I’m planning on getting an advanced recorder — I’m currently using the H6 — and wanted your opinion about the Zoom F8’s performance when compared to the 702T. I’ve worked with Sound Devices recorders before and I find the sound quality extraordinary, but still didn’t have the opportunity to test the F8. Taking into account that the price difference between both is huge, would the F8 be a good investment or should I go with the 702T instead?
I have a Zoom F8 as well a H6, and there is a big diference between the two. all i can say is the F8 es really good piece of gear for the price, the preamps are really quiet the only thing with the recorder is that the limiters are in digital domain wich means that if a saturation occurs the limiter is post saturation, for that reason i buy a used SD 442 in really good conditions that has 4 preamps with direct output for each channel (balanced) I connect each one to the Zoom F8 across the line in TRS plug. With this i have 4 channels with analog limiters that i use when I really need it. The F8 has a function that lets you record in dual channel this means that the imputs 1,2,3,4, can are copied to channels 5,6,7,8, and you can set diferent level of gain in each one, so you can have a copy of the source and if saturate in the first 4 channels you have a copy with low levels in 5,6,7,8. And this occur in the analog domain. In this mode you can only record 4 channels.
A while ago I did a comparison between the F8 and a SD 552.
Also, the most obvious difference is the channel count (8 vs 2 channels). There is also the F4 with 4 channels and even cheaper than the F8. However, I don’t know if there are more differences between the F8 and the F4 than the channel count.
This is not really answering your question directly but here is something to think about – Sound Devices recently scrapped the 7 series except for the 702T and the 788. The 702T is still comes with a firewire 400 port which is not exactly current technology. I have no inside knowledge at all on this, but suggests to me that the 702 is either right at the end of its run or very close. Since it is a popular bit of gear I would expect something coming down the pipe to replace it or it being redesigned with more current technology. So if you decide to go that route you might benefit by waiting a bit to see what shakes out? Either you might like the new stuff or the price of second hand 702s might go down as people sell there old ones to purchase the new version (or however things turn out?).
I also have not used the F8, so I can not comment on it compared to a 702 which I do own and love very much. I bought mine used 6 years ago and it has never had any issues at for me. Rock solid.
Good luck with your decision.
*** Again I have no insider info at all I am just using common sense to make a guess on the 702’s future. I have been wrong many times before though! ***
So, I have no experience with the F8 – there are a few reviews online including this one with demo recordings http://www.soundandrecording.de/equipment/fieldrecorder-klangvergleich-zoom-f8-und-h4n-vs-sound-devices/
Regardless, I think what you need to ask is:
What recording channel count do you think you will need now and in the future?
What type of source are you recording – will the digital limiters be a negative on the F8?