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Zoom F2 Small Recorder - superb 32bit beast
  • Specs

    • Light and compact audio recorder
    • 32-Bit Float recording for full dynamic range and clip free recording
    • No gain adjustment necessary
    • Records 44.1kHz/32-bit float or 48kHz/32-bit float audio files
    • Rec Hold function to avoid accidental operation of buttons
    • 1/8" Mic In mini phone jack with Plug-in power (2.5V) 
    • Stereo ⅛" Phone/Line Output jack with dedicated volume control
    • 80 Hz low cut filter
    • High precision internal clock (±0.5ppm) to avoid audio and video syncing issues
    • Wireless timecode synchronization (F2-BT model only)*
    • Records directly to micro SD and SDHC cards up to 512 GB
    • USB-C for connection to F2 Editor for settings
    • Built-in Bluetooth for connection to the F2 Control app for settings adjustment and remote transport control (F2-BT model only)
    • Runs on only 2 standard AAA alkaline, Lithium, or NiMH rechargeable batteries, or AC adapter (AD-17)
    • Up to 15 hours of operation (14 hours on the F2-BT) with two AAA alkaline batteries
    • $149 without Bluetooth
    • $199 with Bluetooth

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  • 16 Replies sorted by
  • How this "no gain adjustment necessary works"? Clipped sound are really recoverable?

  • I called Zoom and inquired about phantom power. It doesn't have it. No sale.

  • @4CardsMan

    You mean plug-in power? As it clearly has it, looking at connected mikes.

    1/8" Mic In mini phone jack with Plug-in power (2.5V)

    This is from specs.

    Such recorders never have 48V phantom power.

  • @MarcioK

    How this "no gain adjustment necessary works"? Clipped sound are really recoverable?

    Yes, as microphones are only able to produce up to certain voltage levels (quite small), clipped sounds just don't happen.

    Issue with clipping happened as ADC had very limited range, here they have two shifted level good ADCs that are mixed by processor to make 32bit floating file.

  • I understand 32bit float, but still... No level meter like tascam DR10L, in fact, there are no display to show meters in future firmware upgrade. Need BT version and additional smartphone device. On a production, I can see how time consuming that will be. In the same way, no way to check battery level, or remaining/elapsed recording time, setting recording format, setting time and date, enabling low-cut, selecting battery type, formatting memory card, select power saving time.. except with BT version and additional smartphone.

    hard pass

  • @heusualeditor

    The way this things are used - you don't need all you mentioned.

    Its is made mostly for one man team interviews. And here output that is absent in DR10L is better.

    Also in DR10L it is very easy to forget to start recording, here it is MUCH harder.

    no way to check battery level,

    Actually it has led for this.

    or remaining/elapsed recording time, setting recording format, setting time and date, enabling low-cut, selecting battery type, formatting memory card, select power saving time.. except with BT version and additional smartphone.

    First is not required at all. Lack of lot recording options is also big plus, at worse you will get wrong frequency that is no problem at all.

    Normally for DR10L and here you will set all options via config file on card (hope it support it).

    But Bluetooth is also nice as making auto sync real option.

  • I think Zoom had been developed before this thing, as it is only COVID that delayed public release.

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    Note that Track E is much more expensive and it lacks option to just put new batteries (that I'll always prefer on set on on exhibition). With USB connector any dirt or issue will ruin your day.

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  • 32 bit is a good idea, although not really necessary. As an oversimplification, if you record low enough, at a high enough bit rate, you don't need any levels and you won't clip and it can all be automated. It's a step forward as far as convenience and on-site stress.
    If you want phantom power get the bigger recorder. 12 volts would be very, very handy for Schoeps mics, but of course that's not the mass market, even if there are a lot of Schoeps mics out there and on many sets.

  • 32 bit is a good idea, although not really necessary. As an oversimplification, if you record low enough, at a high enough bit rate, you don't need any levels and you won't clip and it can all be automated.

    Well, no.

    32bit here comes from two new level shifted parallel ADCs (with good preamps they made and each around 23 real bit depth).

    If you try do such thing with average lav recorder you'll face single 19-20bit ADC (real bits!), usually with not so good preamp that will also eat stuff due to noise floor. So, if you go low - and something happens, like bad mike placement or some scary person, you can have issue where quality of one channel will really differ after you try to fix levels.

    DR-10L is something in between - it spends your time due to multiple files and level shift is not very big (ala 10db). So, from time to time you'll be fixing clipping. From usability it is quite horrible recorder (it is quite easy to mess things up, even forget to start recording is easy!), that has average preamps and some high pitched noise (on each of 10 recorders I saw and edited audio from) + some small radio interference.

    12 volts would be very, very handy for Schoeps mics, but of course that's not the mass market, even if there are a lot of Schoeps mics out there and on many sets.

    get DPA lavs or on head things and be happy, no need for 12V. They are also not much amateur mass market, but as they are very heavy used by various theaters and stages you can get lot of them used.

  • It could be, the diagram I looked at used an overhead scheme, but maybe there is another way. OTOH, there's no reason not to use the overhead. Engineers routinely use 20dB or more at 24 bit, so 8 more bits is below the noise floor.

  • @DrDave

    It could be, the diagram I looked at used an overhead scheme, but maybe there is another way. OTOH, there's no reason not to use the overhead. Engineers routinely use 20dB or more at 24 bit, so 8 more bits is below the noise floor.

    The way where we are going it won't be levels (in their modern meaning).

    ADC progress is very good lately (but it is not used too much), as well as very low noise preamps (lot of it is foundations being paid by smartphone buyers as their radio parts require lot of research in this fields, including shielding).

    Right now 32bit is not total standard only due to few patents. Whole ADC combining thing in floating point is result of Zaxcom patent (that is not allowing to do it in fixed point, only Zaxcom products do this). But Zoom lawyers found hole in the patent. Looking at the bluetooth timecode sync they found another hole in another Zaxcom patent, but Zaxcom approach is much more robust and advanced, of course.

  • Having used the DR-10L in a number of settings, yeah, this is a great advance for a me - primarily a solo shooter.

    Do we know if we can also monitor via bluetooth (via the app)? I know we can see view the meters, recording status, etc. in the app - which is great. But I would like to monitor even with a latency to make sure I'm not getting mic noise, rubbing or otherwise while my subject is moving around.

    I have read that you cannot live monitor with the Track E.

  • Of course, the first thing I would do is blow into the mic, bang it on the desk and then drop it to see if it clips.

  • @DrDave

    Did you try to piss on it, to see how it holds sweating? :-)

    But if you do all this in reality, 32bit recorders will prolong life for lot of your nice mikes :-) Because the way small electret capsules are made - they don't like much beating, btw even sweating affects sound with time as salt is left on membrane. One that are best like DPA can be washed and return to pristine state.