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NAB 2018 sneak peak: Zoom F8n

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Yes, I think the trick is to incorporate a few little bits as well to make it a one stop utility box.

So, the keyboard input could be included and the remote start in and out from different cameras etc

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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

In response to people complaining that their original F8 doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the F8n and asking if their F8 will get updated to this as well (it might? But I wouldn't hold your breath), I wrote up this somewhat lengthy response:

he F8 original has had three years of excellent support from Zoom in updating it. 

I think that is perfectly reasonable, better than that even!

Plus there is the possibility the F8n has a more powerful processor in it than the F8?? So maybe the F8 is not even physically capable of this?

Currently the F8 is at v4.10, that is a *lot* of updates!

 

Here a few of the highlights:

 

v2.0:

https://www.learnlightandsound.com/blog/2015/12/27/zoom-f8-audio-recorder-firmware-v2-0

Sound reports

Trim knobs can be used as faders

False take folder

Scene number advancement

Change previously recorded track names

Show track names on level meter screen

PFL solos tracks during playback

Shortcuts

 

Those are some big BIG UPDATES there! And that isn't even all of it from the v2.0 firmware update.

 

v3.0:

https://www.zoom-na.com/news/f8-firmware-update-v300

 

Monitoring input signals of specific tracks without recording

Backing up / loading saved settings.

Adding a TONNE of extra functionality to be used with the new FRC-8 and a keyboard.

 

Again, another big BIG update.

 

v4.0:

Extensive ambisonics support!!!! wow

https://www.zoom-na.com/news/firmware-update-zoom-f8-firmware-40-recording-360-degree-audio

 

Another big big update.

 

And this is not even counting the many smaller updates between the big updates, which further improved the F8 during its lifetime.

 

I feel buyers of the F8 when it came out have been served very very well by Zoom, and I can only hope I get a similar series of updates during the lifetime of the Zoom F8n! :-o  I wonder what the future holds for the F8n?

 

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Sweet news for "F8 original" owners, the F8n app will work with the F8 as well! (hopefully this mean app bug fixes, as it has been a long time since the iOS app had an updated! Plus general usability improvements)

 

"The F8 will be compatible with the F8n app which will include some updates!"

 

Follow the link for the original source info from Zoom themselves:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtIfSGcm4fk&lc=z22div4yopvwvlyoc04t1aokg4stwhpuyygordywqnhdbk0h00410.1528212173721520

 

 

 

 

 

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Wow, I just found out that the Zoom F8 made up TWENTY FIVE PERCENT of Zoom's sales! :-o 
Good grief, no wonder they followed it up with an F4 and now a F8n!

That must be a tonne of F8 recorders that they sold over the years.  Zillions of them. 

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I didn't know where else to ask, and this seemed kind of relevant... Sorry if it's wrong.

My USB XLR interface recently stopped working and in looking to replace it, I stumbled upon the Zoom H6, which can be used as an interface. I also record a lot of live music, performed for the camera (no audience) and so the 4 (or 6) XLR input really got me interested. Previously, I've had 2 XLRs going into a camera on sticks and any other inputs going into a Tascam DR40 and where needed, borrowed a Zoom H4n to get to the 6 inputs.

With that in mind, needing a field recorder with 6 inputs, that doubles as a USB interface. Is the Zoom h6 my best option? It seems perfect, but maybe @IronFilm and others have better suggestions?

Edit: Along those lines, how does a 6 track recording look? With my current, nonsensical solution I have 6 mono recordings from each input. Does the H6 also record to 6 mono tracks? Are they all in the same file?

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There are other options in terms of the field recorder aspect at that price (like the Marantz PMD-706) and above (Tascam DR701D) that will give you the 6 tracks but the USB audio interface is the unique part of the Zoom.

One criticism I've seen come up about it a few times as an interface though versus a normal USB one is that as the XLRs aren't all on one side it can be a bit of a spiders legs job so that might be something to consider.

1*O_e9RfEWOqGp7pIjJ4zP4A.thumb.jpg.5ea17cf40f526a6a347d20d0c1b82de9.jpg

With regard to the file structure, its like this, so each project has a folder and within it the separate files for the recording are denoted LR for stereo recording of the L/R input, Tr1 would be a mono track of Input 1, Tr34 would be a stereo recording of  Input 3 and 4 etc..:

569365882_ScreenShot2018-06-07at11_47_43.thumb.jpg.8b80eccc32641e94d4fc9cba1537d05d.jpg

For what your needs are as both a USB interface and a field recorder as a single unit, I can't think of a better solution and if there is one it is certainly not that price. 

