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Zoom F6 - Faderless
Old 10th April 2019
  #1
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Zoom F6 - Faderless

I'm in no way qualified to comment on this, the clip just popped up in a video discussion forum:



Dual A/D, 32 bit float I understand. What does "unity gain" mean in this context?

Fran
Old 10th April 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry ➡️

Dual A/D, 32 bit float I understand. What does "unity gain" mean in this context?

Fran
Unity gain just means: Gain=0.0dB. No amplification.

It sounds very much like the "true match" technology of German company stagetec. I think they had a patent which recently expired. So we can expect to see more devices using this approach.

With this technology in theory the analog gain just doesn't happen anymore, because the following AD converter has such a huge dynamic range it allows you to cover all gain tasks in the digital domain without loosing resolution. So it's crucial to build an exceptional AD converter, which has been done so far by combining two or more converters and calculating a higher resolution from their output (shortest explanation possible...)
Old 27th May 2019 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich ➡️
Unity gain just means: Gain=0.0dB. No amplification.

It sounds very much like the "true match" technology of German company stagetec. I think they had a patent which recently expired. So we can expect to see more devices using this approach.

With this technology in theory the analog gain just doesn't happen anymore, because the following AD converter has such a huge dynamic range it allows you to cover all gain tasks in the digital domain without loosing resolution. So it's crucial to build an exceptional AD converter, which has been done so far by combining two or more converters and calculating a higher resolution from their output (shortest explanation possible...)
Just to follow up in this thread, Curtis Judd has now posted an initial impressions review to youtube, having had use of a Zoom F6 for 2 days:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4oNd1RgGL0
Old 27th May 2019 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich ➡️
Unity gain just means: Gain=0.0dB. No amplification.

It sounds very much like the "true match" technology of German company stagetec. I think they had a patent which recently expired. So we can expect to see more devices using this approach.

With this technology in theory the analog gain just doesn't happen anymore, because the following AD converter has such a huge dynamic range it allows you to cover all gain tasks in the digital domain without loosing resolution. So it's crucial to build an exceptional AD converter, which has been done so far by combining two or more converters and calculating a higher resolution from their output (shortest explanation possible...)
my friends Video Truck Company has 2 StageTec Consoles in 53 and 45 foot trucks (adding a 3rd i beleive in their new 48 foot truck) ... i do not think you can overload the inputs at all .. !!! all the sound mixers like it .. just not as easy to get around fast as most trucks use Studer or Calrec ..
Old 1st June 2019 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for the info.

I found this interesting brief on how it works.
https://redesigned-1.stagetec.com/en...truematch.html
Old 29th June 2019 | Show parent
  #6
Deleted e84f72f
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 ➡️
my friends Video Truck Company has 2 StageTec Consoles in 53 and 45 foot trucks (adding a 3rd i beleive in their new 48 foot truck) ... i do not think you can overload the inputs at all .. !!! all the sound mixers like it .. just not as easy to get around fast as most trucks use Studer or Calrec ..
Yeah. On the Zoom F6, with the dual A/D converters paired with the option of 32 bit floating, the dynamic rage is very large. Theoretically, you could clip the F6, however, it's not a realistic concern because you would destroy the microphone before you managed to clip the recorder.
Old 6 days ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
I am sorry to be resurrecting an old thread, but it applies to my question. I have been away from the recording scene for a while so I am just now getting to grips with the Zoom F6. I don't own an F6 at this moment.

My understanding from watching various videos on the F6 is the following. Please do correct me if I am wrong and I certainly don't intend to offend anyone. I am probably thinking of this the wrong way?

Assume we are recording 4 mics and are saving tracks 1 - 4 and the (default) LR mixdown to the SD card. In my own workflow the LR is irrelevant, what I am after are the individual tracks 1-4 which I load into my computer to make the mix using (in my case) Adobe Audition.

For 24 bit recordings
The knobs on the F6 adjust the faders which only adjust the volume in the LR. They do not affect volume in the individual tracks. To adjust the volume on the individual tracks (gain (?), called "trim" by Zoom), you have to dive into the menu.

In my own workflow since the LR is irrelevant, the knobs on the F6 are useless and I have the inconvenience of having to set the gain for each channel in the menu which is a hassle. The Zoom F8n has a setting where you can switch the fader / trim behavior (which will make it work like the F8) but the F6 doesn't have that setting so you are stuck with the faders.

For 32 bit recordings
The knobs on the F6 adjust the faders which only adjust the volume in the LR. They do not affect volume in the individual tracks. The gain / "trim" on individual tracks cannot be adjusted, the menu setting to this is grayed out. The 32 bit recording allows you to pull the sound way up or down (I have seen Curtis Judd do this in one of his videos) so you can't clip it.

