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Zoom F3 - Compact 2 channel 32 bit float audio recorder


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This is available in mid-March for €349 and could be a very interesting alternative to the F6 if you only need 2 channels and/or prefer to have something much more compact for camera mounting.

Runs for 8 hours on two AA batteries and with the optional BT1 adapter it can not only be remote controlled but also have wireless timecode sync over BLE.

I think the F3 would partner up well with a couple of Zoom's F2-BT lav recorders to make a very capable 4 channel 32 bit float audio system that would all be timecode synced and remote controlled through BLE for around €700.

Not having to worry about setting levels and never having to wonder whether the lav mics are in record mode etc would be a boon for solo operators in a hurry.

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16 hours ago, KnightsFan said:

I was looking at this when it was announced with the exact same thought about using F2's in conjunction. From what I can tell though, the app only pairs with a single recorder, so you can't simultaneously rec/stop all 3 units wirelessly, right?


So I've been looking further into this today and its actually a complete mess.

And not just because of the app.

First off, I should have been clearer in the original post regarding the requirement to use an UltraSync Blue unit (€150 approx) for syncing multiple Zoom, Atomos and iOS apps over BLE.

Which brings us to an issue...

The Zoom units with BLE functionality can use the connectivity for the app or for wireless timecode but not both simultaneously.

This is a menu switched option (such as on my H3-VR and the new F3) but the F2-BT doesn't have an obvious mechanism to change this on the fly as it has neither a screen nor a switch to do it with.

Unbelievably, Zoom's solution to this lack of UI on the the unit is that you have to connect it via USB to a Mac or a PC running Zoom's F2 Editor application to switch its mode.

The F2BT unit has five physical buttons on it that Zoom could have used to control that switch on boot up (i.e. hold down Stop button when switching on for Control and hold down Play when booting for timecode mode) but instead have opted for an utterly ridiculous and clunky solution.

So dynamically changing it on the hoof is completely impractical.

In terms of control from the mobile app, it is inexplicable why it can't control more than one device at a time.

I've had a bit of a hack around interrogating the H3VR this morning and I can see that there are enough BLE Services and Characteristics to make it happen to address units individually within the limits of how many simultaneous BLE devices can be connected.

A more simplified app option for multi units that did basic rec start/stop and signal present leds rather than full metering and settings changes etc would be perfectly doable and adequate for at least four units.

For now, in terms of rec start/stop its doable across multiple units if you close the app and re-open it to choose a different unit on the initial scan but thats clunky as hell too.

So, as it stands, to do two timecode synced F2BTs and the F3 they would have to all be in timecode mode (and you'd have to have set the F2s up beforehand) and started manually because there is also no mechanism to do a record start/stop command for the whole group.

OK, so considering that the F2BT has a run time of about 15 hours on batteries and an entire recording for that period would take up a fairly trivial (compared to video files) of about 8gb then the solution would be to sync it to the UltraSync Blue, put it in record and use the lock mechanism to keep it there and then pressing Record on the F3 and leaving it running all day.

But you'd have to be careful with that too as what this guy shows in his video review is that it is easily possible to think the F2 is in record when it isn't due to the enormous delay after pressing the Rec button and it actually beginning the recording.

In essence, I don't think any of this is insurmountable and can be filed under first world problems considering the amount of scope on offer here by having a couple of F2-BTs, an F3 and an UltraSync Blue but its infuriating that Zoom seem to have had such a massive failure in joined up thinking on how it hangs together as a full system.

The easiest solution to fix this would be to have an option in the Zoom devices to start/stop recording on receipt/suspension of Bluetooth timecode and use the UltraSync Blue as master controller by using its start and stop run function.

Maddening how short sighted Zoom have been here.

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Wow great info @BTM_Pix which confirms my suspicions: Zoom's app is the Panasonic-autofocus of their system. I've considered buying a used F2 (not BT), opening it up and soldering the pins from a bluetooth arduino into the Rec button, but I don't have time for any more silly projects at the moment. I wish Deity would update the Connect with 32 bit. Their receiver is nice and bag friendly, and they've licensed dual transmit/rec technology already. AND they have both lav and XLR transmitters.

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