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Gear / Technical Help => Recording Gear => Topic started by: gaijin on January 19, 2022, 08:05:48 PM

Title: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on January 19, 2022, 08:05:48 PM
https://www.newsshooter.com/2022/01/19/zoom-f3/

Curious about the groups thoughts on this one.  I have not been a huge fan of the preamps on the Zooms historically.  Don't love the lack of a mini jack line in either. Curious if anyone has an opinion on this vs a MixPre3ii, the new Tascam Portacapture, or any similar devices.

Portable Recorder
Form Factor   Handheld Recorder
Primary Use Applications   Audio-for-Video
Number of Tracks   2
Number of Input Channels   2
Max Sample Rate/Resolution   192 kHz / 32-Bit
Microphone   None
Number of Mic Preamps   2
Built-In Speaker   No
Memory Card Support   microSDHC (4 GB to 32 GB)
microSDXC (64 GB to 1 TB)
Internal Storage   None
Special Features   Remote Control Capable (Remote Available Separately)

Recording
Audio File Formats   BWF, iXML
Sample Rates   44.1 / 48 / 88.2 / 96 / 192 kHz
Bit Depth   32-Bit
Signal Processing & FX   None
Timecode Support   Yes
Included Software   None

Connectivity
Analog I/O   2 x XLR 3-Pin Female Balanced Line/Mic Input (Lockable)
1 x 1/8" / 3.5 mm TRS Female Unbalanced Line Output
1 x 1/8" / 3.5 mm TRS Female Unbalanced Headphone Output
Digital I/O   None
Phantom Power   +24 / 48 V, Selectable On/Off
Phantom Power Current   10 mA per Channel
Host Connection   1 x USB Type-C (USB 2.0)
Audio Interface Capability   Stereo Only

Performance
Max Input Level   Mic Inputs:
+4 dBu
Line Inputs:
+24 dBu
Max Output Level   Line Outputs:
+1 dBu
Headphone Output Power   50 mW per Channel into 32 Ohms
Impedance   Mic/Line Inputs:
≥3 Kilohms
Line Outputs:
200 Ohms
Headphone Outputs:
200 Ohms
EIN   ≤-127 dBu

Power
Power Options   Battery, USB Bus Power, or AC/DC Power Adapter
Battery Type   2 x AA (Included)
Approximate Battery Life   48 kHz/32-Bit:
8 Hours (AA Alkaline, 2 Channels, Recording)
8.5 Hours (AA NiMH, 2 Channels, Recording)
18 Hours (AA Lithium, 2 Channels, Recording)
AC/DC Power Adapter   5 VDC at 1 A (Not Included)

Physical
Included Accessories   Batteries
Mounting Options   None
Dimensions   3 x 1.9 x 3" / 75 x 47.8 x 77.3 mm
Weight   8.5 oz / 242 g (with Batteries)

Available End of Feb 2022
MSRP $349.99

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on January 19, 2022, 09:28:14 PM
That thing looks pretty sweet. I would be afraid of losing it though. If it sounds really good and is affordable, I would up fr trying it. I wonder if it can do 8 hours with internal batteries on P48?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: kindms on January 20, 2022, 09:35:08 AM
does usb audio. would be a nice small recorder to pair with my sonosax m2d2 vs phone
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: fireonshakedwnstreet on January 20, 2022, 09:43:05 AM
This looks really nice.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: rocksuitcase on January 20, 2022, 01:51:16 PM
So tiny. I was discussing with kindms that the apparent market for this is amateur video and field reporter types who work with small crews. Although it fits on a boom pole, it is certainly not a device for large scale movie/film production as the timecode isn't universal.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: WiFiJeff on January 20, 2022, 01:59:32 PM
Japanese site is charging ~$310 for it, though it might be different here:

https://www.kizaiya.jp/shopdetail/000000001693/ (https://www.kizaiya.jp/shopdetail/000000001693/)

Other than 32 bit, not sure why you would run it with an M2D2 since the A/D on that has to be better than the Zoom's, even an iPod Touch makes a better bitbox.  But 32 bits helps if you're trying to record crickets near a nuclear explosion, I guess.

Jeff
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: WiFiJeff on January 20, 2022, 02:07:09 PM
B&H now has it listed for end of February, no price yet.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: rocksuitcase on January 20, 2022, 02:23:40 PM

Other than 32 bit, not sure why you would run it with an M2D2 since the A/D on that has to be better than the Zoom's, even an iPod Touch makes a better bitbox.  But 32 bits helps if you're trying to record crickets near a nuclear explosion, I guess.

Jeff
We were thinking using USB in does not use the AD on the f3. Probably incorrect, but maybe a menu setting?
Currently, kindms is using an old, no telephone line iPhone7S. Seemed to work GREAT the first time we used it.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Nico11104 on January 20, 2022, 03:04:52 PM
I don't think it's as small as it seems.  Physical dimensions listed as 3" x 3" x 2".  By comparison, the F6 is 4" x 4.7" x 2.5".  So with an inch less of width and 1.7" less of length, you get four fewer preamps.  I know that when stealthing every inch counts but I don't think this is tiny.  It won't slip into your pocket, although it will mount on your belt
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: kindms on January 20, 2022, 04:13:35 PM
Japanese site is charging ~$310 for it, though it might be different here:

https://www.kizaiya.jp/shopdetail/000000001693/ (https://www.kizaiya.jp/shopdetail/000000001693/)

Other than 32 bit, not sure why you would run it with an M2D2 since the A/D on that has to be better than the Zoom's, even an iPod Touch makes a better bitbox.  But 32 bits helps if you're trying to record crickets near a nuclear explosion, I guess.

Jeff

To use as a dedicated USB audio recorder. Phone works fine but I like the idea of a dedicated recorder. so A/D in the m2d2 and just sending 1s and 0s to the zoom over USB.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: illconditioned on January 20, 2022, 09:20:54 PM
Got a love hate relationship with Zoom gear.
Love the small size and also the locking connectors on the F1 (stereo) and F2 (float) rigs.However, I've had the USB fail on a Zoom F1 and an H3-VR already.

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: heathen on January 21, 2022, 04:10:37 PM
I have not been a huge fan of the preamps on the Zooms historically. 

https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=186654.0
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on January 22, 2022, 08:08:40 AM

Other than 32 bit, not sure why you would run it with an M2D2 since the A/D on that has to be better than the Zoom's, even an iPod Touch makes a better bitbox.  But 32 bits helps if you're trying to record crickets near a nuclear explosion, I guess.

Jeff

Comparing specs, the F3 and F6 look like they use same preamp circuit, but obviously different ADC.

I can believe that Sonosax has better A/D than Zoom, but I don't know how the iPod Touch would be a better bitbox than a dedicated audio recorder. Or are you just saying that in the context of using the M2D2 in front of it?

Regarding your "crickets" comment: Don't you own an F6? Mine has made what I do so much easier, specifically because of the auto-ranging dual DACs and 32 FP setup. When you're often recording your own performances, and/or don't have a rehearsal to set levels, you can just hit record and go without concern for limiters, safety tracks, etc. I feel like that this has been discussed to death on various threads, with most of the criticism coming from people who are making assumptions about these units without any firsthand experience.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on January 22, 2022, 08:26:27 AM
I have not been a huge fan of the preamps on the Zooms historically. 

https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=186654.0

The Zoom H series preamps are quite noisy, and deserving of criticism. F6 and F8 in a different league, and are now on par with Sound Devices and other pro units in all areas except max input level. I haven't heard the F1 / F2 so I can't speak to those. As I said earlier, the F3 looks like it might use the same preamps as the F6.

If you need some proof: WiFiJeff posted some excellent solo piano recordings a while back made with an F6 (which I can't locate; maybe he will be willing to repost).

Here are some choir recordings of mine, all with an F6. (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/auvka6syq8jgopr/AAArGSLuwKHxTmim80n6vFIDa?dl=0)

I also did some measurements of my F6 before/after upgrading firmware (https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=190161.msg2358002#msg2358002). There was a low-frequency noise issue in the F6 that you will see has been corrected by the latest firmware (even though the issue was totally inaudible).
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on January 22, 2022, 08:43:13 AM
One concerning thing I just caught in the specs:

Quote
Phantom Power
Channel total 10 mA or less

Typically you see a spec of of 10 mA max for each channel. Something to be aware of when selecting mics. Most good mics don't have very high current consumption anymore, but you couldn't use a pair of AKG C414 or Gefell M221, for example.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: heathen on January 22, 2022, 09:02:16 AM
The Zoom H series preamps are quite noisy, and deserving of criticism. F6 and F8 in a different league, and are now on par with Sound Devices and other pro units in all areas except max input level.

Good point, I overlooked that distinction.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: WiFiJeff on January 22, 2022, 10:29:03 AM

I can believe that Sonosax has better A/D than Zoom, but I don't know how the iPod Touch would be a better bitbox than a dedicated audio recorder. Or are you just saying that in the context of using the M2D2 in front of it?


Just in the context of running the M2D2.  If you run the M2D2 digital-out, you might as well run to the iPod touch or an iPhone as the M2D2 won't do 32 bits.  If you run analog-out from the M2D2 you would get the A/D  of the F3.  My iPhone XR running Metarecorder runs for about 10-11 hours, when powering a DPA MMA-A and 4060 mics, and I calculate it would run around 13-14 hours with the M2D2.  An iPod Touch 7 recording (with Metarecorder) from an M2D2 (the M2D2 battery powering the mics and its own amp/AD) runs about 5 hours, which is a bit longer than the M2D2 gets on its internal battery.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on January 23, 2022, 05:08:09 PM
does usb audio. would be a nice small recorder to pair with my sonosax m2d2 vs phone

I doubt very much whether it records from its USB interface.  My reading of the available info is that it will be just the same as any other Zoom recorder, namely that you can use it as an interface to a computer, allowing the F3 mic inputs to be recorded on the PC, and playback on the PC could be heard on the Zoom.  It won't have a digital input for recording.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on January 23, 2022, 07:34:57 PM
I found the manual online - concerning the USB interface, it says (according to Google Translate) -

"Connect to a PC or smartphone / tablet to connect with an SD card reader and audio interface
Can be used. It supports USB bus power operation."

In the menus you can select whether you want to connect to PC/Mac, or to smartphone / tablet.
There are diagrams showing connection to PC/Mac or smartphones/tablets but no reference to connecting a USB-C audio device.

"You can set the loopback and monitor sound when using F3 as an audio interface.
Set loopback
Mix the playback sound of your computer or smartphone / tablet with the input sound of F3, and then use your computer or smartphone again.
You can send it to a phone / tablet (loopback).
You can add narration to the music played on your computer, record it on your computer, or stream it. "

Link to the manual - https://zoomcorp.com/media/documents/J_F3.pdf

Of course it might be possible to turn it into a USB-C audio recorder by FW update, but typically that would be to enable a USB mic to be connected.  I don't think that would be something that most users of such a device would want to do, so it probably wouldn't be worth their effort. 

I'm aware of only one device on the market that records from USB-C audio devices (obviously apart from PC/Mac/Android/iOS devices) and that's the DJI Action 2 video camera.  However that device only records to AAC format with no options to change audio settings, and while the audio quality is fine in relation to the use case and design intent of the device, it has no particular advantage over phones for location recording of audio.

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: kindms on January 24, 2022, 11:32:48 AM

I can believe that Sonosax has better A/D than Zoom, but I don't know how the iPod Touch would be a better bitbox than a dedicated audio recorder. Or are you just saying that in the context of using the M2D2 in front of it?


Just in the context of running the M2D2.  If you run the M2D2 digital-out, you might as well run to the iPod touch or an iPhone as the M2D2 won't do 32 bits.  If you run analog-out from the M2D2 you would get the A/D  of the F3.  My iPhone XR running Metarecorder runs for about 10-11 hours, when powering a DPA MMA-A and 4060 mics, and I calculate it would run around 13-14 hours with the M2D2.  An iPod Touch 7 recording (with Metarecorder) from an M2D2 (the M2D2 battery powering the mics and its own amp/AD) runs about 5 hours, which is a bit longer than the M2D2 gets on its internal battery.

I know my AD and how to maximize it. I again was simply liking the idea of a small dedicated recorder that i can use with the USB out on the M2D2. I have a free iphone7 that i have used successfully and its great. I can run it all day long etc as you say. But at the end of the day its also a phone and it cannot accept anything but USB audio. A small dedicated recorder that can do both USB audio as well as have other features I might find useful in small recorder is of value. Plus as well as the iphone works etc, I find the adapter and cabling a little clunky. So reducing that would be cool. I dont know if it would be worth $300+ cool. But a small recorder that has a USB and/or Digital in would be awesome for me. I have considered building a pi to do it but it would be bigger and more costly than a phone etc
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: kindms on January 24, 2022, 11:34:52 AM
I found the manual online - concerning the USB interface, it says (according to Google Translate) -

"Connect to a PC or smartphone / tablet to connect with an SD card reader and audio interface
Can be used. It supports USB bus power operation."

In the menus you can select whether you want to connect to PC/Mac, or to smartphone / tablet.
There are diagrams showing connection to PC/Mac or smartphones/tablets but no reference to connecting a USB-C audio device.

"You can set the loopback and monitor sound when using F3 as an audio interface.
Set loopback
Mix the playback sound of your computer or smartphone / tablet with the input sound of F3, and then use your computer or smartphone again.
You can send it to a phone / tablet (loopback).
You can add narration to the music played on your computer, record it on your computer, or stream it. "

Link to the manual - https://zoomcorp.com/media/documents/J_F3.pdf

Of course it might be possible to turn it into a USB-C audio recorder by FW update, but typically that would be to enable a USB mic to be connected.  I don't think that would be something that most users of such a device would want to do, so it probably wouldn't be worth their effort. 

I'm aware of only one device on the market that records from USB-C audio devices (obviously apart from PC/Mac/Android/iOS devices) and that's the DJI Action 2 video camera.  However that device only records to AAC format with no options to change audio settings, and while the audio quality is fine in relation to the use case and design intent of the device, it has no particular advantage over phones for location recording of audio.

the sound devices mix pre II series do it
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on January 24, 2022, 12:35:15 PM
I found the manual online - concerning the USB interface, it says (according to Google Translate) -

"Connect to a PC or smartphone / tablet to connect with an SD card reader and audio interface
Can be used. It supports USB bus power operation."

In the menus you can select whether you want to connect to PC/Mac, or to smartphone / tablet.
There are diagrams showing connection to PC/Mac or smartphones/tablets but no reference to connecting a USB-C audio device.

"You can set the loopback and monitor sound when using F3 as an audio interface.
Set loopback
Mix the playback sound of your computer or smartphone / tablet with the input sound of F3, and then use your computer or smartphone again.
You can send it to a phone / tablet (loopback).
You can add narration to the music played on your computer, record it on your computer, or stream it. "

Link to the manual - https://zoomcorp.com/media/documents/J_F3.pdf

Of course it might be possible to turn it into a USB-C audio recorder by FW update, but typically that would be to enable a USB mic to be connected.  I don't think that would be something that most users of such a device would want to do, so it probably wouldn't be worth their effort. 

I'm aware of only one device on the market that records from USB-C audio devices (obviously apart from PC/Mac/Android/iOS devices) and that's the DJI Action 2 video camera.  However that device only records to AAC format with no options to change audio settings, and while the audio quality is fine in relation to the use case and design intent of the device, it has no particular advantage over phones for location recording of audio.

the sound devices mix pre II series do it

I'm really curious about the details of this.  Does this approach work with any proper USB input device?  For example, if I connect a Shure MV-88+ to the MixPre3,6-ii, will I be able to record a set of tracks using it's USB connection?  All the references I have seen to the USB audio connectivity is in the context of to PC connections. Is there somewhere that explains how the functionality you're describing works?

Thanks in advance for any detail you can share.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: kindms on January 24, 2022, 05:26:59 PM
I found the manual online - concerning the USB interface, it says (according to Google Translate) -

"Connect to a PC or smartphone / tablet to connect with an SD card reader and audio interface
Can be used. It supports USB bus power operation."

In the menus you can select whether you want to connect to PC/Mac, or to smartphone / tablet.
There are diagrams showing connection to PC/Mac or smartphones/tablets but no reference to connecting a USB-C audio device.

"You can set the loopback and monitor sound when using F3 as an audio interface.
Set loopback
Mix the playback sound of your computer or smartphone / tablet with the input sound of F3, and then use your computer or smartphone again.
You can send it to a phone / tablet (loopback).
You can add narration to the music played on your computer, record it on your computer, or stream it. "

Link to the manual - https://zoomcorp.com/media/documents/J_F3.pdf

Of course it might be possible to turn it into a USB-C audio recorder by FW update, but typically that would be to enable a USB mic to be connected.  I don't think that would be something that most users of such a device would want to do, so it probably wouldn't be worth their effort. 

I'm aware of only one device on the market that records from USB-C audio devices (obviously apart from PC/Mac/Android/iOS devices) and that's the DJI Action 2 video camera.  However that device only records to AAC format with no options to change audio settings, and while the audio quality is fine in relation to the use case and design intent of the device, it has no particular advantage over phones for location recording of audio.

the sound devices mix pre II series do it

I'm really curious about the details of this.  Does this approach work with any proper USB input device?  For example, if I connect a Shure MV-88+ to the MixPre3,6-ii, will I be able to record a set of tracks using it's USB connection?  All the references I have seen to the USB audio connectivity is in the context of to PC connections. Is there somewhere that explains how the functionality you're describing works?

Thanks in advance for any detail you can share.

It would seem I am WRONG. I was under the impression that they do allow USB audio in but from what Im reading in the manual it would seem that isn't correct. It seems it does require a computer as others have mentioned up thread about other devices.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on January 24, 2022, 08:14:40 PM
I'd lay money that before long, recording from USB devices will be implemented on location recording equipment - persuasive use case would be recording from kit like the Rode Wireless Go 2 USB output, or from the equivalent DJI device.  Or from the Sennheiser Ambeo binaural headset!  If DJI can do this with their Action 2 camera, then there's clearly no basic technical problem - unless there would be a conflict with using the recorder as an audio interface to a PC.  Maybe you can't do both in one device.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on February 17, 2022, 12:54:57 PM
Almost here and MSRP

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1686005-REG/zoom_zf3_f3_digital_field_recorder.html
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on February 17, 2022, 01:44:14 PM
Almost here and MSRP

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1686005-REG/zoom_zf3_f3_digital_field_recorder.html

Nice!  Added details to the first post.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on February 17, 2022, 04:14:10 PM
What's up with that screen, though? It's 2022 and all. It would probably only add a couple of bucks to the list price to have something a little more contemporary. It's worse than a first generation GameBoy...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on February 17, 2022, 09:07:19 PM
One concerning thing I just caught in the specs:

Quote
Phantom Power
Channel total 10 mA or less

Typically you see a spec of of 10 mA max for each channel. Something to be aware of when selecting mics. Most good mics don't have very high current consumption anymore, but you couldn't use a pair of AKG C414 or Gefell M221, for example.

Looks like I was way off base on this. It's 10 mA per channel, as you would expect.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on February 18, 2022, 07:46:45 AM
I have asked B&H whether there is any support for M/S mics - given that it's designed partly for video I would be surprised if it didn't even decode M/S to X/Y for headphone monitoring.  I really hope they have not overlooked this - it could be a dealbreaker for me (which would save me some money of course!).

[Edit - reading the English manual at https://zoomcorp.com/media/documents/E_F3.pdf it looks like there is no M/S support.  That astonishes me.]
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Niels on February 18, 2022, 08:36:56 AM
I have been out of the loop for some years regarding 32bit float.
Is the format now widely adapted, also in the entry level DAW's?

When the MixPre II series and F6 came out, I recall I checked and found out I couldn't work on the files in GarageBand or Hindenburg Lite.
Has that changed?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on February 19, 2022, 08:18:50 AM
I have been out of the loop for some years regarding 32bit float.
Is the format now widely adapted, also in the entry level DAW's?

When the MixPre II series and F6 came out, I recall I checked and found out I couldn't work on the files in GarageBand or Hindenburg Lite.
Has that changed?

I can't speak to those particular DAWs, but Reaper has handled float-point files without issues for years.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on February 19, 2022, 08:26:18 AM
I have asked B&H whether there is any support for M/S mics - given that it's designed partly for video I would be surprised if it didn't even decode M/S to X/Y for headphone monitoring.  I really hope they have not overlooked this - it could be a dealbreaker for me (which would save me some money of course!).

[Edit - reading the English manual at https://zoomcorp.com/media/documents/E_F3.pdf it looks like there is no M/S support.  That astonishes me.]

I have never liked the idea of applying a M/S decoding matrix straight to the recorder, as it defeats one of the most major benefits of M/S recording - being able to change the imaging in post. I completely agree, however, that having a decoding matrix for monitoring is a necessary feature, especially for boom pole operators which this unit seems perfectly designed for. If you are recording 32-bit float, there is no need to monitoring levels, but it would be nice to at least hear what's going into the mics in a "default" 50/50 M/S decode.

This is something that could probably be added via a firmware update.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Niels on February 19, 2022, 08:55:21 AM
I have been out of the loop for some years regarding 32bit float.
Is the format now widely adapted, also in the entry level DAW's?

When the MixPre II series and F6 came out, I recall I checked and found out I couldn't work on the files in GarageBand or Hindenburg Lite.
Has that changed?

I can't speak to those particular DAWs, but Reaper has handled float-point files without issues for years.
Thanks. I think that was the case at the time, and I checked it out but found the UI unintuitive.
I'll look for a 32bit float file and see how it imports - not much info in he respective applications help fuction.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on February 19, 2022, 10:32:01 AM
I have asked B&H whether there is any support for M/S mics - given that it's designed partly for video I would be surprised if it didn't even decode M/S to X/Y for headphone monitoring.  I really hope they have not overlooked this - it could be a dealbreaker for me (which would save me some money of course!).

