Recorder

Zoom F6 Initial Impressions: Wide Dynamic Range Audio Field Recorder

Zoom announced their new F6 audio field recorder for film and video at NAB 2019. I was fortunate enough to borrow a pre-production copy for a couple of days and ran it through some initial tests. In particular, I wanted to see how well this dual analogue to digital conversion with 32 bit float WAV recording worked and whether it really prevented clipping. I was also curious as to how clean the recordings would be. To my delight, the F6 records extraordinary amounts of dynamic range so you don’t have to worry about clipping nor do you need to be terribly concerned with noise floor. This tiny recorder is impressive!

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses including processing dialogue audio in Adobe Audition and DaVinci Resolve/Fairlight, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

Zoom F6 Audio Field Recorder

Zoom BTA-1 Bluetooth adapter - required to run the iOS control app

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60 - Used for the blue background

Falconeyes 120TDX - (Amazon) 4’ x 4’ LED roll-flex panel light used as a key light and for the table-top product shots

Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Lens - (Amazon) used on the talking head shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - (Amazon) used on the Pocket 4K for the product shots

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - used to shoot the talking head and most of the product shots

Copyright 2019 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Sound Devices Scorpio - NAB 2019

As part of our coverage of the Nation Association of Broadcaster’s show in Las Vegas in April 2019, we talked with Paul Isaacs at Sound Devices about their new flagship mixer/recorder called Scorpio. This is a device which is aimed at larger budget, very demanding productions where lots of inputs and lots of outputs are required.

Please consider my sound for video classes available over at our school.

Gear discussed and used to record this episode:

Sound Devices Scorpio

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens

Electrovoice RE50L Dynamic Interview Microphone

Sound Devices 633 Mixer/Recorder

Copyright 2019 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2017 by TVAC. Used with permission

Zoom F6 - NAB 2019

Zoom just announced their new F6 field recorder for location sound audio recording. Rather than just tweak the form factor, which they did, they also moved to dual analogue to digital converters which record to 32 bit. So the way you record changes pretty dramatically. When recording to 32 bit, you don't set the gain trim (there is none), you simply adjust the fader for each input channel. If you missed the level, no problem, in post you can cleanly normalize to the levels you need with no degradation in audio quality.

They've also switched up a few other things: The screen is a slightly smaller version of the high resolution screen from the F8n, the back of the recorder is a Sony NP-F (L series) battery sled, and you can now power the F6 via its USB-C input. The same quality timecode generator from the F8n is on board, this time with a 3.5mm TRS input/output jack. The F6 has a single SD card slot for recording media and still includes the advanced hybrid limiter when you record in 24 bit.

Auto mix is included and the with an adapter, you can use the Zoom Control app for iOS. You can also use the Zoom F-Control control surface.

We'll have a full review after the F6 starts shipping, hopefully in June 2019. Pricing still to be announced.

Gear discussed and used to record this interview:

Zoom F6 at Amazon - Coming Soon

Zoom F6 at B&H

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens

Electrovoice RE50L Dynamic Interview Microphone

Sound Devices 633 Audio Field Recorder/Mixer

Copyright 2019 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2017 by TVAC. Used with permission.

Audio Recorders for Filmmaking 2019: Choosing a Sound Recorder for Your Video Projects

In this episode, I explain my opinions on each of the sound recorders and mixers I’ve used for filmmaking. This includes the following. Click the links to jump ahead:

00:36 Zoom H1, H1n, and Tascam DR-05 Handheld recorders

03:00 Zoom F1 lavalier and on-camera recorder

05:17 Tascam DR-10L and Lectrosonics PDR mini body pack lavalier recorders

06:43 Tascam DR-60DmkII, Zoom H4n Pro, Zoom H5, Zoom H6

11:53 Centrance Mixerface R4R

12:50 Roland R-88 (Discontinued but can find used)

13:48 Zoom F4/F8/F8n, Sound Devices MixPre, Tascam DR-701D

32:21 Sound Devices 600 Series and Zaxcom Maxx, Nomad, & Deva

Recorder/Mixer Reviews - If you want more detail:

Zoom H1n: Handheld recorder which is a good option for using it like a wireless lavalier recorder

Zoom F1: Small recorder made for recording lavalier microphones or as a camera-top shotgun mic

Tascam DR-10L: This is my favorite tiny recorder for using in place of a wireless lavalier microphone

Lectrosonics PDR: Pro level lavalier microphone recorder.

