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Mabou

Zoom F8 Beginners Question(s)

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Hi all, I just graduated from the Zoom H4 and H6.  I've been in video production for a long time, I am a tech head, was a software engineer at Apple for several years, and learn quickly.  I've used a bunch of prosumer audio equipment over the years (I hire audio guys for the higher-end projects) and actually fooled myself into thinking that I was pretty good with audio technologies... ha!  Not quite.  I realize that the F8 is on the line of pro and consumer, but it has officially kicked my butt.  I apparently know nothing about pro audio :-(

I have searched far and wide for some information about how to actually use the technologies in the F8 (the instruction manual pretty much assumes you understand the technologies so it just tells you which buttons to push or knobs to turn, but doesn't teach the "Why".

So, if any of you can point me toward video or written word that will help to learn the basics, I'd sure appreciate it.

If you are interested in just answering some (admittedly embarrassingly newbie) questions...  Here is a starting point for me...

The questions below all relate to the workflow for setting levels.

1) PFL Button... the manual doesn't say if this is PreFaderLevel or PostFaderLevel.  But the truth is, I don't know why I need either of these to begin with.   (Help?) How do I think about PreFader and PostFader in a recorder?  (I understand these a bit in Logic Pro for effects sends, but I can't wrap my brain around it in the F8).

2) Setting levels (re: Trim vs Fader vs Post Fader vs Pre Fader & PFL button, etc).... I want to record to the F8 as well as send the mains out to my camera.  For the life of me, I can't figure out how to set the levels.  I'm sure it is frustratingly simple (and related to #1 above), but without direction, I am totally lost.

In thinking about further questions that I want to ask, I realize that much of my confusion will probably be answered once I understand the workflow for setting levels, (including the difference between the trim and the fader, and the PreFader vs PostFader.)

Thanks for reading this far, and I appreciate any help you can provide.

Matt

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In my thirty year tenure, every mixer, preamp or recorder I've encountered, 'PFL' meant "Pre-Fader Listen" ........... (or... 'Pretty Fuc__ing Loud' when clients ask what it means)

The output mixes on the F8 are controlled via a software mixer.. which is not very good for mixing on-the-fly. According to 'ZoomOfficial', Samual from Zoom USA, this 'may' be changed in a future firmware update, but for now it's a software function. The outputs are also around -10dB, so you may experience low levels feeding a camera w/ +4 inputs.

Read the manual.

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A car manual does not include instructions on how to drive, so why would an operators manual on a piece of pro or semi pro equipment include instructions on how to be an audio engineer? Google is a good place to seek answers...

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Ok then...   "read the manual" and "search Google"?  Hmmm....   I read the manual and searched google, no answer in the manual and the fruitless marathon Google search eventually led me to this site where I FINALLY decided to ask the question (assuming it is an easy answer for those with experience) rather than keep searching.

JonG, right you are that a car manual doesn't include instructions on how to drive because those instructions are built-in to many other areas of life (school, driving school, DMV, parents, etc).  

In the photography world, even my professional DSLR manuals include basic instructions for using features for taking better pictures and they include a lot of "Why's" for the various settings.

Anyway...  was simply hoping (as I detailed in my post) that this newbie question would be an easy answer for someone willing to help... which is one of the purposes/benefits of forums in the first place...  

Matt

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Maybe read this really good book by Jay Rose (who hangs out here sometimes). Starts with basics (how sound works), and steps up with really practical advice. It's a really well structured and well written book.

Producing Great Sound for Film & Video

http://www.greatsound.info

00PGS4eCoverSm.jpg

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See Pg 84 in the F8 manual, 'Selecting signals sent to the main outputs (MAIN OUT )' & Pg 85., 'Selecting signals sent to the sub outputs (SUB OUT Routing)'

I don't how much simpler the manual could be. There's also plenty of block diagrams in the manual to illustrate the signal flow. If you don't understand the basics.. pre/post fader and channel assignment, I don't think some yo-yo on FB is going to help much.