[Edit - reading the English manual at https://zoomcorp.com/media/documents/E_F3.pdf it looks like there is no M/S support.  That astonishes me.]

I have never liked the idea of applying a M/S decoding matrix straight to the recorder, as it defeats one of the most major benefits of M/S recording - being able to change the imaging in post.... [snipped]

I am very sure that we are on the same page in that respect - but I will none the less mention that there are (for me at least) two merits in MS recordings.  One is that they can be decoded to provide whatever width is appropriate.  This can vary from mono (for speech), through various degrees of stereo for music or ambience, or you can have the side mics only and have an interviewer and victim either side of the fig of 8 capsule.  But there's actually no reason why normal X/Y recordings shouldn't be processed for width in post-production much as an MS recording is processed - you just need a plugin like Voxengo Msed to convert from XY to MS, vary the width, then reconvert back to XY.  However, the difference between an MS pair and an XY pair is that the MS pair has that front facing mic for most appropriate mono recording, and the fig of 8 mic for, well, fig of 8 applications.

So - when using an MS mic with a recorder which will decode the signal to XY before you record, there's no theoretical difference between that approach and the alternative of recording the MS pair 'as is' undecoded.  Pass either signal through MSED and you will end up with the same degree of choice over width, albeit by first converting the already dematrixed XY version back to MS, tweaking it, and converting to XY again, as compared with using the native MS recording 'as is' and tweaking it for width when dematrixing it with the plugin.

But having said all that, indeed the purist approach is simply to monitor in XY but record in MS, as you say.

Show me a nit and I will pick it...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: kuba e on February 20, 2022, 05:03:46 PM
Ozpeter is right. We can encode any stereo track left/right to mid/side and back to left/right without loss. But when we do editing in mid/side, it's good that the stereo doesn't have a time difference - it is recorded in coincident config (xy). If the stereo has a time differences - spaced config (din, ortf, ab ...) some degradation will occur when editing in mid/side and converting back to left/right. But it's not always disturbing, sometimes I do mid/side editing for spaced configs.

I think stereo mp3 is also encoded in mid/side and players decode it internally to left/right. When I created a stereo mp3 that contained only a mono recording but in two tracks, the file was still half the size. I assume there is zero side channel and only mid channel is compressed.

Recording with fig8+mid or with directional microphones in xy works on the same principle. We can get the same results with a pair of directional mics in xy as with fig8+mid. Very nice explanation is in this thread. At the end, our friends are explaining what are the practical differences when recording with mid and fig.8 vs directional mics in xy.
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=193204.msg2320506#msg2320506

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on February 22, 2022, 05:34:49 PM
This looks like the first proper review:

https://www.audiotechnology.com/reviews/zoom-f3
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Niels on February 23, 2022, 07:11:39 AM
What's up with that screen, though? It's 2022 and all. It would probably only add a couple of bucks to the list price to have something a little more contemporary. It's worse than a first generation GameBoy...
I guess they thought that you'll get all the resolution and color you want on the smartphone you use to control it with.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on February 23, 2022, 09:55:27 AM
^ I suppose, but, if I am standing right next to the thing, I would prefer not to deal with possible latency or connection issues and just monitor/control my recording using the built-in features. I doubt a more modern screen would have added much cost.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: WiFiJeff on February 23, 2022, 10:34:28 AM
And think of all those beautiful, maybe screen-related,  ultra-sonic hum resonances you'd be able to get, just like the Tascam X8! 
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on February 23, 2022, 09:14:50 PM
This looks like the first proper review:

https://www.audiotechnology.com/reviews/zoom-f3

I wish the reviewer had told people the whole story: It's 32-bit floating point, being fed by multiple auto-ranging ADCs. It's explained pretty well in the manual. He also says "dynamic range will be limited by your microphone and not your recorder." Not the whole story either - if you have a sensitive mic with a hot output recording a loud source, you can overload the preamp ahead of the ADC. (I had to be reminded of this in the F6 thread.)

Still, after using my F6 exclusively in 32-bit FP mode for over 2 years, I am happy to see Zoom drop the level controls for this simple 2-channel recorder. They are completely unnecessary for recording with this kind of setup, but hopefully there is plenty of adjustment for monitoring for those who need to do so.

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on February 23, 2022, 11:48:50 PM
This unit looks very interesting, I love small and simple. I will likely end up grabbing one to play with. I'm confused as to whether or not you can actually even (although you don't 'need' to) adjust the recording signal level? The full operation manual states:

Recording

The F3 records in 32-bit float format, so the input gain does not need to be adjusted. Depending on the input signals, however, waveforms shown on the display could appear too small or too large, making them difficult to check.
By changing the waveform display magnification, input waveforms can be adjusted to sizes that are easy to check. The magnification rate can be set separately for each input. The volume will also be changed according to the waveform magnification rate.

NOTE:
• The magnification rate can be set in 11 steps: ×1 , ×2, ×4, ×8, ×16, ×32, ×64, ×128, ×256, ×512 and ×1024. • Be careful with the volume if you are monitoring the input sound with headphones, for example.
Changing the magnification rate, even in the middle of recording, will not affect the recording level.

But the quick tour manual says:

Adjusting waveform amplification

Changing the amplification will change the volume and be applied to the recording data.
• Since the F3 records using 32-bit float WAV format, if monitored audio sounds distorted, lowering the volume of the recording file can restore the waveform to a state without clipping.


Seems conflicting?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dallman on February 24, 2022, 05:47:58 PM
This unit looks very interesting, I love small and simple. I will likely end up grabbing one to play with. I'm confused as to whether or not you can actually even (although you don't 'need' to) adjust the recording signal level? The full operation manual states:

Recording

The F3 records in 32-bit float format, so the input gain does not need to be adjusted. Depending on the input signals, however, waveforms shown on the display could appear too small or too large, making them difficult to check.
By changing the waveform display magnification, input waveforms can be adjusted to sizes that are easy to check. The magnification rate can be set separately for each input. The volume will also be changed according to the waveform magnification rate.

NOTE:
• The magnification rate can be set in 11 steps: ×1 , ×2, ×4, ×8, ×16, ×32, ×64, ×128, ×256, ×512 and ×1024. • Be careful with the volume if you are monitoring the input sound with headphones, for example.
Changing the magnification rate, even in the middle of recording, will not affect the recording level.

But the quick tour manual says:

Adjusting waveform amplification

Changing the amplification will change the volume and be applied to the recording data.
• Since the F3 records using 32-bit float WAV format, if monitored audio sounds distorted, lowering the volume of the recording file can restore the waveform to a state without clipping.


Seems conflicting?
You can change the volume or the outputted signal, but not the gain which is the actual recorded level. That is why the wave is shown versus bars. I like that idea. That said if you go with a much bigger or smaller wave form that optimal for the end product, you can easily adjust in post and the sound will be just fine. (And yes I understand many have written about exceptions and possible problems where there could be distortion for one reason or another but in my few years of using the Zoom F6 and MixPre 6II for all kinds of music, blasting loud and painfully soft, I have yet to experience anything less than a stellar sounding recording.)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on February 24, 2022, 06:27:58 PM
OK, so it works like the F6 in the sense that you cannot adjust preamp gain, but you can adjust the post-ADC fader level (REC level as the F6 docs call it).
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on February 25, 2022, 09:32:08 AM
Thanks I think that helps clarify. So changing the magnification level indeed affects the recorded waveform level? I'm assuming that with amplified PA music low levels won't be an issue, but in the case of recording softer material is it better to try to get the volume from the machine while recording (via magnification), or boost in post in terms of noise/artifacts? I'm guessing since it's digital amplification there wouldn't be much difference?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on February 26, 2022, 06:24:01 AM
Recording will be at a fixed level.  Monitoring and playback will follow whatever amplification you apply to the waveform display.  "• Changing the amplification will change the volume and be applied to the recording data." means that the metadata for the recording will include the current amplification so it will play back (in the device at least) at that volume if you close the file and reopen it.  I don't know whether DAWs will also pick up that volume data.  I suspect there's a difference in meaning between recordED data - meaning the sound recording - and recordING data - meaning the metadata.

I don'r actually know any more than anyone else whether my interpretation of the manual is correct but if you bear in mind that "level" means input and "volume" means playback, then I'm pretty sure I'm right.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on February 26, 2022, 08:22:09 AM
Recording will be at a fixed level.  Monitoring and playback will follow whatever amplification you apply to the waveform display.  "• Changing the amplification will change the volume and be applied to the recording data." means that the metadata for the recording will include the current amplification so it will play back (in the device at least) at that volume if you close the file and reopen it.  I don't know whether DAWs will also pick up that volume data.  I suspect there's a difference in meaning between recordED data - meaning the sound recording - and recordING data - meaning the metadata.

I don'r actually know any more than anyone else whether my interpretation of the manual is correct but if you bear in mind that "level" means input and "volume" means playback, then I'm pretty sure I'm right.

That's an interesting theory, but the WAV file header does not have a place to store playback volume info. The F3 would have to create separate metadata files to do what you describe.
https://docs.fileformat.com/audio/wav/ (https://docs.fileformat.com/audio/wav/)

The block diagram on pg. 102 of the manual gives a little more clarity, IMO. Notice that Waveform Amplification (shown as a level trim) is directly in the path of everything that comes after it; not just Waveform Display which is simply a tap off of the main path. To me, this makes it clear that adjusting that setting does in fact affect the recorded level, in the same way you can with the F6 in 32FP when setting the trim pot controls to REC LEVEL. See the attached screenshots of the F3 and F6 block diagrams. F3 Waveform Display and F6 REC Level are in the same place in their respective signal chains. While this isn't hard proof, I think it makes sense that Zoom would carry over this implementation from the F6 to the F3.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on February 26, 2022, 10:34:29 AM
Well - it looks like I'll just have to buy one to find out - seems as good an excuse as any to me... :)   I note that the recorder uses iXML files which, having read about them for 30 seconds, seem potentially to cater for storing the waveform amplificaton data.  And it seems counterproductive that if you wanted a closer look at the waveform during recording, it would affect the recording level and thus screw up the recording.  And the manual says it doesn't.  So - colour me confused....  However, given that you have an F6 and I only have an F1, you know more about 32 bit recording than I do!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on February 26, 2022, 12:09:25 PM
And it seems counterproductive that if you wanted a closer look at the waveform during recording, it would affect the recording level and thus screw up the recording.

Totally. And if that is the case hopefully it will save last magnification settings used so you don’t have to fiddle too much with re-setting each channel if you repeatedly record the same general volume of material, as the benefit of this deck for me would be to ‘set on the high side and forget it’ unless I was recording much softer material. I have an email into them about that.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dallman on February 26, 2022, 08:05:33 PM
Gain is fixed, so it will not matter if you oversize of undersize the wave file during recording. That is only showing you the output file. You just adjust in post and all will be fine.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on February 27, 2022, 10:04:58 AM
Well - it looks like I'll just have to buy one to find out - seems as good an excuse as any to me... :)   I note that the recorder uses iXML files which, having read about them for 30 seconds, seem potentially to cater for storing the waveform amplificaton data.  And it seems counterproductive that if you wanted a closer look at the waveform during recording, it would affect the recording level and thus screw up the recording.  And the manual says it doesn't.  So - colour me confused....  However, given that you have an F6 and I only have an F1, you know more about 32 bit recording than I do!

Not to belabor the point, but as cd2go pointed out Zoom actually say that it does and also that it does not affect the recorded level, depending on if you look in the Quick Start or the full manual. It's possible we're all wrong!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on February 28, 2022, 06:51:13 AM
Without reading again what the manual(s) said, I think it's less confusing if you treat "recording" and "recorded" as different things, and "level" and "volume" as different things also - but indeed, the verdict will have to wait until a competent reviewer gets their hands on one.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on February 28, 2022, 07:12:47 AM
Let’s really beat this thing to death, this is a quote from an official Zoom video about the magnifier:

“…but it will also raise the volume of the recorded file that you’ll import into the computer.”

https://youtu.be/MsDIGWj4tYo

I have one on preorder from Zoom, looks like B&H is saying March 22…
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on February 28, 2022, 09:54:04 AM
I'm assuming that with amplified PA music low levels won't be an issue, but in the case of recording softer material is it better to try to get the volume from the machine while recording (via magnification), or boost in post in terms of noise/artifacts? I'm guessing since it's digital amplification there wouldn't be much difference?

I'm continually curious about this - and have never understood a clear answer.  Specifically, if you have good / great preamps is there an expressed benefited to running "hot" (i.e. in 32-bit even if you're clipping here and there just let it go and bring it down in post) or better / just as good to run conservatively and apply a volume boost in a modern DAW in post?  I have seen several posts over the years of people positing that their recordings sound better when they are run "hot", sometimes potentially even briefly bouncing off the limiter vs. raising in post - is there any merit to this observation thought / claim? For my part I cannot clearly identify a preference or even a clear difference in cursory A/B testing.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on February 28, 2022, 06:19:37 PM
Let’s really beat this thing to death, this is a quote from an official Zoom video about the magnifier:

“…but it will also raise the volume of the recorded file that you’ll import into the computer.”

https://youtu.be/MsDIGWj4tYo

I have one on preorder from Zoom, looks like B&H is saying March 22…

Well, that statement is still consistent with my earlier speculation that the last waveform magnification set is stored in the extended metadata file - it would only need to store one number in respect of each channel - and your DAW would use that as if the DAW itself had raised the digital gain.  They are talking about volume (playback) not level (recording).  We'll see...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on February 28, 2022, 06:34:39 PM
In other words, it's like "ReplayGain" in mp3 files.  "ReplayGain software stores information in the audio file's metadata header rather than directly affecting the original audio information. This metadata allows audio players and sound systems that support ReplayGain to adjust the volume to the desired level automatically."
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on February 28, 2022, 09:32:58 PM
"• Changing the amplification will change the volume and be applied to the recording data." means that the metadata for the recording will include the current amplification so it will play back (in the device at least) at that volume if you close the file and reopen it.  I don't know whether DAWs will also pick up that volume data.

I presume this will emulate the behavior of the F8, in which case the recorder remembers internal mixer levels for subsequent playback on the device, but a DAW reading the exported files won't know what the internal mixer levels on the recorder were (the case in my experience)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on February 28, 2022, 09:55:43 PM
I presume this will emulate the behavior of the F8, in which case the recorder remembers internal mixer levels for subsequent playback on the device, but a DAW reading the exported files won't know what the internal mixer levels on the recorder were (the case in my experience)

And if this is how it ends up operating, hitting record is literally the only thing to do? So aside from wanting to see larger waveforms in real time, there would be no reason to use the magnifier/amplifier for the end result?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on March 01, 2022, 11:12:55 AM
That's essentially how I run the F8 now, with input gain settings on the F8 preset. 

Even if not visually monitoring peak levels I'd want to see the meters movement to confirm everything is setup and working correctly. 

You'll want to set reasonable mixer levels if you monitor with headphones while recording and/or for trouble shooting.  I don't do that while recording, relying on visual confirmation by the meters.  But it's also nice to have something reasonably close to a good mix dialed in during recording for playing back from the recorder later (because the recorder remembers), even if doing so simply to audibly identify filesets.

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on March 01, 2022, 02:53:21 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQgO_FZuya8

Lots of good info here - one key takeaway for our purposes: Looks like about 3hrs @ 32 / 192 w/ P48 on 2 Eneloop Pros.  Presumably that will get a bit better with a reduced (i.e normal) sampling rate. 

Seems plenty good for our purposes, and you can certainly swap in a couple of spares during a set / artist break.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on March 01, 2022, 02:58:42 PM
By the way, his suggestion here is that the magnification setting does affect levels - he says if you don't set them at the same level when recording, it is a pain to correct in post (rough translation).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5afJBTb8eI&t=50s
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dallman on March 01, 2022, 11:50:21 PM
I know there is a lack of understanding of the terms. On this deck, Gain is set, it cannot be adjusted. That is the incoming signal being recorded. The 2 ADC's in the deck are utilized to extend range so the recording (for the most part and baring a bunch of variables that likely will never happen) will not be distorted.

The output (the recording) is not set. You can raise it (volume) until it distorts, you may have the output set at the start of a recording so loud it distorts or be way too low or anything in between which you can see on the waveform on the screen. and yes you may have set levels so that one channel is louder than the other as you might do on any recording. The good news is whatever program you use when you unload your file will allow you to adjust and change that output (volume a/k/a fader level) exactly where you want it. If it is too loud or distorting, you can lower the levels in post and it will sound fine. If it is too soft, you can raise the levels in post and it will sound just fine. And if one channel is louder or softer than the other you can adjust the levels until they match. This is really no different than any recording or recorder once the recording is complete with the exception your adjustment if too loud, distorted or too low, will sound fine once adjusted which may not be the case on a 24bit or 16bit recording.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on March 02, 2022, 01:14:10 AM
I know there is a lack of understanding of the terms. On this deck, Gain is set, it cannot be adjusted. That is the incoming signal being recorded. The 2 ADC's in the deck are utilized to extend range so the recording (for the most part and baring a bunch of variables that likely will never happen) will not be distorted.

The output (the recording) is not set. You can raise it (volume) until it distorts, you may have the output set at the start of a recording so loud it distorts or be way too low or anything in between which you can see on the waveform on the screen. and yes you may have set levels so that one channel is louder than the other as you might do on any recording. The good news is whatever program you use when you unload your file will allow you to adjust and change that output (volume a/k/a fader level) exactly where you want it. If it is too loud or distorting, you can lower the levels in post and it will sound fine. If it is too soft, you can raise the levels in post and it will sound just fine. And if one channel is louder or softer than the other you can adjust the levels until they match. This is really no different than any recording or recorder once the recording is complete with the exception your adjustment if too loud, distorted or too low, will sound fine once adjusted which may not be the case on a 24bit or 16bit recording.

But if you don't set the levels the same during recording and you then start playing with channel levels independently in post, are you not then potentially damaging the "level difference" aspect of the stereo recording?  It seems to me you should be careful with this device to always have the same magnification level set for both channels or you will run into trouble in post.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on March 02, 2022, 02:55:20 AM
The problem is that it has been implied (either in the manual/guide or by user(s), can't remember) that the magnifcation level / replay volume is somehow attached to the file.  Or not.  And if so, how?  And if so, if it is varied during recording, is the variation recorded, or just the final setting (which would be by far the easiest implementatoin of course, just one value for each channel).  And if it's a metadata thing, will DAWs read it at all anyway?  And if the magnification is varied during replay in the device after recording, is that new value saved in the same way?  'Cos if so, before editing, you could reset it to zero for each channel in the recorder, end of any problem when editing.  So - there are still quite a range of possiblities (and problems, potentially) with this magnification feature.

As for stereo image, no, varying channel levels is essentially no different to using a balance control.

Generally, it has to be remembered that live music recording may not be the prime target of this device - it may have two channels as much for two lav mics being worn by two people, on soft spoken and the other not, as for a natural stereo recording.

[Edit - ah I've seen the catch - there's no adjustment for magnification during playback on the device.  That's why you need to be careful with it.   But if your DAW doesn't respect the stored magnifcation volume, it doesn't really matter anyway.]

[Another edit - actually, it's possible that the magnification level doesn't get stored as such at all - it could be simply digital playback/monitoring volume control - the wording of the manuals could be read that way, if you take into account translation issues.]
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on March 02, 2022, 09:25:04 PM
Just got an email in stock alert from Sweetwater but I see no way to add it to cart :shrug: Currently stating 3 available...

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/F3Zoom--zoom-f3-2-input-field-recorder
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on March 05, 2022, 07:36:54 AM
Just got an email in stock alert from Sweetwater but I see no way to add it to cart :shrug: Currently stating 3 available...

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/F3Zoom--zoom-f3-2-input-field-recorder

I have always had the best experiences with Sweetwater when I spoke directly to one of their sales reps via phone or email.

Jason Koons (https://www.sweetwater.com/jason_koons) (who I have bought many things from over the years) was able to get me an F6 when they were newly arriving but showing out of stock everywhere, including on SW's website.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on March 05, 2022, 02:43:57 PM
Just got an email in stock alert from Sweetwater but I see no way to add it to cart :shrug: Currently stating 3 available...

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/F3Zoom--zoom-f3-2-input-field-recorder

I have always had the best experiences with Sweetwater when I spoke directly to one of their sales reps via phone or email.

Jason Koons (https://www.sweetwater.com/jason_koons) (who I have bought many things from over the years) was able to get me an F6 when they were newly arriving but showing out of stock everywhere, including on SW's website.

Thanks, good to know. My Zoom order shipped and is a week away! I’ll update with any findings; not even sure if my current editing program (Amadeus Pro) does 32-bit float  :hmmm:
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on March 05, 2022, 04:52:27 PM
Excited to see how this thing works! Great potential as a set it and forget it device (on stage, at the board, etc.)

NOT trying to get into the 32bit debate with that comment…
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on March 06, 2022, 07:58:37 AM
Excited to see how this thing works! Great potential as a set it and forget it device (on stage, at the board, etc.)

