Zoom launches F8, eight channel field recorder

the new Zoom F8
Eight channels to go: the new Zoom F8. Image: Zoom

Zoom, the maker of portable audio recorders most often linked to DSLR film making, is moving in to the professional, multi-channel recording market.

The F8 is an eight plus two channel field recorder, which looks set to compete with multi-channel recorders from Tascam, Fostex and Sound Devices. The recorder has eight input channels on combined XLR/TRS jacks, and a stereo mix track.

A two-channel sub mix is provided on a 3.5mm jack, along with a pair of main outputs on mini-XLRs, and the ability to work as a computer audio interface via USB.

Internal recording – to SD cards – ranges from MP3s to 192 kHz, eight-channel WAV recording, with 10 channels available in all but 192 kHz WAV. Each input channel can be set up with filters, delays, and a limiter.

Professional features include two SD card slots, a range of different powering options, and both timecode input and output. Zoom says the timecode clock in the F8 is accurate to 0.2ppm to ensure precise clocking; the recorder can also jam to an external timecode.

The new recorder, is however, extremely compact. Zoom recorders have become popular among DSLR film makers both because of their price, and their compact size. The F8 takes this further, and creates a film-maker friendly eight channel recorder not much larger, in footprint, than a DSLR. The unit can even mount underneath a camera, in a similar fashion to the Tascam DR-60.

Zoom F8 mounted with a DSLR
Zoom F8 mounted with a DSLR

The new recorder can also be set up, and controlled, from an iOS device over Bluetooth. On an iPad, this gives the sound engineer access to “virtual” faders to control levels during recording, making the Zoom a potential rival not just to other field recorders, but to audio mixers too.

However, unlike some more expensive recorders or standalone audio interfaces, the Zoom provides only mixed analogue outputs, rather than iso-channels for each audio input. It can, though, pass four audio to a computer or iPad over USB, or to other devices by combining the two sets of output sockets.

Zoom is pricing the F8 at US$999; European pricing is yet to be confirmed.

For more on audio recording for film making, see our three part guide.