Zoom demoed a prototype of their flagship multi-track field recorder dubbed the F8 at NAB this year, and now the massively impressive field recorder is available to pre-order from B&H for a penny short of $1,000. This may not be every filmmaker’s cup of tea in terms price point, but for the sheer amount of features and functionality it offers it’s quite aggressively priced and well below similar devices from the competition. Indie filmmakers and professional sound recordists are already familiar with the venerable Zoom H4n, Zoom H5, and H6 handy recorders, but the F8 is a different beast altogether.
Designed for the professional sound recordist and/or sound designers to withstand the rigours of modern film/TV production, a quick glance at the spec sheet of the F8 puts it in a league of its own.
The Zoom F8 features 8 XLR/TRS inputs/10-track recording, industry leading super low-noise preamps, and support for high-fidelity 24-bit/192kHz audio recording. In addition professional features such as +24/48V phantom power on each channel as well as timecode in and out.
Audio is recorded onto 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, with supported capacities up to massive 512 GB each, simultaneously, allowing for instant backup or split recordings. Files are saved periodically during recording for an extra layer of safety in case of a power failure or SD card removal.
The Zoom F8 features a 4-pin Hirose connector allowing for external 9-16 volt DC battery packs to used to power the unit, or alternatively, internal power can be provided by 8 AA batteries.
8-channel/10-track field audio recorder/mixer
8 discrete inputs with locking Neutrik XLR/TRS combo connectors
Compact and lightweight aluminum chassis, weighing just 2 pounds (without batteries)
High quality mic preamps with up to 75 dB gain, less than -127 dBu EIN, and +4 dB line inputs
Support for up to 24-bit/192 kHz recording as well as 96 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 48 kHz, and 44.1 kHz, plus 47.952 kHz/48.048 kHz for HD video compatibility; 16-/24-bit resolution
Accurate Time Code (0.2 ppm) I/O on standard BNC connectors; dropframe/non-drop formats with Jam Sync
Three different power supply options: 8x AA batteries, external DC battery pack with Hirose connector, or 12V AC adapter (AA’s and DC battery pack not included)
Automatic switching of power source from DC to batteries at user-defined voltage levels
Dedicated gain control knob, 6-segment LED level meter, and PFL/Solo switch for each channel
Phantom power (+48V/+24V) on every input
Advanced onboard limiters for input and output
High pass filter, phase invert, and Mid-Side decoder
Input delay of up to 30 msec per channel / output delay of up to 10 frames per output
Dual mini-XLR (TA3) balanced Main Outs plus ⅛” stereo mini-jack Sub Out
Dedicated headphone output (100mW) with front panel volume control
2.4″ full-color backlit LCD with monochrome mode
Dedicated PFL display with viewable trim settings
Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots, up to 512 GB each
Records in BWF-compliant WAV or MP3 file formats
Support for extensive metadata (BWF and iXML); input time, date, project, scene number, etc.
Built-in slate mic/slate tone with front panel switch
Built-in tripod mount; camera mount adapter also included
Use as an 8-in/4-out USB audio interface (@ 96 kHz)
Free Zoom F8 Control App for iOS allows wireless remote control, file renaming, and metadata entry
According to the manufacturer, the Zoom F8 is the first field recorder to feature wireless Bluetooth control. The Zoom F8 Control App for iOS provides extensive wireless remote control of the F8 from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch (5th Gen) using Bluetooth LE protocol. Functions include Record, Play, Stop, Fast-Forward, and Rewind, plus mixer pan and fader level.
Sound recordists can also monitor input levels, current time code, and battery status. With Zoom F8 Control, you can rename files, enter metadata, and set date/time information directly from your iOS device.