Thread: Zoom F4 with six inputs and eight tracks (is like a new low priced F8!)

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  1. #21  
    Senior Member Marcos Montenegro's Avatar
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    Wow. Looks great and features/price are ridiculously out of this world cheap, but just be aware of ZOOM's internal components.

    Last year I ended up forking the $ for the Sound Devices 633 because of a Zoom product nightmare where a strange electronic interference hum/noise ruined an entire day of shooting as it couldn't be removed in post (unless all budget was used only for that purpose)!

    The SD633 had no issues in same location with the same mic and cables. It was crystal clear, and the audio difference was night and day.

    I find it funny that people in this forum, with RED cameras, find the price of pro audio gear out of their reach; this tells us the importance some people put on audio in their productions. Obviously, the F4 will be fine for most applications out there, but in certain situations just hire a pro or buy what pros use once and be done with it. In the end it'll be cheaper.
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  2. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Dowler View Post
    But does that mean that nothing is ever overpriced? And I think the point that many here are making - myself included - is that we're never going to pay $4k for a SD device, but we're pretty excited about timecode and dual slots and other features in a $650 recorder.
    What's sad to me is that there are a lot of people in this thread who paid upwards of $30,000 or $40,000 for cameras plus another $20,000+ for lenses and mounts... and they're arguing whether they should spend $600 or $2000 for a sound recorder/mixer. To me, putting only 10% of the production budget into sound, after spending $60,000+ on camera gear, is too low. You can't get 4 wireless systems and a boom and a multitrack sound recorder and batteries and a timecode slate for $6000... and on a big show, you'd need three times this much gear (or more). It's ludicrous to me that people have such a skewed sense of what sound gear is really worth.

    Hell, it's hard to buy 4 decent microphones period for $600. There's a whole sub-category of cheap audio gear that's sprung up over the last couple of years, and I shake my head at the downward spiral of quality that's going on. I really only work in post these days, but I feel very sad for my old friends in the sound business who have to contend with clients who cling to the erroneous belief that a $600 will get them through a complex, arduous shoot.

    I don't have a problem with students using gear like this. But then, I wouldn't expect them to own Red cameras or Alexas or anything nearly in that category. Again: go out and rent real gear for a weekend, and you'll quickly see why professional sound gear costs what it does. [Note that good pro gear can be found affordably if you shop around and buy it used, on eBay or from the various pro sound dealers out there.]
    marc wielage, csi colorist/post consultant daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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  3. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcos Montenegro View Post
    Last year I ended up forking the $ for the Sound Devices 633 because of a Zoom product nightmare where a strange electronic interference hum/noise ruined an entire day of shooting as it couldn't be removed in post (unless all budget was used only for that purpose)!

    The SD633 had no issues in same location with the same mic and cables. It was crystal clear, and the audio difference was night and day.
    ​THANK YOU.
    marc wielage, csi colorist/post consultant daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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  4. #24  
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    Has anybody by chance used the Zoom F4 with SD pre-amps and can give feedback on the sound quality of the recorded footage ?

    I'm not interested in using the Zoom pre-amps, I've tried in the past using SD pre-amps on the Zoom H4 and the sound quality was way below Tascam (as merely an external recorder)... Has this improved with the F series ?
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  5. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Dowler View Post
    If a soundie rocked up to my shoot with the F4, I wouldn't be impressed. But it's still a tool I thinkn is worthwhile for me.
    Wellll.... if he is only being paid US$200 for a whole full day then I think you might be impressed if he shows up with a Zoom F4 / F8 + other appropriate gear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
    What's sad to me is that there are a lot of people in this thread who paid upwards of $30,000 or $40,000 for cameras plus another $20,000+ for lenses and mounts... and they're arguing whether they should spend $600 or $2000 for a sound recorder/mixer. To me, putting only 10% of the production budget into sound, after spending $60,000+ on camera gear, is too low. You can't get 4 wireless systems and a boom and a multitrack sound recorder and batteries and a timecode slate for $6000... and on a big show, you'd need three times this much gear (or more). It's ludicrous to me that people have such a skewed sense of what sound gear is really worth.
    Welllllll again.... not everyone here is a RED owner. (I shoot with one occasionally however)

