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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 8th September 2016 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Samc (Post 12122237)
...Stop with these stupid tests already, if someone can't decide what tools they need without a consensus they obviously don't have enough knowledge and experience to be buying the gear in the first place.

Sam, while I agree with your sentiments in general - a Zoom or an X-32 does not a sound engineer make - this is after all Gearslutz! If we didn't poke and prod and AB test, how we will discover such gems as Line CM3 & OM1 microphones? Where would we get all the neat op amp swaps that Jim Williams gives us? I'm still up for Christine's proposed AB test. And if the new Zoom is as bad as Plush says (it may well be...) then we can then consign it to the deep in proper Gearslutz fashion.

Just my $0.02.

tanp 8th September 2016 12:45 PM

I'm a happy Zoom F8 owner !
 
Years ago I met an exceptional musician and had a short window to record him. All the field kits from the archives were in use. I rang a famous sound eng. for advise. He recommended a sony stereo mic (which cost an arm&leg) and a mini-disk. I recorded a lot of hours with that gear and I think there are 6 cds made from it. I heard some of those tracks played on both national and local radio over the past week.

I looked at the F8 last year and compared it to several SD recorders. I got good advise from a few professional sound guys. For the recordings I do the F8 sounded just as good. On blind tests nobody could tell them apart consistently.

I've recorded and filmed hundreds of hours of music and song, and I've been at too many funerals of those musicians.

I have been brought into a state-of-the-art studio at times, and of course I can hear the difference using equipment that cost more than 20 times what I paid. But it is a small difference, clarity & definition & the room mostly. Unfortunately, the musical performance is often affected by Studio Fever, it comes back to "swings and roundabouts" in the end.

When considering new equipment. it is important to collect informed views, and to listen to real comparisons. I spent a deal of time listening to portable preamps because I was led to believe that these would make a real noticeable difference for me. I concluded that SD and Zoom preamps are now so good that additional portable preamps do not really improve the sound. Some of the preamp owners took my views as a personal insult. However, I also note that portable preamps are appearing on ebay and yardsales at much reduced prices from a few years back. Looks to me that others are also sharing my view.

Record it as best you can - with the best you can !

Boogaju 8th September 2016 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Plush (Post 12119307)
...
I dislike cheap digital because it sounds harsh and it has fake detail and a fake sound.

That is my point in this thread.

This new box is just more cheap digital.
...

Can't speak for the F4 yet, but I've been testing a zoom F8 for the last couple of weeks. It sounds great, has really nice and clean pres, it's super practical with nice functions, very happy about it. Having tested the H4n and H6 before, I was positively surprised, pres, A/D and build quality are in a different liga.
Preamps are a bit better than my Sd mixpre (a little bit fuller, and slightly cleaner with dynamic mics)
It's well-built, has been working great so far.
Only two minuses: the headphone amp is not so good, and the limiters are post AD conversion.
The real drawbacks of the F8 (and F4 if it has a similar sound quality) is that it carries the name Zoom and has a super low price for what it offers: automatically, even smart and established engineers will dismiss it as harsh and fake sounding without hearing it. peachh;)

Plush 8th September 2016 02:57 PM

To each their own. I don't want to rob your pleasure.

Clearly, here in this thread, I've entered a dark zone of fanboys and Zoom acolytes.

Oh well. Enjoy the machine and enjoy your recordings.

Don S 8th September 2016 03:10 PM

In the hands of a pro, the zoom will make a pro product. But a pro will hear and most likely pay for differences in quality.

studer58 8th September 2016 04:47 PM

All the machinery, encoders/decoders and transducers discussed here are simply means to an end.....to produce recordings which have a high fidelity to the performed event. Nothing else matters. I/we are judged on the recorded result alone....who cares what devices were employed to create it ?

Sure, a higher resolution chain is going to be more likely to give a high congruence between event and recording, but I'm confident Hudson could get good results with Nagra, Stellavox, Zoom or a wire recorder...because he knows the art of mic placement and selection and the value of a pristine signal chain.