NOT trying to get into the 32bit debate with that comment…

The only debate would be with people who haven't used multi-ADC 32FP recording. I have had an F6 since the early days of its release and only ever use 32FP mode. The "set and forget aspect" has totally proven itself. I record music with much wider dynamic range than most members here, and there have been zero audible artifacts of the auto-ranging ADCs switching. It is truly transparent.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on March 06, 2022, 05:57:00 PM
Or with people who realize it is not necessary if you figure out the relationship between your mics sensitivity and the maximum input of the recorder. If you like it, great. But it is not hard to put yourself in an "impossible to overload unless you overload the mics or recorder input" situation. It is interesting to note that the pro recorders, like the SD Scorpio/888/833 or Zaxcom Nomad, don't offer it. Those recorders also offer a pretty huge dynamic range, with dual (or more) ADCs, and they are basically impossible to overload if you take a minute to figure it out. Very simple with a recorder with a high input level...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on March 07, 2022, 05:47:39 AM
Recording acoustic music, I gradually became aware that regardless of the size of the musical group involved, eg symphony orchestra down to solo acoustic guitar, I was always setting the gain control on my M/S mic preamp to the same level every time, and likewise the recorder.  Being a bear of very little brain, I marked these points with a big red line on the knobs'scales.  To compensate for the very different level emitted by an orchestra vs a guitar, it was a matter of being much closer to the guitar than to the orchestra - which was the natural thing to do with the M/S mic pair anyway.  So my theory was that there is only one level of sound (with its attendant dynamic range) in acoustic music, and so there's only one level to set with the equipment.  No 32 bit float required. 

Except... sometimes there were exceptions.  And you couldn't always be sure when an exception would strike and you'd see full scale on the meters, oops.  One example might be when an orchestra was fortissimo in a reverberant space, and you'd get a build up of reverb plus direct which would sum together to make the meters melt.  32 bit float would have been a source of comfort on those occasions.  But having said that, off the top of my head I don't recall a single instance where a live recording was seriously affected by incorrect level setting.  But it's a stress relief thing to have 32 bit float. 

The other stress relief thing was pointed out to me by a well known classical musician.  "Peter, you should always arrive an hour earlier than you need to at every concert.  That way you will have lees stress and you will live longer."   Unfortunately he was well known for turning up for concerts at the last minute.... but I think he's still alive...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on March 07, 2022, 06:38:50 AM
Except... sometimes there were exceptions.  And you couldn't always be sure when an exception would strike and you'd see full scale on the meters, oops.  One example might be when an orchestra was fortissimo in a reverberant space, and you'd get a build up of reverb plus direct which would sum together to make the meters melt.  32 bit float would have been a source of comfort on those occasions.  But having said that, off the top of my head I don't recall a single instance where a live recording was seriously affected by incorrect level setting.  But it's a stress relief thing to have 32 bit float. 

The problem, as I understand it, is that 32-bit float probably wouldn't save you in that situation. The "magic" non-clippable aspect applies to the digital domain; if you clip in the analog stage, it's just clipped. But the dual ADCs, and the huge dynamic range they impart, let you be a little more conservative in your analog gain setting, which hopefully helps with the exceptions. 
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on March 07, 2022, 07:27:03 AM
Experiencing clipping at the mic itself or at a sensibly configured preamp wouldn't be likely in recording acoustic music with appropriately placed mics (even in a reverberant acoustic).  That's my point - in that kind of recording, the initial moderator of the level is the source-to-mic distance.  But indeed, other sound sources are a different kettle of fish.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on March 07, 2022, 07:29:20 AM
^ Yes, I agree. The distance is really crucial. The only time I have managed to clip anything, really, was on-stage a little too close to Dave King, who can be a force of nature...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dallman on March 07, 2022, 09:39:31 AM
Everything evolves. I've been taping since 1971. I remember the move to a tiny Walkman D6. Wow, it was the greatest. I just have to chuckle when I read arguments against not having to worry about clipping. It's a huge advantage whether you need it or not. Personally I think it's fantastic, and I never worried that I'd screw up my levels. It's still fantastic. I love my MixPre 6II and Zoom F6 decks. Plus it's coming like it or not (what's not to like? ) . I have not heard a single argument to date against it that sounds rational.
Reminds me of the chatter when Flash replaced DAT.  ;D
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on March 07, 2022, 10:31:45 AM
^ Yes, I agree. The distance is really crucial. The only time I have managed to clip anything, really, was on-stage a little too close to Dave King, who can be a force of nature...\

As you mention, I've found on-stage drums to be what reaches and defines the practical SPL limit of my current F8-based rig.  On stage last Saturday night, or rather on-floor (no actual stage) up close to the band with my mics in an on-stage position necessary due to the highly reverberant nature of the performance space, drums clipped the input stage of one channel into the F8.  Input trim was turned all the way down, advanced limiting turned on.  Only happened once or twice over the course of the evening I think (had metering set to hold any input overs) and it isn't audible.  This mic-sensitivity input level limit can be avoided with the F8n, in which case I could switch input sensitivity from mic to line-input sensitivity and achieve greater headroom while retaining phantom power.

Knowing where that limit lies is the key.  Recording 24 bits, I mostly run F8 in this kind of set and forget 32-bit float type of way.  Sometimes I'll pull up the input gains across all channels for quiet stuff, not for but mostly just to get more level so I can see all the meters moving, including the rear-facing channels
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on March 07, 2022, 11:38:26 AM
^^ I guess you're referring to me, but that's not really what I am saying. I have nothing against 32BF, but I realized that it is more complicated than the marketing stuff portrays. The "no need to set levels" is due to the multi-ADC architecture and the huge dynamic range that results. That's been around for a while, I think, but not in lower-priced stuff. I don't think I have changed the gain setting on my MixPre-6 (first version) in ages. No need, really. If I peak at -6 or -12 or even -22, it sounds pretty much the same once boosted in the DAW. The non-clippability is different. The Dave King recording I mentioned would virtually certainly have overloaded the F3 due to the sensitive mics (DPA 2006C; 40 mV/Pa) and being too close to a fired-up King!

As you mention, I've found on-stage drums to be what reaches and defines the practical SPL limit of my current F8-based rig. 


My last last few on-stage recordings, I cheated towards the other side of the stage a bit. More balanced that way, actually, when the drummer is hitting hard.

Knowing where that limit lies is the key.  Recording 24 bits, I mostly run F8 in this kind of set and forget 32-bit float type of way.  Sometimes I'll pull up the input gains across all channels for quiet stuff, not for but mostly just to get more level so I can see all the meters moving, including the rear-facing channels


That's basically what I was trying to say above...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on March 07, 2022, 12:32:44 PM
My last last few on-stage recordings, I cheated towards the other side of the stage a bit. More balanced that way, actually, when the drummer is hitting hard.

Love running mics on stage.  Not too close, not too far.  There is no greater exciting realism for drums.  Regardless of mic'ing distance, I find a straight line-of-sight from mics to the snare to be a good rule of thumb,
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: darby on March 07, 2022, 04:51:05 PM
I received my unit today...  all view magnification changes DO NOT effect the waveform
I ran some tests with various inputs and will have some shows coming up in a few
I plan on running one of my various preamps in front since it is so TINY
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on March 07, 2022, 05:02:23 PM
Beat me! Awesome news keep us updated on your experiences  :cheers:
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on March 07, 2022, 05:11:38 PM
I received my unit today...  all view magnification changes DO NOT effect the waveform
I ran some tests with various inputs and will have some shows coming up in a few
I plan on running one of my various preamps in front since it is so TINY

So, in essence, magnification is simply digital monitoring level?   And does the magnification setting carry over to replay - in the machine, not n the DAW - or does it only function while recording?  Looking forward to your updates!  I'd love to get one simply because it would represent to me the final stage in a very long audio recording journey (my first pro recording was in 1968!) , but I guess I'll leave it to the younger folks to carry the flag now!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on March 08, 2022, 05:48:20 AM
Excited to see how this thing works! Great potential as a set it and forget it device (on stage, at the board, etc.)

NOT trying to get into the 32bit debate with that comment…

The only debate would be with people who haven't used multi-ADC 32FP recording. I have had an F6 since the early days of its release and only ever use 32FP mode. The "set and forget aspect" has totally proven itself. I record music with much wider dynamic range than most members here, and there have been zero audible artifacts of the auto-ranging ADCs switching. It is truly transparent.

I should clarify my earlier post:

I was not taking issue with people who choose not to use this recording method, nor was I saying it solves all of your problems. You can still overload the input stage, as Ozpeter and aaronj point out.

The point I was trying to make is that the technology works and does so seamlessly, and that the concerns expressed on this board about detrimental effects / artifacts have not borne out in practice.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on March 08, 2022, 05:50:56 AM
I received my unit today...  all view magnification changes DO NOT effect the waveform
I ran some tests with various inputs and will have some shows coming up in a few
I plan on running one of my various preamps in front since it is so TINY

Thanks for reporting back. Wow, that is a small device!

Side question: Did you make those side-exit XLRs yourself, or were they a custom build by a vendor?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: darby on March 08, 2022, 09:14:12 AM
I received my unit today...  all view magnification changes DO NOT effect the waveform
I ran some tests with various inputs and will have some shows coming up in a few
I plan on running one of my various preamps in front since it is so TINY

Thanks for reporting back. Wow, that is a small device!

Side question: Did you make those side-exit XLRs yourself, or were they a custom build by a vendor?

I spent TOO much and purchased them... they are adjustable
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on March 08, 2022, 09:17:55 PM
Side question: Did you make those side-exit XLRs yourself, or were they a custom build by a vendor?

I spent TOO much and purchased them... they are adjustable

Very sleek! Are these the brand?

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1296365-REG/cable_techniques_ct_lpxr_10r_low_profile_xlr_3_pin_10.html

Looks like they distribute parts/kits through Redding Audio for the more electronically industrious amongst us:

https://www.cabletechniques.com
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on March 14, 2022, 09:13:57 PM
In this video - https://youtu.be/zpoFhCCi2VE - it's stated that magnification level changes during recording do not affect the recorded file, but that magnification changes set before recording DO affect the recorded file - if that's the case doesn't that negate the object of using 32 bit float (ie no need to have recording level setting)?  Or maybe the idea is that 32 bit float has such a vast headroom that even upping the recorded level to the maximum you still won't get digital clipping (if you bring the level down in your DAW).... help!  I'm confused...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on March 15, 2022, 12:08:53 AM
  Or maybe the idea is that 32 bit float has such a vast headroom that even upping the recorded level to the maximum you still won't get digital clipping (if you bring the level down in your DAW).... help!  I'm confused...

This is my understanding, and hope; and that it works the other way as well for noise floor on a file recorded “too” low.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on March 15, 2022, 06:56:29 AM
  Or maybe the idea is that 32 bit float has such a vast headroom that even upping the recorded level to the maximum you still won't get digital clipping (if you bring the level down in your DAW).... help!  I'm confused...

This is my understanding, and hope; and that it works the other way as well for noise floor on a file recorded “too” low.

On my F6, if I set the channel knobs to REC level, I can crank them all the way and record files that have ridiculously high levels - we're talking +50 dB or more. Once I copy those files over and import into a wave editor, those levels can be brought down under 0 dBFS and there is no clipping.

My general habit now is to record with the channel levels set at +20 dB, only because I find I have to adjust the overall level less in post. It really doesn't matter though.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on March 16, 2022, 09:09:03 PM
Received my unit yesterday!

First off, to confirm once and for all:

Magnification settings done before starting a recording DO affect the level of the .wav brought into your DAW

It also saves your magnification settings on each channel after power down and swapping batteries, that's nice. It is incredibly small in person, more so even than in pictures. It's a solid mass and feels well built. It sits perched sturdily on a desk for those using it as an interface. The battery door is a bit thin and doesn't instill confidence in longevity but so are the ones on my Tascams and I haven't had a problem with those in 10 years. One thing I do not like is that after starting a recording, if you slide the record button up to record again, it stops the recording. Not a huge deal but the switch does move very easily and I can't imagine why it functions this way. I believe on most recorders pressing record again makes a new track or marks the file. What reason would you ever have to stop a recording so quickly that you can't take the time to hit the actual stop button--besides wanting either of the aforementioned actions? Even though you should be using the hold function, I still see no reason for that, it's just a liability.   

I did a test recording some music and then room silence on the minimum and maximum magnification settings. The quieter file peaked at -43dB and the louder file +16dB. I normalized each to -.1dB and then listened to the silent portions. They were nearly indistinguishable, and I'm sure that in a controlled environment the noise floors would sound exactly the same.

For my Energizer E2 battery runtime test, I set it to 48kHz, lowered the headphone volume to zero (nothing connected), left the magnification to the stock 16x on both channels and ran 2 CCM 4 mics with 48V phantom power. Total record time was 6:37, which I'm very pleased with. That's about an hour less than my current recorders but with one less battery.

This is the perfect box for no fuss 2 channel XLR recording. I will likely pick up another for when I do matrix shows. Look forward to running it out in the field soon. Any other questions that can be answered just ask  8)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on March 16, 2022, 09:11:56 PM
Received my unit yesterday!

First off, to confirm once and for all:

Magnification settings done before starting a recording DO affect the level of the .wav brought into your DAW

It also saves your magnification settings on each channel after power down and swapping batteries, that's nice. It is incredibly small in person, more so even than in pictures. It's a solid mass and feels well built. It sits perched sturdily on a desk for those using it as an interface. The battery door is a bit thin and doesn't instill confidence in longevity but so are the ones on my Tascams and I haven't had a problem with those in 10 years. One thing I do not
like is that after starting a recording, if you slide the record button up to record again, it stops the recording  ??? Not a huge deal but the switch does move very easily and I can't imagine why it functions this way. I believe on most recorders pressing record again makes a new track or marks the file. What reason would you ever have to stop a recording so quickly that you can't take the time to hit the actual stop button--besides wanting either of the aforementioned actions? Even though you should be using the hold function, I still see no reason for that, it's just a liability.   

I did a test recording some music and then room silence on the minimum and maximum magnification settings. The quieter file peaked at -43dB and the louder file +16dB. I normalized each to -.1dB and then listened to the silent portions. They were nearly indistinguishable, and I'm sure that in a controlled environment the noise floors would sound exactly the same.

For my Energizer E2 battery runtime test, I set it to 48kHz, lowered the headphone volume to zero (nothing connected), left the magnification to the stock 16x on both channels and ran 2 CCM 4 mics with 48V phantom power. Total record time was 6:37, which I'm very pleased with. That's about an hour less than my current recorders but with one less battery.

This is the perfect box for no fuss 2 channel XLR recording. I will likely pick up another for when I do matrix shows. Look forward to running it out in the field soon. Any other questions that can be answered just ask  8)

+t thank you for this review! Answered many questions...great stuff!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: vwmule on March 16, 2022, 11:40:18 PM
> One thing I do not like is that after starting a recording, if you slide the record button up to record again, it stops the recording. Not a huge deal but the switch does move very easily and I can't imagine why it functions this way.

This sounds rather bleak, actually.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on March 17, 2022, 03:09:43 AM
I guess that it will be necessary to always slide one way to record, and then the other way immediately to hold.  Maybe they thought that an accidental press of the stop button would be more likely compared to an accidental slide of the record control.  But it does seem a bit risky...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on March 17, 2022, 11:08:20 AM
Check the system menu structure to see if there is a setting for what happens when pressing (or sliding) record while already recording. 

Just thinking it might be similar to F8 where the Play button can be set to pause or mark, or pause + mark, as well as being set separately for recording and playback.  I think the Record button function can be modified as well, maybe starting a new recording verses pausing or something, but I can't recall the details of that one.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on March 17, 2022, 12:08:57 PM
Check the system menu structure to see if there is a setting for what happens when pressing (or sliding) record while already recording. 

Just thinking it might be similar to F8 where the Play button can be set to pause or mark, or pause + mark, as well as being set separately for recording and playback.  I think the Record button function can be modified as well, maybe starting a new recording verses pausing or something, but I can't recall the details of that one.

I don’t see that there is unfortunately. Is this something that firmware is able to address?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: darby on March 23, 2022, 11:19:57 AM
finally got around to using it last night
I set the the display for 4x on each channel for the opener and I ended up going OVER by about 2dB, but it was fine after lowering in post
for the main act, I ran the the display at 1x and had to raise levels in post about 5dB (Schoeps mk22/NBobs > NBox Elite)

SO THE DISPLAY IS BASICALLY A VOLUME CONTROL


I really like the ease of operation and the small size, plus it didn't use too many lights on my ANKER
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: cd2go on March 23, 2022, 11:58:28 AM
Good to hear; yes the simplicity and size are quite appealing, thanks for the update!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: One Cylinder on March 24, 2022, 08:46:26 AM
How’s the A/D converter on the F3?

finally got around to using it last night
I set the the display for 4x on each channel for the opener and I ended up going OVER by about 2dB, but it was fine after lowering in post
for the main act, I ran the the display at 1x and had to raise levels in post about 5dB (Schoeps mk22/NBobs > NBox Elite)

SO THE DISPLAY IS BASICALLY A VOLUME CONTROL


I really like the ease of operation and the small size, plus it didn't use too many lights on my ANKER
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on March 24, 2022, 08:19:59 PM
finally got around to using it last night
I set the the display for 4x on each channel for the opener and I ended up going OVER by about 2dB, but it was fine after lowering in post
for the main act, I ran the the display at 1x and had to raise levels in post about 5dB (Schoeps mk22/NBobs > NBox Elite)

SO THE DISPLAY IS BASICALLY A VOLUME CONTROL


I really like the ease of operation and the small size, plus it didn't use too many lights on my ANKER

So my interpretation of the block diagram was correct; the F3 "waveform amplification" works just like the F6 when track knobs are set to REC LEVEL mode.

Thanks for the report! I'm thinking if all goes well, the F3 may become a popular recommendation for a compact one-box recording setup.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on March 25, 2022, 07:12:43 AM
Mine turned up from B&H yesterday.  As mentioned previously, it is significantly smaller than the pictures made me think it would be.  Setup was simple / did not require manual.  Build quality is about on par with similar devices in this price range, although as mentioned, the battery door does feel rickety / cheap like you'd find on a child's toy.

I'm going to try to get out to a small jazz club this weekend with either Line Audio CM4 or OM1 fed directly into the F3 and will share a sample when available.

I am particularly curious about how "good" it will sound as compared to what I get out of CM4 direct XLR in to my MixPre3-ii - which I love.  For anyone with experience with the Zooms, any predictions?  I anticipate it is going to be a bit more bright / harsh and not as warm, which seems to be a unique quality of the MixPre line as compared to my previous experiences with Zoom devices.  Obviously there will obviously be a bit more preamp noise, but I'm guessing that will be largely insignificant in our applications.

I do note that some are using these line-in with a USBPre providing amplification.  To me this significantly reduces the utility of the device - if I need to have something like a USBPre in front I'd just as soon use my MixPre3-ii instead as it is a smaller footprint and not any better from a security perspective.

Will report back soon.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on March 25, 2022, 09:24:06 PM
Mine turned up from B&H yesterday.  As mentioned previously, it is significantly smaller than the pictures made me think it would be.  Setup was simple / did not require manual.  Build quality is about on par with similar devices in this price range, although as mentioned, the battery door does feel rickety / cheap like you'd find on a child's toy.

I'm going to try to get out to a small jazz club this weekend with either Line Audio CM4 or OM1 fed directly into the F3 and will share a sample when available.

I am particularly curious about how "good" it will sound as compared to what I get out of CM4 direct XLR in to my MixPre3-ii - which I love.  For anyone with experience with the Zooms, any predictions?  I anticipate it is going to be a bit more bright / harsh and not as warm, which seems to be a unique quality of the MixPre line as compared to my previous experiences with Zoom devices.  Obviously there will obviously be a bit more preamp noise, but I'm guessing that will be largely insignificant in our applications.

I do note that some are using these line-in with a USBPre providing amplification.  To me this significantly reduces the utility of the device - if I need to have something like a USBPre in front I'd just as soon use my MixPre3-ii instead as it is a smaller footprint and not any better from a security perspective.

Will report back soon.

Looking forward to your report. If it uses the same preamps as the F6, I would be surprised if you found it to be bright or harsh. I record with my CM3s direct into my F6 more than any other combination. I don't have a MixPre-II to compare against, though. I agree that using an external preamp with this kind of defeats the purpose.

As for preamp noise, I doubt you'd notice any. Gain on the F3 is fixed at a fairly low level (again, assuming the F6 preamp design is followed). Your mic self-noise would almost certainly be higher than any noise from the preamp.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on April 06, 2022, 12:39:09 AM
Had my first time out with the device last weekend.  >:D in a very small jazz hall (An Die Musik in Baltimore).  Band was the Paul Carr Legacy Quartet.

Recorded with Line Audio OM1 (48V) in Healy Technique, mounted to a stationary >:D "object" @ DFC, approximately 2 feet away from stage lip and about 3 ft high with no obstructions.  Show was about an hour and a half and I appeared to have about 50% battery left when done (but recording was inadvertently stopped for a while, see point below).

Overall experience with the device was good, however the slide start / stop record thing is decidedly poor.  Especially in a  >:D situation, given the very minor amount of force required to activate the slide function, there is a significant potential for a minor bump or even cables settling in a bag to stop recording inadvertently.  This occurred during this outing, and I lost a portion of the show on this device as a result.  Not a fan.  A simple update requiring a 2 second hold slide would greatly reduce what seems to be a pretty significant risk to me (have a high number of  >:D shows under my belt and have a well worked out "system" - in spite of that this happened to me on the first outing).  I can't recall the last time I've had an issue with a recorder being stopped when I was able to check it (other than perhaps a dead battery).

Re: Tone - To my ear it is definitely brighter and lacks some of the warmth I am used to in this hall with these mics wired into a SD MixPre3/6-ii.  I would say there is plenty of bass there and the recording is pleasing enough, but something is off and weighted toward what I would describe as bright as compared to several previous recordings with the same rig into the MixPre.  Certainly "correctable" with EQ in post but it does reinforce my affection for the "out of the box" SD sound. Obviously I need some more shows under my belt with the device to corroborate these initial thoughts.   These things are hard to nail down - it could be entirely placebo effect.

