Zoom F2 & F2-BT Ultracompact Field Audio Recorders Announced
Zoom F2 Audio Recorder Featured.jpg

Zoom F2 and Zoom F2-BT are new ultra-compact field audio recorders with 32-bit float technology that do not have to adjust the gain due to 32-bit audio recordings. The F2-BT offers built-in Bluetooth for app remote control and time code synchronization. The recorders can be pre-ordered from $ 150 with an included lavalier microphone.

If you want to record high quality audio with very compact devices, these are exciting times. Just a few days ago, Tentacle Sync finally started delivering its Track E audio recorder with integrated timecode synchronization (announced at IBC 2019). Zoom just announced a similar device.

The Japanese manufacturer Zoom has been known for its audio recorders for many years and already has many popular products in its portfolio. The latest addition, announced just a few days ago, is the Zoom F2, an ultra-compact field audio recorder. Let's take a quick look.

Zoom F2 – Adjust and forget?

The Zoom F2 recorder uses 32-bit float technology that allows it to capture the softest and loudest sounds without additional leveling, while avoiding distortion, clipping and low-noise performance. In this mode, the gain no longer needs to be adjusted. Zoom has created a video in which the 32-bit float recording is explained and compared with the 24-bit linear recording.

There are two high-quality recording modes to choose from: 32-bit / 44.1 kHz or 32-bit / 48 kHz, both in the mono-compressed BWF format (Broadcast Wave File). In addition, the integrated 80 Hz low-cut filter can be activated to reduce rumble and bass formation in the recordings.

Zoom F2 and F2 BT audio recorders announced. Source: Zoom

Another useful feature of the recorder is the hold switch, which prevents accidental interruption of recording by turning off all physical buttons on the recorder. Thanks to its pocket-sized dimensions (2.7 x 0.9 x 1.8 inches / 57.5 x 22.4 x 46.4 mm) and its light weight (1.1 ounces, 32 g – without batteries) the Zoom F2 can be kept in a talent's pocket or attached to a belt using the steel clip supplied.

Including nicer microphone

The supplied LMF-2 lavalier microphone has a flat design, an omnidirectional polar pattern and a locking connector. It comes with three WSL-1 windshields and the Zoom MCL-1 clip. F2 can record microphone or line-level signals via its 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack input. Since it provides a plug voltage of 2.5 V, users can connect any standard condenser microphone. Mind you, lava microphones included with recorders are usually not the best quality. It's a bit like a kit lens on a camera. It's fine for what it is, but of course if you use a better microphone you will get better results with this recorder.

Zoom F2 and F2-BT come with a lavalier microphone. Source: Zoom

Connection & power supply

A lockable 3.5mm stereo output socket with dedicated buttons for increasing / decreasing the volume allows easy routing to a camera, secondary recorder or headphones for surveillance. The recorder has simple one-touch controls and a long battery life of up to 18 hours with two AAA batteries.

Recording media

The Zoom F2 uses MicroSD cards (up to 512 GB capacity) to store the recorded audio. In contrast to the Tentacle Sync Track E, the memory card has to be purchased separately. The files can also be transferred via the built-in USB-C port. Zoom includes a free license to Steinberg WaveLab Cast software that allows users to edit, enhance, mix, and export audio.

Zoom F2 and F2 BT audio recorders announced. Source: Zoom

Zoom F2-BT – Bluetooth synchronization

The Bluetooth version of the recorder – the Zoom F2-BT – can be paired with the free Zoom F2 Control app on a smartphone, which allows users to wirelessly start / stop recordings, display the battery level, adjust the output volume, the low-cut Control filtering and more.

Zoom F2-BT can communicate with the Zoom app. Source: Zoom

You can also pair the F2-BT with an UltraSync BLUE device from Timecode Systems to receive and write timecode for recorded files. The F2-BT of course also offers all functions of the Zoom F2.

Price and availability

Both Zoom F2 and Zoom F2 BT recorders can now be pre-ordered. Shipping is expected to start in mid-December 2020. In addition to the audio recorder itself, the package contains the LMF-2 lavalier microphone with clip, three windshields and two AAA batteries.

The price for the Zoom F2 (without Bluetooth) was set at 150 US dollars (152 euros plus VAT in Europe). The Zoom F2-BT costs 200 US dollars (196 euros plus VAT in Europe).

What do you think of the new pocket-sized Zoom F2 field audio recorder? Are you planning to use it for your production? Let us know in the comments below the article.

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