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Author Topic: Zoom F3  (Read 11294 times)

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Offline dallman

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #60 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.
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Offline gaijin

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #61 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.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #62 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.]
« Last Edit: March 02, 2022, 03:26:53 AM by Ozpeter »

Offline cd2go

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #63 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

Offline voltronic

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #64 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 (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.
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Offline cd2go

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #65 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 (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:

Offline detroit lightning

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #66 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…

Offline voltronic

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #67 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.
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Offline aaronji

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #68 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...
« Last Edit: March 06, 2022, 05:59:06 PM by aaronji »

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #69 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...
« Last Edit: March 07, 2022, 05:49:18 AM by Ozpeter »

Offline aaronji

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #70 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. 

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #71 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.

Offline aaronji

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #72 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...

Offline dallman

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #73 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
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Zoom F3
« Reply #74 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
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