As mentioned previously by myself and others, the size of this thing is tiny and this is its biggest asset.  Since I purchased my first fully digital recorder (Sony PCM-D1) I have been longing for something very small, with no (inevitably poor) internal mics adding to the footprint, and including XLR connectivity as I have always loved the simplicity of a single reliable cable in between the each mic and the recorder.  Lately, after using other 32-bit devices, this requirement has also made it on to my list.  Especially for  >:D or even semi- >:D the ability to completely ignore gain settings on the device has been a game changer for both me and my setup / ease of deployment.  With those requirements in mind, this device comes closest to a realization of that dream, and as a result I will likely be using this for any place where  >:D and security is a concern. 

At some other venues I frequent where it's not explicitly open taping but more of a "be discrete" policy, I think I would still be more likely to bring out the SD as it is more tonally pleasing direct from the device (to my taste) and the slight increase in size doesn't matter to me as I'm not trying to crotch the thing.

I'll report back again after another go at it this weekend in a large opera hall setting from FOB with the CM4s.  Eager to see how it performs with those mics as well.

Hope this is useful others.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Raw from device WAV sample of a track can be found grabbed here for a week: https://we.tl/t-1IxD6OpCMm
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on April 06, 2022, 09:31:59 AM
I look forward to hearing this sample later, thanks for posting that and your account of your real-world experience.  I suspect that Zoom did not think in terms of this kind of taping when designing the device and that's why the obvious problems with the record slider (in that situation) were not encountered (presumably) in their testing.  Did you have the switch in the "hold" position, meaning that it was pushed from "hold" all the way to "stop recording?"  Without consulting photos of the device I strongly suspect that someone will come out with a third party physical device to protect the switch from inadvertent operation - or that they will fix the problem with a firmware update (for instance, requiring a two button operation to stop - a long hold of the button might well not have fixed the problem in the bag you encountered if indeed a cable was resting on the switch).

[Edited to add that I'm listening to the sample right now - nice! - but I felt the need to lift the upper frequencies somewhat, as the cymbal sound in particular sounded a bit veiled to me.  But I'm listening with 73 year old ears... yesterday they were only 72 years old... sigh!]
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on April 06, 2022, 02:55:02 PM
Thanks for the feedback / thoughts / ideas.  It's my pleasure to share my experience, glad it's helpful.

Few points / thoughts:

Lastly, a belated Happy Birthday to you!  I'm hoping I still have ears to speak of by the time I am 73!  Glad to see you're still in the game.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: vwmule on April 07, 2022, 12:19:37 AM
 "given the very minor amount of force required to activate the slide function, there is a significant potential for a minor bump or even cables settling in a bag to stop recording inadvertently."

We are not target audience but this design flaw is universal and inexcusable.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on April 07, 2022, 07:52:18 AM
"given the very minor amount of force required to activate the slide function, there is a significant potential for a minor bump or even cables settling in a bag to stop recording inadvertently."

We are not target audience but this design flaw is universal and inexcusable.

It's particularly frustrating that they felt the need to "improve" an existing, field proven, verified working design.  Why the typical approach of a slightly recessed record button and a dedicated lock switch needed a redesign is not clear to me and worse, nothing seems to have been made better in the process.  The German notion of "schlimmbesserung" comes to straight to mind.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on April 07, 2022, 06:09:44 PM
Thanks for the feedback / thoughts / ideas.  It's my pleasure to share my experience, glad it's helpful.

...

Lastly, a belated Happy Birthday to you!  I'm hoping I still have ears to speak of by the time I am 73!  Glad to see you're still in the game.

Thanks!  I'm chiefly into video these days.  But the F3 tempted me until I saw that it doesn't support M/S monitoring.  I do have the F1 - that has an option to lock the buttons during recording, and you have to press "stop" and "record" at the same time to stop recording and unlock.  I would have thought that would be the way to fix this problem on the F3 (presumably it doesn't have that option hidden in the menus somewhere?   Given its family resemblance to the F1, it would have been the obvious thing to do).
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: illconditioned on April 08, 2022, 03:13:13 AM
I liked the F3 because it would "move" view during playback.That is, if you record ambisonic, you can move the unit while it is playing, and it will move the listener.Pretty cool interface.
Unfortunately, the USB connector on it broke.  Very unhappy with Zoom.  Great projects, but poor quality control and design.

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: morst on April 08, 2022, 03:20:20 AM
[Edited to add that I'm listening to the sample right now - nice! - but I felt the need to lift the upper frequencies somewhat, as the cymbal sound in particular sounded a bit veiled to me.  But I'm listening with 73 year old ears... yesterday they were only 72 years old... sigh!]
Happy belated birthday from San Francisco! :-)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on April 08, 2022, 11:25:59 AM
Quote
Happy belated birthday from San Francisco! :-)

Thanks.... SF... I haven't been back there since 1968... those were the days.  Somewhere I have a reel-to-reel recording of an interview I did with a hippie drug addict there (charming young lady actually) but heaven knows where I've put it!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on April 08, 2022, 12:35:46 PM
I think the best way to fix this hold/record switch issue is through a firmware update that does the following:

1. REC/HOLD switch only starts recording. Engaging it again after rolling only add markers (or does nothing at all).
2. To stop recording, the HOLD must be disengaged, and then you must do a 2-second press on the STOP button.


These changes would compensate for the relatively low disengaging force of the hold switch, move the stop function to another switch entirely, and prevent accidental stops.


Once, again, they had all of this figured out quite well on the F6: REC just records. STOP stops. The hold function is engaged by a 2-second press on the headphone volume control. They could have done all of that exactly the same on the F3 and saved some money by having a simple button instead of a two-position slider.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on April 08, 2022, 11:24:43 PM
Second outing report:

Gaffer's taped the switch in the lock position this time - not going to be fooled again!

This time it was Joey DeFrancesco @ Berk's Jazz Fest using Line Audio CM4 (48v) from FOB, DFC ~Wide ORTF mounted to a stationary  >:D "object" direct into the F3 @ 32, 48.  1.5 hour show still left me with about half battery using 2 Eneloop Pros - the battery life on this is also turning out to be more than sufficient which is very nice.

Size of device was once again its best asset - was not at all of interest during bag search.  :)

Seems more weighted toward "warm" this time, but I still have the impression that similar outings with the SDs just sound better out of the device.  With that said I'm sure I could EQ to taste for a nearly identical result.  Don't hear anything fundamentally wrong with the file.  Perhaps I've just had too much of the SD Kool-aid at this point.  I have a couple pairs of these mics so the next chance I get I'd like to compare the 2 recorders with identical mic setup to see if there's something there or it's all in my head.

Sample track available here for a week: https://we.tl/t-dfMx2s8DUP
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: morst on April 09, 2022, 02:43:02 AM
Sample track available here for a week
I like it, but when the synth player plays, it drowns out Joey's B3.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on April 16, 2022, 12:08:29 PM
3rd outing:

The F3 is continuing to be a winner.  The gaff tape, while not ideal, is proving to be effective in avoiding erroneous stops.  Battery life continues to be great with the Eneloop Pros - I am never below 50% by the end of a ~ 1.5 hour set @ 32/48 w/ 48v phantom on.  Bag checks don't even see the Hermitshell case I have the F3 in opened up - it is small enough that it is entirely disregarded by security so far - obviously that will vary by venue.  I'm going to do a Herbie show soonish - he tends to have much tighter screening from experience, so it will likely get its real test then.

In terms of ease of stealth operation, it really doesn't get any simpler.  I am eyeballing levels based on house music before hitting record and dumping it till the end of show - not checking anything but an occasional glance at the red recording light (out of paranoia from the past lost recording on the first outing).  Results have been great so far and the 32-bit would make even significantly botched levels a non-issue.

This time there was far too much bass so I've done some minor post to the samples as it was not listenable as it was. Still too much cymbal/hh "crashiness" going on for my taste so I did minor subtractive EQ on that as well.

All things considered, after 3 outings with different types of venues / different mic setups / etc I am giving this one a big thumbs up.  As mentioned previously I am inclined to use the MixPre3-ii whenever there is no concern for security rummaging through the bag, based on my subjective assessment that it just sounds "better" raw from device, but when stealth is a factor I no longer feel like I am sacrificing as much as I did with the stealth oriented Sony A10, D50, D1, M10 / Sony XLR-1 /  Battery Box setups I was using previously.

Recorded directly behind soundboard using a slightly narrow (practical stealth issues) NOS on stealth "object" peeking over the rail ~ 6ft high (very low "balcony") @ DFC, FOB with Line Audio CM4 > F3. 

Artist: Keiko Matsui
Venue: Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club, Bethesda, MD.

Sample 1:
https://we.tl/t-Nc0HP9SPXl

Sample 2:
https://we.tl/t-kxPahRPcVZ
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on April 16, 2022, 05:44:45 PM
3rd outing:

The F3 is continuing to be a winner.  The gaff tape, while not ideal, is proving to be effective in avoiding erroneous stops.  Battery life continues to be great with the Eneloop Pros - I am never below 50% by the end of a ~ 1.5 hour set @ 32/48 w/ 48v phantom on.  Bag checks don't even see the Hermitshell case I have the F3 in opened up - it is small enough that it is entirely disregarded by security so far - obviously that will vary by venue.  I'm going to do a Herbie show soonish - he tends to have much tighter screening from experience, so it will likely get its real test then.

In terms of ease of stealth operation, it really doesn't get any simpler.  I am eyeballing levels based on house music before hitting record and dumping it till the end of show - not checking anything but an occasional glance at the red recording light (out of paranoia from the past lost recording on the first outing).  Results have been great so far and the 32-bit would make even significantly botched levels a non-issue.

This time there was far too much bass so I've done some minor post to the samples as it was not listenable as it was. Still too much cymbal/hh "crashiness" going on for my taste so I did minor subtractive EQ on that as well.

All things considered, after 3 outings with different types of venues / different mic setups / etc I am giving this one a big thumbs up.  As mentioned previously I am inclined to use the MixPre3-ii whenever there is no concern for security rummaging through the bag, based on my subjective assessment that it just sounds "better" raw from device, but when stealth is a factor I no longer feel like I am sacrificing as much as I did with the stealth oriented Sony A10, D50, D1, M10 / Sony XLR-1 /  Battery Box setups I was using previously.

Recorded directly behind soundboard using a slightly narrow (practical stealth issues) NOS on stealth "object" peeking over the rail ~ 6ft high (very low "balcony") @ DFC, FOB with Line Audio CM4 > F3. 

Artist: Keiko Matsui
Venue: Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club, Bethesda, MD.

Sample 1:
https://we.tl/t-Nc0HP9SPXl

Sample 2:
https://we.tl/t-kxPahRPcVZ

Excellent write up! Definitely see the potential for one of these…
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on April 16, 2022, 09:01:05 PM
I love my F6. I want one of these too! It's like secret weapon.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on May 03, 2022, 08:48:28 PM
Ordered one…
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on May 05, 2022, 09:21:36 AM
End user report is eagerly awaited!  I hope you get delivery soon.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on May 05, 2022, 01:23:40 PM
Couple of questions

-Anyone use the bluetooth adapter/app? Based on the issues with the recording slide, seems like gaff-taping that in place and using the app to control makes some sense?

-Thoughts/ideas on mounting it? It primarily won't be a  >:D tool for me, and I'm thinking I'd like to just mount it right to the stand. Could probably use those bars and tape it, but some sort of clamp option would be nice too.

-Has anyone tested it using AA batteries, plus an external pack? Curious if it's a seamless transition if the external pack dies (my understanding is that it defaults to external power first). I'd like to use a smallish usb battery with it if possible.

Should be getting it Friday, probably running it for a festival in a few weeks!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: DavidPuddy on May 05, 2022, 01:48:21 PM
Couple of questions

-Thoughts/ideas on mounting it? It primarily won't be a  >:D tool for me, and I'm thinking I'd like to just mount it right to the stand. Could probably use those bars and tape it, but some sort of clamp option would be nice too.


https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1422139-REG/smallrig_2164_multi_functional_crab_shaped_clamp.html

I use this for my A10, should work nicely with the F3.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on May 05, 2022, 01:54:35 PM
I like that clamp a lot, and the price is great too.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on May 05, 2022, 02:05:31 PM
Couple of questions

-Thoughts/ideas on mounting it? It primarily won't be a  >:D tool for me, and I'm thinking I'd like to just mount it right to the stand. Could probably use those bars and tape it, but some sort of clamp option would be nice too.


https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1422139-REG/smallrig_2164_multi_functional_crab_shaped_clamp.html

I use this for my A10, should work nicely with the F3.

Perfect - exactly what I'm looking for! Thanks!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: WiFiJeff on May 06, 2022, 02:17:56 AM
Okay, I am now a convert to 32 bit floating.  Preliminary impressions, not strict comparisons or measurements. 

I had used both a mixpre 6 II and a Zoom F6 for recording chamber concerts before Covid.  Since I could always set levels and get enough gain from those pre-amps I didn't really find too much of an advantage from recording 32 bit v. 24 bit on these recorders or v. 24 bits on the F8n.  I could always add 8-10 dB in post without much impact on the final product, and set levels conservatively. 

But I also use an MMA-A plus iPhone with Metarecorder, a major drawback of this setup in some cases was the limitation of the MMA-A to 30 dB gain.  With DPA 4060 mics this has never been a problem, but I also use the DPA supercardioid 4081s (with a bass boost in post) for some things, and these mics are less sensitive.  For most louder things, a boost in post of 8-12 dB would be sufficient and did not spoil things; but very quiet programs like harpsichords or viols from a distance in a large hall begged for 20-30 dB additional boost in post, and that was generally ugly.  I eased into feeding the iPhone from a Sonosax SX-M2D2, but using only a cautious 35-40 dB of gain the needed boost in post still didn't sound good.  Since the Sonosax is a fantastic preamp A/D, I was disappointed that the necessary gain in post was still problematic.  Last week I got the settings right, a total of 57 dB (20 "pre-gain" + 37) got very nice results.  So today I went with a Zoom F3 alone, DPA4081s and DAD6001s to use the F3 phantom power to run the mics.  The resulting 32 bit file was a distinct improvement, seems almost as good as the M2D2 with levels set correctly.  YMMV, but I'm impressed with the Zoom implementation of 32 bit and look forward to the format in even slimmer machines than the F3.

Now these comparisons are only impressionistic, different groups played, different repertory.  But it's in the same space and I'm in the same seat.  I've had some intermittent issues with Metarecorder lately, including a complete loss tonight (I think it's a stability issue with newer iOs upgrades, happens with different MMA-A units and mics and went away with deleting and reloading Metarecorder).  So I hope to try the F3 at other places, also with 4060 mics.

Jeff
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on May 06, 2022, 06:15:53 AM
Jeff - Thanks for your detailed report. I was particularly impressed to hear you say that your results with the F3 were close to those using the M2D2, which is considered an elite-class pre/ADC. You should share that with some of the people on the GS Remote forum who think Zoom products can never produce pro-level recordings.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: WiFiJeff on May 06, 2022, 10:46:30 AM
results with the F3 were close to those using the M2D2, which is considered an elite-class pre/ADC.

Only with respect to what is a somewhat distant recording (15-20 feet) in a non-ideal space.  In a more ideal setting, the M2D2 blows away most competition.  What I think I found is that where I need 50-60 dB of gain the F3 is better than anything that will only give me 30 dB.  But even saying this on GS will have Plush dumping on me, whether he's heard an F3 or not.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on May 06, 2022, 11:38:54 AM
So Plush is still at it?  As I recall it he was significantly the reason why I gave up posting there.  Commonsense views just didn't seem to be respected there.  Well, that's insulting the other members, but you know what I mean, probably...

Some years ago I worked in classical music live recording and broadcasting.  The radio station moved to new premises, and a small studio was built, big enough for a baby grand and a string quartet, for instance.  In the main control room, there were some exotic preamps installed, I honestly forget the maker.  Anyway, due to circumstances which I also now cannot recall, we had to route the audio from those preamps via a humble 4 channel Behringer mixer.  It was not uncommon to hear people gush on about the amazing sound from the upmarket preamps.  It there was a strict rule that nobody was told about the downstream Behringer mixer, which was hidden in some cabinetry. 

Now I'm not saying that there's no point in using top flight preamps etc etc.  I'm just saying that meaningful comparisons can be difficult to make once you get to a certain level.  Still, as a rule of thumb when selecting (say) a new pair of speakers in a hifi shop, first ask to hear your test material on whatever speakers they have on demo which cost the most.  (This has the effect of getting the salesperson's attention also...).  Then compare with the rather cheaper pairs that you were actually thinking of.  Having a point of reference at the time of listening is vital.  Otherwise, things can get very, very subjective.

So.  What were we actually talking about?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on May 12, 2022, 04:06:50 PM
Picked up the BTA-1 Bluetooth adapter for the F3, just messed around with it a bit, but seems real nice. Very straightforward and easy. Will report back on the range...

Edit: also, just can't say enough about the size of this thing (not the greatest pic, but you get the idea). Worked up a mount for it + the iphone i use for DPA recording. Very stoked about this setup to run 2 sources!

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: prepschoolalumniblues on May 13, 2022, 08:45:44 AM
Picked up the BTA-1 Bluetooth adapter for the F3, just messed around with it a bit, but seems real nice. Very straightforward and easy. Will report back on the range...

Edit: also, just can't say enough about the size of this thing (not the greatest pic, but you get the idea). Worked up a mount for it + the iphone i use for DPA recording. Very stoked about this setup to run 2 sources!

What did you use for the mounts here? Looks great!!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on May 13, 2022, 08:53:46 AM
Picked up the BTA-1 Bluetooth adapter for the F3, just messed around with it a bit, but seems real nice. Very straightforward and easy. Will report back on the range...

Edit: also, just can't say enough about the size of this thing (not the greatest pic, but you get the idea). Worked up a mount for it + the iphone i use for DPA recording. Very stoked about this setup to run 2 sources!

What did you use for the mounts here? Looks great!!

Thanks!

Phone mount: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M7RE39O/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Zoom mount: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/831804-REG/Impact_me_100_Atom_Clamp_with_Ratchet.html

I had the impact clamp already, and just found a spigot that fit the Zoom. Could probably improve that one a bit, but it's solid as-is.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on May 13, 2022, 09:29:34 AM
Running a battery life test and messing around with this for the first time. I'm running Berliner CM33 mics directly in via XLR - a bit confused by the setting options. For each input you can choose:

Line in
Line in +24v
Line in +48v
Mic In
Mic In +24v
Mic In +48v

Since I'm not running through a battery or pre-amp, I do need phantom power. I assume mic in +48v is what I need?

Been a while since I've had to think about this question...thanks!

Also, in terms of magnification, what has everyone been using?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on May 14, 2022, 08:13:11 AM
Running a battery life test and messing around with this for the first time. I'm running Berliner CM33 mics directly in via XLR - a bit confused by the setting options. For each input you can choose:

Line in
Line in +24v
Line in +48v
Mic In
Mic In +24v
Mic In +48v

Since I'm not running through a battery or pre-amp, I do need phantom power. I assume mic in +48v is what I need?

Been a while since I've had to think about this question...thanks!

Also, in terms of magnification, what has everyone been using?

Yes, mic in +48. Line in with +24 or +48 V phantom is used when you have mics with a super high output level.

I have an F6; not and F3 but I think the magnification/level doesn't matter. Just adjust in post.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: ts on May 14, 2022, 09:42:10 AM
So I'm trying to wrap my head around the magnification/level function. Is it there to make the user think they have some sort of gain control, but it has no effect on the end result?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on May 15, 2022, 01:01:00 AM
So I'm trying to wrap my head around the magnification/level function. Is it there to make the user think they have some sort of gain control, but it has no effect on the end result?

It has an effect on the end result only when it is set before the recording is started.  Adjusting after recording has started has no effect on the final WAV.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on May 15, 2022, 08:43:08 AM
I think the strategy with the magnification level is to use it chiefly to ensure that when incoming levels are low, you still can see that all is well (that you are actually getting a signal) from the movement of the display.  It's likely then to appear to clip at high incoming levels, but that is fixable in post production.  The digital level is set by the magnification value existing when the recording starts.  You can then change it, but that won't affect the original value being applied to the recording (which of course would be counter productive).  What it will do is to affect the monitoring level in headphones.  So don't raise the magnification level radically if the existing level in your headphones is loud enough - mind your hearing!  If you do want to raise the magnification level significantly during recording, first reduce the headphone level a fair bit, and readjust it after changing the magnification level.

Note that I don't actually have one... but I think my advice is correct.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on May 16, 2022, 09:45:32 AM
I don't have one either.. and believe your understanding to be correct.

One qualification on this part-
Quote
It's likely then to appear to clip at high incoming levels, but that is fixable in post production.

