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Author Topic: Zoom F8 - Part 2  (Read 73174 times)

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Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #255 on: March 29, 2016, 06:22:09 AM »
Thank's for your input Scorsesefan. I probably have a problem with my Zoom F8. I'm in touch with the manufacturer.

Here's a test with Schoeps CMC6 MK41 in input 1 with phantom power.

https://soundcloud.com/user-472998921/f8-trim-knob-test-1wav

I just don't hear what you're talking about? I just hear the F8 adding/subtracting gain, but I don't hear this click that you speak of? That's just the noise floor of your mics recording something very quiet! If you added a signal, and lowered the gain, I don't think you'd hear what you're speaking of ;) I record the TV sometimes, just so I can run some battery tests and whatnot, and I hear the same thing adding/subtracting the gain! Just the noise floor of recording silence IMO! When I lower the gain and record live music, or something much louder than just silence, then the noise floor vanishes 8)
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Offline voltronic

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #256 on: March 29, 2016, 06:42:44 AM »
Thank's for your input Scorsesefan. I probably have a problem with my Zoom F8. I'm in touch with the manufacturer.

Here's a test with Schoeps CMC6 MK41 in input 1 with phantom power.

https://soundcloud.com/user-472998921/f8-trim-knob-test-1wav

I just don't hear what you're talking about? I just hear the F8 adding/subtracting gain, but I don't hear this click that you speak of? That's just the noise floor of your mics recording something very quiet! If you added a signal, and lowered the gain, I don't think you'd hear what you're speaking of ;) I record the TV sometimes, just so I can run some battery tests and whatnot, and I hear the same thing adding/subtracting the gain! Just the noise floor of recording silence IMO! When I lower the gain and record live music, or something much louder than just silence, then the noise floor vanishes 8)

It's faint, but I hear it.  I wonder if it's noticeable if moving the gain pots slowly also.
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Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #257 on: March 29, 2016, 06:54:44 AM »
Thank's for your input Scorsesefan. I probably have a problem with my Zoom F8. I'm in touch with the manufacturer.

Here's a test with Schoeps CMC6 MK41 in input 1 with phantom power.

https://soundcloud.com/user-472998921/f8-trim-knob-test-1wav

I just don't hear what you're talking about? I just hear the F8 adding/subtracting gain, but I don't hear this click that you speak of? That's just the noise floor of your mics recording something very quiet! If you added a signal, and lowered the gain, I don't think you'd hear what you're speaking of ;) I record the TV sometimes, just so I can run some battery tests and whatnot, and I hear the same thing adding/subtracting the gain! Just the noise floor of recording silence IMO! When I lower the gain and record live music, or something much louder than just silence, then the noise floor vanishes 8)

It's faint, but I hear it.  I wonder if it's noticeable if moving the gain pots slowly also.

Yea I admit, I didn't crank my volume because its before 7am, but I will check it out again in a second with my earbuds cranked! I'll report back! :)
Recording Gear:
Schoeps MK 4 (MP) & MK 41V (MP) Capsules ->
Schoeps 250/0 KCY's X2 ->
Naiant +60v/Low Noise PFA's x2 ->
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Sound Devices MixPre-6 & MixPre-3 ->
SanDisk 128gb Extreme Pro & 64gb Ultra Plus

Portable Playback Gear:
Campfire Audio Andromeda & Dorado IEM's ->
Linum G2 SuperBax & Bax 3.5mm | FiiO LC 2.5c 2.5mm ->
Shanling Audio M5s | Sony NW-A35 DAP's

DAW:
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(Pentium i5/8gb RAM/256gb SSD)

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Offline jeansebastienbg

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #258 on: April 05, 2016, 12:32:58 AM »
Ok, sorry for the late reply, I was very busy. After contacting zoom, here's their answer (wich came very quickly BTW, they have excellent customer service):

Hello,
Thank you for the audio examples. We do as well here those sounds occasionally on our F8's. What you are hearing is normal operation. Since it is digital gain staging you may hear noise. It is a especially noticeable with phantom power. These clicks should not effect your recordings once you set your level. 


So, there's definitly a clicking noise, and it's especially noticeable with the limiter and phantom power activated. Since phantom power is crucial for my intended use, that was a big issue for me. I resolved the problem by first deactivating the limiter (wich is not good anyway) and by using an external phantom power supply:
http://www.denecke.com/Support/Documents/Power%20Supplies_2013.pdf

For those of you who didn't noticed this before, or still don't hear it, I suggest you look more deeply into it, as this has been seen by me and other field recordists friends of mine, on two different units, and confirmed by the manufacturer. You might not notice it on set, or might not have the gear to monitor your recordings with the necessary accuracy, but someone in post-production will definitly notice and you might get in trouble. This problem won't show on your wireless mics, but most certainly on your boom mic if it's phantom powered by the F8. So either use an external phantom power supply, or don't touch the trim during recording. Dual channel recording will be very useful if you choose to work without touching the trim knob.

