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Zoom F8 vs. Sound Devices 722
Old 8th December 2015
  #1
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Smile Zoom F8 vs. Sound Devices 722

Hey guys,

I've written a review on the Zoom F8 for the German "Sound & Recording"-Magazine. While testing the unit, I've made some recordings with the Zoom F8, a Zoom H4N and a Sound Devices 722 in the studio and during a recording-"field trip" in the city. The recordings (within a short article) are online and can be found here:

Fieldrecorder-Klangvergleich: Zoom F8 und H4N vs. Sound Devices › SOUND & RECORDING

Sennheiser MKH 8040 microphones were used for all recordings and for the field recordings I also used a Rycote ORTF blimp.
The images of the article (except these for the voice-over recordings) represent the actual recording setups, I hope you'll enjoy it.

Cheers,
Stephan

P.S.: It's a German article, but you'll navigate your way through the sound files
Old 8th December 2015
  #2
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thanks for doing the test!

To my ears the sound devices wins pretty easily on the train and traffic recordings. much more transient detail in there. On the spoken voice its certainly a tighter race.
Old 8th December 2015
  #3
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So sad that the F8 doesn't provide gangable preamps. I would buy it in a heartbeat if it could do that.
Old 10th December 2015
  #4
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ggegan's Avatar
For sound effects I am less concerned about many fidelity issues than I am about preamp noise, a good built-in limiter and size/efficiency/ease of use. I want a small rig that can be set up instantaneously, doesn't add a lot of extra noise and can deal effectively with unexpected transients. I don't need audiophile gear, I need practical solutions that are super quick to set up, perform well in adverse conditions.
Old 10th December 2015
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
issues than I am about preamp noise, a good built-in limiter and size/efficiency/ease of .
I agree. The F8 only has limiters that are post ADC so pretty much useless...
Old 10th December 2015
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
For sound effects I am less concerned about many fidelity issues than I am about preamp noise, a good built-in limiter and size/efficiency/ease of use. I want a small rig that can be set up instantaneously, doesn't add a lot of extra noise and can deal effectively with unexpected transients. I don't need audiophile gear, I need practical solutions that are super quick to set up, perform well in adverse conditions.
I don't think that you'd argue the 722 falls behind the Zoom F8 in any of those areas. The SD has the better limiter, and what appears to be similar size and ease of use. Its super practical for sfx recording. The big advantage the F8 seems to offer over the 722 is price tag and number of channels.

That said, I tend to differ from you regarding the importance of recording fidelity for a lot of situations (though not all). I recently did a big rollercoaster recording using high end gear and after listening to this test I'm convinced that I would have been far less satisfied with the results had I taken the Zoom F8 out.

You know as well as anyone that really beautiful recordings need much less help in the mix to stand out and do wonderful things. I completely understand that lots of production audio is less than perfect - and that lots of sfx recordings get greatly manipulated before and during the mix - but I'm still a big believer in ingredient-based cooking and the 722 seems to be the better tool for that (at least in stereo situations)
Old 10th December 2015
  #7
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Stimmt's Avatar
 

Listening to the examples one thing becomes pretty clear: You get what you pay for. The SD is just beautiful. The Zooms definitely usable. Best Field Recorder I have ever heard was the HHB but it seems to be discontinued.
Old 10th December 2015
  #8
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ggegan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by renec View Post
I don't think that you'd argue the 722 falls behind the Zoom F8 in any of those areas. The SD has the better limiter, and what appears to be similar size and ease of use. Its super practical for sfx recording. The big advantage the F8 seems to offer over the 722 is price tag and number of channels.

That said, I tend to differ from you regarding the importance of recording fidelity for a lot of situations (though not all). I recently did a big rollercoaster recording using high end gear and after listening to this test I'm convinced that I would have been far less satisfied with the results had I taken the Zoom F8 out.

You know as well as anyone that really beautiful recordings need much less help in the mix to stand out and do wonderful things. I completely understand that lots of production audio is less than perfect - and that lots of sfx recordings get greatly manipulated before and during the mix - but I'm still a big believer in ingredient-based cooking and the 722 seems to be the better tool for that (at least in stereo situations)
I have an SD702 as well as a Sony D50 and a Sony M10. The 702 is definitely a great sounding recorder when paired with quality mics. For an organized shoot it is an ideal choice. Unfortunately I don't usually walk around with it slung over my shoulder on a daily basis. However, I do keep my M10 with me at all times and have captured a lot of excellent recordings with it. It is very discrete as well. I only wish it had a decent limiter built in. I'd say that in many ways the M10 is the most useful recording device I have, maybe not the best quality, but an indispensable yet inexpensive tool. Because of it's low cost and small size, I can do things with it that I would never even consider doing with my 702 and high end mics. The best recorder in the world is worthless if it isn't available and set up when you need it.
Old 11th December 2015
  #9
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hey I totally understand that sentiment. I have a PCM D50 and a PCM M10 and use both extensively.

