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I often think of classical pianists who may practice on a Yamaha keyboard, and it may feel and sound mostly just like a real grand piano. And the keyboard will be fine for small gigs in bars, and other small venues. But a pianist would never ever play a gig in Carnegie Hall on a Yamaha keyboard. And you can sneer "snobs" at them all you want to, but they know exactly why they insist on the grand. In fact, most often they will even insist on playing on a Steinway. 

The Yamaha may be fine for Adele, on a recording where "atmosphere" matters as much as sound. In pop music it's different, because they often want to create a particular feel, where they deliberately want a recording to sound dirty. 

 

But when every note matters, when you want to hear every nuance of the instrument, every quietest pianissimo, every detail of a huge fortissimo elbow cluster, then only an actual piano, a grand piano will do. 

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29 minutes ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

Dialog, when the viewers are supposed to feel like they are in the room is best served with a transparent, natural sound.

 

Music recording is a different world altogether, IMO. Here, natural, transparent and matched stereo pairs usually end up sounding “boring”. Distortion, flutter, phasing, over-compression, general weirdness, usually makes for a more interesting sound.

 

Pre-amp quality in these low end machines is just one out of many reasons I personally would not use them for location work.

Yeah, the moment I wrote that i felt somebody would say that. But thats not the point. Read what @Philip Perkins says:

 

42 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

A with-it soundie can make any of the current lower-end machines work great

 

29 minutes ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

Pre-amp quality in these low end machines is just one out of many reasons I personally would not use them for location work.

 

And again, WHO is using all the pre amps these days, I made the remark a couple of times now, but we are using the relatively sub par preamps of our wireless systems all the time, some even with a wireless boom are 100% NOT using the preamp characteristics of the recording device anyways. 

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27 minutes ago, Constantin said:

I often think of classical pianists who may practice on a Yamaha keyboard, and it may feel and sound mostly just like a real grand piano. And the keyboard will be fine for small gigs in bars, and other small venues. But a pianist would never ever play a gig in Carnegie Hall on a Yamaha keyboard. And you can sneer "snobs" at them all you want to, but they know exactly why they insist on the grand. In fact, most often they will even insist on playing on a Steinway. 

The Yamaha may be fine for Adele, on a recording where "atmosphere" matters as much as sound. In pop music it's different, because they often want to create a particular feel, where they deliberately want a recording to sound dirty. 

 

But when every note matters, when you want to hear every nuance of the instrument, every quietest pianissimo, every detail of a huge fortissimo elbow cluster, then only an actual piano, a grand piano will do. 

Sure,  even more arguments can be made for the grand piano. So back to topic, In our world, we will test a device in a controlled situation, and obviously we will hear tonal differences between preamp a vs b. the next day we will shoot for the heck of it two scenes in a real world situation, one with recorder a, on with b. Will there all of the sudden be a huge degradation or improvement occur in the final mix? don't think so. We will make ourself belief it is like that, but in the end it's the senator's saying, about the arch and the archer...  

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10 hours ago, Vincent R. said:

Loads of people are concerned with their fancy best preamps but the fact of the matter is that the latest Adele record was put down with a cheap focusrite usb box and a Rode microphone. 

 

3 hours ago, Vincent R. said:

Sound on sound (paper magazine) interview with the producer. They recorded the song (Rolling in the deep I believe?) as a demo at the home of the producer, just everything everywhere, guitar in living room, drums in kitchen etc. Even Adele made stamping noises on a wooden box or something. After that they tried to re-record it about everywhere in the world in top studios, but eventually they used the original recordings.

 

 

This article and quote?

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/tom-elmhirst-recording-adele-rolling-deep

""I recorded all Adele's vocals with my Rode Classic 2, going through my UA 6176 mic pre, and never went back to them. The vocals in the final version are all from the demo."

 

I don't see any mention of Focusrite in the article (just looked via a text search). Looks like that Rode mic sells for about $2000US and that UA pre/compressor is about $2500US; fairly pricey stuff. I haven't read the whole article and may have missed something. But I do get your point...

 

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Just now, Jim Feeley said:

 

 

This article and quote?

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/tom-elmhirst-recording-adele-rolling-deep

""I recorded all Adele's vocals with my Rode Classic 2, going through my UA 6176 mic pre, and never went back to them. The vocals in the final version are all from the demo."

 

I don't see any mention of Focusrite in the article (just looked via a text search). Looks like that Rode mic sells for about $2000US and UA pres are fairly fancy. I haven't read the whole article and may have missed something. But I do get your point...