+1 on Jay's book. Ty Ford's 'Audio Bootcamp Field Guide' should be of interest as well.

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Levente Udud & Jim Feeley, THANK you for the only constructive comments in this thread.  I'm a bit surprised that people would enter a thread that has the word "beginner" in the title, (then even after I mention that I apparently know nothing about pro audio equipment, and refer to myself as a newbie... I get slammed for being a newbie... wow.  feels a bit like this forum is populated with either high school bullies or old curmudgeons.  Maybe high school bullies from the 50's who are now old and bitter?  Anyway, thanks again Levente and Jim... you showed what you are made of which is just the opposite of what the others showed they are made of.  

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On May 18, 2016 at 10:42 AM, JonG said:

A car manual does not include instructions on how to drive, so why would an operators manual on a piece of pro or semi pro equipment include instructions on how to be an audio engineer? Google is a good place to seek answers...

I read a comment the other day explaining how not everyone who asks what others might think is a dumb question is being lazy... Sometimes they're just looking to start a conversation. Telling them to do something I'm 99% sure they already thought of doing isn't going to do anything but make them feel bad about themselves.

Google is NO substitute for human interaction. Some people learn by reading. Some people learn by listening. Both one sided. Others, like myself, learn at their best through conversation. A back and forth. Sure, maybe the initial question can be answered with a quick Google search. But it's so much more than that. Maybe the person you're talking to brings up an additional point you wouldn't have even of thought to ask. Then all of a sudden you learned something that stopped a big problem from occurring had they not told you about it.

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I'm not putting this site up on a pedestal or anything, but being able to even participate in a forum such as this...with all of the talent and experience is a luxury. I've solved more problems than I can count, on my own just by reading this site.

There are different levels of knowledge here on this board...but for the most part (its kind of expected that) everyone here has a basic level of audio...Signal flow, gain structure and common audio terminology. Had the OP known these basic principles, along with the manual, he could have probably figured it out on his own.

One of the things I learned...even before I got into this business is that you have to get really good at figuring out things on your own...Especially when your in the trenches and you have a job to do. No ones got time to wait for a response from JWsound! lol

No ones trying to beat the guy up...I just think it catches people off guard when someone shows up here seeking help in the very basics of this field.

Honestly it would have been way worse if The Senator was still participating. He takes no prisoners! :)

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6 hours ago, mradlauer said:

No ones trying to beat the guy up...I just think it catches people off guard when someone shows up here seeking help in the very basics of this field.

But they're responding like it bothers them that someone dared to ask a basic question. You have to start somewhere. It's not like they're walking up to you in person and bothering you when you've got more important things to do; it's an online message board and you can easily choose to ignore the question if it's not worth your time to answer it. Why bother wasting your time just to give them an insulting and unhelpful piece of "advice"? (I'm sure they know how to use google if they were able to look up a site filled with experienced sound mixers that they can post a question to). 

 

If it bothers people so much to have the forum "spammed" with basic questions, I think Jeff should create a new section for beginners to ask any question they want in a judgment free zone. Then we don't have to worry about people being offended that a newbie is attempting to waste their valuable time by asking "stupid" questions -- those people simply can ignore those threads because they're in a different section that they never have to enter. 

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47 minutes ago, berniebeaudry said:

As Rick mentioned dvinfo.net and also dvxuser.com have audio categories that can yield good information.

Good pointers. But read those sites judiciously. In addition to the good information, I sometimes find less-than-good info at those places.

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43 minutes ago, Jim Feeley said:

Good pointers. But read those sites judiciously. In addition to the good information, I sometimes find less-than-good info at those places.

Very true!  I have 38 years of experience in diverse audio situations and some of the scenarios presented would have been challenging for me and I was actually faced by many of them in the past.  I don't presume to know everything but my contributions were usually met with crickets, yet the theoretical approaches were embraced enthusiastically.  I say theoretical because it was obvious the people giving the advice hadn't really done it, just heard about it.   

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On 17/05/2016 at 10:49 PM, Mabou said:

The questions below all relate to the workflow for setting levels.

