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New Zoom Recorder Announced: Zoom F4
Old 6th September 2016
  #1
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JamesClark1991's Avatar
New Zoom Recorder Announced: Zoom F4



After the market-disrupting F8 it's good to see another new product

Wonder what the price point will be?....
Old 6th September 2016
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
ronmac's Avatar
B&H are showing pre-order price of $649
Old 6th September 2016
  #3
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Plush's Avatar
There is nothing worse than cheap digital. Cheap pocketbook equals cheap sound. Chinese Junque.
Old 6th September 2016
  #4
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surflounge's Avatar
cover up the "zoom" logo and use with $5500 Pearl DS 70
Old 6th September 2016
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
There is nothing worse than cheap digital. Cheap pocketbook equals cheap sound. Chinese Junque.
There are LOTS of things worse than cheap digital. There's all the cheap analog. Hell, in terms of fidelity, there's lots of the expensive analog that doesn't hold a candle to low and midrange digital gear made today.

I'm curious - is it your opinion that the cheap sound would come from the preamps in this device or from the A/D conversion?

I'd love to do an experiment sometime where some really good mics and preamps were used and then the line level inputs were fed simultaneously to a really high-end AD converter and to something like this unit, at the same sampling rate and bit depth. Then play back the files through a high-end DA converter and amp/speakers, and see if people could reliably tell the two apart in blind A/B testing.
Old 6th September 2016
  #6
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
There are LOTS of things worse than cheap digital. There's all the cheap analog. Hell, in terms of fidelity, there's lots of the expensive analog that doesn't hold a candle to low and midrange digital gear made today.

I'm curious - is it your opinion that the cheap sound would come from the preamps in this device or from the A/D conversion?

I'd love to do an experiment sometime where some really good mics and preamps were used and then the line level inputs were fed simultaneously to a really high-end AD converter and to something like this unit, at the same sampling rate and bit depth. Then play back the files through a high-end DA converter and amp/speakers, and see if people could reliably tell the two apart in blind A/B testing.
I don't buy anything you wrote above. Good analog electronics is the best sound there is. This is cheap digital. I can't take it seriously. It is made for dad to record a church group.

Why defend it here?

Poor parts and cheap ********M build=shid.
Old 6th September 2016
  #7
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Just went to the B&H youtube demo comparing Zoom R8 vs Sound Devices 688 with a Schoeps mic and the SD sounds smoother and more natural, the Zoom is a bit thin and edgy but considering price not horrible.
Old 6th September 2016
  #8
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hughesmr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sd270 View Post
Just went to the B&H youtube demo comparing Zoom R8 vs Sound Devices 688 with a Schoeps mic and the SD sounds smoother and more natural, the Zoom is a bit thin and edgy but considering price not horrible.
Now just imagine the 688 pres against the upcoming battery-powered Pueblos. Oooo, me mouth waters...
Old 6th September 2016
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I don't buy anything you wrote above. Good analog electronics is the best sound there is. This is cheap digital. I can't take it seriously. It is made for dad to record a church group.

Why defend it here?

Poor parts and cheap ********M build=shid.
I was gonna leave this alone, but...

There's a need, and a market, for "Dad" who needs to record his church group, and that would still be "Acoustic Music & Location Recording". So it's perfectly appropriate for that sort of gear to be discussed here.

Your comments and insights from working with the great performers and the top-end gear are appreciated. However, most of the people who record music, whether for love or money, have to work on more limited budgets, and your comments come across as snobbish and condescending, seeming to imply that if it's not done with the ab$olute be$t $tuff that it's not worth doing.
Old 6th September 2016
  #10
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Plush's Avatar
Nope.
The unit itself does a disservice to music and makes the user lazy.
It is inherently evil and is part of the dumbing down of any user who chooses it.

It dumbs down the recording process.

Let's get back to real recording gear discussions instead of lauding ********M junque toys. What a joke.

I am Plush--hear me roar.
Old 6th September 2016
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
I was gonna leave this alone, but...

There's a need, and a market, for "Dad" who needs to record his church group, and that would still be "Acoustic Music & Location Recording". So it's perfectly appropriate for that sort of gear to be discussed here.

