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Sinema Equipment Preview: Zoom F4

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Trailing on last year’s release of the F8, Zoom has announced their newest multitrack field recorder; the F4. This 6-input/8-track field recorder includes 4 low-noise mic preamps and promises high-quality audio recording at a price-point that’s even more accessible to the independent filmmaker. The F4 can record to up eight tracks with six inputs at resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz. There are 4 locking XLR/TRS combo connectors, a 3.5mm stereo input and a Zoom accessory capsule which allows it to mount a variety of proprietary mics and accessories.

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Output options include two Main Outs and two Sub Outs in addition to a ¼-inch headphone jack with dedicated volume control. The F4’s onboard mixer and effects allow for signal routing from all inputs to all outputs and controls for level, pan and delay, as well as high-pass filters for wind noise reduction. Zoom is staying true to their efforts to make audio tools affordable for the independent producer on a budget. I would say that the biggest selling point of the F4 is the high-quality mic preamps with up to 75 dB gain, less than -127 dBu EIN and +4 dB line inputs. Phantom power is also included on each of the four preamps, and a Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) offers super accurate time code down to .2 ppm.

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On top of that, the F4 offers onboard limiting, which can be applied to all four channels simultaneously. Another plus point attribute is the 10 dB headroom and adjustable threshold, attack and release controls; catering to those working in unpredictable recording environments.The F4 feels solid in its durable metal housing and weighs in at just over 1KG without batteries. It measures 17.78 x 13.97 x 5.33CM. The Dual SD card slots have shifted to just right above the battery door at the rear and allow for simultaneous back-up or split recording to SD, SDHC or SDXC cards with capacities of up to 512 GB each.

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Like the F8, the F4 saves files while recording to prevent data loss upon sudden power loss or SD card removal. A 1.9-inch white backlit monochrome LCD displays the recording settings in almost any environment. Power options for the F4 includes 8 AA batteries via a battery case, an external DC battery pack or the included power supply and hirose adapter.

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We want to thank City Music Singapore for facilitating the sale of this set to our production arm; The Flying Kick Asia. The Zoom F4 will be retailing for $820 at the City Music Year End Sale running from 25 November 2016 – 31 December 2016. Do reach out to them if you would like to order one. Stay tuned for an upcoming side by side preamp comparison between the F4 and the H6!

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