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Which sounds better to you?

Sample A
Sample B
They both sound the same to me

Author Topic: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8  (Read 4570 times)

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Offline heathen

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COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« on: June 03, 2018, 04:45:38 PM »
Todd R has done the heavy lifting in putting this comp together, and I'm doing the much easier task of posting it here.  When Phil Lesh played Red Rocks last month he and I set up our respective sets of Line Audio CM3s for this comp.  They were both NOS, on the same stand, and one pair was only a couple inches higher than the other pair.  We both used BAS windscreens.  He ran his pair into his MixPre-6, and I ran mine into my Zoom F8.  There's been no post-processing done to the samples other than Todd normalizing them to the same average RMS level.

Here is a link to download the samples: https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1w3Ops4Doj2gvV546h4YB4ypoFk3gnz1M

For anyone who is able I would highly recommend using the ABX Comparator for foobar2000: https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx

(You may note that I've already uploaded my CM3 recording of this show.  That won't be helpful if you get the urge to "cheat" on this comp, though, because I EQ'd my recording before uploading.  These samples have no EQ applied.)

Update: If you're looking for the answer, look no further than here: https://imgur.com/rAak6gg
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 09:54:52 PM by heathen »
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Offline aaronji

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2018, 06:20:16 PM »
Thanks for this! I will try to listen to the clips as soon as possible. Just to clarify, the same vertical plane with one pair a little higher and the same horizontal plane?

Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 08:40:41 PM »
Thanks for this! I will try to listen to the clips as soon as possible. Just to clarify, the same vertical plane with one pair a little higher and the same horizontal plane?

Each mic was directly above the corresponding mic from the other pair.  Does that make sense?  I'm on my phone and I feel like I may be making things even more confusing...
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Offline adrianf74

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 08:49:29 PM »
Thanks for this! I will try to listen to the clips as soon as possible. Just to clarify, the same vertical plane with one pair a little higher and the same horizontal plane?

Each mic was directly above the corresponding mic from the other pair.  Does that make sense?  I'm on my phone and I feel like I may be making things even more confusing...

Simply put: two pairs of mics running the same pattern inches above each other on the same stand.

Offline Gordon

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2018, 09:03:42 AM »
I picked "same" but they do sound slightly different.  A seems to have a little more bass.  as to which is which I don't really have a guess!

btw thanks for the heads up about ABX Comparator!
Neumann ak40 > Nick mod lc3 > Naiant PFA or km140 > Sound Devices MixPre-6

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Offline spyder9

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 09:51:05 PM »
I can hear the difference.  That said, I preferred "B"

Offline rippleish20

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 10:17:47 PM »
They sound basically the same to me. B has slightly fuller bass but I am suspecting thats the one that was normalized...

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Offline Todd R

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2018, 12:04:53 AM »
They sound basically the same to me. B has slightly fuller bass but I am suspecting thats the one that was normalized...

Both files were normalized, by the way.  Both had just about the same processing — trimming to the same passage, slight volume adjustment between left and right channels, normalization to the same average RMS level, fades added to beginning and end, and saving as flac files.
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Offline rippleish20

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2018, 09:19:07 AM »
They sound basically the same to me. B has slightly fuller bass but I am suspecting thats the one that was normalized...

Both files were normalized, by the way.  Both had just about the same processing — trimming to the same passage, slight volume adjustment between left and right channels, normalization to the same average RMS level, fades added to beginning and end, and saving as flac files.

Oops. sorry, I misread that 

I totally appreciate the effort for comparison but:

 I would argue that for comparisons, it would be better for no alterations to be made, as these alter the sound and affect the comparison. I also wonder if microphones themselves don't vary a bit. A better compassion would be to take a setup and use one deck for the first set and another for the second perhaps.
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Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2018, 09:33:16 AM »
I totally appreciate the effort for comparison but:

 I would argue that for comparisons, it would be better for no alterations to be made, as these alter the sound and affect the comparison. I also wonder if microphones themselves don't vary a bit. A better compassion would be to take a setup and use one deck for the first set and another for the second perhaps.