This is true for for low input levels as discussed. It's also true for higher input levels as long as the input is not so hot as to clip or otherwise overdrive the analog input stage of the recorder ahead of it's 32-bit float ADC stage -- hence the provision of both mic and line input sensitivities. 
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Duncan on May 16, 2022, 04:47:05 PM
Can anyone tell me how these would show up on metal detector wands and walkthroughs?
Also interested about the same with mixpre
Cheers
Duncan
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: waltmon on May 18, 2022, 12:30:56 PM
Its metal...it will show up
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: lsd2525 on May 18, 2022, 01:36:28 PM
Can anyone tell me how these would show up on metal detector wands and walkthroughs?
Also interested about the same with mixpre
Cheers
Duncan

Tell 'em it a Rubik cube
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on May 20, 2022, 06:36:33 AM
"It's my cigarette case.  Very small cigarettes are much better for my health."
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: eman on May 20, 2022, 10:13:48 PM
I just got mine today. Some thoughts: the battery indicator does not always show up. Not sure why this is. You can power it through the USB-C, and this did work plugging it into an AC adapter. I had the thing running on some Powerex fully charged AAs for a few hours (didn't time it but I was working for several hours, it was running at 48V phantom). So certainly you'd want a box of AAs in a festival setting or an external battery pack.
I was hoping it would be a better stealth unit. The heavy metal frame seems to be possibly removable, and would leave you with a VERY small and VERY light unit that would be pretty much the be all and end all of all in tiny phantom/pre/recorder units. I did try removing the two long mount screws to see if the metal part would slide off (it looks like it would and should), but it didn't, at least with an amount of force I'd be comfortable with on a brand new piece of gear. There may be more screws under the mounts for the belt loop attachments but again, not comfortable prying these off either. A search of Youtube and Google didn't turn anything up but hopefully someone will work out how we can set this metal frame aside for stealth missions.
I see in the review someone posted that the external bluetooth app would definitely be something you want to augment the tiny and bare bones display on this.

Edit: I got a little farther with disassembly without completely screwing it up, there are also 2 small screws under the battery, and the mic input screws need to be removed. At that point you need to slide the back cover past one of the battery compartment springs which isn't easy, then there also seems to be some stuff connected inside that back panel that will be connected by folded cable bundles. Perhaps the next step would be getting that back panel off, then there would be mount screws to ditch the metal part of the chassis. My dad used to hate it when I took apart his stereo, and I haven't learned too much since then.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dallman on May 21, 2022, 12:15:10 PM
I just got mine today. Some thoughts: the battery indicator does not always show up. Not sure why this is. You can power it through the USB-C, and this did work plugging it into an AC adapter. I had the thing running on some Powerex fully charged AAs for a few hours (didn't time it but I was working for several hours, it was running at 48V phantom). So certainly you'd want a box of AAs in a festival setting or an external battery pack.
I was hoping it would be a better stealth unit. The heavy metal frame seems to be possibly removable, and would leave you with a VERY small and VERY light unit that would be pretty much the be all and end all of all in tiny phantom/pre/recorder units. I did try removing the two long mount screws to see if the metal part would slide off (it looks like it would and should), but it didn't, at least with an amount of force I'd be comfortable with on a brand new piece of gear. There may be more screws under the mounts for the belt loop attachments but again, not comfortable prying these off either. A search of Youtube and Google didn't turn anything up but hopefully someone will work out how we can set this metal frame aside for stealth missions.
I see in the review someone posted that the external bluetooth app would definitely be something you want to augment the tiny and bare bones display on this.
I have the Bluetooth adapter but find no need for it. I am very familiar with 32bit recording having had the F6 and mixpre6II for some years now. The difference in concept is slow to be understood, but recording with these decks is not at all like 24bit or any other deck. I am sure people will disagree or not understand, but that is okay, I record a fair amount and am happy with what i have discovered.
On the F3 in particular, part of the reason for the wave settings showing versus meters is that there is no need for meters and really no need for a screen audio-wise. The concept that is most misunderstood is that you do not set the gain. It is pre-set by the machine and therefore meters are not relevant. This is a true set and forget deck. You do set the faders, or the output, and that is how loud or low your volume will be when you apply to post. But it is just the output volume, the faders, not the gain. So you can change your recording in post if too low or too loud and there is no loss of quality, no difference because it is just output (volume). Input (gain) was set by the deck.
I have come to realize this deck in particular is not like anything else. It is a game changer in approach to recording and especially great where there are unknowns at the start of a show, because it does not matter.
So for the first time when I use this deck, I shut the lighting on the screen off, hit record and am done. The recordings are stellar in terms of the deck. It is still up to me for placement etc., but the deck is flawless and requires no adjusting. I found the bluetooth part unnecessary.
I will say this. If you do not do any post work on your recordings, if you just somehow listen without using a post application, then this is the wrong deck for you. Then you will need to figure out the faders and volume (not the gain as you have no ability to adjust), so you may as well use a different deck, the advantages of this deck are largely nullified.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dactylus on May 22, 2022, 08:20:06 AM

dallman,

Looking forward to checking out your F3 the next time that I see you!  Thanks for posting.

David
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on May 26, 2022, 09:18:18 AM
Listening to my first pulls with the F3 from a festival from last weekend. A few thoughts:

-So far, I like what I hear in terms of sound. I've been running a Oade modified R44 in recent years, and by no means have I done any direct comparisons, but thus far I don't hear any thing that I don't like with the F3

-The bluetooth function using the phone is nice, but I don't like that if it gets disconnected it just cuts it off with (seemingly?) no way to reconnect. So if you walk too far away for whatever reason, just know that you won't be able to monitor things on your phone again without reconnecting on the device. Maybe no way around this, dunno.

-All of the recording was done at an outside festival, mics probably 80-100' back? Folk / Rock music, but the things basically peaked at around -12db, so didn't really get to run things especially hot. But nonetheless, happy with how things turned out.

-Have it rigged so I can clamp the device + a power source direct to the stand, and really loved not having my gear on the ground.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mepaca on May 26, 2022, 01:59:29 PM
It might be in here somewhere but does anyone know if the f3 has m/s decoding?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on May 26, 2022, 08:21:45 PM
No M/S decoding and monitoring.  Dealbreaker for me, and a strange omission given the apparent target audience.  And not hard to do.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Clem Cheesy on May 28, 2022, 06:08:22 PM
The Ron Popeil recorder, set it & forget it... 32 bit, auto levels, stereo with P48s.
I definitely see one in my bag this year.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on May 29, 2022, 08:27:57 AM
I had too many beers and ordered one off amazon with 70 bucks off from points..... Goddamnint. more stuff. be here in time for fool's paradise though. My thought was I could return it if I don't like it. :shrug:
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Elana on May 30, 2022, 05:31:46 AM
I knew nothing of 32-bit floating point before I learned of the F3. So basically you just plug in your mics and press record? And then in post what would you have to do? Adjust the volume, normalize, whatever you normally do when you're editing?  What kind of audio file does the F3 store? Is it a wave or something else? Do the F6 and the new mixpre's behave the same? The mixpre-3 and 6 ii both look like they have traditional gain knobs.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on May 30, 2022, 01:31:00 PM
Short answer, yes. Pull the overheated 32 bit file into audacity and normalize it. I have an F6 and like the set it and forget deal especially with mics near the stage.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Elana on May 31, 2022, 02:26:54 AM
Yes that's very tempting. I usually mess with my levels during the first song, unless the band allows me to set up during sound check. When I'm not seated near my gear, it would be useful to just press record before they actually take the stage and then walk away.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Clem Cheesy on May 31, 2022, 06:45:24 AM
I knew nothing of 32-bit floating point before I learned of the F3. So basically you just plug in your mics and press record? And then in post what would you have to do? Adjust the volume, normalize, whatever you normally do when you're editing?  What kind of audio file does the F3 store? Is it a wave or something else? Do the F6 and the new mixpre's behave the same? The mixpre-3 and 6 ii both look like they have traditional gain knobs.

Mix Pre-3 v2. is going to be more versatile, have gain structure to tweak and likely be worth every penny, but I like to carry light and lower investment.
In in NYC, I go to sketchy watering holes sometimes, walk a few blocks back to street parking, and don't want to feel like I have to protect a bank vault of gear in my bag.

I'd love to hear a 2 mic A-B of an F3 and a Mix Pre 3, just for comp.

Things occuring in "the digital realm" have artifacts and unique character.  ...But usually less so than an analog device
Still, those inputs to the F3 aren't digital, so...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: hipporu on May 31, 2022, 08:30:48 AM
I'd love to hear a 2 mic A-B of an F3 and a Mix Pre 3, just for comp.
130-140dB and hot-out mic, that would be interesting.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on May 31, 2022, 12:57:15 PM
I'd love to hear a 2 mic A-B of an F3 and a Mix Pre 3, just for comp.
130-140dB and hot-out mic, that would be interesting.

I have been meaning to do one of these comparisons. Might make it happen soon. I also want to know if I am missing out on any performance/tonality when comparing the zoom pres to the mp3's
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: hipporu on June 01, 2022, 03:24:03 AM
I also want to know if I am missing out on any performance/tonality when comparing the zoom pres to the mp3's
I think the difference that can be heard may be in the preamps.
All other preferences will depend on your production process probably.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on June 01, 2022, 03:32:29 AM
Unless differences are really significant, it's actually very hard for most people to spot the differences between recordings made on different devices, assuming levels are matched and the same mics etc are used.  In the good old days, when recording classical CDs I would sometimes use short sections from MiniDisc inserted into the DAT material.  The reviewers never noticed anything amiss - they were usually complimentary about the sound overall.  But to read some people's scathing opinions of MiniDisc sound, you would have thought it would stand out like a sore thumb.  (I used MD as a backup medium, and its pre-record ability was sometimes very handy when something unexpected happened in the sessions).

Of course with these 32 bit float recorders, a comparison could be made of apparently over-cooked recordings in 24 bits and 32 bit float, and there the difference would be very evident - horrible digital distortion vs nicely normalised pristine audio.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on June 01, 2022, 06:18:57 PM
Unless differences are really significant, it's actually very hard for most people to spot the differences between recordings made on different devices, assuming levels are matched and the same mics etc are used.  In the good old days, when recording classical CDs I would sometimes use short sections from MiniDisc inserted into the DAT material.  The reviewers never noticed anything amiss - they were usually complimentary about the sound overall.  But to read some people's scathing opinions of MiniDisc sound, you would have thought it would stand out like a sore thumb.  (I used MD as a backup medium, and its pre-record ability was sometimes very handy when something unexpected happened in the sessions).

Of course with these 32 bit float recorders, a comparison could be made of apparently over-cooked recordings in 24 bits and 32 bit float, and there the difference would be very evident - horrible digital distortion vs nicely normalised pristine audio.

That's a fun story about MiniDisc. I knew people that were using it, but never tried myself. In the situations you described, were you using the Hi-MD PCM format, or the earlier lossy compressed format?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on June 01, 2022, 10:56:53 PM
I was using full sized machines (in that context - I also had small ones for concert work, using Hi-MD) and I think that Hi-MD wasn't available on those decks.  Scary how I forget now, when I used that medium so much back in the day.  I even made a jazz CD using an 8 track Yamaha MD machine - I just found sample tracks from that at https://nz.7digital.com/artist/mike-garrick-band-and-anita-wardell/release/down-on-your-knees-649197

Now what were we talking about?  Ah yes, the Zoom F3... show me a topic and I'll drift it...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on June 02, 2022, 02:00:08 PM
Do I need to convert to 24bit for playback? Any other workflow items I should be considering?

First time w/ 32bit...so just realizing I should probably think through some of this prior to working on some of these recent recordings!

Thanks...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: DavidPuddy on June 02, 2022, 02:07:05 PM
Do I need to convert to 24bit for playback? Any other workflow items I should be considering?

First time w/ 32bit...so just realizing I should probably think through some of this prior to working on some of these recent recordings!

Thanks...

I use a Mixpre 6 ii, but I reduce the gain on the WAV files to under clipping and dither to 24 bit to save as a master
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on June 02, 2022, 02:15:18 PM


I use a Mixpre 6 ii, but I reduce the gain on the WAV files to under clipping and dither to 24 bit to save as a master

Is it necessary to dither to 24bit? What is the benefit of doing that?

Interestingly re: levels/clipping, I've found levels to be a bit low thus far with the F3. Don't think it's a power issue, but I've had to boost levels so far. My understanding is that 32bit helps with that too, in terms of noise...but thats a bit out of my depth. Anyway, it sounds good.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dallman on June 02, 2022, 04:15:39 PM


I use a Mixpre 6 ii, but I reduce the gain on the WAV files to under clipping and dither to 24 bit to save as a master

Is it necessary to dither to 24bit? What is the benefit of doing that?

Interestingly re: levels/clipping, I've found levels to be a bit low thus far with the F3. Don't think it's a power issue, but I've had to boost levels so far. My understanding is that 32bit helps with that too, in terms of noise...but thats a bit out of my depth. Anyway, it sounds good.
Here is what you may (or may not) realize if your output is low or high...
Although gain is set on the F3 and cannot be changed, the output from the F3 (the volume level transferred from your F3 recording to your computer or whatever) that will show up when you transfer the file will be determined by what you set on the front screen of your F3 (the wave size showing). If you adjust your volume to be high when recording (big wave shows on screen), your output will be high. If you set it low (small wave shows on screen), your output will be low. It is not all that relevant as the gain has been set and the final product will not suffer whether your volume was set low or high, but it might make your post adjustments easier or harder. You cannot set or change the gain, but you can set or change the output file which is the volume of the wave file being transferred.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: eman on June 02, 2022, 08:02:04 PM
I just did a battery test with some fully charged Powerex AAs (2.3AH each) and got 3hrs 45min of recording time, low volume stereo. Powering Telefunken M62 at 48V (you can set to 24V as well, haven't tried that yet- any comments there?) I'm pretty sure the phantom sucks more juice with high SPL shows but that's a pretty good baseline. I'd probably be able to get all of Phil but I'll swap out at set break and feel pretty safe with that. I use the Powerex charger which allows you to cycle the batteries at a programmable rate and number of cycles. I've found that a single cycle doesn't get you the full potential of the battery but takes up to 24 hours. Exited gracefully saving the files including the short one. Also just did a hot swap test starting with AAs, plugging in a little phone charger battery, pulling the AAs, then putting the AAs back in, pulling the charger all without losing recording. You don't have to hide a small phone charging battery, toss it in the tray going in.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on June 02, 2022, 08:10:12 PM
I just did a battery test with some fully charged Powerex AAs (2.3AH each) and got 3hrs 45min of recording time, low volume stereo. Powering Telefunken M62 at 48V (you can set to 24V as well, haven't tried that yet- any comments there?) I'm pretty sure the phantom sucks more juice with high SPL shows but that's a pretty good baseline. I'd probably be able to get all of Phil but I'll swap out at set break and feel pretty safe with that. I use the Powerex charger which allows you to cycle the batteries at a programmable rate and number of cycles. I've found that a single cycle doesn't get you the full potential of the battery but takes up to 24 hours.

I opted to just go with an external power source, but when I did some testing w/ Amazon & eneloop rechargeables I got about the same when supplying phantom power.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on June 02, 2022, 08:47:26 PM


I use a Mixpre 6 ii, but I reduce the gain on the WAV files to under clipping and dither to 24 bit to save as a master

Is it necessary to dither to 24bit? What is the benefit of doing that?

Interestingly re: levels/clipping, I've found levels to be a bit low thus far with the F3. Don't think it's a power issue, but I've had to boost levels so far. My understanding is that 32bit helps with that too, in terms of noise...but thats a bit out of my depth. Anyway, it sounds good.
Here is what you may (or may not) realize if your output is low or high...
Although gain is set on the F3 and cannot be changed, the output from the F3 (the volume level transferred from your F3 recording to your computer or whatever) that will show up when you transfer the file will be determined by what you set on the front screen of your F3 (the wave size showing). If you adjust your volume to be high when recording (big wave shows on screen), your output will be high. If you set it low (small wave shows on screen), your output will be low. It is not all that relevant as the gain has been set and the final product will not suffer whether your volume was set low or high, but it might make your post adjustments easier or harder. You cannot set or change the gain, but you can set or change the output file which is the volume of the wave file being transferred.

Lol, so I read through this thread several times & thought I understood that part of it, but clearly I didn’t!

Assuming the mics or setup isn’t being physically overloaded in any way, do we know if it’s better to have a BIG wave form that shows clipping (requiring lowering it in post) or have it say -24 and have to amplify in post?

Traditionally I know you don’t want to add any more gain than you have to, as you’re raising the volume on a lot of noise too…is that still the case w/32bit?

Anyway, thank you for finally helping me understand this!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dallman on June 03, 2022, 09:10:53 AM


I use a Mixpre 6 ii, but I reduce the gain on the WAV files to under clipping and dither to 24 bit to save as a master

Is it necessary to dither to 24bit? What is the benefit of doing that?

Interestingly re: levels/clipping, I've found levels to be a bit low thus far with the F3. Don't think it's a power issue, but I've had to boost levels so far. My understanding is that 32bit helps with that too, in terms of noise...but thats a bit out of my depth. Anyway, it sounds good.
Here is what you may (or may not) realize if your output is low or high...
Although gain is set on the F3 and cannot be changed, the output from the F3 (the volume level transferred from your F3 recording to your computer or whatever) that will show up when you transfer the file will be determined by what you set on the front screen of your F3 (the wave size showing). If you adjust your volume to be high when recording (big wave shows on screen), your output will be high. If you set it low (small wave shows on screen), your output will be low. It is not all that relevant as the gain has been set and the final product will not suffer whether your volume was set low or high, but it might make your post adjustments easier or harder. You cannot set or change the gain, but you can set or change the output file which is the volume of the wave file being transferred.

Lol, so I read through this thread several times & thought I understood that part of it, but clearly I didn’t!

Assuming the mics or setup isn’t being physically overloaded in any way, do we know if it’s better to have a BIG wave form that shows clipping (requiring lowering it in post) or have it say -24 and have to amplify in post?

Traditionally I know you don’t want to add any more gain than you have to, as you’re raising the volume on a lot of noise too…is that still the case w/32bit?

Anyway, thank you for finally helping me understand this!

It is tricky and simple, a different learning curve than we are used to.
As far as setting the wave file on the front of the F3, as it is just output volume, it does not matter how you set it, there is no difference, or to put it more simply, nothing you do is affecting the actual recording. I'd say personal preference. Whether the wave file is tiny or large, the recording gain is exactly the same. It is only the output which is after the recording , that is being affected by your settings. I like to set my F3 medium to larger, but it really is just personal preference and maybe with some post programs (I use sound forge) it may be easier reducing or enlarging.

As the gain is pre-set by the recorder, you are not introducing noise if you record with your output (the wave file you set then see on the front of the F3) looking very small.

I hope this helps.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on June 03, 2022, 09:40:09 AM
At risk of being shot down by my elders and betters, I think this very recent article explains things very well.

https://www.wired.com/story/32-bit-float-audio-explained/

In my own head - FWIW -  I think of it like this.  Imagine you are looking at a track on a DAW, in other words, a graphical representation of the sound which looks like a kind of ribbon.  In 16 bit or 24 bit audio, that track or ribbon isn't very wide.  If your recording gain in the analog domain is wrongly set, your audio could go off the top of the ribbon, or off the bottom of it, losing data and/or causing distortion on the way.  But with 32 bit float, the track or ribbon is so wide that your audio is like a stripe running in the middle of the length of the ribbon.  The height of that audio stripe represents the difference between the lowest output of the analog part of the recording system (mic and preamp usually) and the highest possible output of that analog part.  But the height of it is very small compared with the height of the 32 bit float ribbon.  It doesn't matter where in relation to that ribbon it sits.  You'll never get the audio ribbon to get anywhere near the top of the 32 bit float ribbon, nor near the bottom.  You can set the "magnification" in the case of the F3 such that the audio sits a bit above the middle or a bit below, but it doesn't matter where.  When you process it in your DAW later, you will be feeding it into something akin to a 24 bit or 16 bit bottleneck - and you can at that point shift the stripe of audio data up a bit or down a bit on the overall 32 bit float ribbon so that it goes into the bottleneck at an optimum height.

I now await others to say "Actually, that's crap" or "that makes sense" or "I didn't understand a word of that and fell asleep reading it."  Time will tell.  Gulp.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on June 03, 2022, 09:51:58 AM
back to the battery life for a second. I got mine yesterday, and had a show to record last night, I used it as a second recorder luckily because the band needed the tracks for a video shoot/promo they are working on. I unboxed it, messed with it long enough to set it up, no more than an hour I don't think. Did a little test recoding for 30 minutes. Then I took it to the show, and it did not make it through the first set, which really suprised me. I had a battery swap ready for the second set. External will be ideal for this, or at worst a battery change before every set. Might be my rig? Akg CK3X>PFA's?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dactylus on June 03, 2022, 09:53:54 AM
back to the battery life for a second. I got mine yesterday, and had a show to record last night, I used it as a second recorder luckily because the band needed the tracks for a video shoot/promo they are working on. I unboxed it, messed with it long enough to set it up, no more than an hour I don't think. Did a little test recoding for 30 minutes. Then I took it to the show, and it did not make it through the first set, which really suprised me. I had a battery swap ready for the second set. External will be ideal for this, or at worst a battery change before every set. Might be my rig? Akg CK3X>PFA's?
^
What batteries were you using?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: eman on June 03, 2022, 11:07:22 AM
Perhaps the PFAs are also a power draw, being a preamp of sorts? I still like the idea of having backup AA and being able to hot swap using a small phone charger instead of a big battery pack.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: detroit lightning on June 03, 2022, 11:34:44 AM
I’d be interested in seeing some tests with small external batteries to see how long you could get.