---

...But this thread is about the 722 vs the tascam F8 - neither of which is a ready to go hand held recorder, so I don't understand what those have to do with this test.
Old 11th December 2015
  #10
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ggegan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by renec View Post
hey I totally understand that sentiment. I have a PCM D50 and a PCM M10 and use both extensively.

---

...But this thread is about the 722 vs the tascam F8 - neither of which is a ready to go hand held recorder, so I don't understand what those have to do with this test.
You are right. Sorry if I was a bit off-topic, however I was just using those devices as an example of the general point I was making - that recording fidelity may not necessarily trump other factors such as ergonomics or durability.
Old 11th December 2015
  #11
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dmitri's Avatar
I have heard from a production mixer I can trust, that Zoom F8 has a problem providing 48V phantom power to 4 or more condenser mics. I myself had the same problem with Tascam HS-P82 failing to power all 4 capsules of a Sanken WMS-5 mic. On the other hand, Zaxcom, Aaton and SD always powered all their mic inputs in my practice.
Old 11th December 2015
  #12
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dmitri's Avatar
OT. Regarding Sony D-50, I love mine as a recorder I can carry with me all the time, but it is very susceptible to wind noise with both Sony and Rycote fur socks. Gary and renec, what do you use for its wind protection?
Old 11th December 2015
  #13
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ggegan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmitri View Post
OT. Regarding Sony D-50, I love mine as a recorder I can carry with me all the time, but it is very susceptible to wind noise with both Sony and Rycote fur socks. Gary and renec, what do you use for its wind protection?
Rode sells a product called a Deadkitten, which is just a smaller version of a Dead Cat.

RØDE Microphones - Deadkitten
Old 11th December 2015
  #14
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dmitri's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
Rode sells a product called a Deadkitten, which is just a smaller version of a Dead Cat.

RØDE Microphones - Deadkitten
Thanks Gary. I guess it's still a fur sock, but with longer fur? No basket inside?
Old 11th December 2015
  #15
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I have a custom one that my wife made.
Old 18th December 2015
  #16
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JamesClark1991's Avatar
Slightly off topic, but if anyone is interested in the new Zoom F8 I've created a Facebook user's group for it here where people can share information/recordings etc - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1684448125168870/

Hopefully it'll pick up some members in the coming weeks/months!

Also I found out that the backup record function on the F8 which records a track at 10dB less than the main audio track is based in the analogue domain. Meaning that although this unit doesn't have limiters you do have a quieter safety track to work with if something goes awry
Old 19th December 2015
  #17
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JSt0rm's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmitri View Post
I have heard from a production mixer I can trust, that Zoom F8 has a problem providing 48V phantom power to 4 or more condenser mics. I myself had the same problem with Tascam HS-P82 failing to power all 4 capsules of a Sanken WMS-5 mic. On the other hand, Zaxcom, Aaton and SD always powered all their mic inputs in my practice.
I have a hs-p82 and it powers 8 mics just fine. A holophone h2-pro and a rsm191 and senn 8020s. Maybe a issue with your unit?
Old 19th December 2015
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSt0rm View Post
I have a hs-p82 and it powers 8 mics just fine. A holophone h2-pro and a rsm191 and senn 8020s. Maybe a issue with your unit?
Same here. No problem powering multiple mics with the P82.
Old 19th December 2015
  #19
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dmitri's Avatar
JSt0rm, kosmokrator - Thanks, very interesting info. Now I think mine was sure a faulty unit. I've tried different power sources for the unit but with no success. It could power only two shotguns or a stereo AT BP4025. I've sold it to a TV sound guy who used mostly radio mikes. No complaints from him.
Old 21st December 2015
  #20
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by-tor's Avatar
 

For what it is worth...

I got to use a F-8 to record some vehicles a few weeks ago. I had 4-6 mics onboard with no phantom power issues. The mic pres sound pretty darn good. I did miss limiters...but I just set gain a little lower and didn't clip. I can always turn it up in Pro Tools.

Also, I only have access to 2 and 4 channel sound devices so not having to sync anything later was nice. I was running it on an external battery and it lasted all day.