    I see three good uses for this:
    a) newbie/aspiring soundie pros (me! My current set up is Sound Devices 522 + Tascam DR680: http://ironfilm.co.nz/sound/)
    b) indy filmmakers who are looking for something better than a Zoom H5 / Tascam DR60D / etc
    c) camera operators who occasionally do low budget shoots where they need to do sound themselves, so have a full camera kit but also need a very basic sound kit for occasional usage

    A lot of redusers would fit into category c), and getting a Zoom F4 would be excellent! A step up from normal for that category.
    Last edited by David Peterson; 09-09-2016 at 03:11 AM.
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  6. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Peterson View Post
    Wellll.... if he is only being paid US$200 for a whole full day then I think you might be impressed if he shows up with a Zoom F4 / F8 + other appropriate gear.
    I'd argue that's not enough money for somebody competent. Minimum wage in the U.S. is about $10/hour, and assuming a 12-hour day, then $120 for labor and then $80 for kit rental isn't much, particularly when you factor in travel, batteries, and expendables. Even double this rate is fairly minimal, assuming the person has a couple of years experience and is providing (say) 3 wireless and a boom, plus some backup. A kit like that by itself could easily be $80-$100/day for a rental. A Zoom and a boom is basically the sound equivalent of a Canon 7D (or worse): sure, it's good enough for very low-ball projects, but I don't think it's something to aspire to, and I don't think it's good enough for a broad spectrum of projects. (And I again, I understand if it's a student project done by amateurs. But if it's being done for profit, then a rate like this is insulting.)

    Again, there's a lot of "you get what you pay for" here. The argument against better sound gear basically boils down to, "but we have no money!" And the only response I have is get more money. There are more opportunities now than ever to crowdfund small projects, using Kickstarter, Slated, IndieGoGo, Fundable, GoFundMe, and many others. As always, the hardest part about show business is not the show.
    marc wielage, csi colorist/post consultant daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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  7. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
    It's interesting to note how similar this is to the Sound Devices 633.

    My observation is: drop them both on concrete from 3 feet, and let me know which one is still working. (My money is on SD.)

    Sadly, the reality is that you get what you pay for. I have seen many, many sad examples of this in my life.
    So don't drop your audio recorder on concrete. Are professional sound mixers notoriously clumsy, or am I missing something?

    Some people don't have $6000 to spend on marginally superior build quality and indistinguishable audio differences (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM6VOEYpm4g).
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  8. #28  
    Senior Member Nathan DuMoulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hents View Post
    Some people don't have $6000 to spend on marginally superior build quality and indistinguishable audio differences (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM6VOEYpm4g).
    The SD is clearly superior in this test, without question. However is it superior by a margin that justifies a price point that's thousands of dollars more? That depends on the job in question.

    For 95% of applications, the F4 is plenty sufficient.
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  9. #29  
    Member Adolfo CV's Avatar
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    If the F4 is on par with the F8, it's definitely not a toy and you'll get good audio if used properly.

    I'm attaching a couple bts shots from a project where we used the F8 extensively and the little car company we had as clients was pretty happy with the results and our model (the car!) could really sing... :)

    And just FYI, we're not fanboys, we use the tools that will work. My brother is the audio expert, but I can tell you we have used SD, Roland, TASCAM, Zoom, etc, etc. It's really more about what our needs are.

    I'd say that it is way more important to learn your audio gear or to give your audio gear to a Pro. Then you'll get Pro quality.



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  10. #30  
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    I can't even go into how nutty I am about getting super clear, pristine high quality sound, & I whole heartedly believe that you shouldn't EVER compromise things at the level of production that most of us on this forum "play at". I also agree that at least in theory "you get what you pay for" but it's kinda ironic that on a forum who's company completely shattered the perception of that & at the same time turned a whole industry on it's head (what did the Red One cost compared to a camera that was comparable at that time?) Someone's saying "you get what you pay for" as if that's an absolute in how technology has changed & made things faster and cheaper for almost everything in our lives... I've owned 2 Sound Devices products (& still own one) and just about every Zoom H series recorder that they've made. I shot a feature where the sound guy EXCLUSIVELY used the first H4 zoom ever made. We shot in upstate NY, NYC, Philly... No problems at all & the audio came out great.

    Come on..
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