Tascam DR-60DmkII: My favorite budget recorder with XLR inputs for recording on location

Zoom H4n Pro: Ok option if your XLR microphone has a strong output signal. Not a good option for mics like the RODE NTG2

Zoom H6: Much better option than the H4n Pro. But the screen is hard to see in direct sunlight

Centrance Mixerface R4R: Incredibly durable handheld recorder with 2 XLR inputs, great preamps, but no screen

Zoom F4: 4 XLR microphone inputs. Very good preamps and timecode generator

Zoom F8n: Probably the most value for money. 8 XLR inputs with great preamplifiers and durable build

Sound Devices MixPre-6: 4 XLR inputs, very good preamplifiers, analogue limiters, and durable build

Sound Devices MixPre-10T: 8 XLR inputs, very good preamplifiers, analogue limiters, timecode generator, and durable build. This is my backup recorder/mixer for paid jobs.

Zoom F8, Sound Devices MixPre-6, and 633 Sound Sample Comparison: Hear the difference between the Zoom F, Sound Devices MixPre, and Sound Devices 633. You’ll need some good headphones or speakers.

Zoom F vs Sound Devices MixPre - Which should you buy?: A little perspective on which might be best for you.

Sound Devices MixPre Control Surfaces: If you’re at a table, desk, or cart, these control surfaces can make mixing a little easier.

Zoom F-Control Control Surface: If you’re at a table, desk or cart, these control surfaces can make mixing a little easier.

Sound Devices 633: Why pros use expensive recorders/mixers like the 633

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses including processing dialogue audio in Fairlight and Audition, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

Zoom H1n

Tascam DR-05 (Amazon)

Zoom F1

Tascam DR-10L

Lectrosonics PDR

Tascam DR-60DmkII (Amazon)

Zoom H4n Pro

Zoom H5

Zoom H6

Centrance Mixerface R4R

Zoom F4

Zoom F8n

Sound Devices MixPre-3

Sound Devices MixPre-6

Sound Devices MixPre-10T

Sound Devices 633

Zaxcom Maxx, Nomad, Deva

Anker USB-C Battery Bank (Amazon)

Aputure COB 120DII LED Light (Amazon)

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Panasonic 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS Lens

Panasonic GH5 (Amazon)

Panasonic GH5S (Amazon)

Copyright 2019 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

RODECaster Pro Review

In this episode, we take an in-depth look at the new RODECaster Pro recorder, mixer, and audio interface designed specifically for podcasting and recording panel discussions. I have to confess that I was originally not that enthused about the RODECaster Pro, but now that I’ve use it a for a couple of weeks, WOW! I’m surprised by the quality of sound that it produces and find the effects more effective than I expected. It is much easier to use than most mixers for those that aren’t audio engineers making this a great choice for those less interested in spending lots of time learning how to get better sound for their podcasts. And even for audio nerds like me...well, I'm buying this which was originally just on loan for the review!

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses including processing dialogue audio, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

RODECaster Pro

Sony MDR-7506 - My go-to headphones for when I’m recording

Audio Technica AT2005 Dynamic Microphone - I recorded this episode with this microphone. Amazing mic for its price!

Electrovoice RE20 - Classic broadcast dynamic microphone. Dani was recorded with this in our demo

Shure SM7b - another classic broadcast dynamic microphone. Almost everyone sounds awesome with this microphone

Electrovoice RE50L - A common reporter’s microphone. Emma was recorded with this in our demo

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - I used this to record most of this episode

Panasonic 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS Lens - Used on the Pocket 4K camera

Copyright 2019 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2019 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Zoom F8n Review

The Zoom F8n is the latest F-series audio recorders from Zoom aimed at filmmakers. The F8n is an evolutionary upgrade from the original F8 with some useful hardware and software upgrades including advanced hybrid limiters, AutoMix, simultaneous recording to a computer as an audio interface and internally to the F8n, timecode generator that keeps time while the recorder is powered off for up to 2 hours, mic/line selectable inputs, pro line-level balanced outputs, and many more features that pros demand. And this is available at a groundbreaking price that makes it accessible to many independent filmmakers - $1000 USD at the time of this review. Let’s run through a few of the highlights in this video.

If you’d like to learn how to get the most out of the Zoom F8 or F8n, please consider my course over at our school.