That would certainly be ideal, but with it very very difficult for us to set our levels identical, and the innate human preference for the louder of two samples, I think it's necessary to try to match the two at least in terms of "loudness."  My (totally uneducated) opinion is that any downsides of the processing are far outweighed by the benefit of having the samples at equal loudness.  All that being said, I certainly know less about these things than most on here, so take my opinion with a huge grain of salt!
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Offline djphrayz

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2018, 12:38:26 PM »
Thank you both for doing this!  The difference is subtle, that's for sure.
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Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2018, 12:49:17 PM »
I also wonder if microphones themselves don't vary a bit.

Looking back on this post, you raise a really good point here.  While I have no reason to doubt Line Audio's quality, even the best manufacturers can have variation in a specific microphone model, right?  I got my CM3s in February of this year...I know Todd has had his for longer than that but I don't know exactly when he got them.
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Offline Todd R

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2018, 02:25:14 PM »

I totally appreciate the effort for comparison but:

 I would argue that for comparisons, it would be better for no alterations to be made, as these alter the sound and affect the comparison.

Everyone argues for different things in comparisons, and everyone has been arguing and bagging on comparisons for 15+ years on ts.com.  Feel free to do your own comparisons, or at least to pay more attention to the postings on them and ignore them if they don't meet your standards.

Sound like I'm annoyed, I am.  There are lots of tradeoffs and choices, and different people come to different conclusions.  I've done far more comps than most here on ts.com and they take effort -- many times I've been soldering up breakout cables and borrowing equipment to get them done, then putting together files, uploading them, etc.  Always end up the same way on ts.com with someone shitting on them because they would do it different.
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Offline unidentified

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2018, 02:55:27 PM »
I think the methodology used here, as explained, is as close to perfect as one can get.  Many thanks for your hard work. 

Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2018, 03:06:58 PM »
I think the methodology used here, as explained, is as close to perfect as one can get.  Many thanks for your hard work.

Todd definitely deserves the credit here.  He even home-brewed a NOS mount at the last minute to make sure we were both using the same configuration!
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2018, 04:02:31 PM »
I totally appreciate the effort for comparison but..
Everyone argues for different things in comparisons, and everyone has been arguing and bagging on comparisons for 15+ years on ts.com.

Todd belongs to a select group of members here who's methodologies I trust explicitly with regards to these kinds of comps.  The guy knows what he's doing.

Thanks to both of you for setting up this comp.  It's rare to have it done with most extraneous variables minimized sufficiently.
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Offline IronFilm

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2018, 08:12:28 PM »
I also wonder if microphones themselves don't vary a bit.

Looking back on this post, you raise a really good point here.  While I have no reason to doubt Line Audio's quality, even the best manufacturers can have variation in a specific microphone model, right?  I got my CM3s in February of this year...I know Todd has had his for longer than that but I don't know exactly when he got them.

If the difference between the F8 and MixPre6 is smaller than the sample to sample difference between two microphones then we've got bigger things to worry about!

Offline aaronji

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2018, 06:23:16 AM »
A better compassion would be to take a setup and use one deck for the first set and another for the second perhaps.

Personally, I think having the same source is crucial for a comparison. A lot can vary from one set/song to another.

I think this comp is a pretty valid one and I really appreciate the time and trouble expended putting it together.  The differences (other than recorder) come down to an inch or two vertically and different pairs of the same make and model of microphones. I guess it is possible that the Line Audios differ substantially, but I doubt it...

At any rate, I have only had the chance to listen to these on a fairly crowded train with crappy IEMs. I will give them a careful listen at home with the good cans. I am curious!

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2018, 08:45:05 PM »

Everyone argues for different things in comparisons, and everyone has been arguing and bagging on comparisons for 15+ years on ts.com.  Feel free to do your own comparisons, or at least to pay more attention to the postings on them and ignore them if they don't meet your standards.

Sound like I'm annoyed, I am.  There are lots of tradeoffs and choices, and different people come to different conclusions.  I've done far more comps than most here on ts.com and they take effort -- many times I've been soldering up breakout cables and borrowing equipment to get them done, then putting together files, uploading them, etc.  Always end up the same way on ts.com with someone shitting on them because they would do it different.

