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Hi AB    Is the Tascam unit as solid as the Zoom F8?  Like can you chuck out a first floor window?  Well probably not bad but you know what I mean.  Interesting though, because I thought the USB Pre 2 pre's were very very good.

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codyman   
 

There is a Tascam HS-p82 MINT on ebay for $1200 starting bid (not mine by the way).  I can only assume due to the F8 coming out.  But I have an HS-p82 and I have to say, I am skeptical.  Why?  Because the HS-p82 mic pres sound better than the Sound Devices USBpre 2 that I had.  In fact they sound superb.  I assume it is that the HS-P82 is not as compact that is the issue.  But if someone is interested in high sound quality - I would think someone would check out that one on ebay - or more that may be following suit.

I use an HS-P82 (and have had it for about three years) with the control surface for my cart gigs and it has been nothing but fantastic. They are truly very clean pres. That being said, I have some qualms about the software on it (the software on the sound Devices 633 has spoiled me with how quick and intuitive it is) BUT the pros on the Tascam far outweigh the cons.

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Here I am with my first hand ot it.

It's small, very small. Also the knobs and buttons are accordingly small, keep that in mind if you have sausage fingers. Is lightweight, of course.
Three ways to feed power: 8 AA batteries, external power supply on a circular connector and 1 external power supply on a Hirose 4 pin connector. Battery level meter on the main screen.
I guess you can have them all connected together at the same time and the machine will recognise which is the better, but I haven't tried because I didn't need to, so I may have just written some idiocy.
Inputs are on the hybrid Neutrik XLR/6.3plug connector. Mic level on XLR; line level (only -10dBV) on plug connector. Automatically selected also during a recording if you plug/unplug for whatever reason.
Outputs are: main OUT on two TA3s and sub OUT on one stereo minijack3.5. One headphone output with loads of volume to drive your cans.
2 SD cards for redundant simultaneous recordings or other options to select from the menu.
Menu is very easy to use.
There is some degree of file naming and metadata and I guess there are better options using the external iOS app but I haven't tried that yet.
The WI-fi electronics are already embedded in the machine and we just need to install a software extension to make it work.
Time Code IN and OUT on 2 separate BNC connectors. Quite stable and reliable Time Code. When the machine is turned off it will drift (Zaxcom does the same, right?) because they saved in internal button battery. So any time the machine is turned on we need to remember to rejam.
Work flawlessly, so far.
RF spray. Yes and please make a test recording before starting your day to check if is interfering with your radiomics. Today I had one set to 606.450Mhz which became unusable once pressed the REC button.
I then did some test and the broadbad RF spray settled and minimize once the whole startup bootstrap is over, so the idling machine is not affecting much. Once the REC button is pushed, the data transfer create a wideband RF spray with some main peaking frequency. Mine are 603.250Mhz, 636.450Mhz, 603.250Mhz, 711.000Mhz. I guess any machine has its own peaking frequency, like the 788T, so please check yours.

File management resemble a bit the Sound Devices one so is quite familiar to all of us.

Sound quality. I cannot say much yet. I recorded dialogue via Line level from my 552 and I am quite happy, sound nice and quiet. They declare 127dBu Equivalent Input noise (120dBu on the H6, the 788T is not declared but I think should be between 128 to 133dBu, the 552 is 126dBu), so I am expecting great quality sound out of that little beast.
A colleague told me he measured a difference of 15dBu between the H6 and the F8 but he didn't tell me, yet, which one is declared wrong.

I think for what it cost is worth having. I would buy a second one if needed.
Knowing the brand I am not expecting any post selling assistance or any customer care. I wrote to them in the past and they usually don't answer.
Also I am not expecting many firware revisions, like our beloved brands, to improve the machine facilities. They are probably already working on the developement of the next recorder which will be out in a year or so, I guess, but that's just my immagination so dont' trust me on that.

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AB   
15 hours ago, Soundequip said:

Hi AB    Is the Tascam unit as solid as the Zoom F8?  Like can you chuck out a first floor window?  Well probably not bad but you know what I mean.  Interesting though, because I thought the USB Pre 2 pre's were very very good.

I would consider this a weakness with the Tascam unit.  It is rugged - but not enough for tossing out a window and not as rugged as the USB pre2.  But it does sound better than the USB Pre 2.  It has a warmer, yet detailed sound - more like an expensive outboard studio mic pre.  Tascam originally made this unit to sell for closer to 4-5000 dollars.  Now that they are selling for perhaps as low as $1200 - it is a lot of great electronics for the money.  I probably should not be posting it, because maybe I should buy that second one so I can have 16 track recording of live bands.  

