Recording audio is essential for any video production, poor audio is not acceptable to the viewer - although it can easily happen. Anyone who has been responsible for the audio in various setups has made a mistake. These errors are often not or very difficult to repair, so you get into trouble afterwards.
The Japanese brand Zoom has been the market leader for portable recording solutions for years and have various solutions such as the Zoom H1, H2 and H6 that we previously reviewed.
Today we dive further into the Zoom F6, a professional field recorder with 32-bit float recording and double A/D converters. We write this article in collaboration with distributor Sound Service.
Handy for which situations?
The Zoom F6 is an impressive piece of equipment. Very small and 6 XLR connections available for recording 6 tracks at the same time. This means that you have more than enough inputs for almost every situation, so that you will not fall short.
Because the Zoom F6 is so small, the field recorder is incredibly easy to carry and can also be attached to a camera rig using the mounting plate that is included. This way it fits perfectly in your bag or becomes part of your camera rig.
So do you want to record a podcast with multiple mics or a video with multiple sources? Then the F6 is definitely suitable! Very flexible if you need more inputs on location.
The Zoom F6 has professional preamps and a very low noise floor (-127 dBu EIN) and gain up to 75 dB). We also notice a low noise floor in the test, this is also essential because professional recordings are made with this and there should be as little noise as possible in the recordings.
Dynamics of a microphone that go up and down can be channelling to capture in a clean way. Loud will clip and too quite creates a noise-floor when you have to gain in post-production. The Zoom F6 implemented 32-bit float recording with dual A/D converters which result in a super wide dynamic range to record in.
No need to adjust gain anymore you can do all of that in post and work with a clean recording!
The build quality is extremely good! It is a sturdy compact box with metal and hard plastic parts. The buttons feel good and are made of metal. The Zoom F6 is really designed to take a beating, exactly what you need as a user of a field recorder.
This together with an incredibly sleek full-color display, whose response is good. It seems like a small display, but you can monitor and control everything without any problems.
In addition, the 6 input volume buttons are positioned very close together to achieve this size. However, it works fine in control, you can easily make a stroke of a pair of DBU and because they are so close together you never miss.
After we put the batteries in the F6, use was very easy. Everything is self-explanatory and the menu is simple, you certainly don't need a manual. What is nice is that you can place a large SD card, this is limited to 32 GB in the other field recorders of Zoom, such as the H5 - in the F6 you can insert an SD card up to 512 GB.
The Zoom F6 is also flexible in power supply, you can use a Sony F-series battery or the included AA batteries with which you can record up to 7.5 hours.
Do you want to monitor more? Then use the F6 in combination with the F Control app, which lets you monitor and adjust signals. You need the separate Zoom BT extension for this, which costs €39. However, the app is only available on an iPad or iPhone. This adapter also helps to make other Zoom devices Bluetooth ready, such as the L-20 mixer.
The Zoom F6 is a clever piece of technology cast in a compact sturdy housing. In our view, the F6 can be used very flexibly and Zoom has consciously done this. Think of the camera mount, integration with other Zoom products, separate BT adapter and the number of inputs.
The Zoom F6 is the ideal recorder for on the go, in a bag for professional productions. From semi-professionals to professionals, the F6 is easy to use and field recorder. The USB-C connection indicates that Zoom with the F6 is future-proof!