Spec Sheet: Zoom F4 vs Sound Devices MixPre 3

Important Notes For Zoom F4 vs Sound Devices MixPre 3

This spec sheet will never answer your questions like “Which sounds better?” but will give you better insights if you are comparing these 2 units for certain criteria that is important or essential to your workflow. my last comparison was a bit more general on the Zoom F4 vs MixPre-6 so im now going to take a more data driven look into each.


This is a major factor for a lot of people starting out or even looking for a backup recorder of some kind. Prices change per market so chose a random distributor for both prices.

**Zoom F4: ~£589
****Sound Devices MixPre-3: **~£675

Inputs + Tracks

Inputs are the physical inputs you can plug microphones into and then tracks also includes any mix tracks or other recordable sources.

**Zoom F4: 4x XLR Inputs / Input 5-6 Via Zoom Adapter / 8 Tracks Total with inputs 1-6 as ISO + 1 Stereo Mix
****Sound Devices MixPre-3: **3x XLR inputs / 5 Tracks total with stereo mix track + 3 ISO tracks.

Zoom F4 vs Sound Devices MixPre 3 Limiters

**Zoom F4: Digital Limiter with little information
Sound Devices MixPre-3: **Limiter at all gain stages, range > 40dB. First stage analog, subsequent stages digital.


**Zoom F4: 2x XLR Out + Stereo Aux via 3.5mm
Sound Devices MixPre-3: **3.5mm TRS stereo unbalanced, 500 ohm output Z, +7.8dBu max output level

Sample Rates

Zoom F4:

  • 44.1 kHz
  • 47.952 kHz
  • 48 kHz
  • 48.048 kHz
  • 88.2 kHz
  • 96 kHz
  • 192 kHz

Sound Devices MixPre-3:

  • 44.1 kHz
  • 48 kHz
  • 96 kHz

Equivalent Input Noise

**Zoom F4: −127 dBu or less (A-weighted, +75 dB input gain, 150Ω input)
Sound Devices MixPre-3: **-130dBV (-128dBu) max (A-weighting, gain = 76dB, 150 ohm source impedance)

Frequency Response

**Zoom F4: 10 Hz – 80 kHz +0.5 dB/−1.5 dB (192 kHz sampling rate)
Sound Devices MixPre-3: ** 10Hz to 40kHz +/- 0.5dB re 1kHz @ 96kHz sample rate

Zoom F4 vs Sound Devices MixPre 3 THD + Noise

**Zoom F4: There is no reference for this so must assume it slightly higher like the F8 specs @ 0.009% max (1kHz, 22Hz-22kHz BW, Input Gain min, -10dBu input)
Sound Devices MixPre-3: **0.005% max (@1kHz, 22-22kHz BW, gain=20dB, -10dBu in)


**Zoom F4: **BNC – LTC or Normal Timecode
**Sound Devices MixPre-3: **Aux 3.5mm or HDMI – LTC or HDMI Feeding

Summation: Zoom F4 vs Sound Devices MixPre 3

Depending on your need I think the main thing that will swing it is if you need normal timecode and not LTC and more outputs along with being on a budget I would lean to Zoom F4.

That being said for beautiful preamps, arguably better limiters and better noise ratio then the Sound Devices MixPre-3 would be the one I would lean towards.

Matt Price

Matt Price

I am a London Based Sound Mixer and Sound Recordist working on Feature Films, Creative Content, Documentaries and Commericials.

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