 

Yeah that is the one i think. Don't know where I got the Focusrite from, but yeah you get the point gladly. 😏

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1 hour ago, Vincent R. said:

And again, WHO is using all the pre amps these days, I made the remark a couple of times now, but we are using the relatively sub par preamps of our wireless systems all the time, some even with a wireless boom are 100% NOT using the preamp characteristics of the recording device anyways. 

I use pre amps all the time, will always choose a cabled boom over wireless unless the shot dictates otherwise.

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5 minutes ago, Vincent R. said:

Yeah that is the one i think. Don't know where I got the Focusrite from, but yeah you get the point gladly. 😏

 

the point here IMO is that artists who can afford it will prefer to use high-quality gear but in the end if the performance is better in the demo because it was the right day they will prefer that over a bad performance in studio settings (even if it has been recorded on a focusrite).

 

 

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1 minute ago, chrismedr said:

 

the point here IMO is that artists who can afford it will prefer to use high-quality gear but in the end if the performance is better in the demo because it was the right day they will prefer that over a bad performance in studio settings (even if it has been recorded on a focusrite).

 

 

Yeah it's getting a bit out of context i reckon. The reason of bringing up (maybe not so accurate and maybe irrelevant) Adele story was more to illustrate how we use gear. We try to get the best stuff out there possible, both actual quality wise, as well as what our wallet can afford. We choose shotgun X over Y, a wireless system X over Z, all for obvious reasons. We shoot with sanken lavs, DPA is the new popular kid on the block, but still "blockbusters" have been shot with good ol tram mics even when the general opinion was that there are "better" options out there (Kings Speech). I use about all recorders out there, From the Deva, to the 788t, the 688, to the Zoom F8. My real world experience is that the difference in preamp sound is neglectable, (and to bring it a bit back to my Adele reference) as much neglectable as when adale sings trough a Rode mic, a 5x more expensive telefunken or a 300 euro Chinese knock off. Not because musical performances are a different deal in general, but more because the quality and sound differences are subjective, and all in a general to be considered "good' league' (Well, maybe not the 300 euro chinese one, but amongst those are some gems).  

I do wonder and I hope to get some honest comments, if one bought let us say a 788t over a Cantar mini, or a Deva, because they found the real world test showed they really needed the specific preamp characteristics over another, or that a preamp let them down. Let us say from recorders made after 2010. I think none of us did that, and other factors of a recorder are considered way more important.

Also, I do wonder how many of the commenters here used the Zoom F8 on a real world set, to post production, to the cinema screen.

33 minutes ago, gareth john said:

I use pre amps all the time, will always choose a cabled boom over wireless unless the shot dictates otherwise.

Me too, but i think i am not far off if 90% of the 'blockbusters' are shot with wireless boom.

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1 hour ago, Vincent R. said:
2 hours ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

Dialog, when the viewers are supposed to feel like they are in the room is best served with a transparent, natural sound.

 

Music recording is a different world altogether, IMO. Here, natural, transparent and matched stereo pairs usually end up sounding “boring”. Distortion, flutter, phasing, over-compression, general weirdness, usually makes for a more interesting sound.

 

Pre-amp quality in these low end machines is just one out of many reasons I personally would not use them for location work.

Yeah, the moment I wrote that i felt somebody would say that. But thats not the point. Read what @Philip Perkins says:

 

2 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

A with-it soundie can make any of the current lower-end machines work great

 

2 hours ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

Pre-amp quality in these low end machines is just one out of many reasons I personally would not use them for location work.

 

And again, WHO is using all the pre amps these days, I made the remark a couple of times now, but we are using the relatively sub par preamps of our wireless systems all the time, some even with a wireless boom are 100% NOT using the preamp characteristics of the recording device anyways. 

 

I am not arguing with you, nor with what Philip said. I agree that we could absolutely make it work, if we had to.

But personally, I prefer to use a better option from a company that has been designing gear specifically for our purposes for decades. And again - I am not talking about just pre-amps - but the overall machine. There are plenty of little details involved. When the first F8 came out, I went to the store and checked it out. There was just too many "I wish it had this, I wish it could do that...". Looks like the new version has addressed some of those things, but it's still not for me.

- To each their own, but generally speaking, with a kit that attempts to do a knock-off at a quarter of the price... there will be some compromises.