1) PFL Button... the manual doesn't say if this is PreFaderLevel or PostFaderLevel.  But the truth is, I don't know why I need either of these to begin with.   (Help?) How do I think about PreFader and PostFader in a recorder?  (I understand these a bit in Logic Pro for effects sends, but I can't wrap my brain around it in the F8).

PFL - means PRE FADE LISTEN. The PFL button allows you to listen to the channel that you push the PFL button for. It allows you to listen to that channel at a point which is after the Main Gain, (or Input Trim pot), but before (as in Pre) the fader. This is useful to 'solo' a channel before you fade it up. This can be useful for cues, to check that the radio mic (or whatever is plugged into the channel) is working OK/is in range, etc....

2) Setting levels (re: Trim vs Fader vs Post Fader vs Pre Fader & PFL button, etc).... I want to record to the F8 as well as send the mains out to my camera.  For the life of me, I can't figure out how to set the levels.  I'm sure it is frustratingly simple (and related to #1 above), but without direction, I am totally lost.

The signal comes into a channel on the mixer via the Main Gain (or trim) pot. The trim pot allows you to set the correct level so that the signal arrives in the mixer at a sensible level (like adjusting the bath taps (do you call them faucets)) so that the water fills the bath at the right speed., The fader is the level control that adjusts the level of that channel going to the mix/output (think of it as being like having a tap on the plughole, to adjust the rate of the water leaving the bath , rather than just a plug).

If you are doing an 'aux' mix on your mixer, then you may wish to choose between sending signals to the aux either pre fader or post fader. If your aux is going to a foldback speaker on the stage, the the singer may well want to hear themselves 'pre' fader, ie if you fade the fader (not the trim) down, it doesnt make the feed to their aux channel (thre one that gies to their wedge) get quieter, ie they can hear themselves in their own wedge all the time. The 'prompter operator (autocue or whatever you call it) might appreciate a pre fade aux OP so they can hear the CEO at alltimes, and their level will not change when you 'mix' the main OP levels.

A main OP or main mix will be a POST fader level, ie you have mixed it through the fader.

I am available for chocolate deliveries most days, just west of London......

Buy a book - read it ;-)

Simon B.

In thinking about further questions that I want to ask, I realize that much of my confusion will probably be answered once I understand the workflow for setting levels, (including the difference between the trim and the fader, and the PreFader vs PostFader.)

Thanks for reading this far, and I appreciate any help you can provide.

Matt

 

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31 minutes ago, Bash said:

The signal comes into a channel on the mixer via the Main Gain (or trim) pot. The trim pot allows you to set the correct level so that the signal arrives in the mixer at a sensible level (like adjusting the bath taps (do you call them faucets)) so that the water fills the bath at the right speed., The fader is the level control that adjusts the level of that channel going to the mix/output (think of it as being like having a tap on the plughole, to adjust the rate of the water leaving the bath , rather than just a plug).

now that right there is a wonderful analogy!

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But they're responding like it bothers them that someone dared to ask a basic question. You have to start somewhere. It's not like they're walking up to you in person and bothering you when you've got more important things to do; it's an online message board and you can easily choose to ignore the question if it's not worth your time to answer it. Why bother wasting your time just to give them an insulting and unhelpful piece of "advice"? (I'm sure they know how to use google if they were able to look up a site filled with experienced sound mixers that they can post a question to). 

 

If it bothers people so much to have the forum "spammed" with basic questions, I think Jeff should create a new section for beginners to ask any question they want in a judgment free zone. Then we don't have to worry about people being offended that a newbie is attempting to waste their valuable time by asking "stupid" questions -- those people simply can ignore those threads because they're in a different section that they never have to enter. 

The issue in part, I believe, is that this discussion group was started as an online forum for professional mixers, not for beginners. There already are various places to ask a newbie question, this one doesn't need to be one of them.

This has been discussed several times before, and I think the consensus was that there is no need for a newbie sub-section.

