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NAB 2018 sneak peak: Zoom F8n

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I am using the Tascams for so many years, and in the same time I invest in cameras and lenses, so when I was ready for the F4 the MixPre announcement came, now I am waiting to see where everything goes and buying SmallHD monitors and Edelkrone sliders!

 Before Christmas I did a TV show with extremely fast turnaround times and the 680 was sufficient. Then I had to put a small recorder in a car and the DR did its thing again! Now I am doing a few interviews and we are recording on camera and/or DR100mkII, and DR100 works for hours with its internal battery (which I have 2). 

I get what you say, and I have to see the ergonomics first. That is why I want to use the Mixpre first, and then decide, but I didn't fell in love with the F4 as much as when I was using the Edirol R44 back in the day, and the DR100mkII has been very reliable through the years, and when similar Zooms were 2 tiers down in sound quality and 3 in ergonomics and usability (and 1-2 in price!).

When I use the 633, is nothing like anything else though, I guess I am expecting some of this magic from the mixpres, and the truth is that SD usually delivers.

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5 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

 Before Christmas I did a TV show with extremely fast turnaround times and the 680 was sufficient. Then I had to put a small recorder in a car and the DR did its thing again! Now I am doing a few interviews and we are recording on camera and/or DR100mkII, and DR100 works for hours with its internal battery (which I have 2). 


Oh for sure, if sound wasn't my #1 focus then certainly I'd still be rocking the DR680! It is pretty decent. 

Heck, I'd probably *STILL* be using it if the F series (or MixPre) didn't exist. 

What do you do for powering with the DR680?

 

7 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

so when I was ready for the F4 the MixPre announcement came, now I am waiting to see where everything goes


After the F8n comes out I don't expect we'll see anything exciting at the $1K ish price point for a while. (SD won't do it, Zaxcom/Aaton/Sonosax I expect won't do anything. And probably Roland/Tascam will stay MIA, and likely we won't get any brand new players such as BMD or AJA or something completely random)

 

9 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

When I use the 633, is nothing like anything else though, I guess I am expecting some of this magic from the mixpres, and the truth is that SD usually delivers.


I really need to get some hands on experience myself with a 633, as my owning of a 552 and the reviews I see of the 633 make me doubt if the upgrade to the 633 from a F4 is really worth the ROI and if perhaps I should just wait it out for the next big release of a over $2K+ recorder. 

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6 hours ago, salim said:

@IronFilm and @Kisaha - Curious what you guys think of the new MixPre firmware that they'll be releasing this week: 

https://www.sounddevices.com/support/downloads/mixpres-firmware

Only just saw this earlier this afternoon. 

No major major changes which change my overall opinion on them, I reckon the Zoom F4 is still the best buy in the sub $2K ish market. Unless there is something else which you very specifically need.

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I wrote a very long list (my longest blog post ever!) of things I'd like to see (or dream of seeing... some might be unrealistic!) in the new upcoming Zoom F8n:

http://ironfilm.co.nz/what-id-like-to-see-in-the-new-zoom-f8n/

Waaaay too long list to list it all again here, but a few random points selected:

Audio waveforms

Metadata edit/shortcut via the PFL key

Linked safety track (thus as you adjust gain on the main track, the safety does this automatically as well)

Show the diff of external vs internal TC when compared together

An updated Zoom EXH-6 with locking XLR connections (and the F8n being able to use the Zoom EXH-6 to record 10 channels in total, rather than lose tracks 1/2 to it).

Integration with Timecode Systems :wave

Able to use a USB keyboard without needing the Zoom FRC-8 as all at the same time, or even better, use bluetooth keyboards?

Automatic clearing of peak indicators (so I don't need to do this myself after every slating).

B format decoding for the new Rode NT-SF1

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4 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Able to use a USB keyboard without needing the Zoom FRC-8 as all at the same time, or even better, use bluetooth keyboards?

The host iOS device that you're running F8Control on should be able to handle a simultaneous bluetooth keyboard connection which would be active automatically on any text input field in the App so this should work already?

I don't have an F8 (obviously ;) ) but I've just downloaded the app on to my iPad and my bluetooth keyboard is active simultaneously while the app is running. I know this because I can use the Enter key to dismiss the "Where is your F8 then ?" pop-up when I load the app :)

There may well be a keyboard shortcut to invoke the User Scene Name Edit screen that could make things even easier. If you know anyone who has an F8 on your other forums, if they hold down the Command key on their bluetooth keyboard while the app is on screen then it should after a few seconds open a pop-up that lists them.

