Zoom F2 and Zoom F2-BT are new ultra-compact field audio recorders with 32-bit float technology that do not require setting the gain due to 32-bit audio recording. The F2-BT offers built-in Bluetooth for app remote control and timecode sync. The recorders can be pre-ordered from $150 with an included lavalier microphone.
If you want to capture high-quality audio with very compact devices, these are exciting times. Only a few days ago, Tentacle Sync finally started shipping its Track E – audio recorder with timecode sync built-in (announced at IBC 2019). Zoom just announced a similar device.
Known for its audio recorders for many years already, Japanese manufacturer Zoom already has many popular products in its portfolio. The newest addition announced only a few days ago is the Zoom F2, an ultracompact field audio recorder. Let’s take a short look at it.
Zoom F2 – Set and forget?
The Zoom F2 recorder uses 32-bit float technology that can capture the softest and loudest sounds at the without additional levelling, while avoiding distortion, clipping, and maintaining low-noise performance. It is not necessary to adjust gain anymore when in this mode. Zoom made a video explaining the 32-bit float recording and comparing it to the 24-bit linear.
There are two high-quality recording modes to choose from – 32-bit / 44.1 kHz or 32-bit / 48 kHz, both in mono uncompressed BWF (Broadcast Wave File) format. Further, the onboard 80 Hz low-cut filter can be engaged to reduce rumble and bass buildup in the recordings.
Another useful feature of the recorder is the hold switch that prevents unintentional recording interruption as it turns off all the physical buttons of the recorder. Thanks to its pocket-sized dimensions (2.3 x 0.9 x 1.8″ / 57.5 x 22.4 x 46.4 mm) and low weight (1.1oz, 32g – without batteries), the Zoom F2 can be kept in a talent’s pocket or attached to a belt via the included steel clip.
Included lavelier microphone
The included LMF-2 lavalier microphone features a low-profile design, omnidirectional polar pattern, and locking connector. It comes with three WSL-1 windscreens and the Zoom MCL-1 clip. F2 can accommodate mic- or line-level signals via its locking 3.5mm stereo mini-jack input. Since it supplies 2.5V plug-in power, users can attach any common condenser mic. Mind you that included lav mics with recorders are usually not the greatest quality. It’s a bit like a kit lens on a camera. It’s okay for what it is but using a better mic will of course get you better results with this recorder.
Connection & powering
A locking 3.5mm stereo output jack with dedicated volume up/down buttons enables straightforward routing to a camera, secondary recorder, or headphones for monitoring. The recorder features simple one-touch controls and a long battery life of up to 18 hours with two AAA batteries.
The Zoom F2 uses MicroSD cards (up to 512GB capacity) to store the recorded audio. As opposed to the Tentacle Sync Track E, the memory card needs to be purchased separately. The files can also be transferred via the built-in USB-C port. Zoom includes a free license for Steinberg WaveLab Cast software that enables users to edit, enhance, mix, and export audio.
Zoom F2-BT – Bluetooth sync
The Bluetooth version of the recorder – the Zoom F2-BT – can pair with the free Zoom F2 Control app on a smartphone that enables users to wirelessly start/stop recordings, display battery levels, adjust output volume, control low-cut filtering, and more.
You can also pair the F2-BT with an UltraSync BLUE device by Timecode Systems to receive and write a timecode to recorded files. The F2-BT, of course, offers all the functions of the Zoom F2 as well.
Price and Availability
Both Zoom F2 and Zoom F2-BT recorders can now already be pre-ordered. Shipping is expected to start in mid-December 2020. Apart from the audio recorder itself, the package includes the LMF-2 lavalier microphone with a clip, three windscreens, and two AAA batteries.
The price for the Zoom F2 (without Bluetooth) has been set to $150 (€152 plus VAT in Europe). The Zoom F2-BT will retail for $200 (€196 plus VAT in Europe).
What do you think about the new Zoom F2 pocket-sized field audio recorder? Do you plan on using it for your production? Let us know in the comments section below the article.