of:
1) greater compactness/portability
2) DC powered
3) simpler/stable workflow (not rely upon a PC)

At the moment people who are doing high channel counts (be it because they're recording music on location, or a reality show, or complex SFX, or whatever) only have the choice between juggling two or three Zoom F8n (or MP10) at once, or spending many times more on a Nova/888/Scorpio/SX-R4+/X3/etc
(or ditching one or more of those three requirement listed just above, and figuring out a hodgepodge workaround)

At the core, my suggestion isn't too crazy radical (even though I called it "a dream"), I'm simply hoping Zoom picks the best bits out of a F8n / L20 / X32 Rack and combines them together all for a similar price (they're all of them sub US$1K products!) or even somewhat higher. (like I said, it could be DOUBLE the price and I'd still be down for pre-ordering one)

studer58 9th February 2021 07:38 AM

I'm in agreement with IronFilm about the need for an "x12" of any respectable flavour: Sound Devices, Zoom, Sonosax, Tascam.

For the times when 10-12 mic inputs are required for an orchestral show... encompassing main pair (or Tree), outrigger pair, woodwind pair plus spots for tymp, Bass, harp, piano, plus a few percussion...they add up on ya !

Why have to buy 2x8 input units (or an 8+4) and then worry about sync, word clock, linking 2 pairs of outputs into an additional headphone amp/mixer etc... just to be able to monitor on site ?

I wouldn't mind the necessary side-of-box concessions to TA3 connectors.

A bonsai-ed Scorpio, at a not so mind-numbing price, is what I'm after....and 32 bit recording wouldn't be necessary.

How did the audio world settle upon the "blocks of 8" convention for interfaces, recorders etc anyway ?

IronFilm 9th February 2021 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 15284398)
I'm in agreement with IronFilm about the need for an "x12" of any respectable flavour: Sound Devices, Zoom, Sonosax, Tascam.

For the times when 10-12 mic inputs are required for an orchestral show... encompassing main pair (or Tree), outrigger pair, woodwind pair plus spots for tymp, Bass, harp, piano, plus a few percussion...they add up on ya !

Why have to buy 2x8 input units (or an 8+4) and then worry about sync, word clock, linking 2 pairs of outputs into an additional headphone amp/mixer etc... just to be able to monitor on site ?

I wouldn't mind the necessary side-of-box concessions to TA3 connectors.

A bonsai-ed Scorpio, at a not so mind-numbing price, is what I'm after....and 32 bit recording wouldn't be necessary.

Although I gave it the name of "F12" due to the 12x P48 XLR inputs, it is in reality a 26 track machine (heck, make it 28! If you record a couple of busses):

Quote:

Originally Posted by IronFilm (Post 15284284)
Then for the F12, have everything that is good about the F8n & the new F4n, but also make the F12 be... 12x XLR inputs (2x with AES stereo) + 6x TA3F + 3.5mm + USB-C (for a 26 track machine, so you can record at least a couple of USB inputs as well, on top of everything else)

Here is the math:
14 channels on the XLR inputs (10x analogue + 2x stereo AES)
6x TA3F (hopefully P48 mic inputs too.... but if only line level, that's ok)
3.5mm stereo
2 input USB
= 24 channels! (plus a recordable L/R Mix, making it be 26 tracks)

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 15284398)
How did the audio world settle upon the "blocks of 8" convention for interfaces, recorders etc anyway ?

Perhaps because it is derived from a Base 2 system?

studer58 9th February 2021 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IronFilm (Post 15284616)
Although I gave it the name of "F12" due to the 12x P48 XLR inputs, it is in reality a 26 track machine (heck, make it 28! If you record a couple of busses):
Here is the math:
14 channels on the XLR inputs (10x analogue + 2x stereo AES)
6x TA3F (hopefully P48 mic inputs too.... but if only line level, that's ok)
3.5mm stereo
2 input USB
= 24 channels! (plus a recordable L/R Mix, making it be 26 tracks)

Full size XLR's (vs TA3's) are going to put upward pressure on keeping the box size and weight practical...at what point will film sound crews rebel against increased panel real-estate ?

