OMG !  I so so hope this isn’t Vapourware ,

Just look

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 7.52.58 AM

I Want this …. if it is even half as good as it looks . It will be a Game changer

The Caveat is , This is ZOOM’s first foray into the Pro field recorder level . The Design of this is spot on for many things .

Locking Connectors = Check

Time Code =Check

Jam Sync=Check

Balanced Outputs = CHECK !!

Individual Gain controls >>>> Umm they got it backwards , The Gain settings should be Menu the Faders Should be analogue knobs , Why ?  When running live sound you absolutely Must be able to Ride the levels without changing the character of the sound . When You change input Gain You change the input characteristics ( Soft ,Hard , Closed, Open ) Your AIR , or Open sound is directly Gain related , Level Controls on the other hand do not affect the character of the sound as much , just the level .

The Other red flag is …. well quite simply This is the FIRST real field recorder , and it comes with a responsibility as that it is aimed directly at Sound Design and Film .  Filmmakers are not willing to Risk months of work on a device that fails . Channel dropouts , Lost takes , Software Bugs , Display failures , Power failures , Phantom power losses , and the list goes on .

What is on the Inside , what level of component value , and quality control ., I Really Need to play with it ……

Will we risk , a job that nets us half a years income ( by working that half a year ) and worry the whole time about what could go wrong .  , I mean , If it IS , the Pierre De Resistance’   of Zooms Work , Then great , I have the H6 and Like it , But I don’t use it for Film or Location sound . It isn’t bagable .

Sound Devices , Zaxcom , Sonosax etc are made to extremes of usage qualifications . You can take your gear into an environment that might be not so agreeable and get the job done . But those Audio devices cost a half  a years income in some cases !!  But THAT is what your paying for .

Back to the Zoom F8 …..

Is it built for the full on Documentary ( I have done Documentary work)  , up the side of a mountain ( I have been up the side of a Mountain with gear ) , or non peaceful zone ( Not doing the War-zone thing Sorry) or rain forest , or , or , or ..>>>>>>>>>

No …. simply put . No it isn’t ( But again I may change that opinion )  . , I mean Yeah it is Aluminium Cased , which is Cool , But Knobs and Controls and Most everything Zoom has Made is Not exactly Known for taking abuse …. I need to actually play with this thing to see what it is Made like , I may change my viewpoint .

It is intended to appease the Semi Pro/Amateur  film Maker who stays safely in the confines of his or her city or comfort zone .

In the case of Sound Design ,  where you are  not really working with the camera crew , but Gathering Samples , Ambient , Live Band , Concert etc .   Most Sound guys/gals in this field take pretty good care of their gear We don’t let it get bashed around . ( I don’t anyway , I take care of stuff) So this is less of a worry .

The Time Code connections are on the Back of the unit …………… Wait …. I am going to want to bag this recorder ,BAG , right ?

There shouldn’t be ANYTHING on the Back of the recorder , Flat , nothing All connections on the Sides where they are accessible thru the Bag Flaps including the Power connector .

What if Zoom had gone 6 inputs , and then the extra room was the BNC , and Power jack ? >>> Bag-able Immediately .

8 inputs just for the sake of 8 Inputs –  Like I said , this is their FIRST almost Pro field recorder . Not quite there yet .

Mark2 ?

6 Channels +2 ( master track)

Balance output + Camera Output

All connections on the side

Faders on Knobs instead of Gain control ( your sending a stereo Mix to the Camera , I want Live Mixing on the Knobs )

Digital I/O

Analogue Limiters NOT Software after the A/D converters , Limiters MUST COME BEFORE THE A/D CONVERTERS( Which in this Case the Zoom Website Says “Onboard Limiters with Ratio , Attack , and Release settings ” But the Basic Block diagram  in the Owners Manual does NOT show where the A/D converters are  yet when you get to Page 130 of the Manual  you see very clearly the Mic inout stage goes Direct to the A/D converter and the Limiter is 2 black AFTER the A/D not before ( FAIL Zoom ) .

Input Limiters MEANS Limit the INPUT , Not the Processed  A/D Signal , It Means Limit the Signal Coming thru the Mic or Line input to Prevent OVERLOADING the A/D Converters , ….. What is in the F8 is a Software Compressor not a Limiter . I call B/S

You want to record an Explosion ?  Don’t use this machine , It Doesn’t Limit the Inputs or protect the A/D Signal , the Converters take the full impact of the input . Taiko Drums , Really Loud stuff , The A/D converters are NOT behind the Protective curtain of a True Analogue Input Limiter that will prevent distortion from Clipping the A/D section .

Sound Devices has Optical Limiters well before the A/D section on all their gear , That is why Pro’s use them .

Bag included ….. Simply put the damn thing in the Bag before sending it out the door . A good bag to not some cheaply made fall apart in two weeks time sweatshop made junk .

As of Now , the Sound Devices 633 , is The Real Version of this .( But it is EXPENSIVE )

Everything is Routed as it should be The Knobs are Faders not Gain trim , Full I/O routing ability Full AES/EBU support , and Many MORE options ,

But then Sound Devices has been doing this a long time , They sort of just Know what to do .


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