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afewmoreyears

New Zoom H3-VR Recorder mic combo..

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1 hour ago, afewmoreyears said:

Such a low price makes me a bit skeptical..

 

Why Skeptical? That is about the price ratio of Zoom's product...

 

Zoom F8 $900 x 5 = the price of a nomad

Zomm H3-Vr $349 x 5 = $1745 about the price of a Sennheiser Ambeo VR 3D

 

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  More often than not, you get what you pay for.. I almost for once wish it was more..

Any less and I'd buy one for my kids to play with....LOL

In other words, it may be worth only $349..    

If anyone grabs one, let us know how it works .I did see a video from a user, he seemed to think it was ok..  like I said, interesting..

 

 

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Damn, that's pretty interesting. What appears to me (a guy with just a little VR experience) to be some thoughtful design features.

 

But ya, I presume Zoom-quality mic elements. 

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Also skeptical of the zoom capsules. I think it’s also interesting that the specs list a 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, I guess it tracks that information in metadata? Maybe you’ll be able to compensate for movement in post?

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This could be a repackaging of the H6 hardware with different firmware and a ganged gain control. I mean, that's what they already have and can source easily. I like that it's an all-in-one unit, so there's no cabling to hide from a 360° camera. Something similar with timecode capabilities could be a pretty good tool for VR, so that it could be synced with another recorder that's handling wires on talent and other mics.

I would think the gyroscope and the accelerometer are used with keeping a "horizon" fixed. On a moving recording, it could be pretty disorienting if the "horizon" moves too much. Being able to fix the audio image onto a horizontal plane despite the mic moving might be pretty useful, especially if there's going to be head tracking involved.

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This could be a huge fishing hook for us.

Looks interesting.... strange, but interesting.

 

The gyroscope seems to be used for when set H3VR.

and it may be used for investigation of defective houses.

2018-09-14_17-30-36.png

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Could be a handy additional tool to have, I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for reviews. But I suspect I'll probably get the Rode NT-SF1 instead. 

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Zoom's H2 (&H2n) had a 4 channel mode and cost very little (and sounded horrible). With more demand for VR content maybe they saw a reason to build and improve on the previous offerings (which haven't evolved much since they decided to develop multi track bag recorders). Asides from the quality of the capsules (I imagine average at best) I'm interested to see if the other design features prove to be of use in VR content. Eg. the accelerometers and the 1 box solution. For starters maybe this offers enough to start doing VR gigs where individual source elements (personal mics) are the main focus and production need an ambisonic 'bed'/'canvas' to put them on. Ie. we can use our non ambisonic recorders (like a 633) for the dialogue and let this thing do the ambisonic acquisition. With a built in recorder we might hope processing of the signals has been optimised to make the most of the (albeit modest) hardware, and if this is the case, does it do enough to compete with better systems of higher cost and quality but need more hands on processing in post.

Re TC. I know its an ugly option but could a tentacle and a pocket emitter (held close to the Zoom capsules for a few seconds) put a clean enough TC signal into the Zoom acoustically to allow for an easier syncing process?

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Here's me 'presuming' again * ... that the tri-axial accelerometer /gyro is the same simple gadget found in every modern phone and whose purpose is simply that stated, to identify and 'choose' whether inverted, endfire etc and nothing more. The package as a whole should indicate how fast ambisonics has become popular and useful for younger applications in a very short time - and I think rather an intriguing and well designed little gadget (at its price point - presuming* again).

 

Jez

 

* that's me pontificating from me jacksie 

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So I'm a bit conflicted here. On the one hand I do have to commend Zoom for being so forward thinking in creating such a product. I do think that it is boasting with great features that are unique, and definitely note-worthy:

- All-in-one solution with microphone, recorder, built-in A-to-B format conversion, and binaural monitoring through headphone jack.

- Built-in motion sensor to automatically calibrate the converter to the appropriate mic position (upright, upside down, endfire, etc).

- Accurate clock (0.5ppm).

- Ability to record in A-format, B-format, Binaural, Stereo, 5.1 surround, etc.
- Bluetooth app for remote control of the recorder.
- Slate tone / sound marker for video sync (assuming camera has audio recording enabled, which is not the case in high frame rate situations).
- Super low weight (5 ounces!).

