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News Leak: Zoom F4 with six inputs and eight tracks (is like a new low priced Zoom F8!)

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My blog post on this news: http://ironfilm.co.nz/news-leak-zoom-f4-with-six-inputs-and-eight-tracks-is-like-a-new-low-priced-zoom-f8/ (some of it repeated below)

zoom_f4.png

News got leaked accidentally by B&H that a new Zoom F4 is coming.

I think the Zoom F8 when it was announced was a groundbreaking new recorder in what it brought to a new low price point for soundies.

Now the F4 is even cheaper ($650 vs $1K), and has nearly everything the F8 has! Except for most notably the lack of extra XLR inputs (8 vs 4, thus the names: F8 vs F4. The "F" = field recorder, "H" = handheld recorder such as H1/H4n/H5/H6) and the lack of an app for the F4 to mix on a tablet like you can with the F8. Oh, and in a more minor point the F4 has a monochrome screen vs the 4 color screen of the F8.

But everything else (such as pre amps, and time code) is basically exactly the same as the F8!

 

 

 

 

Here is the blurb and specs list from B&H (page is currently down, you need to use Google cache to view it):

Quote

 

Designed to provide big Hollywood sound on an affordable indie budget, Zoom F4 is a 6-input / 8-track professional field recorder featuring super-low-noise preamps and timecode with pinpoint accuracy. The unit provides recording and playback resolutions up to 24-bit/192 kHz with impressive audio specs including an extremely low noise floor (-127 dBu EIN) and high gain (up to +75 dB), with +4 dB line-level inputs. The on-board temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) generates timecode at 0.2 ppm accuracy and supports all standard drop-frame and non-drop formats, as well as jam sync for external devices.

The advanced on-board limiters provide overload protection for all inputs and outputs, which lets you capture audio in a wide range of environments. Limiting can be applied simultaneously at full resolution with 10 dB of headroom and features controls for setting threshold, attack, and release.

The F4 offers four combo XLR-1/4" inputs, a 1/8" stereo input, and includes a Zoom mic-capsule input for recording six discrete tracks with an additional stereo mix, all at full 24-bit/192 kHz resolution. Additionally, inputs 5/6 can function as a camera return for audio monitoring only for confidence checks. The dual-SD card slot features simultaneous recording to both cards allowing you to make a backup or split recording with all eight tracks on one card and a stereo mix on the other.
Each of the four XLR-1/4" inputs offers a dedicated preamp with gain control, phantom power, a six-segment LED level meter, plus a Record Ready and PFL switch. In addition to the 1/4" headphone output with a dedicated volume control, the F4 provides two main balanced XLR outputs, as well as two sub outs on a single unbalanced 1/8" stereo mini-jack, enabling easy connection to a camera. All timecode I/O is provided on BNC connectors and the unit includes a variable-frequency slate-tone generator to confirm levels.

An easy-to-read 1.9" LCD display is suitable for use in all lighting environments including dark low-light sets to bright sunlight. The on-board mixer not only provides user-adjustable level, pan, and input/output delay, but also offers high-pass filtering for noise and wind reduction, phase inversion, and Mid-Side decoding. The F4 ships with a camera-mount adapter, AC power adapter, and download codes for Cubase LE and Wavelab LE.

Six-input / eight-track multitrack field recorder with integrated mixer

Six discrete inputs, including four with locking Neutrik XLR/TRS combo connectors, a stereo 3.5mm input, and Zoom mic-capsule input

Compact and lightweight metal chassis, weighing just two pounds (without batteries)

High-quality mic preamps with up to 75 dB gain, less than -127 dBu EIN, and +4 dB line inputs

Support for up to 24-bit/192 kHz recording as well as 96, 88.2, 48, and 44.1 kHz, plus 47.952 and 48.048 kHz for HD video compatibility; 16-/24-bit resolution

Accurate timecode (0.2 ppm) I/O on standard BNC connectors; dropframe/non-drop formats with Jam Sync

Two different power supply options: 8x AA batteries or external DC battery pack with 4-pin Hirose connector

Dedicated gain control knob, 6-segment LED level meter, and PFL/Solo switch for each channel

Phantom power (+48V/+24V) on every preamp

Advanced on-board limiters for input and output

High-pass filter, phase invert, and Mid-Side decoder

Input delay of up to 30ms per channel / output delay of up to 10 frames per output

Compatible with all Zoom mic capsules; optional ECM extender cable enables remote positioning

Dual XLR balanced Main Outs plus 1/8" stereo mini-jack Sub Out

Dedicated headphone output (100mW) with front-panel volume control

1.9” white, backlit monochrome LCD

Dedicated PFL display with viewable trim settings

Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots, up to 512GB each

Records in BWF-compliant WAV or MP3 file formats

Support for extensive metadata (BWF and iXML); input time, date, project, scene number, etc.

