Zoom Q8

by | Jul 6, 2015 | Hardware

zoomq8dFinally, a decent HD video camera with excellent audio inputs!

You’ve seen me review other Zoom products on the pages of this blog.  

The Zoom H4, Zoom H4n, and Zoom H6n are all part of a parade of Zoom devices I’ve proudly owned.

But remember how I’ve preached about video, video, video?  As further testament, Facebook is not only pushing uploads of native video on their site (vs. linking to YouTube), but they’ve recently announced an initiative to begin revenue sharing of video as an incentive to post more pics on their site.

I know voice-actors are all about AUDIO…but trust me on this:  you must find a way to incorporate pictures (preferably moving pictures) in your online posts, or you will fall behind in your marketing efforts.

In my opinion, the Kodak Zi8 was a first decent attempt to incorporate an audio input with a decent video camera.  It has a kodaksmall-plug external mic input, which could be used with any number of available XLR converter plugs, but makes it less than top-quality, and besides, they don’t make it anymore.

The Zoom Q8 changes all that.  Video purists will find ways to pick-apart the video side of this composite device, but for those of us in audio production, there’s much to like about the way the Q8 handles audio.

zoomq8aThe first thing you notice about the Zoom Q8 is the small size, and the pivoting mic head.  While the mic attachment comes with Zoom’s standard X/Y Stereo mic configuration, that mic is detachable, andzoomq8b virtually any of the other mics available from Zoom with its H6n are attachable.  I chose to use the shotgun mic attachment in the video comparison I provide below, cause it’s the optional mic returning the best sound in my opinion.

The fold-out video viewer is color and also turns from front-to-back viewing.  There are very few zoomq8cmanual controls or buttons, except the VERY handy manual gain controls for the mic.  Everything else is controlled through the viewer touch screen…and that control is considerable.

From the Zoom specs: “…with support for high-resolution 24-bit/96kHz audio. A low-cut filter and foam windscreen allow you to eliminate low-frequency noise and rumble, and there are three Auto Gain settings, as well as a built-in compressor and limiter. Audio can be recorded along with video, or the Q8 can be used as a standalone stereo or four-channel audio-only recorder…”

Want more detailed specs? 

Audio formats: WAV (16/24-bit quantization, 44.1/48/96kHz sampling frequency)
AAC (64-320kbps bit rate, 48kHz sampling
Audio functions: Low-cut filter, Auto Gain (Concert/Solo/Meeting), compressor, limiter
L/R inputs:
X/Y mic (XYQ-8): 120° X/Y stereo format
Maximum sound pressure input: 140 dB SPL
Input gain: ∞ to +52 dB
Equivalent input noise: − 120 dBu or less
INPUT 1/2 Input connectors: TRS/XLR combo jacks
Input gain (PAD OFF): −∞ to 55 dB
Input gain (PAD ON): −∞ to 35 dB
Input impedance: 1.8 k Ω or more
Maximum input level: +22 dBu (PAD ON)
Phantom power: +12/+24/+48V (Global for INPUT 1 and 2)
Equivalent input noise: − 120 dBu or less

Below is a video I shot with the Q8 and my standard laptop webcam (MS HD LifeCam), so you can see the difference with the video.  The comparison also shows the difference between ambient webcam microphone vs. the Q8 audio…and even further, on the Q8…the difference between the shotgun mic and an XLR-input mic.

Finally, I point out in the video what I believe to be one of the strong-selling points:  the way the camera saves media.  I also talk about what I consider to be the device’s weakest features.  Total time: 4:10


Zoom Q8 Demo from Dave Courvoisier on Vimeo.



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