Don't let the bastards get you down. There will always be those types on TS. But there are a lot more that appreciate the work put in. Thank you.
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Offline fanofjam

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2018, 11:13:23 PM »

Everyone argues for different things in comparisons, and everyone has been arguing and bagging on comparisons for 15+ years on ts.com.  Feel free to do your own comparisons, or at least to pay more attention to the postings on them and ignore them if they don't meet your standards.

Sound like I'm annoyed, I am.  There are lots of tradeoffs and choices, and different people come to different conclusions.  I've done far more comps than most here on ts.com and they take effort -- many times I've been soldering up breakout cables and borrowing equipment to get them done, then putting together files, uploading them, etc.  Always end up the same way on ts.com with someone shitting on them because they would do it different.

Don't let the bastards get you down. There will always be those types on TS. But there are a lot more that appreciate the work put in. Thank you.

Agreed, though I stopped doing comps because as soon as I post any comp I've ever done it gets shit on, usually within the first five posts.  Thanks for that, douchbags.

Anyway, good job guys with the comp.  I voted B because I hear some more mid and high end clarity.  Full disclosure that my current playback system is crappy. 

« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 11:20:54 PM by fanofjam »

Offline johnmuge

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2018, 09:33:28 AM »
Thanks for the comp; they both sound great but a little different. I can't decide which I like better but I like Comps !!! Keep them coming !!!!
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Offline djphrayz

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2018, 01:26:11 PM »
So.... which is which?
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Offline down2earthlandscaper

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2018, 01:51:51 AM »
I think the methodology used here, as explained, is as close to perfect as one can get.  Many thanks for your hard work.

Todd definitely deserves the credit here.  He even home-brewed a NOS mount at the last minute to make sure we were both using the same configuration!

That's remarkable! Nice work and many thanks!
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Offline justink

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2018, 01:57:07 AM »
i went back and forth in liking A and B.  ended up voting same. 

what's the reveal?
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Offline IronFilm

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2018, 08:57:48 AM »
I reckon let is sit for another week or two as a mystery!

But do tell us before the F8n start shipping!

Am sure many who are considering the F8n would like to know the result of the F8 vs MixPre6 comparison.

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2018, 01:16:26 AM »
My guess...  A=Zoom.  which, i kinda preferred for some reason.  can't put my finger on it.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 01:29:05 AM by justink »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2018, 12:57:43 PM »
I finally got around to listening.

No idea which is which, but prefer A (listening at work thorough built in soundcard / Samsung phone earphones). Intend to re-listen through the good cans at home, maybe over the weekend.
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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2018, 02:12:27 PM »
"A" was behind with only a single vote, but now with those latest two votes from the commentators above we have A nearly drawn level with B at 4 votes!

Although over all, "the same" is winning by far.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 03:23:13 PM by IronFilm »

Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2018, 03:17:24 PM »
I've got the "answers" now, but I'm going to hold off a bit before posting them here in case some more people want to give the samples an unbiased listen.  If you're itching to know, though, feel free to PM me and I'll fill you in.
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Offline pohaku

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2018, 10:42:05 PM »
Really, really close.  Slight preference for A.  Listened on my JBL 4406 monitors at home.

Still, impressively close.
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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2018, 09:56:26 AM »
The difference is subtle, but there for me.

To my ear:
-A doesn't have as much treble accuracy but the mids are a hair more pleasant. Low-mids have this odd honk, they sound warm but phased. 
-B has more treble info, the mids aren't as forward but they're also cleaner and more accurate; overall it just "sounds cleaner" to me.

I mildly prefer B for its overall accuracy and honesty. Given I own a MP6 I have a vested interest in which is which... who should I contact about getting a PM with the answers?

