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Zoom F8 - 8 track audio recorder
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  • My initial thoughts on the build quality is that it’s excellent! When I first held the F8, I was surprised at how much it weighs: more than all the other units. In fact, it’s comparable to the Tascam + Marantz (both filled with batteries).

    To my ears it’s essentially the F8 followed by the Marantz + Mix Pre D, then finally the Tascam DR-70D

    Sample -

  • Hmmm do you think this would be better than a used SD 302 with a Tascam DR-680 recorder?

    I'm looking to get a better audio setup to record sound effects for radio dramas and build my own library, might also use it for it some corporate video and reality show sizzle reels. I will also be getting a rode ntg-3 and blimp.

    All I have now is a H4N and a Videomic Pro.

    Or is all this over kill? The DR-70D looks to fit my needs just worry the preamps will make it sound like crap and I already have H4N for that....

  • Zoom will be much more handy, this is for certain. But can be overkill.

    If it is not hurry - good advice to wait for factory refurbished or sales in December.

  • @Chaos123x , I can assure the DR-70D pre amps are much better than the H4N :) I used a DR-70D this week as a sound guy on a feature film

  • Sound On Sound just put up their review of the Zoom F8: "Once in a while, a high-quality, affordable product comes along that makes the professional competition look overpriced..."

    Overall, then, I am deeply impressed with the F8. It offers excellent capability and versatility in a very compact package, with a design that is generally well thought out. The F8 unquestionably offers remarkable value for money, and nothing else with a comparable number of inputs and recording tracks, let alone the rest of its comprehensive facilities, comes anywhere close. .

    At around 8.5 times the price, the Nagra VI arguably sets the benchmark for eight-channel recorders (although it only has six analogue inputs), while the Sound Devices’ SD-788T (a shade under seven times the F8’s price) is a very popular alternative in the professional film and TV market. The Tascam HS-P82 (just under 4.5 times the F8’s price) forms a very attractive lower-cost option, but the closest direct competitor for the Zoom F8 is the Roland R88 — and even that costs almost exactly twice as much!>>

  • @IronFilm

    Just remember that sound/music guys have different approach to such devices. Usually they look to ones that handle loud and proper level inputs perfectly and with max features.

    For film and such you need best preamps with big range to pull up low level sound and best analog(!) limiters.

  • Well, I won't be getting the Zoom F8 myself as I've got my eye on a Sound Devices 552 instead. But thought others here might find the review interesting :) Looks nice!

    And yeah, that music vs film divide is why you have things like the H4n which is aimed at musicians and has horrible pre-amps because it was not intended for quiet dialog but noisy music instead (but filmmakers bought up the H4n anyway by the boatload, as back then they didn't have many other options going cheap).

  • This is a very useful box, and signals, I think, the end of the overpriced solid state eight track era. Now, or in the near future, there will be no real difference between boxes like this and the so called audiophile gear. So good news all around. I would hasten to add that the big flaw is the lack of digital I/O.

    NB: For this reason, the Tascam 680 is not only cheaper, but will give you either as good or better sound with a decent digital front end, with lower noise as well.

    However, the "one box mutitrack" era is here to stay with lots of choices.

  • Don't quite understand, why do you think @DrDave that the DR-680 would give better sound with lower noise?

  • @IronFilm

    If you have good preamp with digital output :-) And for most usage Tascam 680 is more than enough.

  • @ironfilm Take a decent preamp with digital out--they are cheap these days--and use that as the main pair for your mix going digital into the Tascam. The Zoom has a claimed noise figure of -127. Plug a minus 129.5 pre in, and, voila, the main pair, which should be most of the mix--has a lower noise floor than the the Zoom can ever manage. All because Zoom didn't spend $10 for a digital input or spend $2 for a quiet preamp chip & design.

    It's a bit of a moot point since the ambient noise will be higher than the Tascam or the Zoom anyway, but it was a brilliant move from Tascam to allow an external, high-end pre.

  • All because Zoom didn't spend $10 for a digital input or spend $2 for a quiet preamp chip & design.

    Most fun thing is that still good solid state preamps for recorders are considered something like magic :-).

  • I have a DR 680 that I like a lot. However, I can see some things in the Zoom F8 that would be a lot more convenient operationally on a film shoot. For example, having a dedicated level pot on each channel instead of having to trim all the channels by quicking switching to that channel with a button press and then using the single trim pot on the DR 680. The Zoom seems like it has the little improvements that can mean a lot more than the strict numbers.

    I find that the difference between usable pro gear and cheap stuff is often reliability and easy operation.

  • Another review of the F8 with pics of it showing a couple of other common ones so you can see its relative size:

  • I would pay $500 for it, but not more. Well, maybe $550 :)

    An ein figure of 127 dB reflects poor design. OTOH, most people like the sound so far, and that's worth more than numbers. No question level pots is a big deal in the field, although I got used to the system on the 680 it is a pain.

  • It's also nice that it offers tone and a slate mic as well as master timecode. Three important things that a DR 680 doesn't have. It's hard to pay a grand to upgrade when I already have a suitable system (and hire a sound guy with gear for bigger shoots) but if I were starting out fresh right now, it would be a no-brainer.

  • All they needed to do to make it perfect was add digital i/o, marginally better preamps and a bay for a Sony camcorder battery and it would be the best box in town. And how much would that cost, $10 per unit?

  • As a dubbing mixer and previously a location mixer - these ISO recorders (as luxurious as they seem) can be a pain in the arse in the mix sometimes, and reduce the skill required for capturing on set - I had 2 channels as a boom op and recordist and never had a problem in the most complex of setups - post cost and time >> than to do it right at source. How many channels do you need these days lol And I must say quality of location sound is so much worse than several years ago - hey ho get paid by the hour shouldn't complain! But polishing turds doesn't fill me with joy, I'd rather be mixing.

  • @soundgh2 I work mainly for dance, since 3 years I use the Tascam DR-680 and yes, I need 6 entries (sometime I need 8) : 2 output from sound desk (sometime 4), 2 from ORTF couple front stage and sometime 2 HF for voices. I can say I really NEED those input. Definitely less good than an old Nagra IV but cheaper, lighter and easier to use… Good old days are passing. Jacques Hoepffner

  • Very cool kit

    Sennheiser MKH 416 Short Shotgun Interference Tube Microphone with Zoom F8 Multi-Track Recorder Kit for $1499