Built-in tripod mount; camera-mount adapter also included

Use as a 6-in/4-out USB audio interface (@ 96 kHz)

 

ZOOM-F4_Left.pngZOOM-F4-Right.pngZoom-F4_Front.pngZOOM-F4_Rear.pngZOOM-F4-Top.png

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I know the Zoom line has pretty much become the go-to recorder for prosumers, and even a lot of pros, but the preamps on these units have always been disappointing imho. Then again I'm looking at capturing audio that sounds great as part of a larger visual/soundscape and equally as great solo for radio broadcast where there's nowhere to hide. I still recommend the Marantz pmd661. Its amps are way better than the Zoom line, the sound is broadcast quality level, but it isn't as big or expensive as one of the Sound Devices units.

 

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This is looking really great. One day I am going to have to replace my MOTU interface and this might be it. One minor complaint about Zoom for me is their use of mic and line inputs. XLR is always mic, TRS is always line. I could easily see why I'd need one for the other, but I guess I could also see how it could be convenient too. At least they have line. Their first units didn't.

Zoom is cool beans.

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1 minute ago, IronFilm said:

Ty Harper, the H4n had shit shit pre amps. But the H5/H6 pre amps are a leap forward.

 

And the F8 preamps are better than anything Zoom has ever made before!

And the F4 pre amps are the same as the F8.

how much better? in therms of signal noise? if so is it possible to know how many decibel can boost the signal better than H6? thx

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Sorry for coming back, but Tascam DR100ii+iii and the 701D, have AA+internal bettery. The latest ones can play with usb power banks also. Plus their pre amps sounded much better than Zooms (I haven't heard any of the latest Fs though). 

These are not small feats..being able to continue recording after the AA batteries have been depleted is something of great significance for run n gun sound and/or big interviews/scenes. Zooms (until now) were never intended for video work, it was a similar to Canon 5Dii video accident!

I was considering the 701D for next year, but now I will definitely consider the F4. Reminds me the good ol' Edirol a bit..

Also, any comment on the new DR100 vs the previous one, vs the F4?

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22 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

Sorry for coming back, but Tascam DR100ii+iii and the 701D, have AA+internal bettery. The latest ones can play with usb power banks also. Plus their pre amps sounded much better than Zooms (I haven't heard any of the latest Fs though). 

The F4 is massively more bag friendly than the DR100 series

The H5/H6 was a big leap forward in pre amps over the popular old H4n, and the F8/F4 is an improvement over the H5/H6.

The F4 is using a hirose connection for external power, massively preferable over USB!!!

I've used both hirose and USB myself with sound recorders. ( http://ironfilm.co.nz/firmware-update-for-tascam-dr-60d-mk1-fixes-recording-interruptions-when-running-on-external-usb-power-packs/ )

 

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2 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Ty Harper, the H4n had shit shit pre amps. But the H5/H6 pre amps are a leap forward.

 

And the F8 preamps are better than anything Zoom has ever made before!

And the F4 pre amps are the same as the F8.

Good to know!

No question Zoom's pre-amps have gotten consistently better over time (I was down with Zoom for a minute. Had the original H4 and then the H4N), and what they lack in sound quality they make up for in very practical features and portability.

But if audio quality is your priority then the Marantz PMD661 (Version 1 or 2) and the Fostex FR2-LE are still the best bets in the sub $500 price range imho.

Unless you really need 2+ XLR mics.

And actually the Marantz goes for like $300 used nowadays. I just got a 2nd unit with the Oade Mod for $300 (which makes the amp's even better).

It's interesting cuz these two units hardly get mentioned on video-centric blogs, even though they've out performed Zoom's newer H line releases on sheer sound quality over and over again and have maintained their rep (particularly the Marantz) in the pro audio/run n gun radio broadcast world.

All that said, I wouldn't mind seeing some proper F8 comparisons to the PMD661 and the FR2-LE because I'd love to downsize + have more than 2 XLR mic channels at my disposal.

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Zoom F4.jpg

 

Little known fun fact: the Zoom F4 can also record to Blu-ray disks as well as SD cards! ;-) 

As the new Zoom F4 is "#1 New Release in Blu-ray Recorders" on Amazon, that is a new feature we didn't hear about from Zoom...  that it can record not just to SD cards but to Blu-rays as well! ;-)  ha

That isn't even the oddest thing about this Amazon listing, it  indicates the RRP is $799 and won't ship until November 30th! :-o

Yet Zoom has stated pricing of $650 and shipping in October ( B&H Photo Video Pro Audio has expected availability of October 11th), thus I'm guessing that is two more things Amazon got wrong. 

https://www.amazon.com/Zoom-F4-Input-Multitrack-Recorder/dp/B01LOR91FC/

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I thought that the DR701D has the best pre amplifiers AFTER only the DR100mkiii, and the DR100mkii's pre amplifiers sound better than any Zoom I have heard (I haven't the F8, and obviously F4) already.

Plus, I want to be able to recordwireless,plus +48v mics at the same time, something that it is not possible with my DR100mkii at the moment (if anyone knows anything about the subject, please let me know!).

These are the main points, plus 701 has some more I/O it seems that could be handy to have.

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My "hear/test" microphone is the 416, which I have 17 years of experience with it as a boom operator. Honestly, mic placement is 65% of the job, but it seemed that sound recorders for video stayed behind technologically.

Since the 5DmII revolution, you can have 4K video with adapted lenses, or not, for a few hundred euros, and since the Zoom revolution, well, it took it some time!

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