Edit: reading through these responses, I want to thank the creators of this comparison. I know it's a lot of work, and it's definitely appreciated - thank you!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 09:59:03 AM by wforwumbo »
2x Schoeps mk21 (matched pair) -> nbob KCY -> Naiant PFA -> Sound Devices Mixpre 6

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2018, 10:45:51 AM »
who should I contact about getting a PM with the answers?
I just sent you a PM  :coolguy:
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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2018, 06:15:00 PM »
Listening this time through my good Senn HD700 'phones (plugged directly into the same work computer) I now prefer B.  Better 3-dimensionality, tonal balance, less congestion in the dense portions (mids mostly), less fatiguing overall upon extended listening.

This is the opposite of my initial impression listening though the Samsung in-ear 'phones (where I prefered A).  I suspect the brighter tonal balance of the Samsungs makes the presentation of B sound somewhat over sibilant, and that tonality balance is a bigger transgression than the other various sins of omission.  Going back to the cheap Sams I can now hear the things I prefer in B as well, but the brightness overshadows.

Yes it's subtle, but my conclusions are the same after a number of blind listens, of both short and long comparative segments.

The main takeaways for me have nothing to do with the two recorders being compared:
1) Accurate monitoring matters! (always and a lot, more than any of us would probably like to admit to ourselves)
2) Tone and frequency response variations can easily overshadow other very real but more subtle auditory aspects.

If pressed, I'd go with the preference I reach through the Senns (not just because they are "better" but because after identifying exactly what I prefer through them, I can now also identify the same through the cheapo Sams) but I don't actually trust either of these listening experiences.  This mostly serves to make me more suspicious of critical listening decisions reached through any non-calibrated monitoring system, regardless of pedigree.  Especially when it comes to comparing subtleties.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2018, 06:17:34 PM »
^I already voted previously, and am unable to change my vote in the poll.

But consider this my official retraction and change of vote to B.  As is currently stands that makes for a 5-5 tie.
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Offline pohaku

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2018, 06:22:09 PM »
With a majority of respondents unable to tell the difference.
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Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2018, 06:54:59 PM »
But consider this my official retraction and change of vote to B.  As is currently stands that makes for a 5-5 tie.
Wouldn't that make it 3-7 in favor of B?
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Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2018, 06:56:37 PM »
Is there anyone out there who still wants to do the comp and hasn't had a chance to yet?  I guess if I don't see any objection in the next 24 hours I'll publicly post the answer to which is which.

Wouldn't it be funny if they're both the same sample after all?   ;)
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Offline audBall

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2018, 07:42:06 PM »
Perhaps a link in the OP to an image / small text revealing which is which?

That way people can voluntarily reveal the recordings to themselves without accidentally reading which is which.

Offline Walstib62

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2018, 08:14:58 PM »
Does this mean the "Zoomies" finally have street cred? :zoomie1:

Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2018, 09:55:29 PM »
Perhaps a link in the OP to an image / small text revealing which is which?

That way people can voluntarily reveal the recordings to themselves without accidentally reading which is which.

Great idea!  I've updated the OP...
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Offline IronFilm

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2018, 08:26:46 AM »
With a majority of respondents unable to tell the difference.

And even those who do have a preference, it is by a rather narrow margin they prefer one over the other.

Which only makes the conclusion even more clear: both recorders are very good, and basically are just as good machines as each other!

Does this mean the "Zoomies" finally have street cred? :zoomie1:

I feel it has been that way for a long time now.

As the Zoom F8 has been out for three whole years now. And it was pretty quickly clear within the first year of the F8 being released that Zoom had delivered something special and completely different to what Zoom normally produces for sale.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 08:28:37 AM by IronFilm »

Offline aaronji

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2018, 09:13:50 AM »
1) Accurate monitoring matters! (always and a lot, more than any of us would probably like to admit to ourselves)

I had the same experience; on my inexpensive IEMs, it was a toss-up, but I could hear a difference with my Sennheisers through a decent DAC/headphone amp.

I would love to hear some similar comps in different settings, although I know that is probably a pipe-dream!

Offline gewwang

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2018, 09:47:00 AM »
With a majority of respondents unable to tell the difference.

And even those who do have a preference, it is by a rather narrow margin they prefer one over the other.

Which only makes the conclusion even more clear: both recorders are very good, and basically are just as good machines as each other!