Overall. I was very happy with the recordings and they are already cut in the movie!
Old 22nd December 2015
  #21
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rcutz's Avatar
I have listen to it, and even agreeing that the SD have a better and detailed high end sound, I must confess that the F8 must suit a lot of guys whom can`t afford or did not thinks it too logical bussiness wise to invest more the 3K USD to a multichannel record to record sound effects from time to time...

I have thinked about it it a lot of time... Even desiring to have the best equipament, it simple don`t make sense expanse twice or more on something that could have a cheaper similar that allow you to do the job as good as with the more expansive one... that said I also have a pcm d50 and use it a lot...
Old 27th December 2015
  #22
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by-tor's Avatar
 

Zoom updated the firmware and the F8 now supports linking of gain across multiple channels.
Old 28th December 2015
  #23
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zoomofficial's Avatar
 

Hello All,

In the short period of time the new zoom f8 has been available, we have received some great feedback. Here are 14 improvements that we think you’ll like…a lot.

1. Added Trim Knob option that enables adjusting fader/pan settings with input trim knobs.
2. Added the function of moving the previously recorded take to the new FALSE TAKE folder.
3. Expanded Function Shortcuts as well as Shortcut List Menu.
4. Added the function of selecting alphabet letters for the scene number.
5. Added Trim Link function for adjusting the input levels of multiple tracks simultaneously.
6. Added the function of editing track name in Meta data.
7. Added the function of showing track names on the level meters.
8. Added the function that enables selecting “Scene_***” for the format of take name.
9. Added the function of adjusting L/R track volume.
10. Added SOLO function that enables monitoring signals of specific tracks only during playback.
11. Added sound report function for exporting CSV format file including recorded take information, etc.
12. Changed the location of Next Take menu on MENU>REC>Next Take to MENU>META DATA (for next take).
13. Added the function of applying edits of the selected card to the other card when two SD cards are inserted.
14. Changed the track order of Poly WAV recorded files from Tr1, Tr2, …, Tr8, L, R to L, R, Tr1, Tr2, …, Tr8.

You can download the zoom f8 Firmware v2.00 here: https://zoom-na.com/products/field-v...rder#downloads

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy Holiday, from your friends at zoom
Old 29th March 2016
  #24
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I've just started using the f8 and every time I record the vocal tracks seem to have a lower pitch to them than in real life? Anybody else having this problem... I'm using a sure 58 beta and never had this problem with the H6... And it only seems to be vocals.
Old 29th March 2016
  #25
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cubivore's Avatar
 

i got an F8 a couple months ago and i'm enjoying it. i got it to record interviews and have only run sanken lavs and schoeps 641 and it sounds ok to me. i don't have any plans or aspirations to do any location sound work so i don't care about bomb-proof, man-hand sized knobs, or anything. instead of the zoom mic port i wish instead it was a port for some kind of external battery pack.
Old 30th March 2016
  #26
Gear Addict
 

@ Messor7 : Possibly, sample frequencies of the Zoom and your audio interface are different, e.g. you're recording at 48khz while doing playback at 44.1 kHz.. The result would be audio with a lower pitch.
Old 1st April 2016
  #27
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosmokrator View Post
So sad that the F8 doesn't provide gangable preamps. I would buy it in a heartbeat if it could do that.
They can be ganged in pairs.
Old 1st April 2016
  #28
In last firmware v2 you can gange any number of channels.
Check page 9 of https://zoom-na.com/sites/default/fi.../E_F8v2.00.pdf
"Adjusting the input levels of multiple tracks simultaneously (Trim Link)"
Old 1st April 2016
  #29
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Luis Diaz View Post
In last firmware v2 you can gange any number of channels.
Check page 9 of https://zoom-na.com/sites/default/fi.../E_F8v2.00.pdf
"Adjusting the input levels of multiple tracks simultaneously (Trim Link)"
Thanks, tht is good to know. But what does the note at the bottom of that page mean:
"• The input levels of tracks that have a mic capsule connected will
not be linked even if those tracks are put into groups."

Does thet mean when a Zoom module is plugged into 1/2?
Old 1st April 2016
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
"• The input levels of tracks that have a mic capsule connected will
not be linked even if those tracks are put into groups."
Does that mean when a Zoom module is plugged into 1/2?
I believe that all grouping is done once the signal is digital. From there they do control it.

They have a first trim in the analog domain and a second one in the digital. Probably they are concerning to the second one.

In F8 Operation Manual, page 130, you can see what I'm trying to describe.
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