Having a real monitor mixer on board would be something I could see you benefiting from as you could use it to provide a separate monitor mix to the musicians when you're using it like that or for providing a mixed version out to a camera when filming for fast turnaround whilst still having the benefit of the individually recorded tracks as a safety.

As for the actually quality of the mic-pres, there are a ton of videos on YouTube of it being used in various levels of competency with a ton of different mics of different quality so I guess you can take them as a spectrum of what it can do but you'll really need to plug your own mics in and compare it with what you know they can do with your current setup to make that call.

 

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Thanks @BTM_Pix That's kind of what I thought about the file structure. That's perfect.

As for USB interface. I only need one input for that, so this will be overkill in that situation. If I need to buy something new anyway, I figure I'll replace my wacky location setup as well. It was save some time trying to sync up tracks later. Especially those who want guitars direct, not mic'd as those can't be synced with a clap!

From what I can tell, if I get the levels rightish on location, there's both line out and headphone jacks on the h6, so I can still plug it into one of the cameras for a quick turn around where needed. 

Looks like I'll be placing my order soon.

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19 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

Especially those who want guitars direct, not mic'd as those can't be synced with a clap!

Imagine how thrilled they'll be that your recorder has a metronome and guitar tuner built in ;)

7 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

From what I can tell, if I get the levels rightish on location, there's both line out and headphone jacks on the h6, so I can still plug it into one of the cameras for a quick turn around where needed. 

Yes, the monitor mixer it has onboard will let you do that but just be aware that the line out and the headphone both source it so if you wanted to use the Solo function whilst recording to PFL a microphone then the outgoing feed to the camera would be impacted.

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@BTM_Pix I haven't follow the thread carefully, but the Sound Devices MixPre are usb interfaces also.

@IronFilm

So, what are the differences between the F8n and the F8? And where do you put the F4 among them?(less ch. Obviously, but also worst screen, and what else?).

The F4 is 600euros here, the F8 900euros, the mixpre6 is 1400€(wtf?!) and the 10T amd F8n aren't here at all.

I am really tempted to go with the F4. The price difference is huge, and it is nit bad at all. The F8n has improved both the limiters and headphone amp I believe. What else?

 

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20 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

I didn't know where else to ask, and this seemed kind of relevant... Sorry if it's wrong.

My USB XLR interface recently stopped working and in looking to replace it, I stumbled upon the Zoom H6, which can be used as an interface. I also record a lot of live music, performed for the camera (no audience) and so the 4 (or 6) XLR input really got me interested. Previously, I've had 2 XLRs going into a camera on sticks and any other inputs going into a Tascam DR40 and where needed, borrowed a Zoom H4n to get to the 6 inputs.

With that in mind, needing a field recorder with 6 inputs, that doubles as a USB interface. Is the Zoom h6 my best option? It seems perfect, but maybe @IronFilm and others have better suggestions?


The Zoom F4 is only marginally more expensive (a hundred bucks more) than the H6 and is a much much much better field recorder. 

And of course the F8n just got announced, and if you can splurge to buy that then it is a total no brainer choice. 

18 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

There are other options in terms of the field recorder aspect at that price (like the Marantz PMD-706) and above (Tascam DR701D) that will give you the 6 tracks but the USB audio interface is the unique part of the Zoom.

The DR701D costs more than the Zoom F4, and I can't understand at all why a person would want the DR701D (unless you really really  want that HDMI input). I feel a case can be made for the DR70D if you're on an ultra tight budget, but not the DR701D. 

I feel similar about the Marantz PMD-706 as I do about the DR70D, kinda appealing for its price point, but when you look at the wider context of the F4 only being a teeny bit more than it makes no sense at all. 

 

18 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

With regard to the file structure, its like this, so each project has a folder and within it the separate files for the recording are denoted LR for stereo recording of the L/R input, Tr1 would be a mono track of Input 1, Tr34 would be a stereo recording of  Input 3 and 4 etc..:

569365882_ScreenShot2018-06-07at11_47_43.thumb.jpg.8b80eccc32641e94d4fc9cba1537d05d.jpg

That is what nightmares are made out of, compared to the ease and depth of control you get with the Zoom F4/F8/F8n (or really any semi-pro/pro field recorder out there). 
 

18 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Having a real monitor mixer on board would be something I could see you benefiting from as you could use it to provide a separate monitor mix to the musicians when you're using it like that or for providing a mixed version out to a camera when filming for fast turnaround whilst still having the benefit of the individually recorded tracks as a safety.