If you read Gutbucket and aaronji's comments, there was a noticeable difference between the results of the two sources when listened thru better playback equipment.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 09:49:22 AM by gewwang »

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2018, 04:36:27 PM »
I'm not quibbling with the test methodology since it's probably what would be of interest to most members here. 

One of the most difficult instruments to record is a good grand piano.  The Line Audio CM3s are unusually good piano mics.  If you really want to put these recorders to the test, do comparison recordings of a good grand piano and then listen for whether the notes sound natural or have digital harshness.   When you can focus on each of the piano notes, it's possible to notice things that otherwise blend in unnoticed in a band recording. 

This whole thread caught my interest when I saw that the F8 was priced at $629 lately by Adorama.  This is a particularly timely thread when they start blowing F8's out the door for the F8n.     


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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #44 on: June 20, 2018, 06:30:29 AM »
I prefer A over B.
B sounds a a shade darker to me.   
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Offline wforwumbo

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #45 on: June 20, 2018, 08:54:42 AM »
With a majority of respondents unable to tell the difference.

And even those who do have a preference, it is by a rather narrow margin they prefer one over the other.

Which only makes the conclusion even more clear: both recorders are very good, and basically are just as good machines as each other!

Does this mean the "Zoomies" finally have street cred? :zoomie1:

I feel it has been that way for a long time now.

As the Zoom F8 has been out for three whole years now. And it was pretty quickly clear within the first year of the F8 being released that Zoom had delivered something special and completely different to what Zoom normally produces for sale.

I’m not sure I’d put the recorders exactly “on-par” with one another, but I will readily admit the Zoom punched higher than its reputation had me believe. I’ve always respected the company, and I’ll continue to do so for those in OTS that use their products.

I'm not quibbling with the test methodology since it's probably what would be of interest to most members here. 

One of the most difficult instruments to record is a good grand piano.  The Line Audio CM3s are unusually good piano mics.  If you really want to put these recorders to the test, do comparison recordings of a good grand piano and then listen for whether the notes sound natural or have digital harshness.   When you can focus on each of the piano notes, it's possible to notice things that otherwise blend in unnoticed in a band recording. 

This whole thread caught my interest when I saw that the F8 was priced at $629 lately by Adorama.  This is a particularly timely thread when they start blowing F8's out the door for the F8n.     



I’m not so sure I agree with all of this. Sure if you want to compare the two recorders on piano that’d be a fine comparison and we may see a greater disparity, but the majority of users on here from what I’ve seen are recording precisely this - amplified rock music in an enclosed space. And to that extent, I think this particular comparison is more valid for which recorder to prefer or not prefer. Not that I disagree with you - I imagine the greater SNR of an acoustic instrument would demonstrate a greater flexibility of the MP6 - but I don’t think people who aren’t doing piano recordings and are sticking to amplified rock music will need that example, justification, or eventual desire to buy a MP6 over the F8.

I also disagree 100% with your usage of the phrase “digital harshness”. Can you quantify what digital harshness is? Is a digital recorder or the discretization of audio responsible for imparting said characteristic? Do all digital recorders, or even a subset of them, contribute towards that quality? What about recording digitally is “unnatural”? Have you made any adjustments in post-production to analyze or try to compensate for it? And don’t act like analog doesn’t need it, or recordings should “sound good as-is from the recorder” - de-emphasis, NR, and the RIAA curve are still necessities for a reason! I’m just continuously frustrated by such vague language that’s ascribed to novel technology without a desire to want to use it correctly...

Edit: I want to clarify here as I realize my tone could be easily misinterpreted... I’m not trying to attack you by any means. I do disagree with you, but 1. I want to engender a conversation where hopefully both of us can learn more and 2. I’m still fairly green to taping, so by all means I want to learn about your thoughts and perspective, in the hopes I can improve my own tapes - make sense?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 08:56:31 AM by wforwumbo »
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Offline fanofjam

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #46 on: June 20, 2018, 01:58:32 PM »
Neil Young was critical and vocal in his anti-digital stance and he probably influenced much of the on-going perception that credits harshness on a digital recording to the fact that well...it's not analog.  Obviously, I'm never gonna tell someone else that what they are hearing is wrong, but there are DSD recordings that sound simply sublime and I'd have a hard time believing could sound better as analog masters.  So I don't know all of the details behind the technology of digital sound reproduction, but anecdotally it sure seems like more bits and/or different encoding has shrunk (and/or possibly eliminated) any gap that might have existed between digital and analog recordings.