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2 hours ago, AB said:

I would consider this a weakness with the Tascam unit.  It is rugged - but not enough for tossing out a window and not as rugged as the USB pre2.  But it does sound better than the USB Pre 2.  It has a warmer, yet detailed sound - more like an expensive outboard studio mic pre.

The USBpre 2 sound mighty fine to me. The mic pres are clean and detailed, I prefer recording analogue mixes through the USBpre compared to my Mytek converters because the USBpre is in some aspects more transparent. When I visit HIFI-customers and hook up the USBpre to measure their speakers and room acoustics, I start by playing some reference material just to get to know the speakers and the room. On several occasions I've been told that my USB soundcard sounds better than their HIFI DACs at least twice the price. Not bad for a USB soundcard.

Apart from the sound quality, I love its ruggedness and functionality.

It's a solid performer.

 

Cheers

Fred

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AB   
3 hours ago, ninjafreddan said:

I should be clear that the USBpre2 is awesome.  The fact that I think the Tascam is better (a little better - once you get to this level) is by no means anything negative about the USBpre2.  The Tascam has more of a subtle sweetness to it.  I would be happy with 8 channels of USBpre2 quality, but you cannot get that for $1200.

 

 

The USBpre 2 sound mighty fine to me. The mic pres are clean and detailed, I prefer recording analogue mixes through the USBpre compared to my Mytek converters because the USBpre is in some aspects more transparent. When I visit HIFI-customers and hook up the USBpre to measure their speakers and room acoustics, I start by playing some reference material just to get to know the speakers and the room. On several occasions I've been told that my USB soundcard sounds better than their HIFI DACs at least twice the price. Not bad for a USB soundcard.

Apart from the sound quality, I love its ruggedness and functionality.

It's a solid performer.

 

Cheers

Fred

 

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codyman   
3 hours ago, ninjafreddan said:

The USBpre 2 sound mighty fine to me. The mic pres are clean and detailed, I prefer recording analogue mixes through the USBpre compared to my Mytek converters because the USBpre is in some aspects more transparent.

Interesting to know.  I've thought about getting one since it has RCA aux inputs and I've got a few LPs and reel to reel tapes here that I'd love to digitize.  Hard to find an external 24bit soundcard that's not consumerish these days and/or super high end.  Seems there isn't much in the middle these days.

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Hi guys, 

just to let you f8 owners know that something went wrong with audio files from a zoom f8 recorder last night.  the post house reported: last audio file in both main sd card and mirror card having same problem which the audio file only repeatedly loop the first 5 second of the recording for 15 mins long, however, it's a 3 mins piece to camera. 

SD Cards are golden color 32G (will provide more info ) 

Zoom F8 is in its latest firmware, updated before out for recording. 

Recording both cards at the same time. The mixer told me that during the recording, the machine took a while to stop recording. So he took time to listen the playbacks. Only the last file, he didn't. 

Will make full report to zoom official once I get the audio file and the spec of the sd card.  

Hiro 

 

 

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greyfoxx   

My F8 is headed back to the dealer. Apparently its behavior with Delkin cards is not what the dealer is experiencing with their demo unit. They have offered to send me a new unit that will be tested with the cards to ensure compatibility. I understand these things happen some times but I am starting to get an uneasy feeling about this. I will wait to pass judgement until I get the replacement unit. The attached pic is what happens when the card fails the performance test. NG stands for "not guaranteed" which is certainly not acceptable for professional work. The odd thing is that much slower cards pass without issue.

 

gg.jpg

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MorganC   
12 hours ago, greyfoxx said:

My F8 is headed back to the dealer. Apparently its behavior with Delkin cards is not what the dealer is experiencing with their demo unit. They have offered to send me a new unit that will be tested with the cards to ensure compatibility. I understand these things happen some times but I am starting to get an uneasy feeling about this. I will wait to pass judgement until I get the replacement unit. The attached pic is what happens when the card fails the performance test. NG stands for "not guaranteed" which is certainly not acceptable for professional work. The odd thing is that much slower cards pass without issue.

 

gg.jpg

It's odd but sometimes speed and specs are not a guarantee of performance. Have you tried non Belkin cards? Considering all the brand's of cards I wonder if it's just a comparability issue with the brand.