Worth checking out this for the F8n (well, kinda for the F4 as well, but only functions with the first four of the six channels of the F4, which I found out to my annoyance when I purchased the FRC-8 myself. But never mind, am getting the F8n very soon!):

https://www.adorama.com/zozfrc8.html

image.thumb.png.68a6abb8741c505214ee05bd1cf44a7f.png

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Thanks @IronFilm Sadly the f4 is close to twice the price here. H6 comes in a bundle with an two capsules, and then I'm thinking to buy the XLR capsule as an extra. In total, that will run €325. The F4 is €599. I'd also then loose 2 inputs, but as you say, gain a lot in other areas.

What don't you like about that file structure? I'd have thought separate tracks for each input is ideal.

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2 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

I'd also then loose 2 inputs, but as you say, gain a lot in other areas.

Lose what? They're both six channel recorders. 

 

2 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

What don't you like about that file structure? I'd have thought separate tracks for each input is ideal.

Separate tracks? Yes. 
Separate files? No.

Even worse, you have almost no control over the naming structure. And no other control over metadata either. 

 

7 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

Thanks @IronFilm Sadly the f4 is close to twice the price here. H6 comes in a bundle with an two capsules, and then I'm thinking to buy the XLR capsule as an extra. In total, that will run €325. The F4 is €599.

That seems overpriced. I'm not even a local, and I found a Zoom F4 in the UK for £455.98 in just seconds:

https://www.musicstore.de/en_GB/GBP/Zoom-F4-4-Spur-Field-Recorder/art-REC0012751-000V000071204

Also, another option to consider is a secondhand Zoom F8, especially if you can wait a couple of months then I bet we'll see plenty more secondhand ones for sale from people who got the itch to buy a new F8n. 

 

If you want to go dirt cheap instead, another option to consider is the Marantz PMD-706 for under £250:

https://www.musicstore.de/en_GB/GBP/Marantz-PMD-706-Multi-Track-Recorder/art-REC0013499-000V000074440

Marantz PMD-706 has safety track recording which the Zoom H6 doesn't have, and can give phantom power to all 6 inputs which also the H6 can't do. 
 

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Ah yeah, didn't see the socket for 5 and 6 on the F4. But then how are 5 and 6 controlled? There's only 4 nobs. With the h6 you get extra switches and dials for any additional input.

To me the folder structure is 1 file per channel. In the example they've given in the folder ZOOM0002 I'm looking at it like this:

Stereo track from an XY capsule - room sound 

Track 1 is mono - vocals

Tracks 3 and 4 as stereo - 2 mics on 1 guitar

So basically, each file is 1 instrument in this example... that's ideal.

The question is, can you choose for tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 to all be their own mono track, or will 3 and 4 forever be linked as stereo? (I assume you can chose, would be strange if you can't)

I think the capsules will always record to L/R stereo tracks, and then the 4 that are built in can be their own mono tracks.

Thanks again for the help! As with all of these things, the only way to know exactly what configurations you can have in reality, you have to use it...

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39 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

Ah yeah, didn't see the socket for 5 and 6 on the F4. But then how are 5 and 6 controlled? There's only 4 nobs. With the h6 you get extra switches and dials for any additional input.

No you don't, you have only four dials on the H6. 
You get the extra two dials on the EXH-6, which is exactly the same way it works with the F4.

 

39 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

So basically, each file is 1 instrument in this example... that's ideal.

I'd rather use BWAV and have a single file per take (which you have the option of choosing instead with the F4/F8/F8n). And creating an entire new folder for each take seems a bit ugly indeed.

Plus the H6 has absolutely none of the degrees of customization  the F series has for naming files/tracks/notes/etc, which is very powerful for projects and especially for long running ones. 

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11 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

No you don't, you have only four dials on the H6. 
You get the extra two dials on the EXH-6, which is exactly the same way it works with the F4.

I hear ya on the other points, but on the H6 there's 4 dials built onto the recorder and each capsule comes with it's own dials. 

image.png.145f9683b682ce4699e89acddf533a02.png

I think for what I do, a new folder for every time I push record will be great. Thanks for the info!

Edit: just reread your reply and yes we're talking about the same thing. My bad (it's still early here).

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14 minutes ago, Anaconda_ said:

I hear ya on the other points, but on the H6 there's 4 dials built onto the recorder and each capsule comes with it's own dials. 

E
X
A
C
T
L
Y

....the same as the F4!

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2 hours ago, IronFilm said:


The Zoom F4 is only marginally more expensive (a hundred bucks more) than the H6 and is a much much much better field recorder.

