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F8 reliable enough for backup? Ribbon Microphones
Old 24th May 2017
  #1
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Don S's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
F8 reliable enough for backup?

I'm trying to incorporate an 8 channel backup recorder in my current rig which is a FF800 and a SD702. Currently the SD gets a digital stereo mix off the FF800, but lately I'm looking at an 8 channel backup recorder like the F8 or DR 680mkII.
I was thinking to feed the backup line level off my Fireface800. That way the lack of a limiter would not be an issue only another DA-AD conversion. If the F8 does prove to be decent, I was also considering using my SD702 (with preamps in front) for mains, and sending them analog over to an F8 along with spots for smaller jobs needing less than 8 tracks. Splitting the mains at the preamp could also be an option.
Any thoughts?
Old 25th May 2017
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Sell the FF800 and buy a UFX II.

To answer your question, in my limited experience of a couple recordings with a rented F8, I had no issues.

Last edited by Bixby; 25th May 2017 at 05:18 PM..
Old 25th May 2017
  #3
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Go check the FB F8 group. Many people like the machine very well, although they tend to be relatively inexperienced users. I will say that the F8 lasted about 24 hours with us before we returned it--too many firmware issues, tiny cheesey knobs and not very solid feeling after many years on SD recorders.
Old 25th May 2017
  #4
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Don S's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Go check the FB F8 group. Many people like the machine very well, although they tend to be relatively inexperienced users. I will say that the F8 lasted about 24 hours with us before we returned it--too many firmware issues, tiny cheesey knobs and not very solid feeling after many years on SD recorders.
Thank you! I was hoping for input from a pro who has worked with one of these. I guess you get what you pay for. The control surface looked cool, but might be icing on a stale cake.
Old 25th May 2017
  #5
Gear Addict
I know it's more money but you could
get a used SD788. Dependable/rugged/great sound.
Gotham Sound frequently has used ones
for sale (there is one listed currently for $4000).
Old 26th May 2017
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

I always use the F8 as a backup recorder, taking the second output from my preamp; the first goes to the UFX. Though I never have to use the F8 after the show, the machine works reliably every time as well.
Old 26th May 2017
  #7
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After resisting for decades, I went ahead and bought a cheap portable recorder, the F8.
I am on firmware 2.1 (did not install 3.x yet), feeling rock solid. Dual recording to 2 SD cards.

I recorded 4 live concerts to 8 track in a week. No issues.
I also tested Peneloop 2000 mAh batteries, and I got 4h30 recording time with two MKH mics (power hungry). 2h30 with 8 MKH mics.

That means, if the power supply fails, I can still record the entire concert without worries.

My ipad is too old for the app, the controls are not too flimsy for me, but I do not need to use the device for a finished stereo mix. I get decent levels (easy to do, great metering), check my MS mic (there seems to be a ms decoder trim problem that does not work in current firmware, but easy to use the gain level for that) and hit record.

All in all, probably the best 1000 euro I spent.

Spending a lot more is of no use, as then I would simply use my big setup.
IMO the F8 is great for demo recordings, live recordings that won't be CD releases, or as a backup recorder in an important session.

It seems more than reliable for this (dual card recording), if the main recorder fails, AND the F8, then you just had a very bad day
Old 26th May 2017
  #8
LvE
Here for the gear
 

The cymatic audio utrack is worth checking out. In Europe they go for around 400 euros. It is all in all a bit of a different route but perhaps it suits your needs.
Old 26th May 2017
  #9
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Don S's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thanks Yannick, claying and Philper. As Philper pointed out, it seems that only inexperienced or low budget engineers are using this box for main work. I wouldn't be using the preamps (which seem to get a brunt of the criticism), just the AtoD converters at +4db. Yes, I'm close to the cost of a used 788 and it may be the best option.
Old 26th May 2017
  #10
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If I'm not mistaken, somebody else posted in another thread recently that the line inputs of the F8 do not bypass the preamp circuitry. The signal is just padded down, but would still receive the tonal signature of the F8, for better or worse. I believe that person had asked Zoom directly about this and received that answer.

-Mike
Old 27th May 2017
  #11
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How about a Roland R88?
Old 27th May 2017
  #12
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My first tests with the Zoom would indicate the preamps are not bad at all.
I could be mistaken of course, but I have heard far worse in pro machines.
Old 15th June 2017
  #13
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Don S's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by claying View Post
I always use the F8 as a backup recorder, taking the second output from my preamp; the first goes to the UFX. Though I never have to use the F8 after the show, the machine works reliably every time as well.
Have you ever compared the 2 files? I would be interested if the AtoD was on the same level as UFX.
Old 9th November 2017
  #14
Lives for gear
New firmware for the F8 released in the last week, though I'm not sure it addresses all the concerns users have expressed so far ?:

https://www.zoom.co.jp/F8_update
Old 10th November 2017
  #15
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Thread Starter
It looks like the Sound Devices Mix Pre10 would be a better option, even though it costs an extra thousand dollars. I trust the SD products.
Old 10th November 2017
  #16
F8 saved my ass once.
My mic pres (RME octamic II) were on the stage floor and the ADAT out were converted to MADI (ADI 648) and link via optical fiber to my main recorder down stair.
At the ending of the concert, the fiber lost connection. So I lost the audio from that part of the concert.
However, I did setup a F8 with line input from one of the Octamic II (only main microphones, 8 channels) on the stage. It did a perfect backup job.
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