Your comments and insights from working with the great performers and the top-end gear are appreciated. However, most of the people who record music, whether for love or money, have to work on more limited budgets, and your comments come across as snobbish and condescending, seeming to imply that if it's not done with the ab$olute be$t $tuff that it's not worth doing.
Dads just pull out their iPads and video. Dads don't need 6 tracks plus time code. This is clearly pointed at the semi pro market of low budget sound and video etc.

One issue is that making the gear so accessible makes it easy for inexperienced people to hold themselves out as pros and take work away from those that have devoted their lives to something. That's an issue in a lot of industries and folks have to figure out how to adapt to the new economy.

Another issue is the ethics of a business model where you wait for someone else to put the R&D into a product, then you come along and copy it with cheap parts and labor. That one is easier to deal with. Don't support them.
Old 6th September 2016
  #12
Lives for gear
I'd simply like to hear a recording or 2 made using this device (or the F8), of unamplified music, in a great acoustic, and with top flight mics (Schoeps 2S or Sennheiser MKH or others of that ilk)...so that the limiting/deciding factor would be the recording device itself, rather than any other part of the chain.

And then make up my mind, using my ears alone as the arbiters...rather than prejudging with a fanfare of either elitist jingoist rhetoric, or advertising copy and hype.
Old 6th September 2016
  #13
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
it seems to me these devices are NOT meant for music but for Dialog !!! i have been looking for a decent Device to partner with my Canon 5D mk3 to record dialog for interviews .. i rarely have to do more than 4 mic's and if i do i would take out a larger mixer to sub some mics or just get the F8 ..

the issue i have with these Boxes is that the LIMITER is NOT Analog - so it is After the A/D conversion .. kinda useless imho

cheers john
Old 6th September 2016
  #14




Spotted this quite exciting (for poor new people like myself, who have been hoping to save up for an F8) news during lunch break today.*Now that I'm back home from a film shoot, I whipped up a quick blog post on this development:

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

One of my more amusing thoughts about this news that I blogged about I'll quote here:

Quote:
Crazy idea time: what next for Zoom after the Zoom F4? Is a “Zoom F2” next? The*idea might sound hilarious! But being serious now, if it is bag friendly (a very small bag!!), ultra lightweight, and very cheap (perhaps US$400ish? Keeping the 50% price jump ratio from F2 to F4 to F8), then a Zoom F2 certainly would be popular!

For many jobs 2x XLR plus an extra stereo input (for up to 4x ISO tracks) would be plenty! (Plus a L & R XLR output, plus Timecode, etc… just like the F4)

Heck, for the last couple of days I’ve been doing a job with my Sound Devices 552 which only needed the one XLR for the boom to be recorded, plus one XLR output to be sent to the Sony F3 as a reference scratch track.

A “Zoom F2” would even be overkill for that! Could you pretty please make this "F2" dream come true Zoom?
Old 6th September 2016
  #15
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Nope.
The unit itself does a disservice to music and makes the user lazy.
It is inherently evil and is part of the dumbing down of any user who chooses it.

It dumbs down the recording process.
Hmm. In a big way, I absolutely agree to this sentiment. The business of recording (music/sound/dialog) has gotten exceptionally "dumbed down" since the days, 40 years ago, when I was introduced. I think it is a shame, and the loss of mentoring good craftsmanship has made for a lot of work that isn't as good as it was, or could be. That is a broad stroke I admit. But Zoom 4s are not Nagra IVs, that is for certain, and movies whose dialog all sounds like it was recorded 6" from every actor's' mouth is not All The President's Men.

But you know, that's just the way it is. Time moves on. Things change.

I'd like to just speak of my blessings and good fortune to have witnessed those days when it wasn't dumbed down, and the my gratitude that I was able, in a small way, to have been a part of it.

Be grateful, Plush, that you have the abilities and the wherewithal to be able to work in a manner that you find fulfilling. Not all can.

D.
Old 6th September 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Nope.
The unit itself does a disservice to music and makes the user lazy.
It is inherently evil and is part of the dumbing down of any user who chooses it.

It dumbs down the recording process.

Let's get back to real recording gear discussions instead of lauding ********M junque toys. What a joke.

I am Plush--hear me roar.
95% of advancements in audio technology made users lazier. The cheap ones are certainly no worse offenders than the higher end ones.

