Points in Focus Photography

Zoom F6 Line Out Scratch Sound Noise Issue, and Workaround

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In a recent video by Curtis Judd talking about the Zoom F6’s line out noise issue, he proposed 2 workarounds that can be used to deal with the problem.

  1. Using a Line to mic attenuator cable
  2. Setting your camera to line level input and running the output at line level

However, if you don’t have a camera with a line in, and you don’t have an attenuator cable (yet), you’re not completely out of luck.

In my testing, you can get completely usable and even acceptable — meaning enough dynamic range without an audible hiss to cover the dynamic range of most working environments — results by taking a page from the old VDSLR micing playbook. That is running the lowest possible gain on your camera, and the least amount of attenuation on the F6 while still using a standard TRS patch cable.

Just how acceptable?

In reviewing the audio that I recoded for this video, the noise floor in my recording environment was clearly the limiting factor. Both the camera recorded line out scratch audio and the F6’s internally recorded 32-bit float audio recorded in the F6 had nearly the same dynamic range used (~ 46.5 dB), nearly the same peak loudness (~ -3.2 dB), and minimum RMS ( -64 dB for the camera, -62dB for the internal file). The differences being entirely within margin of error for how I matched the camera’s gain to the recorder.

In this video, I’ll show you how to setup the F6’s line out to send scratch audio to a Canon EOS 5D mark 4 without using a attenuator cable, while maintaining a good enough signal to still be used either as is or for syncing your 32-bit files in post production.

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