The DR701D costs more than the Zoom F4, and I can't understand at all why a person would want the DR701D (unless you really really  want that HDMI input). I feel a case can be made for the DR70D if you're on an ultra tight budget, but not the DR701D. 


I feel similar about the Marantz PMD-706 as I do about the DR70D, kinda appealing for its price point, but when you look at the wider context of the F4 only being a teeny bit more than it makes no sense at all. 

To be fair mate, the 701D and the PMD-706 where there purely as an indicator of the 6 track field recorders immediately above and below the H6 as it was the 6 track aspect that was one of the key features that @Anaconda_ was interested in. This ruled out the 70D with it only being 4 track.

The 701D is marginally cheaper in the UK than the F4 (by about £50 but still ;) ) so it is the next one up in price.

They were only used in that context though rather than a recommendation as neither of them has the other key function that he wanted which was to have it do double duty as a USB interface.

Which, of course, ruled out the F4 as well anyway.

So in the context of what he asked for which is a 6 track recorder that also could be used as a USB interface, it's the only one of the bunch that could do that irrespective of price.

Having said that... 

@Anaconda_ then subsequently said he only needed one channel of USB interface so in that context, the F4 and a £30 Behringer Uphoria interface would be a better all round solution to get the required functiionality with a clearly better field recorder .

It's still double the price though but that extra £250 will undoubtedly be a bargain spread over the usage period.

Hope that clarifies what I meant about the context of referencing those other recorders.

 

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1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

The 701D is marginally cheaper in the UK than the F4 (by about £50 but still ;) ) so it is the next one up in price.


I feel it would need to get to be £200 cheaper before we can start talking about it being an attractive alternative to the Zoom F4.

1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

They were only used in that context though rather than a recommendation as neither of them has the other key function that he wanted which was to have it do double duty as a USB interface.

Which, of course, ruled out the F4 as well anyway.

No it doesn't rule out the F4. As I've used my F4 as a USB interface before. So I think I'd know ?


Beside, he just wants a single channel one, and those are easy enough to pick up for even less than fifty bucks. So I wouldn't rate it is a critical feature the field recorder must have. 

1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

@Anaconda_ then subsequently said he only needed one channel of USB interface so in that context, the F4 and a £30 Behringer Uphoria interface would be a better all round solution to get the required functiionality with a clearly better field recorder .

Exactly. 

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19 minutes ago, IronFilm said:


I feel it would need to get to be £200 cheaper before we can start talking about it being an attractive alternative to the Zoom F4.

No it doesn't rule out the F4. As I've used my F4 as a USB interface before. So I think I'd know ?


Beside, he just wants a single channel one, and those are easy enough to pick up for even less than fifty bucks. So I wouldn't rate it is a critical feature the field recorder must have. 

Exactly. 

The 701D was purely there to indicate the next 6 track recorder up in price to the H6 though. There was never any recommendation attached to it and certainly not against the F4.

Again, the USB interface only having to be one channel was something that was only specified AFTER my post though so at the time the requirement was 6 track recorder with USB interface .

Anyway......having said that

F4 being able to be used as a USB interface..you and your pesky facts have got me there :)

Complete oversight on my part which changes everything and, Yes, if the budget is there, there is no contest.

And by the way, I may have a sub £10 solution for your auto switching black box  if you don't mind a bit of soldering  

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Thanks guys. All well and good, but like I say, the F4 here is close to twice the price of the H6 with 3 different capsules. (€325 vs €599)

3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

That seems overpriced. I'm not even a local, and I found a Zoom F4 in the UK for £455.98 in just seconds:

I'm not in UK :) Holland is generally an expensive place. On The website you provided it's the F4 €525, and H6 with EXH6 is €350 still €175 difference (€200 if you go by my lowest price of £325 for H6 and EXH6)

3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

If you want to go dirt cheap instead, another option to consider is the Marantz PMD-706 for under £250:

https://www.musicstore.de/en_GB/GBP/Marantz-PMD-706-Multi-Track-Recorder/art-REC0013499-000V000074440

Marantz PMD-706 has safety track recording which the Zoom H6 doesn't have, and can give phantom power to all 6 inputs which also the H6 can't do. 
 

Wow didn't realise that. It does a safety track of the LR channels (I assume any capsule is LR) and the built-in XLRs all have phantom, but not the capsule ones... Shame.

The Marantz has 4 XLR and 2 1/4 jack... What's the point in having phantom power on 1/4 jacks?

 

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