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Zoom F series or SD Mix Pre doubling as audio interface (headphone amp?)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Zoom F series or SD Mix Pre doubling as audio interface (headphone amp?)

Hi all, I hope I have posted this in the correct sub-forum. I've searched all over but can't find the exact info I'm after.

I am considering either the Zoom F4/F8n or Sound Devices MixPre 6 for use primarily as a foley, SFX and field recorder, but also hoping to use it as an audio interface to replace my Focusrite Saffire Pro24 which is starting to give me some grief.

I'm in the studio every day composing, mixing etc and need to use headphones a lot of the time (Sennheiser HD600, 300ohm). I'm aware that the headphone amps on the F series are not so good, and would like to know if they would have trouble powering the HD600s. Zoom lists the headphone amp as 100mw but I'm not sure how this translates in terms of powering the headphones adequately or not.

I understand the Sound Devices Mix Pre 6 has a much better headphone amp. Is it still better than the upgraded amp in the Zoom F8n? Would it be able to power the 300ohm headphones adequately?

In either case, would it be too ambitious to expect to use the recorder as an interface as well? Would I be disapointed after replacing my Saffire Pro 24? (For reference, it easily powers the headphones) Although I spend way more time in my DAW than field recording, this purchase is primarily to upgrade my recording setup, with the audio interface an added 'bonus' (in the hope of delaying an interface upgrade in the near future)

Thanks in advance!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Can’t speak to the functionality of the SD but I’ve found the Zoom very clunky as an interface with W10. Would not recommend anyone to buy it for use as an interface with Windows. And the headphone amp is notoriously.... colorful. Not accurate and sometimes hard to judge a balance on.

If others have had success, I’d love to hear about it, though!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the reply, that's defnitely handy to know. I hear you need to dive into the menu to switch it to USB mode each time you want to use it as an interface. Is it stuff like that making it clunky to use? Or the driver side of things?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvj View Post
Thanks for the reply, that's defnitely handy to know. I hear you need to dive into the menu to switch it to USB mode each time you want to use it as an interface. Is it stuff like that making it clunky to use? Or the driver side of things?
Definitely driver side things. Inconsistent behavior that would make me apprehensive to use it under pressure. Maybe as a home studio interface it would be fine, but for recording music on location, I stick to using it purely as a field recorder.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

That's exactly the sort of info I was after, thanks very much.

I'd love to hear from anybody that's been using the MixPre as an interface.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvj View Post
I'd love to hear from anybody that's been using the MixPre as an interface.
I've been using the mixpre-6 (v1) as a travel interface with win10/Sequoia. Works just fine with hd650s, seems accurate to what I hear with Grace and Merging.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageOp View Post
I've been using the mixpre-6 (v1) as a travel interface with win10/Sequoia. Works just fine with hd650s, seems accurate to what I hear with Grace and Merging.
Thanks for the info. I'm starting to lean more towards the MixPre so that's great to know.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Can anybody using a MixPre tell me if you need to dive into the menu and put it into USB interface 'mode' each time you fire up the PC/mac? I believe you need to do this with the Zoom F4/8 and it would get annoying pretty quickly.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvj View Post
Can anybody using a MixPre tell me if you need to dive into the menu and put it into USB interface 'mode' each time you fire up the PC/mac? I believe you need to do this with the Zoom F4/8 and it would get annoying pretty quickly.
Yes, I have to do that with the Mixpre. Not a deep dive, just have to go into the headphones source. [EDIT: THIS IS WRONG. Please see below]

Last edited by VillageOp; 2 weeks ago at 10:50 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
DirkP's Avatar
I own a Mixpre 3 and a Zoom H6 (not the F6). Being a musician and coming from audio-interfaces, mixers, recorders etc. I find the Zoom to be much more userfriendly than the MixPre. The Sounddevice units were mixers and mic-preamps first, then recorders - and their origin is soundwork for films. This can be very distracting for musicians or audio engineers.
Both work as audio-interfaces, but: I kind of doubt that one of these will replace a "real" audio-interface in the long run. And if it is only for the tiny interfaces and for having to menu-dive every single time you turn them on.

I use both mostly for recording besides my audio-interface(-s). It's great to simply have to press record - no daw needed. I use the MixPre for serious video-recording.
The display on the MixPre is really great, don't have experience with the F-series Zooms, but as I mentioned above: even without the display, I prefer the Zoom when it comes to user-friendlyness. The MixPres are very counterintuitive for musicians and non-film users. Who would ever expect a multitrack recorder to NOT record multitracks as a standard-preset??? Just the stereo-sum of all channels??? You have to menu-dive to change this and so on and so forth.
Or: you buy a multitrack recorder and simply expect that the potis are there so set the record-levels. No, they are not. You have to menu-dive to change this. In a film-setting this makes sense: you have the recorder close to you and you don't want to change the recording levels by mistake. But for audio-people this is very confusing.
I don't want to critizise the Sounddevice recorders. It makes sense regarding their background.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageOp View Post
Yes, I have to do that with the Mixpre. Not a deep dive, just have to go into the headphones source.
Well, that's odd - unless I have misunderstood - as I don't need to do that with my Mixpre: it retains its settings irrespective of it, or indeed, the connected PC being turned off and back on.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
Well, that's odd - unless I have misunderstood - as I don't need to do that with my Mixpre: it retains its settings irrespective of it, or indeed, the connected PC being turned off and back on.

Cheers,

Roland
The only odd thing is my brain! Of course that's right: it only when switching to using it as an interface the first time that one has to menu dive. So I answered completely wrong, my apologies OP.
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