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Author Topic: Zoom F3  (Read 10609 times)

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Offline WiFiJeff

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #120 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

Offline voltronic

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #121 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.
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Offline WiFiJeff

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #122 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.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #123 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?

Offline detroit lightning

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #124 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!

« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 05:02:37 PM by detroit lightning »

Offline prepschoolalumniblues

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #125 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!!
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Offline detroit lightning

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #126 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.

Offline detroit lightning

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #127 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?

Offline voltronic

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #128 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.
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Offline ts

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #129 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?
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Offline gaijin

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #130 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.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #131 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.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #132 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. 
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Offline Duncan

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #133 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
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Offline waltmon

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #134 on: May 18, 2022, 12:30:56 PM »
Its metal...it will show up
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