However, it occurs to me that when you download your tracks 1-4 the volume might be so low that you might not see anything and have to add the gain after the fact in your computer on faith that it is actually there. Because of the 32 bit recording this should have no consequences for quality or noise level even if my mics normally need for example +35 dB of gain.

My conclusion
Zoom has designed the F6 as a recorder where the in-recorder LR mixdown is the intended end result. Using the individual tracks is possible but highly inconvenient. Consequently it might not be the best option if you mix the individual tracks on your computer and not in your recorder.

Did I get anything wrong here? Please correct me.

Regards, Christine
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
"For 32 bit recordings...
However, it occurs to me that when you download your tracks 1-4 the volume might be so low that you might not see anything and have to add the gain after the fact in your computer on faith that it is actually there. Because of the 32 bit recording this should have no consequences for quality or noise level even if my mics normally need for example +35 dB of gain. "

That's how I use the F6. In Audition I gain track i+II and III+IV (I often record 2 stereo pairs) +20 - +30dB
I don't use the LR tracks.
No problems so far.
Regards,
Torben
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by connloyalist ➡️
...

For 32 bit recordings
The knobs on the F6 adjust the faders which only adjust the volume in the LR. They do not affect volume in the individual tracks. The gain / "trim" on individual tracks cannot be adjusted, the menu setting to this is grayed out. The 32 bit recording allows you to pull the sound way up or down (I have seen Curtis Judd do this in one of his videos) so you can't clip it.
...
I adjust those faders and they do change the nominal level as it appears when I load the individual tracks into my DAW.

Fran
Old 4 days ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
The gain trim (when in 24bit mode) is much easier adjusted using the iPhone/iPad app - there are dedicated controls on the surface there. You do need to buy the bluetooth adapter to plug in the side of the F6. It makes a huge difference to the usability of the F6. I generally use my F6 as an 'ISO' track only recorder - Mix LR stays un-armed.
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Gear Nut
 
Just out of interest: how far does the Bluetooth adapter reach? How far away can you be to operate the device remotely?
Old 3 days ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
voltronic's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
connloyalist - I also use my F6 with the L/R downmix track disabled. The ISO track levels can indeed be adjusted, but there are two modes of operation that control what the pots actually do and whether or not those levels can be adjusted during recording. If you need to adjust ISO levels on the fly, you need to set the control to REC LEVEL. The info you are looking for is buried near the end of the operating manual on pg. 194. I am including a screenshot here.

The only thing you truly cannot adjust on the F6 is preamp gain, which is fixed. All level adjustments happen post-ADC regardless of recording mode. See the block diagrams on pp. 197-198.
Attached Thumbnails
Zoom F6 - Faderless-f6floatfadersettings.jpg  
Old 3 days ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Looking at the overall simplicity and competent elegance of the F6, I wonder whether it isn't the ideal 'dumb bit bucket' location recorder ? However a crucial caveat for me would be the ability to link two F6 units together, for a total of 12 ISO tracks.

Given the sync capabilities of the F6, does such unit chaining look possible...or does this just allow the F6 to talk to cameras ?

TIMECODE
CONNECTORS: 3.5 mm stereo mini (Tip: IN, Ring: OUT)
MODES: Off, Int Free Run, Int Record Run, Int RTC Run, Ext, Ext Auto Rec
(audio clock can be synchronized to timecode)
FRAME RATES: 23.976 ND, 24 ND, 25 ND, 29.97 ND, 29.97 D, 30 ND, 30 D
PRECISION: ±0.2 ppm
ALLOWED INPUT LEVEL: 0.2 – 5.0 Vpp
ALLOWED INPUT IMPEDANCE: 4.6 kΩ
OUTPUT LEVEL: 3.3 Vpp
OUTPUT IMPEDANCE: 50 Ω or less

It would be crucial that one set of transport buttons be able to control both units...possible ?
I can't see the F Control facilitating this either....https://zoomcorp.com/en/us/field-rec...ers/f-control/
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic ➡️
connloyalist - I also use my F6 with the L/R downmix track disabled. The ISO track levels can indeed be adjusted, but there are two modes of operation that control what the pots actually do and whether or not those levels can be adjusted during recording. If you need to adjust ISO levels on the fly, you need to set the control to REC LEVEL. The info you are looking for is buried near the end of the operating manual on pg. 194. I am including a screenshot here.

The only thing you truly cannot adjust on the F6 is preamp gain, which is fixed. All level adjustments happen post-ADC regardless of recording mode. See the block diagrams on pp. 197-198.
Hi Voltronic,

Thank you for your very illuminating answer This does put the F6 in a different light for me. Being honest, I am the happy owner of an F8 and don't need an F6. But this does make it a much more interesting piece of equipment.

