The Zoom F8n Multi-Track Field Recorder is designed for professional and enthusiast recording applications on set and in the field, including music, filmmaking, and electronics news gathering (ENG). Designed to be carried by a shoulder strap or in a bag, the unit features eight analog input channels with XLR/TRS combo jacks that provide +75 dB maximum input gain, and support for line-level inputs. It can record up to 10 tracks simultaneously (channels 1 through 8 plus a stereo mix), or up to eight channels when recording at the A/D converter’s maximum 24-bit 192 kHz resolution.
The Zoom F8n boasts options like Zoom’s AutoMix, which automatically adjusts the levels to reduce ambient sound, ensuring a clean and well-captured sound. If you’re working on a one- to four-track project, you can utilize dual-channel recording to create safety tracks. Capture signal loudly with one, and have the other set to low gains as a backup should the louder mic feel over-saturated from too much level.
You’ll also note the advanced lookahead limiters, which add 1 ms of delay to the signal. This is imperceptible to the person listening and does not affect the final product, but this millisecond makes all the difference in the digital world, as it protects against clipping before it’s ever recording. For time code generation, the F8n makes use of a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator that generates time code at 0.2 ppm accuracy, making sure audio and video stay synced.
Power to the recorder can be supplied in one of three ways: via AA batteries, an AC adapter, or a 9 to 18 VDC external power pack. Two SD card slots can be used simultaneously for recording even longer sessions and can also be used as card readers when connected to a computer via USB.
When operating via USB, the unit can be used as an 8-in/4-out audio interface at sample rates up to 96 kHz. A built-in slate mic allows you to make voice memos and the unit’s slate tone can be used to confirm specific levels. Proprietary Zoom capsules can be plugged into the unit, so you can record stereo straight to the F8n.
- Analog Inputs
- Provides two sets of lockable XLR/TRS combo jacks with EIN of -127 dBu or less, +75 dB maximum input gain and support for +4 dB input.
- Audio Resolution
- Records up to 192 kHz at 24-bit resolution.
- Zoom AutoMix
- This smart software automatically adjusts the levels of your mix to reduce the amount of ambient sound, so you can focus on capturing a well-balanced mix.
- Time Code Generation
- The F8n utilizes a Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) that generates time code at 0.2 ppm accuracy, enabling rock-solid syncing of audio and video. When powered off, the F8n will maintain a 0.2 ppm accuracy, and Time code I/O is provided on BNC connectors.
- Advanced Look-Ahead Hybrid Limiters
- The F8n is equipped with Advanced Look-Ahead Hybrid Limiters that provide overload protection no matter what comes your way by adding a 1 millisecond delay; these limiters “look ahead” to anticipate clipping before it’s recorded and are applied to each of the 8 channels simultaneously at full resolution—and 10 to 20 dB of headroom to ensure clean audio on every take.
- The F8n can record to an SD card and your computer via USB simultaneously, and you can easily back up your files and stream live while recording. You can also record to two SD cards at once for simultaneous, redundant recording, ensuring you’re capturing all the audio all the time.
- Louder, Cleaner, and Clearer Monitoring over Zoom F8
- Volume, clarity, and immersion are equally important for proper monitoring in the field. That’s why updates have been made to the F8n’s headphone processing to maximize all three. A digital gain boost has been added to minimize ambient bleed, which can cause comb filtering resulting in poor audio quality. Signals can be freely routed to the left and/or right headphone channels, pre- or post-fader. Additionally, the headphone output can be switched to mono. You also can set headphone alert tones for low battery, recording start/stop, or recording errors.
- Onboard Features for Ambisonics and VR
- Capable of recording 360-audio, the F8n sports an Ambisonics mode that features A to B decoding, gain and settings linking, and a customized metering screen.
- Allows you to send the audio signal to a video camera or other device while simultaneously monitoring.
- Mixer Functionality
- Allows for inputs 1-8 to be routed to outputs freely.
- Phantom Power
- Supports +24V and +48V phantom power.
- Three Possible Power Supplies
- Can operate on AA batteries, an AC adapter (included), or a 9 to 18 VDC external power pack (not included) with automatic switching between power supplies.
- Two SDXC Card Slots
- Allows for SD card recording, and the use of SDXC cards enables extended recording capability. The unit can also be used as a card reader by connecting it to a computer via USB.
- USB Audio Interface
- The unit can be used as an 8-in/4-out audio interface at sample rates up to 96 kHz.
- Built-In Microphone
- Works as both a slate mic as well as a tool for voice memos.
- Zoom Mic Capsule Functionality
- Supports the company’s line of interchangeable mic capsules that can be used instead of inputs 1/2.
- The pre-record function allows you to capture up to 6 seconds of audio before you hit the RECORD button.