This is already taking on the appearance of a fantasy wish list...why don't we put it up to a public referendum, which will instantly produce a galaxy of possible/desired attributes...and simultaneously kill off any chance of commercial takeup !

Forums like this aren't recognized "ideas conduit-paths" for manufacturing policy...

2manyrocks 9th February 2021 03:00 PM

The manufacturers have done an amazing job shrinking the overall footprint of portable recorders and even adding timecode features, BUT why do they stick with offering only 4 or 8 XLR inputs????

loujudson 9th February 2021 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2manyrocks (Post 15284892)
The manufacturers have done an amazing job shrinking the overall footprint of portable recorders and even adding timecode features, BUT why do they stick with offering only 4 or 8 XLR inputs????

Might it have something to do with the form factor? Would you want a tiny recorder with a dozen XLRs hanging off a dongle?

studer58 9th February 2021 04:08 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by loujudson (Post 15284901)
Might it have something to do with the form factor? Would you want a tiny recorder with a dozen XLRs hanging off a dongle?

It could be a lot worse (ie a wall of full size XLR's, filling up one or two sides of the box...vs 2 x DB25 sockets, and a foot or two of XLR tails on each, as per the pic)

DB25's are quite space-economical. Plus the use of TA3 mini-XLR's is another option...perhaps mixed with full size XLR's, like the SD788.

2manyrocks 9th February 2021 06:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loujudson (Post 15284901)
Might it have something to do with the form factor? Would you want a tiny recorder with a dozen XLRs hanging off a dongle?

I'd prefer not to have any dongles because the cables end up eating up space and being a nuisance to the user, IMO.

I was thinking that instead of making the overall recorder smaller and smaller, they could add another couple of XLR inputs.

rboy 9th February 2021 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2manyrocks (Post 15285256)
I'd prefer not to have any dongles because the cables end up eating up space and being a nuisance to the user, IMO.

I was thinking that instead of making the overall recorder smaller and smaller, they could add another couple of XLR inputs.

It's just a decision of which way to go. Who their intended user is and predicting what matters to them. IMO, once you go above a certain XLR count the unit itself can get unwieldy if its not racked up.

It took me a few years to warm up to DB25s but they're a standard and they serve a great purpose. They're not proprietary, and once you work a useful snake into the picture for an 8 input XLR recorder you might as well be using a DB25 one :)

JamesClark1991 15th February 2021 05:06 PM

Zoom do have more 32bit F-series recorders in the works, and they hinted at one being 8 channels or more. But that's all I can contribute to the topic.

IronFilm 18th February 2021 06:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 15284768)
Full size XLR's (vs TA3's) are going to put upward pressure on keeping the box size and weight practical...at what point will film sound crews rebel against increased panel real-estate ?

The Zoom F8n is already an EXTREMELY compact (semi)professional field recorder.

Would be fine if you doubled its thickness to add in four more XLRs (it already has 8x XLR), this wouldn't even a be a bad thing if it means its screen gets bigger and the knobs on the front get a better layout.

I bet the total size/weight would still be less than the Sound Devices 688 or Zaxcom Nomad, which are common field recorders that are bagged and carried.

Zoom would still have their "Zoom F4n" that I proposed as their very compact field recorder.

IronFilm 18th February 2021 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JamesClark1991 (Post 15296941)
Zoom do have more 32bit F-series recorders in the works, and they hinted at one being 8 channels or more. But that's all I can contribute to the topic.

Where did you read this hint?

Quote:

Originally Posted by rboy (Post 15285471)
It's just a decision of which way to go. Who their intended user is and predicting what matters to them. IMO, once you go above a certain XLR count the unit itself can get unwieldy if its not racked up.

It took me a few years to warm up to DB25s but they're a standard and they serve a great purpose. They're not proprietary, and once you work a useful snake into the picture for an 8 input XLR recorder you might as well be using a DB25 one :)

DB25 might make more sense for a sound cart / live music scenario, but when you're bagging your field recorder than having XLR/TA3 is better.

JamesClark1991 19th February 2021 06:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IronFilm (Post 15302263)
Where did you read this hint?

I straight up asked them on Facebook. You'd be surprised what companies let slip sometimes just by asking a direct question lol.