 

Also, as a professional - why not invest in gear that you can charge a proper rental for? You should make the money back and then some over the long term.

 

(I use at least one pre-amp for most jobs I do).

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

 

I am not arguing with you, nor with what Philip said. I agree that we could absolutely make it work, if we had to.

But personally, I prefer to use a better option from a company that has been designing gear specifically for our purposes for decades. And again - I am not talking about just pre-amps - but the overall machine. There are plenty of little details involved. When the first F8 came out, I went to the store and checked it out. There was just too many "I wish it had this, I wish it could do that...". Looks like the new version has addressed some of those things, but it's still not for me.

- To each their own, but generally speaking, with a kit that attempts to do a knock-off at a quarter of the price... there will be some compromises.

 

Also, as a professional - why not invest in gear that you can charge a proper rental for? You should make the money back and then some over the long term.

 

(I use at least one pre-amp for most jobs I do).

 

 

Yeah not arguing too, just like the debate 😉
You are absolutely right that the F8 or even the f8n isn't perfect, if that is even possible. Like i wrote in the post above you, that's why i am changing setups according what is needed for the job. To give a black and white answer, I use the F8 mostly on documentary shoots, usually one man sound crew, boom in one hand, you catch the trill. So essentially I need a tracking device, lightweight, still some bells and whistles, but generally that's about it. If I do a feature length or a more demanding job, I switch to the other brands. But honestly for the doc shoots I rather have the Zoom f8 than any of the other options out there. So for me it sure has it place on a serious job.

I am a bit of an odd-ball in this (or general) sound group, and that is that I for the most part rent my gear, that's why I can easily switch from device to device, for any different job a different recorder, set of TXRX, other accessories. So besides some basic things like microphones, tx boxes, ifb, and a couple of wireless, I don't rely on gear rental that much. So more flexible in that regard. Basically i do have a completely functioning setup, but thats from the old days going direct into a Betacam (mixer, snake, wireless, boom).

Though, the F8 or now the F8n makes me think about getting one, because it is so cheap and doesn't matter that much if it's not used that much for the same reason.

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4 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

Or The Boss's "Nebraska" album...   But our implicit responsibility is to provide hifi audio recordings unless instructed otherwise.  The choice of how to get there is yours.  Which machine do you like interacting with, that makes sense within your economics?  I'd like to be interacting with a Cantar on a regular basis, but.....so I interact with a 633.   A with-it soundie can make any of the current lower-end machines work great. 


Yes exactly, even say a 633 can be a "compromise" decision in the area of economics/weight/size/whatever. Nothing is 100% perfect 100% of the time. We're just discussing which compromises are appropriate or not. 

 

4 hours ago, Constantin said:

Well, if you think that Timecode stability will affect how the machine sounds, then yes it should be included in this discussion (in a general discussion about the Zoom F8n)

 

No, I was meaning in an overall discussion of the F8n. (of course I don't think TC impacts the sound itself! Unless the TC implementation is very very very faulty)


My point was that we'd had several posts in a row focused in the discussion specifically of pre-amps, and to then include limiters under the definition of pre-amps is to muddy the waters. (especially as we don't even know exactly how the limiters of the F8n will perform in reality, but we know how the pre-amps will perform as they're the same in the F8n as in the F8)

 

4 hours ago, Constantin said:

Apart from that I personally believe that a limiter's sound is very much part of the overall sound of a machine. I am not saying that to diminish the F8, but because that's how I believe it is.


I'm certainly not saying that limiters don't matter in the overall assessment of a product, what I am saying though is it is disingenuous to say because the limiters are better that thus the pre-amps are better. 

 

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4 hours ago, Constantin said:

I often think of classical pianists who may practice on a Yamaha keyboard, and it may feel and sound mostly just like a real grand piano. And the keyboard will be fine for small gigs in bars, and other small venues. But a pianist would never ever play a gig in Carnegie Hall on a Yamaha keyboard. And you can sneer "snobs" at them all you want to, but they know exactly why they insist on the grand. In fact, most often they will even insist on playing on a Steinway. 

The Yamaha may be fine for Adele, on a recording where "atmosphere" matters as much as sound. In pop music it's different, because they often want to create a particular feel, where they deliberately want a recording to sound dirty. 

 

But when every note matters, when you want to hear every nuance of the instrument, every quietest pianissimo, every detail of a huge fortissimo elbow cluster, then only an actual piano, a grand piano will do. 