I get it, you're ranting against lower than high end hardware. Seriously, who doesn't buy a $ XX.XX piece of gear on their way to getting the better $ XXXX.XX one? No market is worth existing except the one you exist in? I just don't get the attitude that if you can't afford $20,000 to start don't bother recording anything even if you actually enjoy it and do it well. Did anyone call this a Nagra Killer? I don't get the venom.
Old 6th September 2016
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
Dads just pull out their iPads and video. Dads don't need 6 tracks plus time code. This is clearly pointed at the semi pro market of low budget sound and video etc.
That's a legitimate market, no?
Old 6th September 2016
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
That's a legitimate market, no?
Of course it's "legitimate" (or "legit" you could say) but it's nowhere near "exalted." That's the "problem," really.
Old 6th September 2016
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by rboy View Post
95% of advancements in audio technology made users lazier. The cheap ones are certainly no worse offenders than the higher end ones.

I get it, you're ranting against lower than high end hardware. Seriously, who doesn't buy a $ XX.XX piece of gear on their way to getting the better $ XXXX.XX one? No market is worth existing except the one you exist in? I just don't get the attitude that if you can't afford $20,000 to start don't bother recording anything even if you actually enjoy it and do it well. Did anyone call this a Nagra Killer? I don't get the venom.
Exactly. Imagine where all sorts of communities would be if all the old pros uniformly put out negative vibes to newbies. This is one of the few communities that does that (the live sound forum is entertaining sometimes), and it contributes to what D. was talking about. I'm glad that my other hobbies welcome new folks and encourage them to make the best of what they have, knowing that a positive approach works best, and that people will upgrade when their tools limit their abilities. This is why I race a Miata rather than a 911 - it's more fun (and much cheaper) to approach the limit of my car and my talent at the same time in the Miata.

I will say that the quality that's POSSIBLE with today's entry level gear is very very good, if people have the basic skills needed. Given the same microphones and speakers, I'd much rather make a recording on my X32 with Reaper than the old Peavey 8 buss and TASCAM 38 I started with, or even the later SoundWorkshop and Studer A800 I used in school.

As for the business - I too remember the "golden days" of the industry - the industry took in more money - the equipment was more complex and more maintenance-intensive, and all of that drove demands on a smaller pool of skilled labor, which meant folks made more money. But times have changed, technology has made stuff better/cheaper/simpler. The fact is that there are plenty of people who want to do this sort of work, even for less money, so the "middle class" of the industry is different than it used to be. There's very little compensation for being a "good" recordist - there are LOTS of "good" recordists making good product with gear that cost 1/10 what it did 10+ years ago. They're not making much money. There are still niches for the great talents, and there are still folks willing to pay for the difference.

Aviation is the same way - plenty of people willing to be airline pilots for less than $50K a year. And there's no benefit for hiring a "great" pilot instead of a "good" one in the airline industry, so the days of being a TWA captain at $300K are gone forever, just like TWA.
Old 6th September 2016
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Of course it's "legitimate" (or "legit" you could say) but it's nowhere near "exalted." That's the "problem," really.
Ah. So what we need are "exalted" versions of the forums?
Old 6th September 2016
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Nope.
The unit itself does a disservice to music and makes the user lazy.
It is inherently evil and is part of the dumbing down of any user who chooses it.

It dumbs down the recording process.

Let's get back to real recording gear discussions instead of lauding ********M junque toys. What a joke.

I am Plush--hear me roar.
I'm glad you added the last line - it changed the tone of your post a bit for me, and made it much easier to take.
Old 6th September 2016
  #22
Lives for gear
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
That's a legitimate market, no?
Of course, but you can't blame someone for lamenting the fact that something that was once a unique skill set they worked hard to develop and equip for has been devalued by more accessible technology, and even that very technology in this case (i.e. Zoom) rides on the back of other companies that spent all the time and money developing it (i.e. Sound Devices, Nagra, etc).