In the end, even without the "clicks", it's still digital gain incrementing by 1db steps. It's not ideal, because it's not linear, and a trained ear will notice the "steps" in volume (like comparing a staircase and a slide). So, use the trim knob with caution, and try to keep a "clean" track with the dual channel feature.

Even with the additionnal 175$ for a good phantom power supply, the F8 is still the best quality/price piece of equipment on the market. I'm sure the next model will be even better. Have fun with your's.

Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #259 on: April 05, 2016, 05:43:40 AM »
That is somewhat disconcerting though! I know a lot of people are running mics>preamp>F8, so it probably wont be as noticeable, but I would really count on the F8 being CLEAN, when I did choose to run mics directly into it! caps>KCY>PFA>F8 is a killer small rig, but hearing that digital gain noise kind of puts me off! Carrying ANOTHER Phantom Power Supply would be a huge turnoff for me, as the F8 has its own Phantom power! Kind of pointless to have to run an external PP supply when the F8 already has its own! But as always, YMMV ;)

Has anyone with a Tascam 70d noticed this? I have never noticed ANY noise, especially when changing the gain, with my 70d!

Please keep us posted and thanks for all of the info! I'm going to listen to your sample again right now, this time with my stereo cranked :)
Recording Gear:
Schoeps MK 4 (MP) & MK 41V (MP) Capsules ->
Schoeps 250/0 KCY's X2 ->
Naiant +60v/Low Noise PFA's x2 ->
DarkTrain Right Angle Stubby XLR's x2 ->
Sound Devices MixPre-6 & MixPre-3 ->
SanDisk 128gb Extreme Pro & 64gb Ultra Plus

Portable Playback Gear:
Campfire Audio Andromeda & Dorado IEM's ->
Linum G2 SuperBax & Bax 3.5mm | FiiO LC 2.5c 2.5mm ->
Shanling Audio M5s | Sony NW-A35 DAP's

DAW:
Dell Inspiron 5570-5521 SLV Laptop
(Pentium i5/8gb RAM/256gb SSD)

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/diskobean | http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/Bean420 | http://bt.etree.org/mytorrents.php

Offline scorsesefan

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #260 on: April 05, 2016, 01:49:13 PM »
Tested my F8 with a Rode NTG˙3 running phantom power with and without limiter in a quiet room. There is definitely a very faint "clicking" noise on both but to my ear less pronounced with the limiter off. Also sounds more like faint static with the limiter off, as opposed to on where it sounds more "clicky". Also, with limiter on AND off slow trim adjustment (up or down) seems to lessen frequency (i.e. amount of occurrences) of the noise. Not sure it would be noticeable with dialogue or other atmospheric noise... Is this just how it is with digital pots at this price point?

« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 02:09:39 PM by scorsesefan »

Offline scorsesefan

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #261 on: April 05, 2016, 02:14:37 PM »
Quick side note: I just called Zoom NA (they're near me on Long Island) and as Jean notes they are acknowledging the issue. The person I spoke to also recommended external phantom power which for me is a bummer ( I like to travel light :)... On the positive side, I asked him if it could be fixed via a firmware update and he said it's a possibility and something that Zoom is looking into. I really impressed on him that the F8 is an awesome recorder and that if that could really be accomplished it would make their customers very happy. Not sure how what seems to be a hardware issue could be fixed this way but we'll see...

Offline digging90650

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #262 on: April 05, 2016, 02:23:24 PM »
Zaxcom Nomad has this issue as well. The gain is controlled digitally and there is an audible step change when increasing or decreasing. Sound Devices preamp gain is analogue I believe and the rotary faders are smooth. But I haven't worked with one in a couple months so it's possible they have the same step change. I don't hear that change as much with F8 but it is an issue I expect.
Sam is a nice guy and he's definitely listening to what mixers are telling him about the F8. Pretty sure they'll get new firmwares out that make it better and better!

Offline jeansebastienbg

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #263 on: April 05, 2016, 07:38:55 PM »
Nomad also has digital preamps with 1db incrementing, and you can hear the "steps". The thing is, with a nomad, you have a nice and smooth fader, and a bulletproof and natural sounding limiter. In my opinion, f8 faders are useless for field recording.  If Input  is too hot , you can only fade down an already badly distorted signal. Plus, the "0" position is at like 80% of the knob's course. So if you want to keep gain low and fader high, you only have a 12db headroom on 20% of an already very small knob. Bottom line, you have to "mix" with the trim knob, and live with the staircase effect. Which is totally fine at this price point, but with the clicking issue, it's not so fine.

Get a denecke phantom power supply, "mix" with the trim knob when you have to, do it while to avoiding dialogues so you won't hear the 1db steps too much, and keep a safe track at a lower level "clean" from any trim manipulation a with the dual channel feature.