 

On the other hand, I have some issues with the unit out the gate:

- At that price point (~USD$350), I can only assume that the build quality is not what I would like it to be. Sacrifices have to be made somewhere to get it to be that cheap.

- Zoom claims that the four mic capsules are matched, but they give no specs on the mics beyond the "Maximum sound pressure input: 120 dB SPL / Mic gain: +18 – +48 dB"; I would like to see frequency response charts, mic sensitivity ratings, self-noise levels, THD, etc.

- I also struggle to see how you can QA 4x matched mics at that price point.

- In the same vain, I would like to see pre-amp specs.

- Higher sampling rates are cool and all, but unless you show me that the microphone and pre-amps are capable of reproducing frequencies beyond 20kHz, which is doubtful at the price range, it's more of a marketing bit than anything else. 

- Is the built-in A-to-B format converter a generic converter (a la SoundField SurroundZone or Ambeo plug-in)? or is it tailored for each H3-VR mic with its own calibration files? I assume the former.
- No time code or wordclock I/O to sync this with external recorder that would be used for multi-tracking of isolated sound/point sources, which a lot of VR/360 production requires

As far as I can see (and obviously without having played around with it), Zoom had an opportunity to create something stellar for professional VR/360 production, but instead chose to create something that everyone can afford. I guess I can't fault them on the decision, they will likely sell these things fast and a lot. 


I will likely get one just to play around with it and test it out, but I doubt it replace my SoundField SP200 and MixPre-6 rig.

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Some interesting design ideas but I'd be more inclined to believe it might have value in some circumstances, if it didn't have that nasty old fashioned blocky, low res, monochromatic, LCD screen uugh!
Makes it look cheap, is that a great design decision?
Leads one to wonder what other decisions have been made along similar lines.
Would it have been worth it to put a hi-res colour OLED on it, raise the price a little, and perhaps made it look much more the part, for the future?

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 16.14.02.png

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Put the Bluetooth chip in the device, don't make it an option. Also, would it kill them to support Android? Plenty of companies smaller than Zoom have been able to do dual platform mobile development.

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I have serious doubts about the quality of this unit, but I'm pretty sure I will see it a lot on VR jobs.  It's a cheap way to get into Ambisonics when quality isn't that important.  While I wish that wasn't the case, more often than not I find that producers don't care much about the quality of the Ambisonic track, they just need something.  This unit gets them that.

I have no plans to sell my Soundfield or Ambeo, but I will probably add one of these to my kit for jobs where they don't want to pay for the nicer mics, or where the camera is in a position that it may get damaged (working with animals, bad weather, sports, etc).  

My biggest question is will I be able to buy a couple and make my money back in rentals, or are they so cheap that every company / VR camera owner will just have them as part of their kit.

One good thing I think is that they focused on putting a more accurate clock in.  Quite often VR takes are long, and drift can be a real problem.

I don't like that phone connectivity requires an external module and is iOS only, and have never liked the zoom interfaces.

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2 hours ago, pindrop said:

Some interesting design ideas but I'd be more inclined to believe it might have value in some circumstances, if it didn't have that nasty old fashioned blocky, low res, monochromatic, LCD screen uugh!
Makes it look cheap, is that a great design decision?
Leads one to wonder what other decisions have been made along similar lines.
Would it have been worth it to put a hi-res colour OLED on it, raise the price a little, and perhaps made it look much more the part, for the future?

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 16.14.02.png

OLED would have been nice and certainly my preference but perhaps using a cheap screen meant they could add more value to the audio side. Screens also have an impact on battery life/size and can also cause RFI. Zoom seem prepared to evolve product lines quite quickly if successful eg. H1/n, H2/n H4/n, F8/n and despite so-so menus and build quality they've had a knack a capturing a decent share of new (style production) markets quite well, eg. H4 and F series. If this does well, expect another 1 soon. This 1 puts an interesting proposition to a new market, less of risk for zoom, less of a risk for buyers (if delivers content 'well enough'). Maybe at this price it gets a few more tradition recordists trying the ambisonic medium (and primed for the next 1:-).

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5 hours ago, Jose Frias said:

...