Optimizing the performance of the tools we have at our disposal (and within our monetary means) is key to getting great results, and we all hold to our internal 'recording standards'.... which for many means there is a perceived class of equipment below which they won't engage with.

However, I re-emphasize that at the end of the day it's results alone that count. A better class of equipment enhances the chance of better recordings....but only if it is employed with intelligence and experience, according to conditions and with a clear goal of fidelity kept in sight

joelpatterson 8th September 2016 05:23 PM

Whereas I'm confident he would hurl any/all of those into the nearest trash can and storm out in a huff. Maybe... maybe there's a way to test this...?

leddy 8th September 2016 06:25 PM

Again, the thing I struggle with is the business model of only copying someone else's design, and remaking the product with cheaper parts and labor. Even if the end result is identical, it seems wrong. My thinking is that if the F4 specs out like and sounds like a Nagra VI, it is because of the Nagra employees and investors.

The issue is not black and white; almost all companies engage in it to some degree. In the rank of worst offenders, it seems like companies like Zoom and Behringer top the list. So I avoid them. I can't justify a Nagra VI either. In full disclosure, I have Roland R44's for field use. Roland once infringed on a Moog patent (though decades ago), so like I said it's a grey area. They certainly have their innovations as well though and I put them on higher moral ground than Zoom.

I could never sit back and say "only the end result matters". Someone has to pony up for the research and development costs. Without profit incentive and protection of intellectual property, we all lose. I suspect many that disagree with me might also feel downloading music and movies for free is fine too.

surflounge 8th September 2016 06:36 PM

Regarding mediocre sound quality listening experience, you don't have to be an audiophile to notice if recordings come through in “crystalline,” “tangible,” and “expansive” form.

celticrogues 8th September 2016 08:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Plush (Post 12122588)
To each their own. I don't want to rob your pleasure.

Clearly, here in this thread, I've entered a dark zone of fanboys and Zoom acolytes.

Oh well. Enjoy the machine and enjoy your recordings.

I just think that some of us would rather judge a piece of gear on its own merits, using our ears, rather than automatically and vehemently dismissing it because of the name written on the box.

-Mike

loujudson 8th September 2016 08:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by surflounge (Post 12119267)
a sound engineer works on a recording set with a SD 788 and gets the job done.

Wow, what a bunch of elitist BS here!

I have a SD 744 and an F8 and they each have their place.

I earn 100% of my living as a sound engineer and recordist, so I am a professional.

As Bob O says, if you can't make a good record with a couple of 58s and a cassette, you aren't an engineer!

surflounge 8th September 2016 09:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loujudson (Post 12123242)
Wow, what a bunch of elitist BS here!

yes, and I just bought another new SD 788 and a Zoom because I am a gearzlut:

Veblen effect: when people buy expensive stuff when they could instead buy cheaper versions. In audio, the Veblen effect exists for users who are trying to achieve prestige by spending more money than they should. However, when audio engineers consider their budgets and requirements, most will buy the product that fulfills their needs in the most cost-effective manner possible.

loujudson 8th September 2016 09:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by surflounge (Post 12123279)
yes, and I just bought another new SD 788 instead of Zoom

So you have the money. la di dah, big man.

tourtelot 8th September 2016 09:55 PM

No, really! There is a difference between an SD788T and a Zoom F8. And that difference is worth the money. It's called reliability. Yes, Plush could make a wonderful recording with a Zoom F8, if it worked. Every minute, every hour and every day for many many years. I could be wrong but if I went to work in the New Mexican desert every other day for two years (I did) I would be more comfortable taking the SD 788T. It never failed me. So those cheap machines have their place. Just not in my rig.

So it is not elitist. It is professional. Sorry to disagree with those who think differently.

D.

loujudson 8th September 2016 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tourtelot (Post 12123388)
No, really! There is a difference between an SD788T and a Zoom F8. And that difference is worth the money. It's called reliability. Yes, Plush could make a wonderful recording with a Zoom F8, if it worked. Every minute, every hour and every day for many many years. I could be wrong but if I went to work in the New Mexican desert every other day for two years (I did) I would be more comfortable taking the SD 788T. It never failed me. So those cheap machines have their place. Just not in my rig.

