Zoom F4 Overview
Get major motion picture audio quality without breaking your indie film budget with the Zoom F4, a sound bag–friendly, multi-track field recorder with look-ahead limiters for distortion-free 24-bit audio, and up to 6-input / 8-track recording for filmmaking and video content creation on set and in the field. Like other F-Series recorders such as the F6 and F8n, you can slide it in a sound bag, sling it over your shoulder, or mount it to a camera; the F4 packs quantity and quality into a rugged frame that’s more than ready for filmmaking, production/location sound mixing, sound effects recording, and electronic news gathering (ENG).
From the large, informative display and user-friendly controls to the flexible powering options and precision time code functionality, the F4 is properly equipped to please novices and demanding veterans alike. Whether you need long-duration stereo recording for an interview, redundant capture of multi-mic setups for a video shoot, or Ambisonics sound files for virtual reality and 360-audio projects, the F4 has the modes, resolutions, and media support to handle your crucial audio tasks. Plus, its operational versatility ensures that the F4 will always enhance your workflow, be it simple, complex, or always changing. You can feel confident using it as your main recorder, a USB audio interface for your dedicated computer rig, or a backup unit for added safety. Since it supports dual SD card recording, 2-channel safety recording, and 6-second pre-recording, you can stop worrying about losing takes.
- Look-Ahead Limiters Prevent Clipping
- The F4 utilizes advanced look-ahead hybrid limiters to provide reliable protection against overloading the A/D converters. By adding a small delay of just one millisecond, the limiters are able to “look ahead” at the input signal and anticipate clipping before it’s recorded. Experienced recordists will surely appreciate the adjustable limiter settings such as knee, threshold, and attack and release times.
- Configurable Recording Settings for Any Situation
- The F4 boasts a slew of recording modes and resolutions to choose from—record all six inputs plus a stereo mix at a maximum resolution of 24-bit / 192 kHz, or simultaneously record the first two inputs at two different levels to produce safety tracks that can have independent gain, limiting, and more. Also, a pre-record function allows you to capture up to six seconds of audio before you press the record button!
- Versatile Multi-Track Modes
- Maximize portability by recording directly to an SD/SDHC/SDXC card (available separately) for up to 512 GB of storage space. Select MP3 format if you’re only recording the stereo mix and really need extended time and minimal file size. Use the BWF-compliant WAV format for uncompressed audio quality and industry-standard file compatibility, or select Ambisonics mode to capture four channels of Ambisonics-compatible audio.
- Audio Interface Functionality
- Alternatively, use the F4 as an 6-in/4-out USB 2.0 audio interface at up to 24-bit / 96 kHz. Connect it to your computer, launch your preferred audio recording program, then enjoy the combination of the F4’s premium mic preamps and A/D converters, plus the familiarity and features of your favorite software. For safe, redundant recording at up to 48 kHz, it is possible to operate the F4 as an audio interface while recording to an SD card.
- Ambisonics Support for VR, AR, and 360-Audio
- The F4’s Ambisonics mode offers precision A-to-B decoding and balanced gain linking, enabling you to capture professional spatial audio for VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and more. Even while using the first four channels for Ambisonics recording, you can utilize tracks 5-8 for an alternate Ambisonics format. A built-in Ambisonics stereo monitor converter allows real-time monitoring of your Ambisonics recording. Download the free Zoom Ambisonics Player software to access user-friendly decoding and editing functions for your 360-audio.
- Studio-Quality Performance for Discerning Professionals
- The F4 can accommodate all manner of condenser microphones as well as balanced line-level signals via four locking Neutrik XLR-1/4″ inputs. Four studio-quality microphone preamps boasting massive gain (up to 75 dB) and ultra-low noise (-127 dBu EIN) ensure that your sound sources will be amplified with sonic accuracy. Select mic/line-level per input, apply 24 or 48 VDC phantom power per input, adjust each input via a dedicated level knob, and handle hot signal levels (up to +14 dBu in mic mode, or up to +24 dBu in line mode).
Additionally, inputs 5-6 can utilize the stereo 3.5mm input for confidence checks of your camera’s audio return signal, or can accept two additional mic/line signals via the EXH-6 combo input capsule (available separately).
- Zoom Mic Capsule Input
- A Zoom mic capsule input on the F4 accommodates Zoom’s line of interchangeable capsules (available separately) in place of inputs 5-6. With mid-side, X/Y, and shotgun mic capsules to choose from, you can be ready to record music, dialog, or sound effects without carting an external microphone setup.
- Headphone and Balanced Line Outputs for Flexible Routing and Monitoring
- Outfitted with two 3-pin XLR balanced main outputs and an unbalanced 3.5mm submix out, the F4 is a capable field mixer. Since the main and sub outs can be fed from different or identical sources, you can easily route to multiple devices such as a camera, DSLR, mixer, or secondary recorder.
With a transparent and high-output 100mW headphone amplifier tied to a dedicated 1/4″ stereo output, the F4 provides clean, efficient monitoring of pre- or post-fader levels, independent left/right signals, and alerts for battery and recording status.
- Precision Time Code and Synchronization Features
- Whether you keep the F4 powered on all day, or shut it down during breaks, rock-solid sync with video cameras, master time code clocks, or additional audio recorders will be maintained. Accurate synchronization is made possible with the F4’s high-end time code features. Standard BNC jacks are dedicated for timecode I/O, and a Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) boasts super stable time code accuracy to ±0.2 ppm. You can even jam sync the F4 when constant external time code isn’t present.
- Supports External Remote Control
- If you need extensive external control, Zoom has you covered. For fast and fluid hands-on remote control, the Zoom F-Control (available separately) is ideal. It features smooth 60mm faders, plus tactile controls for trim, pan, arming tracks, transport operations, and more.
- Power for Hours
- To keep up with the pace of on-location production, the F4 offers several methods of powering. Operate it via eight AA batteries (available separately), power it through a Hirose-connected DC battery pack (available separately), or plug it into a wall outlet with the included 12 VAC adapter. With up to 17.5 hours of battery life (AA lithium batteries, 16-bit / 48 kHz, 2-channel recording to SD card), you can rely on the F4 hour after hour.
- Multifunction Mini-USB Port
- A mini-USB port on the F4 serves several functions. Connect it to a computer for file backup or live audio streaming, or connect it to an FRC-8 controller (available separately).
- Highly Visible Display
- Day or night, view vital information such as audio levels, recording time, battery status, and more on the 1.9″ monochrome backlit LCD. Transport controls (the play/pause and record buttons are illuminated), navigation buttons, and per-channel gain, PFL, and 6-segment meters are presented nearby for sound bag–friendly, hassle-free operations.
- Zoom AutoMix Software Reduces Ambient Noise
- Let Zoom’s AutoMix function simplify your job. 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. Since you turn AutoMix on/off for each channel, you have complete control over where you want AutoMix to work.
- The rugged build quality and compact size of its metal chassis make the F4 an excellent choice for location recording on set and in the field. Lightweight and unobtrusive, it’s equally well suited for placement in an audio bag or a camera-mounted configuration.
- Metadata for Simplified Post Production
- Add metadata such as notes and track/scene names in BWF and iXML formats to easily catalog your files in preparation for loading them into your video or audio editing workstation. Make it a habit to make organization and collaboration in post-production easy.
- Built-In Slate Function and Tone Generator
- The F4 has a built-in, configurable tone generator with a dedicated activation button, allowing you to record reference tones that simplify file alignment between unsynchronized devices.