That said, it's pretty obvious that just because someone hears harshness in a lower resolution digital recording, one can't conclude that it's due to the fact that it's digital.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 02:00:49 PM by fanofjam »

Offline vwmule

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2018, 02:54:56 PM »
> I’m not sure I’d put the recorders exactly “on-par” with one another, but I will readily admit the Zoom punched higher than its reputation had me believe

Owning the F8 and MP6, I would, even allowing a biased edge for the Sound Devices given quality record.

In ways I find the F8 to be easier to use and navigate and it has pluses like double SD card readers, 8 preamps.

I use the MP6 mainly for two channel, and it's a winner on size, weight.

Offline dogmusic

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #48 on: June 20, 2018, 07:20:35 PM »

In ways I find the F8 to be easier to use and navigate

I have the MP6, really like the sound quality, but I find it a problem to navigate, esp. the lack of complete transport control keys, but also jumping from file to file.
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Offline Paul Isaacs

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #49 on: June 20, 2018, 11:14:53 PM »


I have the MP6, really like the sound quality, but I find it a problem to navigate, esp. the lack of complete transport control keys, but also jumping from file to file.

Jumping file to file: While stopped, hold in encoder and rotate. Same for ffwd, rew, and scrubbing while in playback.

Offline dogmusic

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #50 on: June 21, 2018, 10:25:16 AM »


I have the MP6, really like the sound quality, but I find it a problem to navigate, esp. the lack of complete transport control keys, but also jumping from file to file.

Jumping file to file: While stopped, hold in encoder and rotate. Same for ffwd, rew, and scrubbing while in playback.

Thanks, Paul, yes, I know the method. I just don't find it intuitive, especially after a lifetime of using ordinary tape transport controls which have been mimicked on most other digital recorders (where you can also just use the ffwd and rew keys to jump from file to file).

I'm hoping the wonderful folks at Sound Devices can implement my suggestion to incorporate virtual standard transport controls in the Wingman app.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 10:26:51 AM by dogmusic »
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Offline aaronji

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #51 on: June 21, 2018, 10:49:55 AM »
I’m not so sure I agree with all of this. Sure if you want to compare the two recorders on piano that’d be a fine comparison and we may see a greater disparity, but the majority of users on here from what I’ve seen are recording precisely this - amplified rock music in an enclosed space. And to that extent, I think this particular comparison is more valid for which recorder to prefer or not prefer. Not that I disagree with you - I imagine the greater SNR of an acoustic instrument would demonstrate a greater flexibility of the MP6 - but I don’t think people who aren’t doing piano recordings and are sticking to amplified rock music will need that example, justification, or eventual desire to buy a MP6 over the F8.

That may be the majority, but there are quite a few members here who record jazz, classical, bluegrass or choral music (for example).  Plus some spoken word, comedy, ambient, etc.

Offline IronFilm

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #52 on: June 24, 2018, 12:55:37 AM »
With a majority of respondents unable to tell the difference.

And even those who do have a preference, it is by a rather narrow margin they prefer one over the other.

Which only makes the conclusion even more clear: both recorders are very good, and basically are just as good machines as each other!


If you read Gutbucket and aaronji's comments, there was a noticeable difference between the results of the two sources when listened thru better playback equipment.

I feel that just further proves my point.

If the difference between two files are so extremely close that a person's opinion can swap just depending on how they're listening to them, then they are indeed very very very very close indeed! Basically equivalent.

A point could even be made that the one which sounds "better" on the non-high end gear is likely then the "better" choice because odds are high the vast majority of your work will *not* be listened to on such gear but rather just run of the mill consumer gear, so it is better to be tailored to the viewer like that.


