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Zoom f8n vs SD 788t


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6 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

If it were me I'd also be looking at what comes with the 788T.  The accessories for it are harder to find now, so getting fader surfaces, CLWiFi, adn so on in the package would be a deciding factor.

I agree. The availability/cost of the 788T accessories could be a critical deciding factor. 

 

Back in the day the 788T was the best of the best that Sound Devices had, but that day was a very very long time ago... (although, there are still many many 788T still being used right now!)

But this does mean many 788T specific accessories (such as the CL-9 or CL-WiFi) will be expensive/difficult to find for sale. Personally I'd never buy a 788T as my main machine if I couldn't buy an entire package of all those other specific parts at the same time.

 

Another factor about its age, is these are basically mini PCs, and you might worry about their reliability once it gets up to being a decade plus old after a hard life, vs a brand spanking new F8n with a warranty.

 

I wouldn't buy a 788T on the basis of "the sound", the mics and wireless you use are a more critical component of the chain, as the preamps in the F8n series are already rather good.

 

Another factor is that although the price of the 788T on eBay has dropped tremendously, it is still significantly higher than the price of a new F8n, and I'd imagine your budget is tight. Thus if you buy a 788T, what accessories elsewhere are you missing out on that would've helped you at your job? If it is a choice between a 788T / Deity S Mic or a F8n + Deity S Mic + Audix SCX1 + Tentacle, then obviously the combo with the F8n is a much better and well rounded package. 

 

Personally, I'd say go for the F8n (or even a MixPre10, the MixPre series are greatly improved with the Gen2 vs when the MixPre series was first released, plus the MixPre10 saw a big price drop vs the original 10T), it will be better in some ways than the 788T, and in those few areas it isn't (such as no AES) they probably don't even matter to you at this stage. (and by the time it does, you'll already be looking at an 888 / X3 / Nova / etc instead)

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Just go buy Mixpre 10ii and invest good wireless packs. I am using it with wisycom Mcr54 and lectro LR/SSM combo. 10ii is amazingly good machine with many chnnels. Pricewise Mixpre series has best quality and economic value IMO, even lightweight. I used to have Nomad 12, Maxx(still have for dramatizing gigs), 702t(in old days), f8n(sold cause of too little knob). Before investing another upper class machine, I will happily stay long with Mixpre 10ii. After checking around Cantar, SD 888, and Sonisax, I decide Sonosax is my landing spot.

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7 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Why do you still have the Maxx? Couldn't you use the MixPre10 for that too?

Yes, I absolutely can do that. But l like preamp quality in Maxx, so I just keep as a backup. These days I hardly use Maxx for high track count demands and uncomfortableness from CF medium and transcoding process. 
10ii is much simpler.

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While I‘d agree that the preamp quality difference won’t matter much in a wireless world (if you are OMB‘ing you’re likely cabling the boom mic, so the preamp does matter), I think the differences between these two recorders come down to more than what’s written on a paper. Sure, the F8n may be almost the same machine and it can do things which the 788T can’t do or can’t do well, like interface with am iPad. 
For me there’s an emotional component, too. The 788T oozes quality and pro-level recording. You touch the faders (if you get a CL8/9 with it) and it feels very much like a pro device. 
The Zoom otoh feels like... well, it feels like a Zoom. Like a decent toy, but not like a pro recorder. 
None of this will help you make better recordings, but the haptic impression of the 788T is just far more rewarding than that of the Zoom. 
If you don’t care about the emotional side then get the Zoom

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

If you don’t care about the emotional side then get the Zoom

That's me! An unemotional, hard calculating logical robot! Void of any joy, just want to get whatever does the job best for the $

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43 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

That's me! An unemotional, hard calculating logical robot! Void of any joy, just want to get whatever does the job best for the $


Yes, of course, I know. The guy who owns, i don’t know, 4-5 recorders? 

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I'm not worried about the longevity of any recorder of the 7xx series, apart from their spinning HDs.  They were overbuilt to the extreme, back when SD really had something to prove.  Unfortunately for us oldsters that also makes them heavy for their track count vs newer devices.  But while there may be differences in the sound recorded by the various newer machines, with the 7xx series and the Zax recorders of the same vintage we moved into an era where all the available machines sounded uniformly great, and the choice was over very specific features, and ergo issues like weight.

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Used 7xx series are the most affordable recorders I am aware of, if you need AES input. But the 788 in particular is a heavy monster not only by itsself, but requires significant external battery weight in a bag.

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Like the majority here, I agree, the choice boils down to "pro vs semi-pro."

 

Not to be discounted is client perception and reaction that can translate into higher rates and/or repeat business.

 

Even if no one says anything, there are many who, until they have something else to go on, gauge professional level by gear. The vast majority of set denizens never hear the raw tracks, but many still notice what tools are used.

 

 

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The poster is a first time buyer, spending more money than he's ever spent on an audio recorder before... Go with the one with a warranty and firmware updates! The one that doesn't require you to swap out the out of date HDD with a SSD yourself because it has dual SD Card slots to manage it's backup recordings. The one that features a modern design GUI.

 

Get the F8n because it's going to be easier and faster for you to master as your first professional recorder. 

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