So, if F8 for example opens the User Scene Name Edit screen then that would make it even easier. The good thing about them not updating the app in ages is that it can run on iOS9 so a cheapie second hand iPod Touch (5th gen) or iPhone 5C with a noname mini bluetooth keyboard would make ideal candidates for a bag and wallet friendly £100 alternative to the FRC-8

 

 

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1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

The host iOS device that you're running F8Control on should be able to handle a simultaneous bluetooth keyboard connection which would be active automatically on any text input field in the App so this should work already?

But what if you want to use it without the app? Not everyone has an iOS device. And even if you do, maybe you don't want yet another battery that you need to babysit during the shoot?

Plus then again there is the other issue of how very outdated their iOS app is, which doesn't always play so nice. 

Thus my point that having a keyboard hooked up direct to the recorder (like is commonly possible with many other higher end recorders) would be a good option to have. 

But yes, what you suggested is another viable alternative to consider as an option for some people. 

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Where I was going ultimately really was to sniff the bluetooth packets between the app and the F8 which would then enable a small device to act as the go between (replacing the app and the iOS device basically) between the keyboard and the recorder. The cheekiest thing about it is it could actually be powered from the USB port of the F8 ;)

On a similar note would be sniffing the USB between FRC-8 and the F4/F8 as that would enable a similar thing to be created that goes in via USB but would enable keyboard entry on the F4 as well.

Would that be something that would be of interest to enough F4 owners to be worthwhile someone (me) pursuing if Zoom don't implement it themselves in an F4 update?

 

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Price Drop: Gotham Sound (in the video comments) has stated that the launch price will be US$999! :-o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBTjvQzvzB4&lc=z22div4yopvwvlyoc04t1aokgoyeq0kktb4ur5s3v5rabk0h00410.1528118314039355

 

 

18 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

Would that be something that would be of interest to enough F4 owners to be worthwhile someone (me) pursuing if Zoom don't implement it themselves in an F4 update?

Absolutely! But the price for it would have to be extremely low, due to how low priced the F4 is itself, otherwise I don't think you'd find too many F4 owners pouncing on it. 

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Interestingly, I see that Zoom is also launching a new PCF-8n bag alongside the new F8n as well. This is a good thing, as I feel the original F8 bag was a flawed product, that even the F4 bag was an improvement upon. (but even the F4 bag wasn't perfect, and is why I upgraded from it) You can see a hint of what the new bag is in this pic here (for instance that zipper and velcro to split the two segments apart is new):

 

image.thumb.png.0b52f4a8e71d7a1e7c5af3cb9bc557a6.png

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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

Absolutely! But the price for it would have to be extremely low, due to how low priced the F4 is itself, otherwise I don't think you'd find too many F4 owners pouncing on it. 

Quick finger in the air think of a number guesstimate would be circa €50 so probably not a goer.

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You'd certainly find buyers at that price point, but only a very very very small pool. 

A more interesting project to think about would be an "auto mute" device for outputs from a recorder. Many more people would be keen on that!

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Well first you'd feed into this magic black box as inputs the the outputs from the recorder (at least two inputs would be a reasonable minimum to support). Then from here there are a few approaches as to how to accomplish the goal of starting/stopping recording, the simplest approach by far (but needing an external timecode generator) would be to simply pass through an external timecode generator to the recorder's TC input.

Thus when the big red record button on the magic black box is hit this would pass the TC to the recorder (automatically starting it, if it is set to Ext TC) and also in the process open up the audio outputs flowing out (to say the comteks for instance). Easy.

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Yes! Although could work with many more than just the F4. 


And all the "magic" that needs to be done is to open up both together, and close both together. Easy. And package it up in a nice little box which is robust, and looks well and works well. 

I should probably give this a test go myself. Would be a nice addition. (why on earth this hasn't been made already I have no idea, an aversion to external TC?!)

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It seems to me like this battery compartment design is worse than before? As this is completely impractical to swap batteries in and out when you've got the recorder in your bag. At least when the battery pack is on the bottom, then most bags have easy access to that.

 

Also by using a battery tray, it is super fast to swap in and out batteries! (if you carry around a spare full battery tray, like I do as a back up)

image.png.3e0e521b466aea3ec3ab691e071a7842.png

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