My maiden voyage was a festival where I basically set it and left it all day, so I just snagged a mid sized anker pack and it would be enough to run for days. But I’m sure there’s a sweet spot with smaller batteries too.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on June 04, 2022, 07:46:14 AM
At risk of being shot down by my elders and betters, I think this very recent article explains things very well.

https://www.wired.com/story/32-bit-float-audio-explained/

In my own head - FWIW -  I think of it like this.  Imagine you are looking at a track on a DAW, in other words, a graphical representation of the sound which looks like a kind of ribbon.  In 16 bit or 24 bit audio, that track or ribbon isn't very wide.  If your recording gain in the analog domain is wrongly set, your audio could go off the top of the ribbon, or off the bottom of it, losing data and/or causing distortion on the way.  But with 32 bit float, the track or ribbon is so wide that your audio is like a stripe running in the middle of the length of the ribbon.  The height of that audio stripe represents the difference between the lowest output of the analog part of the recording system (mic and preamp usually) and the highest possible output of that analog part.  But the height of it is very small compared with the height of the 32 bit float ribbon.  It doesn't matter where in relation to that ribbon it sits.  You'll never get the audio ribbon to get anywhere near the top of the 32 bit float ribbon, nor near the bottom.  You can set the "magnification" in the case of the F3 such that the audio sits a bit above the middle or a bit below, but it doesn't matter where.  When you process it in your DAW later, you will be feeding it into something akin to a 24 bit or 16 bit bottleneck - and you can at that point shift the stripe of audio data up a bit or down a bit on the overall 32 bit float ribbon so that it goes into the bottleneck at an optimum height.

I now await others to say "Actually, that's crap" or "that makes sense" or "I didn't understand a word of that and fell asleep reading it."  Time will tell.  Gulp.

This is a very good explanation of the practical result of recording on a Zoom F-series or Sound Devices MixPre-II recorder. One significant thing missing both from your explanation and that Wired article is that you can only get these recordings to be what they are in the first place if you use multiple ADCs controlled by a DSP system which routes signals of different levels to different ADCs depending on their level before they are dumped in a 32-bit float bucket. Zoom uses two ADCs; Sound Devices use three, and I don't how many StageTec uses for their setup which has existed since the late '90s.

If you didn't have such a setup then you still would have the problem of very low levels getting buried in the noisefloor and/or very high signals clipping the ADC, no matter how enormous of a "bucket" a 32-bit float file gives you. I think of it like having both a small trowel and a full-size backhoe on site for a material sorting job that classifies rocks over a wide range of sizes. If you only had one or the other, or just something in the middle like a Bobcat, you would miss material at both size extremes and your huge sorting table with all its different size trays would be unnecessary.

///

Of course, the end user doesn't necessarily need to know any of that to get all the benefits of these multi-ADC 32FP systems; they "just work", and do so seamlessly. I do, however, think it is helpful to know that recording in 32-bit float on its own using a single ADC does not allow you this glorious freedom from setting levels. Case in point: I have a MOTU M2 interface for my PC, and it will output 32-bit float format to any software that supports it. It does not have auto-ranging multiple ADCs though, so while the 32-bit float recordings I track in Reaper give me a little bit of wiggle room, I still need to set input gain on the M2 just as carefully as I would when recording in 24-bit fixed.

The last point to remind everyone of is one that Gutbucket and a few others regularly remind us about: Even when recording with one of these new Zoom or SD recorders, you still have to make sure you are not clipping your mic/line input in the analog domain before it hits the fancy multi-ADC. If you record very loud things and/or use very sensitive mics with hot outputs, you may need to use mic pads or select less sensitive mics. Pay attention to "max input level" on spec sheets. SD MixPre-II can take much higher mic input levels than Zoom F series, but Zoom has a LINE+PHANTOM input setting you can select which allows you to record with 48V mics at LINE level, and that raises the max input level up to be comparable to the MixPre-II.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: hipporu on June 04, 2022, 09:48:50 AM
The last point to remind everyone of is one that Gutbucket and a few others regularly remind us about: Even when recording with one of these new Zoom or SD recorders, you still have to make sure you are not clipping your mic/line input in the analog domain before it hits the fancy multi-ADC. If you record very loud things and/or use very sensitive mics with hot outputs, you may need to use mic pads or select less sensitive mics. Pay attention to "max input level" on spec sheets. SD MixPre-II can take much higher mic input levels than Zoom F series, but Zoom has a LINE+PHANTOM input setting you can select which allows you to record with 48V mics at LINE level, and that raises the max input level up to be comparable to the MixPre-II.
Good explanation with magnetic tape.

MP3ii has the ability to adjust the level of the microphone channel. I roughly know what level the performers will have or what I will record. For a long time I did not manage to feel all the joy from the 32FP. But a few times 32FP saved me with unfamiliar music in an unfamiliar place when I set the pianissimo gain level too high. There is no doubt that 32FP is useful for recording unpredictable events like thunder, industrial noises or gunshots.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on June 04, 2022, 12:15:54 PM
There is no doubt that 32FP is useful for recording unpredictable events like thunder, industrial noises or gunshots.

It is also a game-changer for those of us who are both performer and recording engineer, which is more than half of everything I record.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Clem Cheesy on June 04, 2022, 08:33:15 PM
I absolutely enjoy this discussion.

Let's consider the old feature of auto-levels, ALC, where a circuit dynamically adjusted input gain to a median and circuit-built top limit.
Are the F6 and F3 making any analog input adjustments to normalize levels into the ADC ?

Is it possible to top the analog limits on the input circuit, and what are the artifacts?
Is it "splattery", "harsh", "choppy", blank or lowered in level?
Similarly, what happens at the very low end, when sounds barely break above a mic's internal noise ?

Having dynamic range beyond all hearing is great, but when it is adjusted to within the audible range, what do we actually get from the theory and grand maths?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on June 05, 2022, 07:45:26 AM
I would summarise it in this way - 32 bit float doesn't overcome the limitations of the analog side of your rig (mics and preamps and mixers) but it takes nothing away.  It's kind of like having the mic plugged into your ears, you could say.  But perhaps it's best to think mainly in terms of the sheer convenience of doing away with level setting.  That said, I used to delight in recording a symphony concert, and getting to the end with the peak level of the recorder showing I'd got to -1dB of full scale - and not over.  Simply aiming for -12dB or -6dB was no way to pass the evening away...  My theory that there is (in acoustic music) only one level made it not too hard to get it right.  (Mic goes close to quiet guitar, further away from a loud orchestra, SPL at the capsule ends up much the same).  Adding that theory to the theoretical dynamic range of a 32 bit float recorder means that it all becomes pretty low stress.  If I had one of these devices I would set the magnification to show that the mics were working even with empty hall ambience (for total reassurance) and probably I wouldn't look at the display again.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 06, 2022, 11:02:04 AM
In my own head - FWIW -  I think of it like this.  Imagine you are looking at a track on a DAW, in other words, a graphical representation of the sound which looks like a kind of ribbon.  In 16 bit or 24 bit audio, that track or ribbon isn't very wide.  If your recording gain in the analog domain is wrongly set, your audio could go off the top of the ribbon, or off the bottom of it, losing data and/or causing distortion on the way.  But with 32 bit float, the track or ribbon is so wide that your audio is like a stripe running in the middle of the length of the ribbon.  The height of that audio stripe represents the difference between the lowest output of the analog part of the recording system (mic and preamp usually) and the highest possible output of that analog part.  But the height of it is very small compared with the height of the 32 bit float ribbon.  It doesn't matter where in relation to that ribbon it sits.  You'll never get the audio ribbon to get anywhere near the top of the 32 bit float ribbon, nor near the bottom.  You can set the "magnification" in the case of the F3 such that the audio sits a bit above the middle or a bit below, but it doesn't matter where.  When you process it in your DAW later, you will be feeding it into something akin to a 24 bit or 16 bit bottleneck - and you can at that point shift the stripe of audio data up a bit or down a bit on the overall 32 bit float ribbon so that it goes into the bottleneck at an optimum height.

Extending this analogy- as Ozpeter describes above, imagine the relatively narrow track ribbon width of 16 bit, a wider ribbon for 24 bit, and a much, much, much wider ribbon for 32-bit float, This represents the dynamic range limit of the file format used to contain the data.  Okay, here's the important next part- There are three other dynamic ranges that represent other "ribbon widths" that need to be considered ahead of the file format.  The first is the dynamic range of the signal we're recording.   The second is the dynamic range of the analog signal path of microphones up to the analog to digital converter (ADC).  The third is the dynamic range of the ADC.  Each represents a separate domain that needs to fit within the range of each subsequent domain that follows.

Generally..
The dynamic range of the signal being recorded is smallest.
The dynamic range of the analog signal path is somewhat larger (this determines noise floor and overload level).
The dynamic range of the ADC may or may not be larger (but ideally should be).
The dynamic range of the file format may or may not be larger still (but ideally should be).

It's all about strategies to make sure the dynamic range of each domain is larger than the one which proceeded it, ideally setup such that no adjustments are required to make sure each will fit.

32-bit float recorders incorporate two new strategies to do this:

Let's consider the old feature of auto-levels, ALC, where a circuit dynamically adjusted input gain to a median and circuit-built top limit.
Are the F6 and F3 making any analog input adjustments to normalize levels into the ADC ?

Astute observation, and essentially what the paralleled ADC's are doing, setup to do so in an automatic way. This has pretty much been determined to be audibly transparent.

The increases in dynamic range of the auto-ranging ADC and of the file format are sufficient to shift the "dynamic range bottleneck" to the domain of the analog signal chain feeding the ADC.  The bottom of that range is the noise floor, likely determined by the self-noise of the microphones.  The top of that range is determined by the overload point, or level of acceptable distortion prior to outright clipping, of something in that analog chain.  Could be anything from the microphones to the preamps to the analog input stage of the recorder itself.

With regards to the 32-bit recorder part alone, it's maximum dynamic range limits are now determined by the limits of it's analog input stage, not the ADC or file format.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 06, 2022, 11:16:02 AM
Is it necessary to dither to 24bit? What is the benefit of doing that?

Its always best practice to dither whenever reducing bit length.  There isn't really any reason not to other than eliminating it as an extra step.

Is it necessary?  Probably not.  If the least significant bits being truncated are well below the noise-floor, the random noise of the noise-floor itself essentially acts as dither.  Sound Devices doesn't bother to dither internally when storing a 24 bit file rather than a 32-bit float file on the recorder.  They do dither if set to store a 16-bit file.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mepaca on June 07, 2022, 12:03:57 PM
Just got back from 3 days at a festival. I recorded for 8-9 hours per day using pfa and schoeps capsules at +48v phantom. A pair of eveready lithium batteries lasted all day each of the days. I went through 3 pairs in 3 days. That included some playback after the shows.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: datbrad on June 07, 2022, 04:31:43 PM
I want to start off by saying I think the technology that allows 32 bit float to operate in a portable recorder is amazing.

That being said, to me the benefits for the actual recording are dubious and this point has been made numerous times in this thread.

Let's start with these facts.

1. The maximum dynamic range of the best analog signal capture/amplification equipment made generally stops at 120db.

2. Rock concerts have maximum sound pressures coming from the stage/PA between 90db to 110db on average, depending on the venue.

3. Typical concert crowd ambiance averages 40db (for between songs babble and shuffling around, not cheering/roaring applause)

4. The dynamic range potential of the 24bit PCM format is 144db.

So, if you were to record a rock concert soundcheck in an otherwise pin drop quiet empty room the dynamic range could theoretically reach 120db.

If using a 24 bit A/D with levels peaking at -12db, the analog noise floor will be down 120db below that point, or -132db, with 2 bits to spare.

When the audience comes in and fills up the seats, the effective dynamic range of the music falls to 80db, since the crowd chatter and racket becomes the new noise floor at -40db.

Since -60db to -50db is the lowest level mark on the meters of most recorders, even a recording that only occasionally lights up the -40db mark and is gain boosted in post will still retain 104db of dynamic range.

Bottom line, with the same analog signal source it's not possible for a recording in 32bit float to exceed the practical dynamic range of a 24 bit recording, even with levels barely hitting -12db on the meters.

So, what's the big draw of 32 bit float in a field recorder? I see it as primarily to benefit foley, ENG, and nature recording challenges. If I was recording a frog sitting on a rock in a stream croaking, and BOOM, a crack of thunder happens, I'd feel far more confident setting levels with 32 bit float recorder than 24 bit recorder.

For concert recording, I just don't see 32 bit float being essential or substantive to proper level setting.

With all that said, if I was in the market for a 2 channel recorder I could use right out-of-the-box, the F3 is at the top of my list, but not because it's format is 32 bit float.



Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on June 07, 2022, 05:30:30 PM
^ To me, in the context of recorders with two (or more) 24-bit ADCs of differing gains, I think the big advantage of 32-bit float would be if you are doing mixing (post-ADC) on the recorder (where the combination of sources might exceed 0 dBFS). I suspect that there is a gain setting (maybe no gain) that would give an identical result in either 24-bit or 32-bit float for the individual channels. Maybe I'm wrong; the SD patent was pretty heavy reading!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 07, 2022, 06:46:02 PM
Datbrad-  At the risk of going OT in the F3 thread.  What you describe is essentially how I currently run F8 in 24 bit.  I do tweak my recording levels, not because I need to in order to maximize dynamic range or avoid overload, but only to get the relative level between channels about where I want them for purposes of playback on the recorder..

I think the big advantage of 32-bit float would be if you are doing mixing (post-ADC) on the recorder (where the combination of sources might exceed 0 dBFS).

This is a good point.  The only time I (rarely) have a problem with what I've recorded to F8 in 24bit mode is playback mixing on the recorder of recordings made of high SPL material, and then only because of the annoying quirk of Zoom's Mid/Side decoding implementation being pre-fader only.  Basically, that implementation eliminates the ability to adjust mix level of Mid/Side decoded channels upon playback, so all other channels must be mixed around the level of those channels as recorded.  If the omni channels then need a lot more fader level in the mix for instance, they can sometimes clip the mixer.  That doesn't always happen, but it can with very loud material.

Quote
I suspect that there is a gain setting (maybe no gain) that would give an identical result in either 24-bit or 32-bit float for the individual channels.
I think you are correct.  And it should if Zooms dual ADC auto ranging technique provides a wider dynamic range than that of the analog input front-end of the recorder.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on June 07, 2022, 07:38:25 PM
I think the whole thing can be viewed in reverse - if 32 bit float had been the norm for the last 50 years, and someone brought out a 24 bit recorder and said one of the features was that you can set the input level so that it doesn't overload or undercook, would people say, wow, that's a great idea?

Gutbucket, I'm not quite sure of the context but personally I was a heavy user of Voxengo MSED VST when remixing stuff in a DAW - that enables you to fiddle with mid / side levels to your heart's content with any stereo track, and of course is most appropriate if the source of the stereo track was an MS pair.  It basically re encodes the signal back to MS, then allows you to change the MS balance, then decodes back to XY.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 08, 2022, 10:25:32 AM
Thanks Ozpeter- I also like and recommend Voxengo MSED VST.  Its a great M/S tool, and does exactly what is intended without extraneous features.  Its ability to balance imaging by allowing one to pan the Mid and Side channels separately is especially useful - the effect of which is to apply a different M/S ratio to the Left verses Right channel output.  That can be done via a mixer as well, but its easy and straight forward using the plugin.

To clarify, the issue I describe above occurs only when mixing on the recorder itself and needing to add digital gain which causes some internal levels to exceed 0dbFS.  Its not a problem when mixing on the computer, where levels can bee freely adjusted for all channels, processing is typically taking place in a 32-bit float calculation space, and MSED or similar functionality built-in to many DAW programs is used.

I think the whole thing can be viewed in reverse - if 32 bit float had been the norm for the last 50 years, and someone brought out a 24 bit recorder and said one of the features was that you can set the input level so that it doesn't overload or undercook, would people say, wow, that's a great idea?

Except in that case they either wouldn't be overloading or overcooking input levels to begin with (and thus wouldn't perceive a problem that needed solving), or if they were, that solution wouldn't fix it (because the analog input or ADC is what would be overloading, not the file-storage format that follows. 

Its all about the order of the sequential domains and where overload is occurring, or is capable of occurring, based on the range of what preceded it: signal>analog-input-stage>ADC>file-format
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on June 08, 2022, 11:28:09 AM
Thanks Ozpeter- I also like and recommend Voxengo MSED VST.  Its a great M/S tool, and does exactly what is intended without extraneous features.  Its ability to balance imaging by allowing one to pan the Mid and Side channels separately is especially useful - the effect of which is to apply a different M/S ratio to the Left verses Right channel output.  That can be done via a mixer as well, but its easy and straight forward using the plugin.

To clarify, the issue I describe above occurs only when mixing on the recorder itself and needing to add digital gain which causes some internal levels to exceed 0dbFS.  Its not a problem when mixing on the computer, where levels can bee freely adjusted for all channels, processing is typically taking place in a 32-bit float calculation space, and MSED or similar functionality built-in to many DAW programs is used.

I think the whole thing can be viewed in reverse - if 32 bit float had been the norm for the last 50 years, and someone brought out a 24 bit recorder and said one of the features was that you can set the input level so that it doesn't overload or undercook, would people say, wow, that's a great idea?

Except in that case they either wouldn't be overloading or overcooking input levels to begin with (and thus wouldn't perceive a problem that needed solving), or if they were, that solution wouldn't fix it (because the analog input or ADC is what would be overloading, not the file-storage format that follows. 

Its all about the order of the sequential domains and where overload is occurring, or is capable of occurring, based on the range of what preceded it: signal>analog-input-stage>ADC>file-format

No matter how Old School one wants to be, I know some people like to set levels, and I know people who don't. If running right in front of the stage it is very nice to just set it and forget it, and not bother any other crowd or band members while checking in on things. The possible best feature of 32 bit float is noticed in post IMO. You take an "overdriven/clipping/float) file into your DAW that has NOT one volume adjustment up or down during the entire recording, so long as you leave it alone, and normalize it. What you end up with is a nice linear recording with no level ups and downs to deal with in post. It just reflects what the PA or other source was doing at the time. I feel that the F6 and F3 have made me a better taper and is a better experience in the field and in post. Ozpeter hit the nail on the head, at least for me. This is amazing technology, why not use it.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 08, 2022, 01:11:37 PM
The possible best feature of 32 bit float is noticed in post IMO. You take an "overdriven/clipping/float) file into your DAW that has NOT one volume adjustment up or down during the entire recording, so long as you leave it alone, and normalize it. What you end up with is a nice linear recording with no level ups and downs to deal with in post. It just reflects what the PA or other source was doing at the time.

Yes.  I think Datbrad's point is that you can set things up so as to work that way already.  Advantage is not needing to do any initial setting up.

Quote
I feel that the F6 and F3 have made me a better taper and is a better experience in the field and in post. Ozpeter hit the nail on the head, at least for me. This is amazing technology, why not use it.

Agreed.  I also agree with Ozpeter's take on practical usage, effectively using it as a form of meter range adjustment.
Quote
If I had one of these devices I would set the magnification to show that the mics were working even with empty hall ambience (for total reassurance) and probably I wouldn't look at the display again.

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: yug du nord on June 08, 2022, 01:53:48 PM
I have not used a 32 bit float device.
I find it pretty amazing that a person can more or less pull a great recording every time without worry of levels.
And I know it would be great in specific situations.

But… does this technology make a person a better taper??.. or does it make a person a worse taper that is able to make better tapes??
I’m sure I’ll get a F3 at some point..  so my question is just stirring the pot a bit.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: daspyknows on June 08, 2022, 02:05:49 PM
I have not used a 32 bit float device.
I find it pretty amazing that a person can more or less pull a great recording every time without worry of levels.
And I know it would be great in specific situations.

But… does this technology make a person a better taper??.. or does it make a person a worse taper that is able to make better tapes??
I’m sure I’ll get a F3 at some point..  so my question is just stirring the pot a bit.

That's my feeling as well.  I want to see one and play with it before I would buy.  Its more about ease of getting in and improving the recordings rather than making it easier.

Its like GPS and traveling.  I remember doing Europe Dead tour by car using maps to navigate versus now my phone tells me where to go.  Not sure I could navigate that trip uses maps today 30 years later.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on June 08, 2022, 04:52:25 PM
I have not used a 32 bit float device.
I find it pretty amazing that a person can more or less pull a great recording every time without worry of levels.
And I know it would be great in specific situations.

But… does this technology make a person a better taper??.. or does it make a person a worse taper that is able to make better tapes??
I’m sure I’ll get a F3 at some point..  so my question is just stirring the pot a bit.

OK to stir the pot... When I wrote that I meant to mention that it makes it easier to concentrate on other aspects of recording, like microphone choice, stand height, location,pattern etc. In the case of this past weekend when I did two nights at the same venue with the same 2 bands, I recorded from 3 different places in the amphitheater because it was not very sold, and things were loose. Had time to walk the room during the sets and see where sounded best in there... And at the end of it all, the levels become a non point of comparison. The setup mattered more.... I travel light, actives and 32 bit, so sure could I make a better recording with pre's/AD's and what not, probably. But I don't see myself doing that.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 08, 2022, 05:47:53 PM
In the case of this past weekend when I did two nights at the same venue with the same 2 bands, I recorded from 3 different places in the amphitheater because it was not very sold, and things were loose. Had time to walk the room during the sets and see where sounded best in there..

This and the decisions made based on it is what gets categorized in the category of important higher-level taper skill to my way of thinking.  The other stuff all acts in support of the opportunities realized, and choices made based around this.  Good to figure out ways of managing all the the rudimentary stuff so attention can be focused here instead so that good opportunities can be taken best advantage of.  If 32 bit helps you to do that, then it's for the win.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: datbrad on June 09, 2022, 07:51:27 AM
There is a similar movement going on in pro video. Lytro has come out with a 40K camera to capture what they call a "light field". Basically, with that resolution zooms and pans no longer have to be done live, all that can be done in post. You set the camera up and point it in the general direction of the subject and hit the rec button. The raw capture is just a fixed wide shot, no cinematography skills are required. Anyone with an index finger and enough aim to push a rec button can do it. Sound familiar?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on June 09, 2022, 10:37:01 AM
Audio recording is a combination of art and science.  Microphone selection and placement is the art part.  Everything downstream of the mics is the science part.  It's the art part which distinguishes the great recordist from the lesser, and the great sound from the inferior.