Links to gear used in this video:

Zoom F8n Audio Field Recorder

Orca OR-28 Sound Bag - I have the slightly larger OR-30. Great, sturdy bag. The OR-28 was made specifically for recorders the size of the F8/F8n

TA3F to XLRM Adapter - to adapt the outputs from mini to standard XLR. This allows you to run sound to pro-level cameras, wireless headsets for directors, producers, or script supervisors, or any other audio device with balanced XLR inputs.

JuiceBox V-mount Battery - 95 Watt Hour

Aputure COB120t - Key light for the talking head portions of this video

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30 - RGBW 1x1 panel light for the funky background colors

LED GO E268C Bi-color Edge-lit LED Pad - super thin and light, making it a great soft light source for tight spaces

Vistek Canada (also ship to USA)

Holdan UK

Sennheiser MKH 8050 - This is the boom mic used to record this episode

Panasonic GH5 Camera - Used for all of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Sound for Video Session: Meter Types (featuring the Zoom F8 & F8n)

In this week’s session, we share an excerpt from the upcoming online course, “Getting the Most From Your Zoom F8/F8n Recorder.” In this particular segment, we cover the different types of meters and when you might want o use each type. - VU, peak, dBFS, and dBu. You’ll be a better audio engineer once you understand this.

Gear and links discussed/used to record this episode: 

Zoom F8n Audio Field Recorder (2018)

Zoom F8 Audio Field Recorder (2015):

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Outro music licensed from Artlist: Keep an Eye by Back to Dream. Artlist provides high quality music tracks for your film and video projects. You can receive two months off an Artlist account by using our link.

Sound for Video Session: Headphone and Output Routing Demo - Zoom F8 Recorder

On your audio recorder, what is headphone routing? What about output routing? And why would you want to change it? In this session, we cover the purposes of routing and show a couple of examples of routing for specific production situations. We demonstrate this on the Zoom F8, but the same principles apply on the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders as well as the professional level recorders from Sound Devices, Zaxcom, and others.

Gear and links discussed/used to record this episode: 

Zoom F8 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Zoom F4 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sound Devices MixPre-3 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sound Devices MixPre-6 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sound Devices MixPre-10T Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sanken COS-11D Lavalier Microphone- used to record my voice in this session

Sennheiser G3 Wireless Microphone System (you will need to buy the right frequency block for your region - call B&H if you need help)

Sound Devices 633 Mixer/Recorder

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission

SoundDevices MixPre 10M - NAB 2018

Last year Sound Devices announced and shipped their MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 recorders and then later added the MixPre-10T with a few additional hardware features for professional sound engineers. One question I received several times was, "Can I use this to record my band and does it have overdub and punch in features? Any effects like reverb?"

In this episode, Paul Issacs talks with Cary Judd, my brother who is a profession music producer in addition to filmmaker. The MixPre-10M looks a lot like the 10T, but the operating system is re-designed from the ground up and optimized for multitrack music recording.

As a bonus for those who already own a MixPre-3, 6, or 10T, you will be able to add all of these music recording features with a plugin that runs $99. The plugin will be available some time in the summer of 2018.

Gear covered and used to shoot this episode:

Sound Devices MixPre-10M for musicians

Sound Devices MixPre-10T - 8 XLR/TRS inputs, timecode

Sound Devices MixPre-6 - 4 XLR/TRS inputs + stereo 3.5mm input

Sound Devices MixPre-3 - 3 XLR inputs + stereo 3.5mm input

RODE Reporter Microphone

RODE iXLR Adapter - Record a dynamic XLR microphone to iPhone or iPad

Panasonic GH5 - My favorite small camera for shooting events

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5S most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission.

Lectrosonics PDR: Professional Body Pack Recorder

When wireless just isn’t going to work (too much interference, too far away from the camera/recorder), a body pack recorder like the Lectrosonics Portable Digital Audio Recorder can be a great option. This is a professional level recorder with incredibly sturdy build quality and great sound.

Thanks to B&H for lending us the PDR for this overview.

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:
Lectrosonics PDR - Portable Digital Audio Recorder

Voice Technologies VT500 Lavalier Microphone

Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 OS ART Lens

Aputure COB120t Light (this is the key light in the talking head shots)

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box (used on the key light and for product shots in this episode)

Lupo Superpanel LED Panel (this provided the blue light on the wall behind me)

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd