Zoom MicTrak M2, M3, and M4 Audio Recorders Announced – With 32-bit Float Recording

December 27th, 2022 Jump to Comment Section 14
Zoom MicTrak M2, M3, and M4 Audio Recorders Announced - With 32-bit Float Recording

The new Zoom MicTrak M2, M3, and M4 are audio recorders capable of 32-bit float recording and therefore lacking a gain knob. They feature a headphone jack for monitoring and recording audio to microSD cards. The M2 and M4 feature X/Y capsules for two tracks of audio recording and the M4 adds two more tracks via XLR ports. The M3 looks like an on-camera microphone and comes with a built-in directional capsule.

The Japanese audio gear manufacturer Zoom recently announced three new audio recorders with built-in microphones. The interesting feature is that all of them come with 32-bit float audio sampling technology for easier recording. Let’s take a look at the details.

New Zoom recorders with 32-bit float Recording

First, let’s focus on what is 32-bit float and why would you want it in your audio recorder. In short, this technology is designed to capture distortion-free sound regardless of its intensity. There is no need to adjust a gain knob when recording audio with 32-bit float because even very loud sounds will not clip. In fact, all three new MicTrak devices do not even have a gain knob anymore. As opposed to a traditional 24-bit audio recording, you can recover noise-free sounds that were recorded very silently, and at the same time, very loud sounds did not clip and did not get distorted.

The people from Zoom nicely summarized the key information about 32-bit float audio recording (including the post-production process) in this interesting article, so check it out if you want to know more.

Nowadays, the technology is not brand new anymore and there are many other recorders that have had it for a while. Zoom, for instance, included 32-bit float in its field recorders – Zoom F2 (and F2 BT), Zoom F3 (our article here), and Zoom F6. Now, 32-but float became the foundation of the new MicTrak series. Let’s take a brief look at these ones by one.

Zoom MicTrak M2

The affordable two-track recorder Zoom MicTrak M2 features a built-in X/Y mic capsule with stereo condenser microphones. For monitoring purposes, the recorder has an LCD screen with a waveform display and a 3.5mm headphone output. There are various control buttons on the front panel. The M2 features a mono mode for ENG application as well as an onboard normalization function.

There is a USB-C port on the side of the recorder that can turn the M2 into a USB Microphone. This is compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android (48 kHz at 24 or 32-bit Float). For some reason, however, Android does not support 32-bit float with this device. The good news is that the M2 can function as a USB microphone AND record to an SD card simultaneously.

Zoom MicTrak M2. Source: Zoom corp

It includes a mic clip to mount on a mic stand and runs on 2 AA batteries, providing up to 11-hour battery life. It can also be powered with AC power when needed. The body is relatively long compared to previous pocket recorders such as the H1 and it resembles the shape of a hand microphone with a shiny black plastic body.

Zoom MicTrak M3

The MicTrak M3 looks a bit different than the other two recorders. It actually looks like an on-camera microphone. Make no mistake, though – this is also a 32-bit float audio recorder. Feature-wise, it is very similar to the MicTrak M2. It also features the same USB-C port that accepts AC power and can turn the M3 into a USB microphone for all kinds of devices. There is a 3.5mm jack output to send the audio directly to the camera for backup and help with syncing the audio later on. The M3 will record a WAV audio with 32-bit float to a MicroSD card.

The biggest difference to the M2 is obviously the form factor and the built-in microphone. The M3 has a directional stereo capsule mounted on a shock-absorption mount and then to the cold shoe of a camera. While there is no gain knob thanks to 32-bit float technology, just like the M2, the device has volume up/down buttons to adjust the monitoring volume of the headphone jack.

Zoom MicTrak M3. Source: Zoom corp

There is a switch that can toggle between mono audio capture, 120° stereo, and 90° stereo. Just like the M2, the M3 also runs on two AA batteries that provide up to 12 hours of operation.

Zoom MicTrak M4

The M4 currently sits at the top of Zoom’s MicTrak line. It is a four-track audio recorder with a 32-bit float and a built-in timecode generator. Two tracks are recorded via the built-in stereo X/Y microphones and the other two tracks via two XLR/TRS inputs (with F-series preamps).

The device features a color LCD screen with a waveform display and an onboard normalization function. The timecode generator has a 3.5mm in/out connector

There are two 3.5mm outputs – a headphone output and a stereo line output for camera connection. The USB-C port provides the same functionality as the MicTrak M2 – USB microphone and powering. The Zoom MicTrak M4 runs on four AA batteries that provide up to 18-hour battery life.

Zoom MicTrak M4. Source: Zoom corp

EDIT: Interference and handling noise issues

In reaction to some comments underneath the article, I would like to include a short statement here. This article is only a short news post (hence the label “audio gear news” located by the featured image), the purpose of which is only to inform about a new product that could be interesting for our readers. This is not a review – that means I did not test these recorders and I am not recommending them in any way.

It seems that the M2, M3, and M4 MicTrak recorders have some issues according to some reviewers. One of these is poor RF shielding which is the case with all three recorders from the MicTrak line. As a result, the recorders might pick up unwanted interference or static sounds as tested by other reviewers. Another issue is the poor dampening of the microphone capsules (especially with the M2) that causes the mics to pick up handling noises. Please always check trusted reviews before commiting to buy a product.

Price and availability

All three new audio recorders are available for purchase right now. The prices range from $183 to $400 depending on the model:

  • Zoom M2 MicTrak retails for $199.99 (around €222 plus VAT in Europe)
  • Zoom M3 MicTrak retails for $183.58 (around €221 plus VAT in Europe)
  • Zoom M4 MicTrak retails for $399.99 (around €443 plus VAT in Europe)

Do you use an audio recorder with 32-bit float technology for your work? How do you like it compared to a “traditional” 24-bit? What do you think about the new Zoom MicTrak series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


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