(I guess dealing with Panatrope's second law of recording is also part of the art - "The number of channels required for a recording is always one more than the number of channels available".)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 09, 2022, 11:49:37 AM
I need two more!

Agreed, although a different flavor of art comes back into play in the mixing/mastering realms.

Sound familiar?

Visual ambisonics.  Pick any pattern, pointed in any direction and derive as many virtual microphones as you want after the fact,  but limited to that single point in space.  If you want other camera angles you'll still need additional cameras / additional microphones if you want time-of arrival cues.

Sure would be cool shrunk down to a tiny Gopro-like format to mount on the mic stand, except for the crushing file size!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: grawk on June 09, 2022, 01:17:25 PM

Sure would be cool shrunk down to a tiny Gopro-like format to mount on the mic stand, except for the crushing file size!

GoPro Max 360.  Records in 5k, lets you resolve down to a 1080p shot where you can adjust the POV pretty drastically in post.  I use one kayaking.  It's amazing.  It's not the same as a good 4k cinema camera, but it's darn sure good enough for youtube.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: dallman on June 09, 2022, 11:55:14 PM
I have not used a 32 bit float device.
I find it pretty amazing that a person can more or less pull a great recording every time without worry of levels.
And I know it would be great in specific situations.

But… does this technology make a person a better taper??.. or does it make a person a worse taper that is able to make better tapes??
I’m sure I’ll get a F3 at some point..  so my question is just stirring the pot a bit.
I have been using the technology for some time now, and while it is all subjective, I'd say no, it has not made me a better taper. Having recorded steadily since 1971, I learn something every time out. It is mic placement, listening to the room or outdoors, adjusting for so many reason and I am a better taper today than I was in 1971. Actually I think it took until the late 1980's before any of my recordings were fit for public consumption. I love the tinkering, mixing, matching and the learning best of all about this hobby and passion. I do however really like the new technology and it is one less thing to worry about and it helps me and my process continue to evolve, as it has continually evolved since my first recording. That said, it still is experience that sets my recordings apart from my earlier ones, and allows me the opportunity to try to get the best recording in whatever set of circumstances I am handed each time I go out to record. There are always lots of little things done that affect the end result. Do I make better recordings in a venue I know inside out over one I am in for the first time? The odds are better I might as my experience is greater, but that does not make it a given. The entire beauty of why so many of us record is partly to have copies of shows, artists and music we love, but it evolves for so many of us that we love the actual experience of recording ourselves with each our own techniques and habits which we all believe will allow our recording to be the best one and our favorite version of all those that get made in a given evening.

Yug as you know as well as anyone who has done open recording with me I absolutely enjoy complicating the and regularly changing up my process, but that is just me doing what I love. ;D
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: checht on June 10, 2022, 07:37:42 PM
I have not used a 32 bit float device.
I find it pretty amazing that a person can more or less pull a great recording every time without worry of levels.
And I know it would be great in specific situations.

But… does this technology make a person a better taper??.. or does it make a person a worse taper that is able to make better tapes??
I’m sure I’ll get a F3 at some point..  so my question is just stirring the pot a bit.
Does tech that makes the process less complicated and less error-prone turn folks into worse tapers? Please help me understand that. Did longer tapes that made 2nd set flips easier make us worse?

Also, one thing I know for sure: anything that allows me to be more present in the moment to connect with the artists I'm seeing is a good thing. Quit taping for a bit because I felt I was getting too distracted from the music. Gear is fun, but art is where it's at for me.

YMMV 😀
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on June 10, 2022, 08:24:32 PM
Damn those 80 minute Cd's. Useless. And FLAC you too! to the level of 8  haha!  :cheers: beers are flowin...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: yug du nord on June 10, 2022, 11:44:31 PM
..like I said, just stirring the pot.

I understand the 32 bit float gives an opportunity to explore other techniques.
I was simply questioning if it makes a person a better taper??.
It seems to me that it takes away much of the effort (for good or bad) of recording a show.
All a person needs to do is hit record and enjoy the show..  which isn’t a bad thing..  but simplifies it to the point of being null and void somewhat it seems.  Which will probably result in many more good sounding recordings and possibly turn on more people to becoming concert tapers..  which is great! 

But I’m guessing that it’ll make tapers lose their ‘muscle’ a bit kinda like an electric bike does.
I have no problems with an electric bike..  it’s easier and a lot of fun I’m sure, but does it make you a better bicyclist??
Does a self-driving car make a person a better driver??
Does the 40K camera that datbrad mentioned make a person a better photographer??
Does Google make us smarter??
Do map books even exist anymore??
Do kids learn cursive these days, do people type on keyboards anymore (yeah yeah I’m plucking away with one finger on a touch pad, but that’s beyond the point).  ;)
Is 32 bit float another step in dumbing down the human process??
Do humans learn without making mistakes??

IMO the 32 bit float can make a person a better post-production engineer.. which is a facet of releasing a good recording.. but is separate from the taping end of things IMO.

So will the F3 squash a Mytek or AD2K or SD or any other 24bit AD??
Or does it just make it easier??
That’s my question.

And is anybody running a preamp in front of the F3 or does that defeat the purpose?
Are all 32 bit float dual ADC’s the same?

It’s all about making great tapes and having fun while doing it..
Like I said, I’m sure that I’ll be ‘floating’ at some point.. I’m just slow, skeptical, and stubborn.  :P

…yeah that was a bit overboard, but it’s Friday night!..





Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: datbrad on June 11, 2022, 10:44:45 AM
Been thinking more about the application of gain in today's recorders and realized there's a distinct reason why 32bit float makes complete sense and leaving out traditional level controls a logical final step in the evolution of audio capture gear.

Most solid state recorders made today have trim knobs, but they are not true gain pots for adjusting preamp and/or analog gain ahead of the A/D. They are essentially for digital gain only. With fixed gain preamps and digitally controlled line levels in menu settings, having gain controls to adjust digital levels in the field isn't necessary.
Back in the day, we wanted to maximize the performance of preamps, since how hard they were driven made a difference in sound, and also prevent analog brick walling in the line level signal before it hits the A/D. With that structure now flipped, the only thing you can do wrong in the field is cause digital overloads. You can't stop analog brick walling, nor optimize the performance of the internal preamp like we did with recorders in the past.
Considering this, it occurs to me that 32bit float can't make you a better or worse taper, it simply removes a part of the equation that only has a negative risk, digital clipping, with no upside to being able to adjust that stage manually. With the evolution of recorders moving away from user control of any of the analog portion of the signal, if 32 bit float should become the standard for A/D, it's almost inevitable and probably should be.....
 
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: yug du nord on June 11, 2022, 11:36:44 AM
^I get what your saying..  I think years ago jerryfreak on board here put together a rig that ran mikes straight into a 24 bit ADC.  I think both for the reason that you said and for lower noise.  I might be wrong on that but I think those were his reasons.

And if I ever said (which I don’t think I did) that 32 bit float makes a person a worse taper, I wasn’t being literal about it.
I was just stirring a ‘devil advocate’s’ attitude about someone stating that it makes person a better taper.
And my wacky rant in my previous post was continuing it.
The only thing that can make a taper a worse taper is not taping.
Apologies to all for derailing the thread.

It’s been quite a week and I was practicing some top notch ‘ass-hattery’.  :smash:

If a recorder is in your pocket or gear bag, and the goal is to never look at it.. the F3 achieves that I think.
32 bit float aside, the F3 is exactly (minus the belt loops) what I’ve been waiting for..  a pocket sized recorder with full XLR’s, P48, and good enough battery life to run P48 for a full show.
Pretty amazing!!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: checht on June 11, 2022, 12:39:15 PM
Esteemed Mr. North,

Your provocative points challenged many unquestioned assumptions. Thanks for that!

I own that I am a bit of a worrier, and that that can be distracting at a show. The combination of 9 hours of battery, 32 hours of SD card, and 32 bit float has been a game-changer for my experience. I imagine it's not so impactful for others.

One of the things that keeps me recording is that it continually presents opportunities to learn. Currently embarking on OMT4. Last time I ran more than 2 mics was Greeks '85, so really appreciating GutBucket's wisdom as a guide.

Don't see the need for any regrets. Your post was on topic and respectful as always.

Regards, Chris

[edited to fix typo]

Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: goodcooker on June 11, 2022, 03:27:28 PM
Currently embarking on OMT4. Last time I ran more than 2 mics was Greeks '85, so really appreciating GutBucket's wisdom as a guide.

Not to veer even more off topic (or to minimize Gutbucket's contributions to our little corner of the world which are considerable and much appreciated) but the stereophonic zoom paper was written by Michael Williams and published by the AES in 1984.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on June 11, 2022, 04:19:59 PM
3rd outing:

The F3 is continuing to be a winner.  The gaff tape, while not ideal, is proving to be effective in avoiding erroneous stops.  Battery life continues to be great with the Eneloop Pros - I am never below 50% by the end of a ~ 1.5 hour set @ 32/48 w/ 48v phantom on.  Bag checks don't even see the Hermitshell case I have the F3 in opened up - it is small enough that it is entirely disregarded by security so far - obviously that will vary by venue.  I'm going to do a Herbie show soonish - he tends to have much tighter screening from experience, so it will likely get its real test then.

In terms of ease of stealth operation, it really doesn't get any simpler.  I am eyeballing levels based on house music before hitting record and dumping it till the end of show - not checking anything but an occasional glance at the red recording light (out of paranoia from the past lost recording on the first outing).  Results have been great so far and the 32-bit would make even significantly botched levels a non-issue.

This time there was far too much bass so I've done some minor post to the samples as it was not listenable as it was. Still too much cymbal/hh "crashiness" going on for my taste so I did minor subtractive EQ on that as well.

All things considered, after 3 outings with different types of venues / different mic setups / etc I am giving this one a big thumbs up.  As mentioned previously I am inclined to use the MixPre3-ii whenever there is no concern for security rummaging through the bag, based on my subjective assessment that it just sounds "better" raw from device, but when stealth is a factor I no longer feel like I am sacrificing as much as I did with the stealth oriented Sony A10, D50, D1, M10 / Sony XLR-1 /  Battery Box setups I was using previously.

Recorded directly behind soundboard using a slightly narrow (practical stealth issues) NOS on stealth "object" peeking over the rail ~ 6ft high (very low "balcony") @ DFC, FOB with Line Audio CM4 > F3. 

Artist: Keiko Matsui
Venue: Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club, Bethesda, MD.

Sample 1:
https://we.tl/t-Nc0HP9SPXl

Sample 2:
https://we.tl/t-kxPahRPcVZ

Follow on from the above - made it in to the Herbie show with a minor deflection.  *Looks at device* ... "Is that recording equipment?" ... "No" ... "Thanks, keep your mask on during the show please!".   Here's sample from the show with subtractive EQ to remove excessive bass and some added gain. 

https://we.tl/t-pMfQN6tla4 (https://we.tl/t-pMfQN6tla4)

Line Audio CM4 > Zoom F3 (P48 on, 32 / 48) > r8brain dither to 24, 48 > FLAC. 

Final verdict - I'm entirely sold on this thing.  It has everything you could ask for (minus M/S decode) and nothing you wouldn't (e.g. sub-par built-in mics).  As a bonus, it's discrete enough to pass through persnickety venue checks and can even dodge a minor security interrogation due to its size / appearance.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 13, 2022, 12:22:25 PM
Currently embarking on OMT4. Last time I ran more than 2 mics was Greeks '85, so really appreciating GutBucket's wisdom as a guide.

Not to veer even more off topic (or to minimize Gutbucket's contributions to our little corner of the world which are considerable and much appreciated) but the stereophonic zoom paper was written by Michael Williams and published by the AES in 1984.

Yes! I make no claims to the ownership of good ideas, but I will champion and downright proselytize for what has served to empirically illuminate and expedite my own pursuit of greater taper enlightenment.  William's Stereo Zoom was and continues to be a foundational cornerstone in much of that.  I believe the most tangibly useful single thing I've contributed to the taper community here is the improved PAS table - which at it's core is 100% William's Stereo Zoom.  All I did was carefully think it through and repackage it in such a way as to make it directly applicable to tapers and easy to use.

However, I do think the OMT multichannel approach is different in an important way, being less derivative and representing something of a different paradigm entirely, even-though the basic Stereo Zoom relationship remains fundamental within it.  The combination of multiple channels of a purposefully-arranged array of microphones set up so as to optimize the interactions between them represents something quite different, requiring the reassessment of what was widely known to work well for a pair of microphones alone.  The basic acoustics and signal aspect underpinnings remain the same, but to effect something greater than what might otherwise come from the simple sum of stereo pairs requires the reconsideration of the ways in which a single stereo pair is best optimized.  The parsing of what works for a single pair and also applies to the interactions of a purposefully designed multiple microphone arrangement verses what doesn't is something of a brave new world.  My thanks to this forum as the place to discuss exploration of working this stuff out!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on June 13, 2022, 04:35:19 PM
So will the F3 squash a Mytek or AD2K or SD or any other 24bit AD??
Or does it just make it easier??
That’s my question.

I think it just makes it easier. 24-bit ADs are more than sufficient for any music recording (even 16-bit, for that matter).

And is anybody running a preamp in front of the F3 or does that defeat the purpose?
Are all 32 bit float dual ADC’s the same?

If you have a preamp with a flavor you like, or that pairs well with your mics, I think it still makes sense to run one. Also, as I understand it, there aren't really 32-bit float ADCs; these units use multiple 24-bit ADCs, with differing gains, and combine the results post-conversion.

With respect to Williams and the Stereophonic Zoom, I agree with Gutbucket. It's illuminating and time hasn't really dimmed it much. I recall reading that it was based on rather limited data, though, so maybe it could be tweaked a little. A couple of degrees or cm here or there, perhaps, but the take-homes probably wouldn't change much...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 13, 2022, 07:48:09 PM
The Williams curves are close enough for our use.  There are a few alternate data sets that differ somewhat, I think partly based on the signal used as stimulus for the testing: impulsive clicks, sinewaves, noise, speech, music or whatever, but can't recall specifics as it's been years since I looked that far into it. [confirmed, see edit note below..]

For deriving all the values in the Improved PAS Table I used Eberhard Sengpiel's data, in the form of the online sengpielaudio visualizer (http://www.sengpielaudio.com/Visualization-ORTF-E.htm) rather than William's published curves. 

Here are two links to PDF's hosted at www.sengpielaudio.com showing the differences in the underlying trade-off curves derived by various researchers:
http://www.sengpielaudio.com/InterchannelLevelDifferenceTimeDifference1.pdf (http://www.sengpielaudio.com/InterchannelLevelDifferenceTimeDifference1.pdf)
http://www.sengpielaudio.com/InterchannelLevelDifferenceTimeDifference2.pdf (http://www.sengpielaudio.com/InterchannelLevelDifferenceTimeDifference2.pdf)

Differences sure, but leveraging the general trend of the underlying relationship is what is important for informing microphone setup.


Edit-
Note found on the bottom of the page of the first PDF linked above reads:
Red curve: Master's Thesis by Gert Simonsen at the Technical University of Denmark Lyngby (1984), also
used by Michael Williams. Test signals: maracas and claves clicks. http://www.sengpielaudio.com/Claves.htm
Blue curve: Eberhard Sengpiel and tonmeister students (1992) used as test signals monaural human speech
and a Beethoven string quartet in a usual control room with Bowers & Wilkens 801 matrix 3 loudspeakers.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: aaronji on June 14, 2022, 07:40:55 AM
^ Yes, that is the article to which I was referring. One thing I can say: I am very glad that Dr. Sengpiel's website lives on despite his passing. It might not be beautiful, but there is a TON of useful information there...
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: eman on June 16, 2022, 01:32:47 PM
FYI, the F3 looks like it is recording when it isn't. Make sure the red light is on. I thought I had a lot of time and told the GF how to start it, and apparently she hit record twice which turns it back off. https://archive.org/details/deadco2022-06-14.m60.flac16 (https://archive.org/details/deadco2022-06-14.m60.flac16) Second recording with my new Telefunken M60s, they are flat out amazing.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: datbrad on June 16, 2022, 02:34:36 PM
Hope you weren't too hard on her, sounds like an easy mistake to make during daylight hours. I know it burns memory, but I usually start the deck if I need to step away within 30 min of the expected start time. If I get back in time, I just stop the recording and restart it to create a new file, then later I delete the junk file.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: morst on June 16, 2022, 02:37:51 PM
back to off topic, Neumann has a great app called Neumann Recording Tools, for android and iOS, which calculates recording angle for nearly any pair.
review here: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/neumann-recording-tools
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/recording-tools/id576702914 (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/recording-tools/id576702914) iOS
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.neumann.recordingtools&hl=en_US&gl=US Google Play Store



Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: eman on June 16, 2022, 03:23:36 PM
No, I wouldn't blame a recording error on anyone but myself. If anything I considered not saying anything but was honest about it and just shared the info to show what we are up against getting good recordings. So many stupid things to go wrong, and I'm not the most fastidious taper around. I would have started the recording but the last one I screwed up was due to batteries running out in the F3 and I'm not 100% confident there. I ended up with 2 bars left on the battery meter after recording just the second set using my Powerex AAs.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 16, 2022, 03:34:28 PM
FYI, the F3 looks like it is recording when it isn't. Make sure the red light is on.

Is this behavior common to all Zoom recorders?  It is to the F8 (the only Zoom I have much on-hands experience with), which remains in essentially the equivalent of record pause mode whenever it is turned on and not recording or playing, with phantom power on and meters bouncing if mics are attached.  Difference may be that on the F8 it's pretty obvious when actually recording as the record button becomes illuminated solid red, in addition to the indication of  recording on the display. 

I notice this all the time because I rarely disconnect my pre-rigged multichannel microphone array from the recorder.  Both occupy the same bag, hooked up at all times.  So when playing back files directly from the recorder through the car stereo, head-phones or whatever other playback system I may plug into, as soon as playback ends or is stopped the mics immediately become active.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on June 16, 2022, 05:04:31 PM
FYI, the F3 looks like it is recording when it isn't. Make sure the red light is on.

Is this behavior common to all Zoom recorders?  It is to the F8 (the only Zoom I have much on-hands experience with), which remains in essentially the equivalent of record pause mode whenever it is turned on and not recording or playing, with phantom power on and meters bouncing if mics are attached.  Difference may be that on the F8 it's pretty obvious when actually recording as the record button becomes illuminated solid red, in addition to the indication of  recording on the display. 

I notice this all the time because I rarely disconnect my pre-rigged multichannel microphone array from the recorder.  Both occupy the same bag, hooked up at all times.  So when playing back files directly from the recorder through the car stereo, head-phones or whatever other playback system I may plug into, as soon as playback ends or is stopped the mics immediately become active.

The F6 illuminates the button solid red in the same way. I still can't wrap my head around the physical interface choices on the F3.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: eman on June 16, 2022, 08:30:54 PM
The recorder is as small and stripped down as it can be. I'm attributing any problems to my inexperience with it, and I'm sure I'll be fine. Interesting that the F8 also goes straight to phantom power and meters going. That is certainly not the case with the M10 which I'm used to, which lights up but does nothing until you hit record. Running phantom on powerup is not what I would choose- I'm sure it's draining the battery even when not recording.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on June 17, 2022, 09:34:51 AM
Yes.  F8 does has a menu function that saves power by turning off phantom power while playing a file (which I have engaged), but yeah, when simply "idling" it is powered up with phantom sent to whichever channels has it engaged.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: sdbirder on July 01, 2022, 09:28:14 PM
Could someone please post some more Zoom F3 samples? All of the links from earlier in this thread have expired.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gaijin on July 08, 2022, 09:23:23 AM
Could someone please post some more Zoom F3 samples? All of the links from earlier in this thread have expired.

Cheers!

Joey DeFrancesco @ Berk's Jazz Fest using Line Audio CM4 (48v) from FOB, DFC ~Wide ORTF mounted to a stationary  >:D "object" direct into the F3 @ 32, 48
https://we.tl/t-Y5uoqO0IKo

I'll repost some others but I have to dig for the files on another PC.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on July 09, 2022, 10:26:19 PM
Plenty of dynamic range there - including some handy silences in the first minute - kind of them to play that piece to test your system!
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: rastasean on July 10, 2022, 04:00:57 PM
https://www.sounddevices.com/audio-recording-calculator/

A handy link that's certainly somewhere on TS.

A 32 GB SD card can get roughly 20 hours of 2 tracks of 32 bit audio.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on July 11, 2022, 02:29:35 PM
Hey there, any thoughts on these for the F3? I am tired of burning up AA's and do not want an external battery for this one. TIA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QZ5CTC9?psc=1&smid=ADMAJ1NNAHZG9&ref_=chk_typ_imgToDp
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: fguidry on July 11, 2022, 09:01:49 PM
Any reason to choose these over Eneloops? That's what I'm using in my F6.