So it is not elitist. It is professional. Sorry to disagree with those who think differently.

D.

The point is, your work pays enough to afford such equipment. Mine doesn't. NO less professional, just more humble.

But then I don't even watch movies, and have nothing to do with making them!

tourtelot 8th September 2016 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loujudson (Post 12123411)
But then I don't even watch movies, and have nothing to do with making them!

WTF does that have to do with anything being discussed here? You just sound bitter to me.

D.

TMetzinger 8th September 2016 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tourtelot (Post 12123388)
No, really! There is a difference between an SD788T and a Zoom F8. And that difference is worth the money. It's called reliability. Yes, Plush could make a wonderful recording with a Zoom F8, if it worked. Every minute, every hour and every day for many many years. I could be wrong but if I went to work in the New Mexican desert every other day for two years (I did) I would be more comfortable taking the SD 788T. It never failed me. So those cheap machines have their place. Just not in my rig.

So it is not elitist. It is professional. Sorry to disagree with those who think differently.

D.

This I agree with. Don't sell me on why one is better based on sound when they both sound more than good enough. DO sell me on why the more expensive unit has higher MTBF, better ergonomics, better support, etc. For someone who makes a living at it (and loses money when the gear isn't working), those factors matter.

Geez I just had a flashback to maintaining the A800 and the MTR90. Used to argue with the other techs about which we liked more, and none of the differences that mattered to the studio operators were related to how they sounded, they were related to how expensive it was to keep them up and generating money.

T.

studer58 9th September 2016 02:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leddy (Post 12122991)
Again, the thing I struggle with is the business model of only copying someone else's design, and remaking the product with cheaper parts and labor. Even if the end result is identical, it seems wrong. My thinking is that if the F4 specs out like and sounds like a Nagra VI, it is because of the Nagra employees and investors.

The issue is not black and white; almost all companies engage in it to some degree. In the rank of worst offenders, it seems like companies like Zoom and Behringer top the list. So I avoid them. .

This is the first I've read of the Zoom F4/F8 being a 'copy' of a Nagra....is this a truism, an urban myth, common knowledge perhaps ? If so, a copy in what sense...internal electronics, functionality and ergonomics, appearance ?

Many years ago Behringer mixers began revealing uncanny resemblances to those of Mackie, and I believe a successful legal action was launched by Mackie. Many years ago the first LD Rode mics (NT1 and NT2) bore an uncanny external similarity to Neumann U87's...as do many low priced LD mics now. Did that make them "copies" ? Superlux seem to be engaging in similar practices now, as regards their headphone amp and other products.

It would be good to get the accusation specifics of this F8/F4/Nagra issue out into the open...seems like this thread would be as good a place as any...or else put that particular issue to rest ?

rumleymusic 9th September 2016 02:31 AM

Actually the recent B&H shootout video with Sound Devices and the F8 kind of cemented my opinion on the Zoom product line's sound quality. Quite lacking. But that is just what I hear. The tester though it sounded good :facepalm:

I definitely try to balance reliability, durability, and sound quality in every product I buy because of the needs of location recording. I don't think Zoom quite has the leg up on any of its more expensive competitors in any of those categories. If it did, I might consider it.

"I bought it because it was cheap" is not a good reason in this game. However, "I bought it because I needed that exact feature set for my work, and couldn't afford something better at the time," is nothing to be ashamed of. Use it, make money, save for something that will not break so easily and yield better results.

Samc 9th September 2016 02:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TMetzinger (Post 12123692)
This I agree with. Don't sell me on why one is better based on sound when they both sound more than good enough.

Apparently not everybody agrees with your opinion that the zoom sounds "good enough"...plus, there are times when "good enough" is not enough and you need to reach for something that sounds better than "good enough"..."better" based on sound quality matters to some people/jobs.

leddy 9th September 2016 02:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 12123922)
It would be good to get the accusation specifics of this F8/F4/Nagra issue out into the open...seems like this thread would be as good a place as any...or else put that particular issue to rest ?