Offline IronFilm

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #53 on: June 24, 2018, 12:59:19 AM »


I have the MP6, really like the sound quality, but I find it a problem to navigate, esp. the lack of complete transport control keys, but also jumping from file to file.

Jumping file to file: While stopped, hold in encoder and rotate. Same for ffwd, rew, and scrubbing while in playback.

Not great when the headphone knob is awkwardly placed on the side :-/

Even though Sound Devices has decades more experience, the Zoom simply has a better user experience with their design. I feel Sound Devices went "too far" in cost cutting / crippling / miniaturization.

Offline gewwang

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #54 on: June 24, 2018, 12:38:12 PM »
A point could even be made that the one which sounds "better" on the non-high end gear is likely then the "better" choice because odds are high the vast majority of your work will *not* be listened to on such gear but rather just run of the mill consumer gear, so it is better to be tailored to the viewer like that.

That's certainly a valid opinion. Though, I would prefer to create the source that sounds "better" on high end gear than non-high end gear.

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #55 on: June 25, 2018, 11:08:21 AM »
If you read Gutbucket and aaronji's comments, there was a noticeable difference between the results of the two sources when listened thru better playback equipment.
I feel that just further proves my point.

If the difference between two files are so extremely close that a person's opinion can swap just depending on how they're listening to them, then they are indeed very very very very close indeed! Basically equivalent.

A point could even be made that the one which sounds "better" on the non-high end gear is likely then the "better" choice because odds are high the vast majority of your work will *not* be listened to on such gear but rather just run of the mill consumer gear, so it is better to be tailored to the viewer like that.

That's certainly a valid opinion..

Yet the later is an invalid conclusion, extrapolating a single initial preference with one particular set of cheap headphones to all cheap headphones and all listeners. 

The only "change of preference" when switching to higher-quality headphones was my own. Aaron did not express a preference for either recorder listening through the cheap headphones. More importantly- all cheap headphones are not the same, and neither are high-quality headphones.  Yet the conclusion above assumes a listening-impression equivalence of all cheap-headphones.

My conclusion is that the response characteristics of various headphones vary far more widely than the differences in sound quality through these two recorders.  By using two different points of reference - neither of them calibrated nor objectively "correct" - I am able to make a somewhat more informed decision about which recorder's sound I prefer.  And when making that decision, even though I don't trust either of them absolutely, I tend to trust what I hear though the higher-quality headphones more than the cheapos.

One would have to run a test with a sufficient number of listeners using a multitude of cheap and costly headphones to test the hypothesis that "the Zoom makes for superior sounding recordings for most listeners using cheap headphones".  But knowing how wildly the response of various 'phones varies, I have a hard time believing such a test would be meaningful.
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Offline heathen

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Re: COMP: MixPre-6 vs. Zoom F8
« Reply #56 on: June 25, 2018, 06:04:03 PM »
At least from my perspective, this comparison provides some information which, like pretty much all information, has varying levels of utility for each individual.  For someone recording grand piano or quiet nature ambiances, this comparison probably doesn't provide much information that's useful to them.  For someone recording loud amplified music, this comparison may provide some very useful information.  Also, it necessarily follows that the latter group may have little interest in the criteria that are important to the former group, and vice versa.  Even these general statements likely won't apply to some on here (they are generalities, after all).  Maybe someone records very loud music from a PA but places great importance on differences between recorders that are only audibly discernible in a setting like recording a grand piano.  Of course there's nothing wrong with that.  As they say, "hike your own hike."  The same general concept applies to what happens with the playback of the recording.  Maybe someone is more interested in how the recording sounds through $20 earbuds than through a $50,000+ stereo system (or, again, vice versa).  At least in my opinion there's nothing objectively wrong with either perspective.  The information is here and it's up to each of us to decide how useful it is and how we apply it (or don't, which is also fine!) to our decision-making processes.

Maybe I've gone off the rails a bit with pontificating, and likely I haven't conveyed any new or unique ideas.  I just wanted to throw my two cents in about some things that have been touched on in my interpretation of some of this thread.
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