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greyfoxx   

The dealer has confirmed that Delkin 64gb 600x SD cards work on their demo unit. My unit will not work with Delkin cards. It tests Toshiba and Samsung cards just fine however. Why would one F8 test fine and another fail? The dealer sent me two replacement cards that tested fine on their unit however they failed on my unit.

 

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Well, that's the nature of cards that have not been confirmed as compatible by the manufacturer; inconsistent results.  Your results are totally expected and, are in no way a dispositive indicator of an issue with your machine.  Now, if you had one of the approved cards and that card gave you issues, then there would be cause for concern.  However, that concern would not necessarily be with your machine; it could still be a card issue (either the manufacturer put the card on the approved list without adequate testing or, as happened with Sound Devices this past year, the card manufacturer had some bad batches). 

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1 hour ago, greyfoxx said:

The dealer has confirmed that Delkin 64gb 600x SD cards work on their demo unit. My unit will not work with Delkin cards. It tests Toshiba and Samsung cards just fine however. Why would one F8 test fine and another fail? The dealer sent me two replacement cards that tested fine on their unit however they failed on my unit.

Could be that your dealer didn't use their cards as heavily or exactly as you have... Maybe your perfectly-normal use taxes (and therefore breaks) cards that aren't up to the spec the F8 needs... Or maybe the dealer is using slightly-different Delkin cards (or just cards from a later/earlier batch) than you.

Short version: Legit card manufacturers don't always emphasis sustained/sequential transfer rate (that we want) in all cards. They may decide that other performance characteristics (say, random read/write).

Sort of like Sound Devices ran into a while ago:

======

http://sounddevices.com/support/approved-media/6-series-approved-media-list

The cards listed below have successfully passed benchmark testing with the 633, 664 and 688. Many other cards may work but their performance and reliability cannot be confirmed unless they have been extensively tested at Sound Devices.

[big chart of approved cards]

* Note 1: Sound Devices has worked directly with Delkin to identify an intermittent Media I/O issue with newer Delkin CF 500x and CF 700x cards. Delkin has confirmed that a recent change to these two cards is most likely responsible for the errors. Cards containing KZ in the serial number are susceptible to this issue and should not be used. Cards containing VB in the serial number will function correctly and are approved. Deklin CF 1000x and 1050x cards do not experience this issue and may continue to be used.

=====

I can't recall if the issue here was a bad batch of Delkin cards...more like Delkin changed the cards to emphasize different characteristics...like maybe Delkin went after short-burst/random transfer speed rather than long sustained/sequential transfer...you know: to support the larger still-photography market rather than the smaller pro-audio/video space. Don't take my example as exact truth... the issue is more that perfectly reliable cards don't all have the same performance characteristics. 

There are some commonly available cards on the Zoom PDF Michael linked to. Maybe try one or two of those approved cards before sending your F8 in for exchange or service?

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greyfoxx   

The inconsistent results are on the F8's end though. The second set of cards pass all the onboard tests on the dealers unit and were sent to me. Those exact cards failed on my unit. I have both my original and the dealers cards right now in my possession. I understand compatibility and I have working cards for the F8 however the fact that one F8 tests these (Delkin) cards as compatible while another doesn't suggests the issue lies on my unit. The F8 has two self testing options(quick and long) built in for checking SD cards so even with an approved list there will be other cards that will pass these tests. I would never send a working unit in over incompatibility with SD cards. What may be the case is that the F8 I have is defective and if the replacement unit tests fine like the dealers unit did then I think it would be safe to assume that was the case. If however the replacement unit doesn't test fine then it will certainly be the cards having compatibility issues. Time will tell.

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1 hour ago, greyfoxx said:

the fact that one F8 tests these (Delkin) cards as compatible while another doesn't suggests the issue lies on my unit. 

Did you reformat the cards between testing them in the dealer's machine and your machine? I don't know much about SD card design, but perhaps if a card is written to, and then even if the files are deleted, the next time the card is written to, the files end up on "virgin" block...and the deleted (or still extant) files result in more file fragmentation or other soft errors.

But your post right above this does make me better understand your concern. Maybe buy a couple different brands of approved cards, and try the self tests, write to the cards a bunch, delete a bunch, write again, etc...then self test again...?

Good luck...and please let us know what you find...

