Last month I had an opportunity to use Zoom F8 for a few days. It was a busy time for me, I was recording four different cars, but I’ve managed to spend few minutes to record some files for this comparison. It’s not too scientific or too technical, just relatively simple setup in my typical recording conditions. That’s what was most important for me, to test it in the field on a few different sources. Down below you can hear the results. I’m not making any statements, just uploading the results.
Every example was recorded with Sennheisers MKH 8040 plugged directly to F8 and 702, and recorded at the same time. I’ve used stereo matched pair microphones, placed one on the top of the other. I tried to set the gain on the same level, but at the end I also matched the volumes in Pro Tools.
The following ambient was recorded in the backyard, close to the city roads.
Also quiet ambient with birds and wind noise in the background.
Now off to something loud. Believe it or not, I’ve used two DPA 4061 (matched pair) and taped them in exactly the same spot. The difference in sound between recorders is significant, and I assume it’s because of the different compression. Both recorders were set to record high, so I could test the limiters.
Gate / Transients
Back to Sennheisers. Locking and unlocking metal gate.
Recorded at night in backyard, the sound of dogs barking in the distance with some noise coming from the roads.
Another example of limiting in Zoom, which in this case made the background noise more apparent.
Silence / Clock
Something more subtle, clock recorded with 8040s inside a large room.
Another sound squashed with limiter of big river stream.
I must say, I’m pretty happy with the Zoom preamps. Quality has definitely improved since last time I had a change to record with their products. For loud sources I think the Sound Devices series is better, but if you compare the quality/price ratio, it’s hard to not love the Zoom. You can listen to sound libraries recorded with F8 down below.