The other issue could be a certain annoyance with the entitlement generation. This may not apply to the OP in this instance, but many have made it clear in their questions and subsequent answers that they were not interested in reading or learning about an issue, they just want to be told how to fix it. Some have even said they can't be bothered to Google this (or read 2 million results). So instead they can just ask someone who has spent years to learn their craft and keeps reading and learning to stay up-to-date. After awhile this can result in a certain annoyance with the newbie question.

But then someone like Bash comes along and just proves the opposite...

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17 hours ago, berniebeaudry said:

I don't presume to know everything but my contributions were usually met with crickets, yet the theoretical approaches were embraced enthusiastically.  I say theoretical because it was obvious the people giving the advice hadn't really done it, just heard about it.   

I'm having a discussion with a guy on the Red User group who thinks it's a great idea to record 192kHz dialogue so that he can process it with iZotope RX in post to get all the noise out of it. I told him I think it's a better idea to just record the dialogue in a better space with traditional 48kHz/24-bit audio without any processing at all, and he's fighting me on it. It's amazing the number of neophytes who latch on to totally bizarre theoretical approaches that will bewilder anybody who's actually worked on a real set. High on that list (to me) are people who don't want to slate anything. 

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18 hours ago, Constantin said:

The issue in part, I believe, is that this discussion group was started as an online forum for professional mixers, not for beginners. There already are various places to ask a newbie question, this one doesn't need to be one of them.

This has been discussed several times before, and I think the consensus was that there is no need for a newbie sub-section.

The other issue could be a certain annoyance with the entitlement generation. This may not apply to the OP in this instance, but many have made it clear in their questions and subsequent answers that they were not interested in reading or learning about an issue, they just want to be told how to fix it. Some have even said they can't be bothered to Google this (or read 2 million results). So instead they can just ask someone who has spent years to learn their craft and keeps reading and learning to stay up-to-date. After awhile this can result in a certain annoyance with the newbie question.

But then someone like Bash comes along and just proves the opposite...

there are some people too that ask thousands of questions, burn up a lot of your time, saying they want your guidance and do just the opposite anyway.  They are known as askholes.

 

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11 hours ago, Marc Wielage said:

I'm having a discussion with a guy on the Red User group...

Way to take one for the team Marc! I drop by there once in a long while to find answers to questions. and find the signal/noise ratio, let alone the community/bile ratio, to be pretty bottom heavy. Bummer because I've made peace with the cameras and now like the pictures (and can tolerate or work around the flaws).

Back to the top. Since it seems like we've provided Matt (the OP of this thread) with a bit of direction and are now talking about newbies posting questions on this list, I kinda make a distinction between people who post questions and then show they they tried to figure out the answer (as did Matt) and people who just say, "solve my problem" e.g. "what mic can I buy for $200?" or "how can I record great sound with no equipment and no craft?" and that's it.

Folks who appear to be making a good-faith effort I'll cut more slack. 

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On 5/21/2016 at 3:03 AM, Jim Feeley said:

Good pointers. But read those sites judiciously. In addition to the good information, I sometimes find less-than-good info at those places.

LOL! I just saw your new profile pic on this forum Jim. 

Ummm... yeah, that profile pic itself sums up how many of these other places can provide "less-than-good info".

I think it could be a reasonable idea if Jeff made a newbies sub forum here where ***any*** question could be asked, no matter how dumb. Even "how do I turn on my Zoom H1?" questions! ha (even though that example I gave really does deserve RTFM as the answer)

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Constantin nailed it.

This forum was created by, and for, professional sound mixers -- people who make their living at this art and craft.  

Many newcomers seem not to realize this and criticize those who act like this forum was created by, and for, professional sound mixers who make their living at this art and craft.

If this forum changes its focus in an attempt to become all things to all people, it will no longer serve the purpose for which it was created.  That would be a shame, as this is one of the most successful and worthwhile professional hangouts on the entire internet.

While a generous amount of assistance has been offered to beginners here, it is a testament to the graciousness of our host and patience of the participants that such requests for rudimentary knowledge are entertained.  I would caution that visitors should not confuse graciousness with entitlement. 

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