Not a specific accusation, just a generalization along the exact same lines of the others you mentioned. I thought that was pretty obvious. I doubt they can develop and sell gear at those prices and do any of their own R&D, except to figure out what cheap components to swap. Maybe they copy Nagra. Maybe SD. Who knows. My opinion only.

No interest in a pi$$ing match. I've said what I had to say. If I have misunderstood Zoom, feel free to make that case. Maybe I'm wrong and they don't copy anyone.

studer58 9th September 2016 03:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leddy (Post 12122991)
My thinking is that if the F4 specs out like and sounds like a Nagra VI, it is because of the Nagra employees and investors.

leddy I think this is where you tripped yourself up most of all. Do you think if you just compare 2 devices on the basis of "specs" (and here I presume you mean distortion, signal to noise..rather than internal specs like number of channels or circuit specifics ?) and also on the basis of 'sounds like' (what's that supposed to define ?) then you could be talking about almost any 2 recorders made since the beginning of the digital era (I'm including DAT tape recorders here also). Very loose interpretation of the word 'copying'...like saying a Ford is a copy of a Ferrari because they both have 4 wheels and can attain the same top speed after 60 seconds from a standing start

EV676 9th September 2016 03:15 AM

I retired from 34+ years in Local major market TV doing audio in April. When I started the news photogs carried 40 pound cameras tethered to 40 pound 3/4" 'portable' video recorders. When I retired one of my news colleagues had received national recognition for 2 30 minute programs shot totally on his iPhone. Yes, his efforts were judged on content and his unique ability to tell the story. But the story was gathered on an iPhone and assembled on a laptop. And given the limitations of the format, it looked good on the air. Audio as usual was the weak link.

I'm now free to dabble in audio not as a profession but as a hobby. I can afford a used SD 6 or 7 series and wouldn't mind owning one. But honestly an F-8 or F-4 gives me the same flexibility at a better price point. For my intended use, it's probably the wiser choice. I doubt the choir dude at church would care.

leddy 9th September 2016 03:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by studer58 (Post 12123979)
leddy I think this is where you tripped yourself up most of all.

Fine. I don't want to be perceived as making false accusations. I deleted most of my posts. I'll stick to my own gear preferences.

Schmanuel 9th September 2016 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Plush (Post 12119307)

I dislike cheap digital because it sounds harsh and it has fake detail and a fake sound.

That's true science...

ronmac 9th September 2016 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Plush (Post 12118164)
Nope.
The unit itself does a disservice to music and makes the user lazy.
It is inherently evil and is part of the dumbing down of any user who chooses it.

I'll tell you what has made people lazy. The invention of the slingshot and bow and arrow. Folks ain't been the same since and hardly anyone knows how to take a gazelle down barehanded at a full gallop anymore.

Nobody appreciates a good flank of field meat like the guys that do it old skool.

The young uns should be ashamed of their selves.

loujudson 9th September 2016 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tourtelot (Post 12123450)
WTF does that have to do with anything being discussed here? You just sound bitter to me.

D.

No, not at all! I do music, live and recording, after a brief flirtation with film sound long ago. I assume most users here are film sound recordists, eh?

surflounge 9th September 2016 11:22 PM

Decided since I just do music recording of acoustic bluegrass and folk, I need to trust a company.

tourtelot 10th September 2016 12:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loujudson (Post 12126234)
I assume most users here are film sound recordists, eh?

I use to be a dialog recordist. All I record is music these day. I think that the weight of the users on this forum are music recordists, but I could be wrong. It would be interesting to make a poll.

D.

PS. Just put up a poll. I am curious (yellow.)

Bruce Watson 10th September 2016 01:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loujudson (Post 12126234)
I assume most users here are film sound recordists, eh?

This is a forum with "Acoustic Music & Location Recording" in the title. What about that leads you to your conclusion that "most users here are film sound recordists"?

That said, there's a larger number of film dialog topics here than I would have expected. And a whole lot of bedroom/basement home studio topics also. My own conclusion is that this forum is about location recording of acoustic music, so I post dialog and studio topics in more appropriate forums. But clearly, that's just me.