Just my opinion. Not trying to be hostile at all.
Old 6th September 2016
  #23
Here for the gear
 

These grumbles begin to sound like the awful vinyl versus CDs arguments. Well, I used Nagra, Fostex, Tascam etc reel-to-reels 20-30 years ago, and I wouldn't dream of going back to that fiddly assault course again. Digital is just fine, whether it's the cheaper gear or the high-end stuff like the new Nagras. You get great or bad results depending on the skill of the operator.... just like it was in "the good old days". If old codgers get the sweats because lower cost high quality audio recording becomes available to "the masses" then that's just too bad. If a novice operator cares about sound, then he/she will develop the skills to make good recordings regardless of using a digital Nagra or a Zoom H1 with a $20 Chinese shotgun.

The rest is just "jobs for the boys" griping.

In my opinion, of course.
Old 6th September 2016
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
Of course, but you can't blame someone for lamenting the fact that something that was once a unique skill set they worked hard to develop and equip for has been devalued by more accessible technology, and even that very technology in this case (i.e. Zoom) rides on the back of other companies that spent all the time and money developing it (i.e. Sound Devices, Nagra, etc).

Just my opinion. Not trying to be hostile at all.
Nope. I fully understand the gripes - I've been working in IT for three decades now, and this process has been going on forever. I worked hard to learn assembler way back when, and about 400 other now-obsolete technical skills.

That said, there are fundamental things that transcend technology, and those "skills" are what REALLY matter. That's why I hold Hudson in very high esteem without regard to this current thread. I have no doubt that he could make a much better recording with this junque(!) than I could with his usual gear.
Old 6th September 2016
  #25
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jnorman's Avatar
So if you can't afford a SD or nagra, you can't be a real engineer? I call BS on that.
Old 6th September 2016
  #26
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Yes, I don't think the difference between a pro and amateur is just money spent of equipment. These low end recorders don't interest me in the slightest, because I love the sound, tech and ergonomics in hi-end gear. What does distinguish this gear from pro gear is the operational/ergonomic features and the reliability.

A pro will always come back from the gig with a full recording. The amateur will most times, but sometimes failures occur, this is what pro gear mitigates so well.
Old 6th September 2016
  #27
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
So if you can't afford a SD or nagra, you can't be a real engineer? I call BS on that.
Is that what you think I said? Or who else said that?
Old 6th September 2016
  #28
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Know I won't be satisfied

Being somewhat frugal draws me toward the new Zoom 4 and 8 but after hearing them, disappointed with the sound and just can't seem to pull the trigger when it comes to buying them, but know I'll have no hesitation when ready to get the Sonosax SX-r4+.
Old 6th September 2016
  #29
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voltronic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I'd simply like to hear a recording or 2 made using this device (or the F8), of unamplified music, in a great acoustic, and with top flight mics (Schoeps 2S or Sennheiser MKH or others of that ilk)...so that the limiting/deciding factor would be the recording device itself, rather than any other part of the chain.

And then make up my mind, using my ears alone as the arbiters...rather than prejudging with a fanfare of either elitist jingoist rhetoric, or advertising copy and hype.
Agreed. Blind comparisons between mics, high-end and otherwise, happen all the time here and elsewhere - why not do the same for recorders?

The only technical obstacle I see to this is that to make it a true comparison that includes the built-in preamps, you'd need a set of 4 matched mics (2 to each recorder). I wouldn't trust a comparison that had one pair into a splitter, since said splitter might have transformers inline, and the P48 of both recorders would not be active.

I'm sure there are folks here who do surround work that have the necessary hardware, and already own a Nagra VI, SD 788 or similar and could borrow an F4 or F8 to compare against.
Old 6th September 2016
  #30
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voltronic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Yes, I don't think the difference between a pro and amateur is just money spent of equipment. These low end recorders don't interest me in the slightest, because I love the sound, tech and ergonomics in hi-end gear. What does distinguish this gear from pro gear is the operational/ergonomic features and the reliability.

A pro will always come back from the gig with a full recording. The amateur will most times, but sometimes failures occur, this is what pro gear mitigates so well.
I think you strike a good balance here. Everything I've learned from listening to professional recordings here and elsewhere is that proper technique and experience are far and above the most important. I also recognize that professional gear is what it is for a reason, but no amateur is going to get the results of a professional even with the best gear.

Much as I'd like to, I can't afford a Steinway. I make do with my Yamaha and am happy with it.
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