An small Denecke or PSC phantom power supply won't make that much difference in a sound bag. I mean, the F8 is the first of it's kind in terms of features and size. Are we already used to a recorder being this small we can't accept an external PPS in our bag?

I hope a firmware upgrade could fix this, but I doubt it. Maybe they could change the fader knob pattern and allow the F8 to record post-fader ISO tracks, but then again, the way the digital processing chain is built, I doubt it.

For me it's case closed. I've found a workaround that works for me. I'll try to post some pics of my rig when possible.

« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 08:41:55 PM by jeansebastienbg »

Offline scorsesefan

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #264 on: April 05, 2016, 09:51:52 PM »
Nomad also has digital preamps with 1db incrementing, and you can hear the "steps". The thing is, with a nomad, you have a nice and smooth fader, and a bulletproof and natural sounding limiter. In my opinion, f8 faders are useless for field recording.  If Input  is too hot , you can only fade down an already badly distorted signal. Plus, the "0" position is at like 80% of the knob's course. So if you want to keep gain low and fader high, you only have a 12db headroom on 20% of an already very small knob. Bottom line, you have to "mix" with the trim knob, and live with the staircase effect. Which is totally fine at this price point, but with the clicking issue, it's not so fine.

Get a denecke phantom power supply, "mix" with the trim knob when you have to, do it while to avoiding dialogues so you won't hear the 1db steps too much, and keep a safe track at a lower level "clean" from any trim manipulation a with the dual channel feature.

An small Denecke or PSC phantom power supply won't make that much difference in a sound bag. I mean, the F8 is the first of it's kind in terms of features and size. Are we already used to a recorder being this small we can't accept an external PPS in our bag?

I hope a firmware upgrade could fix this, but I doubt it. Maybe they could change the fader knob pattern and allow the F8 to record post-fader ISO tracks, but then again, the way the digital processing chain is built, I doubt it.

For me it's case closed. I've found a workaround that works for me. I'll try to post some pics of my rig when possible.

Thanks for the advice, Jean. I'm a little different here I think because I'm a film sound guy, but I do a lot of run n' gun verite stuff, so I usually film in pretty noisy environments which makes me think I can get away with some of the issues with the F8. I would prefer to run without an external phantom power unit (my kit is VERY stripped down) but I will if necessary. Hopefully, Zoom can address the issue via firmware (their rep on the phone sounded reasonably hopeful to me) but it's good that there are workarounds... BTW how is Montreal?  I've spent many a day on Blvd Saint Laurent :)...

Offline jeansebastienbg

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #265 on: April 07, 2016, 06:36:25 PM »
Haha! Montreal sucks right now! We had a snowstorm yesterday, and now it's washed away with rain. It's damp, slushy and cold. Lucky for me, I'm leaving sunday for a feature in Cuba!
Here's a few pics of my F8 kit. To my eye it's pretty stripped down. The Denecke PPS fits tightly next to my NP1.

Offline scorsesefan

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #266 on: April 07, 2016, 08:55:03 PM »
Haha! Montreal sucks right now! We had a snowstorm yesterday, and now it's washed away with rain. It's damp, slushy and cold. Lucky for me, I'm leaving sunday for a feature in Cuba!
Here's a few pics of my F8 kit. To my eye it's pretty stripped down. The Denecke PPS fits tightly next to my NP1.
Yeah I stay away from the winters there ;) ... So is your Denecke in the bottom of your bag?

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #267 on: April 07, 2016, 09:09:23 PM »

For those of you who didn't noticed this before, or still don't hear it, I suggest you look more deeply into it, as this has been seen by me and other field recordists friends of mine, on two different units, and confirmed by the manufacturer. You might not notice it on set, or might not have the gear to monitor your recordings with the necessary accuracy, but someone in post-production will definitly notice and you might get in trouble. This problem won't show on your wireless mics, but most certainly on your boom mic if it's phantom powered by the F8. So either use an external phantom power supply, or don't touch the trim during recording. Dual channel recording will be very useful if you choose to work without touching the trim knob.

I record loud live music and don't usually change gain settings too much after the first notes of a performance, so I haven't noticed any of these issues on my unit. 

I'm curious if adjusting gain from the IOS app makes any difference.

Offline vwmule

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #268 on: April 08, 2016, 11:14:20 AM »
Speaking of gain, etc ... My only complaint so far with the otherwise outstanding F8 is the levels. They suck. Anyone have tips on how to get the most accurate read? You can scroll through different views but I find none really great.

Offline bdasilva

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Re: Zoom F8 - Part 2
« Reply #269 on: April 09, 2016, 12:15:03 PM »
some fuckin crackhead broke in my house and stole my f8   and of course the 256 g  of memory and the bright orange pelican case


I remember the last 3 of the s/n was 319... can someone post a full s/n  so i can reconstruct it...
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