2 hours ago, Wandering Ear said:

I have no plans to sell my Soundfield or Ambeo, but I will probably add one of these to my kit for jobs where they don't want to pay for the nicer mics, or where the camera is in a position that it may get damaged (working with animals, bad weather, sports, etc).  

My biggest question is will I be able to buy a couple and make my money back in rentals, or are they so cheap that every company / VR camera owner will just have them as part of their kit.

 

I will likely get one just to play around with it and test it out, but I doubt it replace my SoundField SP200 and MixPre-6 rig.

 

Not sure how I managed to combine both above - I meant Jose to be first and Ear to be second ... haha never mind

 

I also don't plan to sell my Soundfield (regardless of reviews) to pick up one of these but the point is they're not challenging the quality aspect but throwing in a gauntlet of a price-point unit that gives ambisonic sound for the new VR (as in the slightly less new DSLR) community. I expect anyone making money (ie working) with VR etc (from their Soundfield etc investment) would and should pick one up if only to see how they work? Sadly I can't see it being a high rental return but just wait and see - if people start charging then charge the same ... After all, how much do you charge for your $600 boom pole, accessories, cables etc?

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8 minutes ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

Not sure how I managed to combine both above - I meant Jose to be first and Ear to be second ... haha never mind

 

Woah, that was a convoluted quote there haha.

 

I'm sure you're right. In part I kind of really like what they've done as far as functional design goes (all-in-one solution, etc). I really just wish they would've put effort into making a quality product for professional use, because there is such a gap in the market, instead of making a product that everyone can afford.

 

But I will hold my final judgement until I try it out.

 

As far as renting these, not sure we get much, if any, out of it. I also fear what it can do to the rental market for Ambisonics. I typically rent my SPS200 + MixPre-6 package for $250-300/day (depends if I include time code or not). For $50-100 more any producer can just buy the H3-VR mic.

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Jose, I reckon the quality product has existed for years (decades even with earlier multi tracks) and they recognise the real market far better than we long-term ambisonicists did!

 

For the record, and unfortunately, I invested in my Soundfield more to have it to record and experiment and (in post sound) have never actually got a penny back for it in 'rental' ! There you go ! Although if I was recording VR gigs then yes, I'm sure I would hope to be getting some income from it.

 

J

 

(postscript - not that I'm using it without charge - just not using it on my paying gigs ... nor wanting/needing to)

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This is for the Samsung's VR and the GoPro's and the Yi's that will come and the such, they are not competing directly with Soundfield or Sennheiser.

 

Also, as the VR, AR and 360 becomes more common, sound solutions will increase and they will trickle the prices down.

 

The new Rode will push the Ambeo for sure, but not this one.

 

 

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This device looks fantastic, but I imagine it would be more readily received by aficionados if it was priced somewhere between $7,000 and $23,000.

 

The combination of components in a compact integrated form factor seems like a recipe for over coming the many limiting factors in traditional setups. My first experiences with ambisonics was with a corporate owned CalRec system. I have been observing the evolution of technologies, and the elimination of real life problems with ambisonic production for quite a while.

 

It does not seem hard to imagine that a mic array based on MEMS devices, a pcb with minimal length pathways, a few purpose built integrated circuits, an on board processor running optimized software, and an adjacent data storage system can easily provide superior results, when compared to the relatively complex big budget solutions, at a tiny fraction of the cost.

 

This thing seems brilliant, even if it does put us all out of business. :-)

 

 

  

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On 9/15/2018 at 4:15 AM, Wandering Ear said:

My biggest question is will I be able to buy a couple and make my money back in rentals, or are they so cheap that every company / VR camera owner will just have them as part of their kit.

 

 

I bet everyone will have one. It is too cheap not to buy on a whim. 

 

 

On 9/15/2018 at 2:04 PM, Kisaha said:

This is for the Samsung's VR and the GoPro's and the Yi's that will come and the such, they are not competing directly with Soundfield or Sennheiser.

 

Also, as the VR, AR and 360 becomes more common, sound solutions will increase and they will trickle the prices down.

 

The new Rode will push the Ambeo for sure, but not this one.

 


Yes, the Rode NT-SF1 just started shipping. If the reviews are good, then I'll probably buy it. Only question is I'll buy the H3 as well to supplement it?

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