Now I just need to suppress the GAS attack

Regards, Christine
Old 3 days ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Safe or Best -- choose one

Sub-ranging A/D converters are not anything new. The Prism Sound AD-2 was popular with mastering engineers 20 years ago. The best-known example of a "trim-less" input architecture would probably be the Stage Tec production / broadcast consoles. More recently, several factors combined to bring us products like the Sound Devices MixPre II and Zoom F6. One factor was that converter chips got cheap enough that one could easily run two A/D channels in parallel with different input gains. Another was the expiration of a Stage Tec patent describing how to switch between the two A/D streams in the digital domain depending on the signal level. A third was the penetration of floating-point DSP, driven initially by ADI Sharc chips and subsequently by native processing. The final nail was that digital audio interconnect switched from AES/EBU, inherently a 24-bit fixed-point medium, to computer-oriented serial standards like USB and ethernet which could move data in arbitrary formats.

With dual-path conversion, you can never get the input gain wrong, but you can also never get it right. The design of a conventional recorder is such that when you adjust the gain to optimise the signal level at the converter, you are simultaneously optimizing it for all the analog circuitry in front. Any analog circuit does have a "sweet spot": a signal level at which it performs best. A "trim-less" recorder design assures you that one signal path or the other will always be "suitable", but neither is likely to be "optimal". That's the price of operational convenience.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
Sub-ranging A/D converters are not anything new. The Prism Sound AD-2 was popular with mastering engineers 20 years ago. The best-known example of a "trim-less" input architecture would probably be the Stage Tec production / broadcast consoles. More recently, several factors combined to bring us products like the Sound Devices MixPre II and Zoom F6. One factor was that converter chips got cheap enough that one could easily run two A/D channels in parallel with different input gains. Another was the expiration of a Stage Tec patent describing how to switch between the two A/D streams in the digital domain depending on the signal level. A third was the penetration of floating-point DSP, driven initially by ADI Sharc chips and subsequently by native processing. The final nail was that digital audio interconnect switched from AES/EBU, inherently a 24-bit fixed-point medium, to computer-oriented serial standards like USB and ethernet which could move data in arbitrary formats.

With dual-path conversion, you can never get the input gain wrong, but you can also never get it right. The design of a conventional recorder is such that when you adjust the gain to optimise the signal level at the converter, you are simultaneously optimizing it for all the analog circuitry in front. Any analog circuit does have a "sweet spot": a signal level at which it performs best. A "trim-less" recorder design assures you that one signal path or the other will always be "suitable", but neither is likely to be "optimal". That's the price of operational convenience.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
That's why I bought one of the last MixPre 10 (first version) because I do not like switching converters and gain ranging. It is a kind of Dolby, you get less noise, but you do not get more depth in the recordings.
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
voltronic's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️

With dual-path conversion, you can never get the input gain wrong, but you can also never get it right. The design of a conventional recorder is such that when you adjust the gain to optimise the signal level at the converter, you are simultaneously optimizing it for all the analog circuitry in front. Any analog circuit does have a "sweet spot": a signal level at which it performs best. A "trim-less" recorder design assures you that one signal path or the other will always be "suitable", but neither is likely to be "optimal". That's the price of operational convenience.
I understand your points here, but the analog trim is fixed in the F6. I would assume that Zoom have fixed it at the point where the circuit performs best, unless they just picked some arbitrary level.

You say "one signal path or the other". Are you speaking about optimal levels (or not) feeding the multiple ADCs? If so, I understand that criticism a bit more, even though I have not personally heard or measured any evidence of converters misbehaving on my unit.
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
voltronic's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
That's why I bought one of the last MixPre 10 (first version) because I do not like switching converters and gain ranging. It is a kind of Dolby, you get less noise, but you do not get more depth in the recordings.
What negative effects have you heard from auto-ranging switching converters?
Old 1 day ago | Show parent
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic ➡️
What negative effects have you heard from auto-ranging switching converters?
I don't like them, not that I can hear a problem. Popular said, it is a sort of Dolby in the digital domain.

I am in the opinion that auto gain ranging converters do not add any extra depth and not result in an overall better sound. The only thing that is staggering is the total absence of noise when everyone is total quiet. But for location recording the extra headroom auto ranging offers is a plus. I don't need that in my work, I have enough time to calibrate all my gain settings.

When Prism came with their first gain switching AD converter in the 1990s, I compared it with the dCS 900B. The dCS sounded way better, and I bought the dCS 900B.

I bought my SD new in box for about half price.
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