Imagine we lived back in the days when "talkies" hadn't been invented and we still had a very large number of piano players at theaters playing pianos. 

The vast vast majority of these working piano players would not  need to own Steinway. Yes for sure, the top 0.1% of them would own a Steinway (although most would still aspire to own one, just like I'd aspire to own a Cantar etc), but the vast majority would not. 

 

2 hours ago, Vincent R. said:

Let us say from recorders made after 2010.


Yes, as a couple of decades ago the pre amps could sometimes be quite bad, especially in low end gear. Thus it was very important in the past to discuss pre amp quality in great detail. 

But lately for the last few years they've been pretty good, even in cheap recorders like say a Sound Devices MixPre3. So I'd say now in 2018 we've got better things to focus the majority of our attention on than the pre amps of a recorder as they're already near enough there.

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1 hour ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

And again - I am not talking about just pre-amps - but the overall machine. There are plenty of little details involved.


Yes, and I wish the discussions would focus on that instead. As I think clearly the pre-amps are not the main problems with the F8n (or F8/F4). 

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3 hours ago, Vincent R. said:

Yeah that is the one i think. Don't know where I got the Focusrite from, but yeah you get the point gladly. 😏

What is your point?  As I read it you were inferred a renowned recording artist recorded vox on lo-fi cheap gear, however you were completely mistaken, so er, what was the point being made?

 

Anybody can use anything to do some sort of job, a pro / craftsperson will use the best gear they can.  633 preamps are better than f8 preamps / the difference is a very apparent difference that counts to a few people initially and many more down the line whether they know it or not / If you don't think initial quality counts you either have low production values, poor hearing, poor monitoring or haven't done much post mixing / they are also more expensive / you get what you pay for / technology is changing, you get more for less, not necessarily a good thing / there's a good reason vinyl is having a resurgence .... IMHO ( except for pre quality matter, that's just a fact )

 

I'll probably get a f8n as backup / extra tracks, but I would much rather 788 / 688 / nomad

 

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9 minutes ago, jozzafunk said:

What is your point?  As I read it you were inferred a renowned recording artist recorded vox on lo-fi cheap gear, however you were completely mistaken, so er, what was the point being made

Read my other posts, I think I made it clear by now

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28 minutes ago, jozzafunk said:

Anybody can use anything to do some sort of job, a pro / craftsperson will use the best gear they can.

That's a key sentence, because there is a lot to say about what that actually means. If there was actually a recorder out there with the 'best' preamp, a shotgun with the 'best' rejection, a tx/Rx set with the 'best' features, we would all use the same gear wouldn't we?

 

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5 minutes ago, Vincent R. said:

That's a key sentence, because there is a lot to say about what that actually means. If there was actually a recorder out there with the 'best' preamp, a shotgun with the 'best' rejection, a tx/Rx set with the 'best' features, we would all use the same gear wouldn't we?

 

Not at all, it's not rocket science, some stuff is better than other stuff, if you've got the option you use the better stuff - there's no point arguing subjectivity, that's what kicked off this conversation in the first place. 

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1 minute ago, jozzafunk said:

Not at all, it's not rocket science, some stuff is better than other stuff, if you've got the option you use the better stuff - there's no point arguing subjectivity, that's what kicked off this conversation in the first place. 

Because better is not always better in every occasion, and usually something is not better across the whole board. Subjectively. 

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22 hours ago, IronFilm said:

 😅

Instead I'd believe no matter if you're using the F4 or a 633, if you can get the job done, then you should be targeting the same rates. Not lower!

 

I don't think its right to rent an f8 at the same rate as a 688. 

 

If a person is charging production for their equipment, it is dishonest that they charge them like they're using top of the line gear when they are not. Production is not getting what they are paying for.

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, IronFilm said:


I'm certainly not saying that limiters don't matter in the overall assessment of a product, what I am saying though is it is disingenuous to say because the limiters are better that thus the pre-amps are better. 

 

 

Ok fine, let me backtrack a little bit. 

 

On 6/4/2018 at 4:36 PM, IronFilm said:

And the F8's was on par with say the typical Sound Devices' preamps as well

 

This is a highly misleading statement, as it insinuates that the sound of the F8 is similar to that of Sound Devices recoders (which one? There are quite some differences), when actually the sound of the recorder is hard to judge without ignoring other factors such as the limiters. Furthermore, the evidence presented to back up your claim holds barely any relevance and doesn’t demonstrate the ability of either preamp. A listening test must be, to a degree at least, blind. Why not, in the video, just write Recorder 1, recorder 2 and then show us which was which at the end of rhe video. 