Fran
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on July 12, 2022, 08:42:35 AM
I was looking at the 3400 mah claim on them. How many hours do you get on eneloopes in your F6 BTW, I have one as well. Thanks
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on July 12, 2022, 08:54:09 AM
Same cells as Eneloop Pro, but much cheaper:
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/ladda-rechargeable-battery-hr06-aa-1-2v-50504692/ (https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/ladda-rechargeable-battery-hr06-aa-1-2v-50504692/)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: commongrounder on July 12, 2022, 09:45:11 AM
I was looking at the 3400 mah claim on them. How many hours do you get on eneloopes in your F6 BTW, I have one as well. Thanks
You need to be careful on the lithium-ion rechargeable AA cells. The capacity is shown in milli-WATT-hours (mwh), not the usual milli-AMP-hours (mah) shown on a typical nimh cell. If you do the math, those 3400mwh cells are 2267mah at 1.5 volts. These lithium-ion cells have dc-dc converters in them that maintain a constant 1.5 volts until the cell is almost exhausted, then steps the voltage down to trigger low battery warnings in the device being powered.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on July 12, 2022, 12:24:40 PM
I was looking at the 3400 mah claim on them. How many hours do you get on eneloopes in your F6 BTW, I have one as well. Thanks
You need to be careful on the lithium-ion rechargeable AA cells. The capacity is shown in milli-WATT-hours (mwh), not the usual milli-AMP-hours (mah) shown on a typical nimh cell. If you do the math, those 3400mwh cells are 2267mah at 1.5 volts. These lithium-ion cells have dc-dc converters in them that maintain a constant 1.5 volts until the cell is almost exhausted, then steps the voltage down to trigger low battery warnings in the device being powered.

Ahh see, so you get a nice steady voltage, with a little less overall capacity, and then your recording stops and you loose everything? haha. I usually have good luck with amazon's choice stuff... My goal with these is to use 1 set of batteries per set of music, and then recharge, repeat..
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on July 12, 2022, 12:54:19 PM
I was looking at the 3400 mah claim on them. How many hours do you get on eneloopes in your F6 BTW, I have one as well. Thanks
You need to be careful on the lithium-ion rechargeable AA cells. The capacity is shown in milli-WATT-hours (mwh), not the usual milli-AMP-hours (mah) shown on a typical nimh cell. If you do the math, those 3400mwh cells are 2267mah at 1.5 volts. These lithium-ion cells have dc-dc converters in them that maintain a constant 1.5 volts until the cell is almost exhausted, then steps the voltage down to trigger low battery warnings in the device being powered.

That's a great tip. Very tricky of them to label them this way to fool the customer into thinking they are getting way higher capacity than they actually are.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: justme on July 12, 2022, 02:22:32 PM
I found an interesting review with comparison against the Eneloops.
And a peek into it.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L62tCyOP06w
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: fguidry on July 12, 2022, 03:15:58 PM
I was looking at the 3400 mah claim on them. How many hours do you get on eneloopes in your F6 BTW, I have one as well. Thanks

Sorry, I haven't done a rundown test that I can recall. I have done shows that were 2 hours without getting nervous.

Fran
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on July 12, 2022, 09:23:15 PM
Well, as amazon would have it, I have a 4 pack in my hands already. I charged them, and am gonna throw them in and see how long I can record for tonight or tomorrow before they die. I am curious.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: mcfoster on July 13, 2022, 01:44:20 PM
Well, I tested the batteries with my actives last night. AKG CK1X>Naiant Actives>F3 recording road/ambient noise outside, not sure if SPL's effect drain at all. It was up and running at 4 hours, and was not at 4.5 hours. So for me, one set=1 Set , 2 sets=2sets. A festival if I paid attention, and had a good sized battery to charge them from would be fine with 4 batteries I think as they charge in about 3 hours... Or I could just run off usb-c
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: eman on July 14, 2022, 06:09:38 PM
I got an Energizer UE 20068 20AH charger pack, not high enough amperage to power a laptop but a lot of juice. I tested at High Sierra. The first night left me aghast- 2 sets and it was down to 26%. But then for the rest of the festival after I charged it all the way up it only bumped down to 86% at the lowest for the remainder of the sets and topping off a couple of times. I'd charge my phone off of it too and that didn't make a dent. So I think that first night was a faulty first charge up and things will be fine after this. It takes quite a few hours to charge up. The USB C connector did not come out and you can tell if it does because then the battery charge icon comes on. There is no icon to indicate external power is good- if your screen is up and there's no icon that is your signal that external power is working. I got it because I didn't have time to wait and I oppose Bezos's take over of the world. 
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/energizer-max-20000mah-high-speed-universal-portable-charger-power-bank-with-lcd-display-for-apple-android-google-usb-devices-black/6498909.p?skuId=6498909 (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/energizer-max-20000mah-high-speed-universal-portable-charger-power-bank-with-lcd-display-for-apple-android-google-usb-devices-black/6498909.p?skuId=6498909)
As far as batteries with internal charging circuitry, I'd not trust that. I charge my AAs and AAAs with a Powerex charger that you can program the charge/discharge rate and cycle twice to get them perfectly topped off. When you do that you know what's in it because the charger put it there and kept track of it. My program is: Cycle>700 charge>500 discharge> 2 cycles. I've tried single cycle and don't get the same amp hours loaded up. The numbers are remarkably consistent but it tends to call out cheap AAs as junk. That hasn't happened with better batteries.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1572727-REG/powerex_mh_c9000pro_c9000pro_professional_charger_analyzer.html (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1572727-REG/powerex_mh_c9000pro_c9000pro_professional_charger_analyzer.html)
I had zero recording errors for the festival and got it looks like about a dozen sets recorded. There's a bunch up on Archive, and the rest of the team did a good job as well.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: ol' dirty taper on July 15, 2022, 11:18:55 PM
I tested a set of eneloops and only got about 2.25 hours using a pair of Schoeps mk21's with 48V phantom used bluetooth to set the recording then it lost connection. Second try... only 24 minutes with the beyer ck930s and the cv900 preamps + the bluetooth on monitoring.

I have an Ikea Solbana 10000 mAh power bank that is just barely too wide to fit into the back of this unit that I'll probably run with it. *Update on the Solbana, it ran the power hungry ck930s with bluetooth on for just under 17 hours.

Has any progress been made to remove the metal frame on the front?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: eman on July 18, 2022, 01:05:41 PM
I have not made another attempt. I've been a bit busy and I haven't needed it for a stealth unit yet. Encouraging others to try but understand if you don't want to. I safely got mine to where the two halves were separating but catching on the battery spring, and at that point there would probably be some connectors and wires to fold/stuff. Hopefully then some screws to unfasten the frame would present themselves.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: shpy on July 22, 2022, 05:47:24 AM
I get 4 Hours with eneloop PRO, with two SE8 mics :)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: sdbirder on July 25, 2022, 05:51:33 PM
Are there any decent mini cable free mics that plug directly into the XLR ports?

I recently got my F3 and an Audio-Technica BP4025 stereo mic and LOVING it, but it's a little slow to setup, especially for birding. An all in one setup would be great for quick recordings before the bird flies away.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: commongrounder on July 26, 2022, 09:23:51 AM
This little recorder is just crying out for a dedicated plug-in stereo mic. There has been discussion on several forums about this idea. There is the CEntrance PM1 mic set (less than 200 bucks) designed for their own recorder. They will fit the F3, but due to the orientation of the XLR plug, you can’t get an X/Y orientation, just an A-B. Also, the PM1 has a self-noise of 20db(A). Comparing that to the BP4025s 14db(A), you will hear more noise (hiss) in the background. Whether this is acceptable will depend on how quiet the source audio you are trying to capture is. 20db(A) is too noisy for nature recording, IMHO. Maybe some company will make a stereo mic head with low noise cardioid capsules like the 4025, plus an attached pair of XLR connectors that fit the spacing and orientation of the F3, creating a compact unit. I’m sure there will be some DYI mic designs showing up, given some time.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on July 26, 2022, 10:19:21 AM
At last someone makes a recorder without built in mics - and then... 

I'm slightly surprised that it doesn't accept even Zoom's own clip on mics like the F1 does.  Maybe they could make a simple adapter which converts the XLR connectors into their own proprietary connector.  Or maybe a 3rd party could do that.  Then you could connect their MS mic to the front.  No, wait a minute, it doesn't support MS mics... :banging head:
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: commongrounder on July 26, 2022, 11:42:18 AM
Yeah, I know. This is a tapers forum and stealth is a priority.  Apologies for the tangent into the “outside” world! ;)
That zoom proprietary connector is intriguing.  The modules clearly have active electronics in them, as well as the mic capsules, so there has to be contacts for supplying power. If an adapter were to be made, the only source of power would be the phantom supplies through the XLRs, and I’m doubtful there is enough there to run the circuits. It would help if there was publicly available info about the modules internals.
It really isn’t true that the F3 doesn’t support mid-side mics, it just doesn’t support monitoring in decoded m-s. I use my F3 with my mid-side mic setup all the time. I just can’t listen to the decoded audio until it gets loaded into my computer later on. I suspect there will be a firmware update along the way that will add mid-side functions (at least monitoring, if not decoded recording). I’m sure Zoom is well aware of it by now.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on July 26, 2022, 12:27:48 PM
This little recorder is just crying out for a dedicated plug-in stereo mic. There has been discussion on several forums about this idea. There is the CEntrance PM1 mic set (less than 200 bucks) designed for their own recorder. They will fit the F3, but due to the orientation of the XLR plug, you can’t get an X/Y orientation, just an A-B. Also, the PM1 has a self-noise of 20db(A). Comparing that to the BP4025s 14db(A), you will hear more noise (hiss) in the background. Whether this is acceptable will depend on how quiet the source audio you are trying to capture is. 20db(A) is too noisy for nature recording, IMHO. Maybe some company will make a stereo mic head with low noise cardioid capsules like the 4025, plus an attached pair of XLR connectors that fit the spacing and orientation of the F3, creating a compact unit. I’m sure there will be some DYI mic designs showing up, given some time.

I wouldn't be so sure that mics with 20 dB self noise are unsuitable. I don't do nature recording, but I do classical recording all the time with my 4061s which are rated 26 dB self noise, and the mics never draw attention to themselves. Many others who use the 4060/4061 as their main pair can attest to this. The noisefloor of your venue, even if it is a quiet concert hall or secluded location in the woods, is likely going to have its own noisefloor.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on July 26, 2022, 01:11:33 PM
Yep. Depends on the situation.  I use DPA 4060 with a self-noise a few dB lower than 4061 for classical and nature recording and have never had a mic self-noise problem with them for any live classical performance recording.  I have noticed self-noise at times in some nature recording situations.  Difficult to compare though, as some nature recordings tend to be used at higher than normal playback levels making the recording's noise-floor apparent regardless of its source, due to a limited overall dynamic range and everything happening down at the quiet end of that range.  Sure, other nature recordings exhibit extreme dynamics (close thunder storm recordings for example) and thus cannot be amplified as much (without limiting or compression), so the the noise floor remains below perception.  Of course, classical recordings vary widely in dynamics too (delicate small ensemble chamber music vs big bombastic symphonic works) but in general tend not to be played back significantly louder than the original performance. 
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on July 26, 2022, 01:17:58 PM
I'm slightly surprised that it doesn't accept even Zoom's own clip on mics like the F1 does.

Not having used the F3 myself, I just assumed it would had the capability to accept the same directly-attachable Zoom mics that are compatible with all other F-series recorders.

That said, I've no idea of the quality of the directly-attachable Zoom microphones.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: commongrounder on July 26, 2022, 02:00:15 PM
This little recorder is just crying out for a dedicated plug-in stereo mic. There has been discussion on several forums about this idea. There is the CEntrance PM1 mic set (less than 200 bucks) designed for their own recorder. They will fit the F3, but due to the orientation of the XLR plug, you can’t get an X/Y orientation, just an A-B. Also, the PM1 has a self-noise of 20db(A). Comparing that to the BP4025s 14db(A), you will hear more noise (hiss) in the background. Whether this is acceptable will depend on how quiet the source audio you are trying to capture is. 20db(A) is too noisy for nature recording, IMHO. Maybe some company will make a stereo mic head with low noise cardioid capsules like the 4025, plus an attached pair of XLR connectors that fit the spacing and orientation of the F3, creating a compact unit. I’m sure there will be some DYI mic designs showing up, given some time.

I wouldn't be so sure that mics with 20 dB self noise are unsuitable. I don't do nature recording, but I do classical recording all the time with my 4061s which are rated 26 dB self noise, and the mics never draw attention to themselves. Many others who use the 4060/4061 as their main pair can attest to this. The noisefloor of your venue, even if it is a quiet concert hall or secluded location in the woods, is likely going to have its own noisefloor.

I agree that the 4060/4061s are great sounding mics. I believe audibility of self-noise depends on the amount of masking the intended sound source provides. I admit to being spoiled; my main soundscape recording rig uses Sennheiser MKH8020s with a self-noise of 10db(A). I have a pair of Earthworks QTCs (21db(A)) that I’ve tried for nature recording. They sound great, but the noise is intrusive. I hate using noise reduction software, so I stick with the Sennheisers (which work great with the F3, BTW)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: sdbirder on July 26, 2022, 10:17:37 PM
This little recorder is just crying out for a dedicated plug-in stereo mic. There has been discussion on several forums about this idea. There is the CEntrance PM1 mic set (less than 200 bucks) designed for their own recorder. They will fit the F3, but due to the orientation of the XLR plug, you can’t get an X/Y orientation, just an A-B. Also, the PM1 has a self-noise of 20db(A). Comparing that to the BP4025s 14db(A), you will hear more noise (hiss) in the background. Whether this is acceptable will depend on how quiet the source audio you are trying to capture is. 20db(A) is too noisy for nature recording, IMHO. Maybe some company will make a stereo mic head with low noise cardioid capsules like the 4025, plus an attached pair of XLR connectors that fit the spacing and orientation of the F3, creating a compact unit. I’m sure there will be some DYI mic designs showing up, given some time.


I wouldn't be so sure that mics with 20 dB self noise are unsuitable. I don't do nature recording, but I do classical recording all the time with my 4061s which are rated 26 dB self noise, and the mics never draw attention to themselves. Many others who use the 4060/4061 as their main pair can attest to this. The noisefloor of your venue, even if it is a quiet concert hall or secluded location in the woods, is likely going to have its own noisefloor.

I agree that the 4060/4061s are great sounding mics. I believe audibility of self-noise depends on the amount of masking the intended sound source provides. I admit to being spoiled; my main soundscape recording rig uses Sennheiser MKH8020s with a self-noise of 10db(A). I have a pair of Earthworks QTCs (21db(A)) that I’ve tried for nature recording. They sound great, but the noise is intrusive. I hate using noise reduction software, so I stick with the Sennheisers (which work great with the F3, BTW)

Thanks everyone for the ideas! I'm definitely not a fan of noise, so 20db(A) would be out of the question. While perusing Google Images for mics I ran across the  Wildtronics Micro Mic XLR Microphone and ordered one for $91.60 shipped. Small, low noise 14db(A) and it looks like it'll plug directly in for quick mono recordings. I can switch to my BP4025 if time permits. I'll let you know how it works out. https://www.wildtronics.com/micro-xlr.html (https://www.wildtronics.com/micro-xlr.html)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on July 27, 2022, 02:42:01 PM
Not having used the F3 myself, I just assumed it would had the capability to accept the same directly-attachable Zoom mics that are compatible with all other F-series recorders.

That said, I've no idea of the quality of the directly-attachable Zoom microphones.

That connector is absent on the F6 as well. They could have fit it, but instead gave it an NP-F battery connector (which was a great decision, IMHO).
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on July 27, 2022, 06:32:23 PM
Agreed.  I didn't know the F6 lacks it.. and am surprised the NP-F battery connector change didn't carry over to the F8nPro.  I can't see many users using the Zoom mic modules with an F8, even with the cable extender, and expect most would prefer an NP-F battery connector.  I could see it being useful if the channels though that connector could be recorded to the stereo mix channel instead of an internal mix, effectively making the recorder capable of recording 10 inputs (like the Tascam's DR-680, who's digital input can be routed to the stereo channel, effectively making that recorder capable of recording 8 input channels)
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Ozpeter on July 27, 2022, 06:35:48 PM
Indeed I'm aware that the missing element is MS monitoring, as you can actually record MS on anything with two channels, but for me in the context of classical music recording, placement of MS mics is critical (well, as with any other mic technique) and if I can't check that I've got it correct using dematrixed rehearsal playback, then it's a problem.   It's really surprising to me that this simple thing was omitted on release as it's a common technique for film/tv which this device seems to be marketed for.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: voltronic on July 28, 2022, 07:33:19 AM
Indeed I'm aware that the missing element is MS monitoring, as you can actually record MS on anything with two channels, but for me in the context of classical music recording, placement of MS mics is critical (well, as with any other mic technique) and if I can't check that I've got it correct using dematrixed rehearsal playback, then it's a problem.   It's really surprising to me that this simple thing was omitted on release as it's a common technique for film/tv which this device seems to be marketed for.

You have mentioned this before - have you contacted Zoom tech support asking if it can be included in a firmware update?
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: Gutbucket on July 28, 2022, 09:48:52 AM
I've also mentioned that here with regard to the F8, and have emailed Zoom support a couple times about it's M/S implementation deficiencies, but never heard back from them.  On the F8 it works fine for monitoring while recording, but is far from ideal for playback.  If one has previously recorded raw Mid and Side channels, M/S playback matrixing to L/R is routed post-fader, with no ability to adjust playback level or ratio.  Wish they would fix that.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: commongrounder on July 28, 2022, 11:04:02 AM
I wrote to Zoom customer service in the US about adding a simple M-S decoding mode to the F3 headphone monitor signal path. I received a response within a few hours stating they would forward the request to the software engineers in Japan for consideration in an upcoming firmware revision. I believe they are responsive, but only time will tell if the people that decide these things hear and act on that request.
Title: Zoom F3 and Sony a7R camera
Post by: gihl on July 31, 2022, 07:23:37 AM
Last week, I finally got the Zoom F3 recorder.
Now my AT822 mic picks up powerful, solid and detailed sound. :-)
However, I connected the Zoom F3's Line out and Sony a7R IV camera's Mic in with a -25db attenuator cable, but only buzz sound came out.
Do I need a stronger attenuator cable like -35db?
Your input would be appreciated.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Zoom F3 and Sony a7R camera
Post by: commongrounder on July 31, 2022, 11:06:02 AM
The Zoom F3 has a built-in line output attenuator that can go as low as -48db. No attenuator cable should be necessary. Reading the (Version 2.0) manual from page 41 describes the setup process along with a way to calibrate the gain structure.
Title: Re: Zoom F3 and Sony a7R camera
Post by: gihl on July 31, 2022, 11:33:24 AM
Yes, I know. However, even when it is reduced to -48db, only a strange sound comes out of the Sony headphone jack.
I tried connecting the line out of the Zoom F3 to the line in of the R-05 recorder and it worked.  ???
Thanks.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: commongrounder on July 31, 2022, 10:12:11 PM
I wonder if the mic input on the camera has plug-in-power enabled? The voltage present on the jack terminals could be upsetting the output of the F3. I could not quickly find a manual for your camera, but there should be a menu setting for plug-in-power (P-I-P), in the external audio input section. I can’t think why else there would be an issue, assuming the camera mic input is a standard stereo 3.5mm input jack.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: gihl on August 01, 2022, 05:53:00 AM
I found the cause of the problem.

- https://www.amazon.com/Woisco-Charging-15000mAh-Portable-External/dp/B09K42VFN5/

I connected USB-C and USB-A from the RAVPower 15,000 mAh USB-C Portable Power Bank to power the Zoom recorder and Sony camera.
The strange noise comes when both devices are powered from the same power bank.
However, when only one device is connected, there is no noise. :P
Thanks for all the replies.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: fotoralf.be on August 02, 2022, 05:04:14 PM
I wrote to Zoom customer service in the US about adding a simple M-S decoding mode to the F3 headphone monitor signal path. I received a response within a few hours stating they would forward the request to the software engineers in Japan for consideration in an upcoming firmware revision. I believe they are responsive, but only time will tell if the people that decide these things hear and act on that request.

There was a bug in Zoom's Ambisoncs Player for the H3-VR with the rear channels missing on playing back B-format as 5.1. Having had the experience that their German importers are totally hopeless, I contacted Zoom USA. They asked for example files and screenshots, told me they'd be forwarding everything to Japan, and a few weeks later informed me that there was a new version of the software and would I please check. I checked and everything was fine. Then I looked in the version history and found that they had issued a new release for one single problem... my bug report. Now, if that isn't responsive I don't know what would be.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: justme on August 02, 2022, 10:17:56 PM
Newsshooter just published a comprehensive review of the F3 that might be useful for presumptive buyers.

https://www.newsshooter.com/2022/08/02/zoom-f3-review/
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: commongrounder on August 03, 2022, 08:50:09 AM
I wrote to Zoom customer service in the US about adding a simple M-S decoding mode to the F3 headphone monitor signal path. I received a response within a few hours stating they would forward the request to the software engineers in Japan for consideration in an upcoming firmware revision. I believe they are responsive, but only time will tell if the people that decide these things hear and act on that request.

There was a bug in Zoom's Ambisoncs Player for the H3-VR with the rear channels missing on playing back B-format as 5.1. Having had the experience that their German importers are totally hopeless, I contacted Zoom USA. They asked for example files and screenshots, told me they'd be forwarding everything to Japan, and a few weeks later informed me that there was a new version of the software and would I please check. I checked and everything was fine. Then I looked in the version history and found that they had issued a new release for one single problem... my bug report. Now, if that isn't responsive I don't know what would be.

Very good to hear. This gives me reason to hope the mid-side feature will appear in a future firmware update.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: daspyknows on August 06, 2022, 05:03:16 PM
Newsshooter just published a comprehensive review of the F3 that might be useful for presumptive buyers.

https://www.newsshooter.com/2022/08/02/zoom-f3-review/

Very informative.  I need to put my hands on it.  I do not want XLRs since it is just something else to get in but most of the other things are appealing.  The UI would take an adjustment as well.
Title: Re: Zoom F3
Post by: suini on August 07, 2022, 04:02:31 AM
How is the headphone out? Strong enough to drive high impedance cans?