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On 2015-12-11 at 2:07 AM, codyman said:

Interesting to know.  I've thought about getting one since it has RCA aux inputs and I've got a few LPs and reel to reel tapes here that I'd love to digitize.  Hard to find an external 24bit soundcard that's not consumerish these days and/or super high end.  Seems there isn't much in the middle these days.

Sound Devices USBpre 2 - Buy with confidence. ;-)

 

Cheers

Fred

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The inconsistent results are on the F8's end though. The second set of cards pass all the onboard tests on the dealers unit and were sent to me. Those exact cards failed on my unit. I have both my original and the dealers cards right now in my possession. I understand compatibility and I have working cards for the F8 however the fact that one F8 tests these (Delkin) cards as compatible while another doesn't suggests the issue lies on my unit. The F8 has two self testing options(quick and long) built in for checking SD cards so even with an approved list there will be other cards that will pass these tests. I would never send a working unit in over incompatibility with SD cards. What may be the case is that the F8 I have is defective and if the replacement unit tests fine like the dealers unit did then I think it would be safe to assume that was the case. If however the replacement unit doesn't test fine then it will certainly be the cards having compatibility issues. Time will tell.

Could it be that their F8 is on a different firmware? That is a possible cause of the issue. Maybe Zoom either added support for more cards, or broke support for those card (that wasn't on their approved list anyway).

If the supported cards are readily available, why not just use those and know they'll work as you do firmware updates? I realize you're trying to make sure your unit is 100%, but I don't know how valid that test is with unsupported media.

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Had one of these hard-lock on me yesterday while renaming a file.  I went into the SD card file structure to listen to the start of a file to ensure I was renaming the correct one, and once I heard the marker I pressed REC to get into file options (I find it slightly unsettling to press REC for anything but speeding the device, but I digress).

After pressing REC while the unit was still playing back the file, it stopped playback and showed me the spinning 'loading' wheel, which kept 'loading' seemingly forever.  After about a minute I decided it had frozen, and after about 3 I popped the battery to reset the unit (holding the power button did nothing).  It's possible there is another way to hard-reset the unit, but I'm not aware of it and I was on a fast-moving set.

Files seemed unaffected, but a note for F8 users - STOP the recording you are listening to before going into file options, to be on the safe side.

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Sixnon   
11 hours ago, PhforAndAfter said:

Had one of these hard-lock on me yesterday while renaming a file.  I went into the SD card file structure to listen to the start of a file to ensure I was renaming the correct one, and once I heard the marker I pressed REC to get into file options (I find it slightly unsettling to press REC for anything but speeding the device, but I digress).

I just tried to recreate this to no avail [Firmware 1.1].

I do note that unless you are at that page of the finder before starting playback, finder operations are unavailable during playback.

 

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Sixnon   

Of course. I thought tho' if it were readily repeatable it would be worth reporting to Zoom. I tried it about 10 times with no lockup. 

 

I've had the unit only a day, but finding it very impressive, especially compared with other units in a similar price bracket. One thing I am finding very strange is the stereo linking behaviour. Tracks can be stereo linked, but gain trims are not ganged so stereo levels have to be set per channel. This becomes further complicated when using dual channel recording.

 

the manual suggests ;

 

Turn page31image14392page31image14592page31image14792page31image14992for the dual channel recording track to adjust the input level.

For example, when dual recording is labeled for track 1, adjust page31image17120for track 5. 

 

but my experience is that all 4 gain trim knobs adjust levels independently...which is to say the tracks which are supposed to be a fixed 12db beneath the other tracks seem to be individually adjustable.

 

Can anyone enlighten me?

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On 12/11/2015 at 8:59 PM, hiro nakamura said:

Hi guys, 

just to let you f8 owners know that something went wrong with audio files from a zoom f8 recorder last night.  the post house reported: last audio file in both main sd card and mirror card having same problem which the audio file only repeatedly loop the first 5 second of the recording for 15 mins long, however, it's a 3 mins piece to camera. 

SD Cards are golden color 32G (will provide more info ) 

Zoom F8 is in its latest firmware, updated before out for recording. 

Recording both cards at the same time. The mixer told me that during the recording, the machine took a while to stop recording. So he took time to listen the playbacks. Only the last file, he didn't. 

Will make full report to zoom official once I get the audio file and the spec of the sd card.  

Hiro 

 

 

Hello Hiro,

I would like to hear more info about his problem. Can you please call our office (631-542-5270) and ask for Samuel.

Thank you

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