Preamp self-noise cannot be judged either, so it’s hard to come to the same conclusion as above, even just based on these videos. In fact, no conclusion can be drawn. 

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4 hours ago, AnuarYahya said:

I don't think its right to rent an f8 at the same rate as a 688.  

You are charging for "a recorder" (this is a hire as a standard part of your kit rental, obviously not as a dry hire out of an individual item. Naturally if you're a rental house, then it makes sense to pick differing rental amounts for each item). 
You'd also charge the same for a 633 or for a Cantar X3, even though this also costs 5x more that the first one. 

 

 

3 hours ago, Constantin said:

when actually the sound of the preamp is hard to judge without ignoring other factors such as the limiters

False. If you turn the limiters off, or record sounds which are not loud enough to engage the limiters, then you can ignore the limiters when it comes to judging specifically the preamps themselves. 

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55 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

False. If you turn the limiters off, or record sounds which are not loud enough to engage the limiters, then you can ignore the limiters when it comes to judging specifically the preamps themselves. 

 

What I meant to write there was „the sound of the recorder is hard to judge“, but fine. 

(I edited the original post to correct the typo)

 

I still find your statement regarding preamp quality misleading, especially when the evidence to back up your claim is so poor. 

As I said earlier you cannot judge the preamp without also judging to A-D converter (on the F8 anyway) and to that end the extreme ends of the dynamic and frequency ranges are essential to listen to as well. 

 

By the way, please note that I am not saying the F8 is a bad sounding machine. I don’t know what it sounds like. I would really like to listen to a fair comparison (like, don’t say „here I‘ll show you how good the F8 actually sounds), and where the methodology isn’t completely flawed. 

 

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2 hours ago, IronFilm said:

You'd also charge the same for a 633 or for a Cantar X3

 

I would like to rent from this house only from now on. Please tell us the name so I can start getting the Cantar at 633 prices. 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Dalton Patterson said:

I would like to rent from this house only from now on. Please tell us the name so I can start getting the Cantar at 633 prices. 

Read the rest of my post for context. 
It is in the context of your wet hiring out your kit  "a recorder" (nothing specific) with yourself on a job, if you choose to bring your 633 or you choose to bring your Cantar X3 then you're going to get exactly the same "basic kit rental" for it (whatever it is you normally charge). 

2 hours ago, Constantin said:

What I meant to write there was „the sound of the recorder is hard to judge“, but fine. 

 

Sure, I'm just objecting to mixing up pre-amps with limiters as that is muddying the waters, when they're two distinct things (although yes I'll accept the ADC is linked in to the performance, you can't easily separate that out).

 

And I don't think the sound of the F8 is particularly hard to judge, when for 3yrs now there has been tonnes of work done with it (there are a *lot* of F8 recorders out there! Made up a quarter of Zoom's sales, even though they've got thirty products or so in total?!), and plenty of comparisons and reviews down online. 

 

2 hours ago, Constantin said:

By the way, please note that I am not saying the F8 is a bad sounding machine. I don’t know what it sounds like. I would really like to listen to a fair comparison (like, don’t say „here I‘ll show you how good the F8 actually sounds), and where the methodology isn’t completely flawed. 

They're not hard to find online. For instance here is a recent one, which do you think is which:
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1w3Ops4Doj2gvV546h4YB4ypoFk3gnz1M

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5 hours ago, IronFilm said:

You are charging for "a recorder" (this is a hire as a standard part of your kit rental, obviously not as a dry hire out of an individual item. Naturally if you're a rental house, then it makes sense to pick differing rental amounts for each item). 
You'd also charge the same for a 633 or for a Cantar X3, even though this also costs 5x more that the first one. 

 

I am not talking about rental houses, sorry for the confusion. 

Id like to think that you would charge significantly more if you are using a cantar than an f8.

It is not the same, plus you have to recuperate your investment so you charge the fair price. In the future when recorders are only 100 dollars we are going to loose a big chunk of our income. It will only be a day rate for the operator.

 

And its all zooms fault! lol Because producers don't know the difference. It was a well kept secret, timecode used to cost so much.. That would give the pros a chance to make a living. Right now what is saving us is that there is no affordable wireless that are any good. I would not be surprised if zoom try to make some soon. And sound devices is following their lead. I guess you can call it progress, but we are the ones that end up loosing. 

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