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Portable Recorder with low noise floor?
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Sienis
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#1
25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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Portable Recorder with low noise floor?

Im trying to find a robust high quality portable recorder to record outdoor sounds and other sounds as well (not music) that has a minimal noise floor

i´ve been looking at the:
- Tascam DR-07 MkII
- Zoom H4n

i´m not touching anything made by Edirol even with a 5 foot pole since all products i´ve bought that were Edirol has broken down..
(soundcard, midi keyboard, recorder)

i read the that the Sony PCMD50 is one of the best but it´s twice the price and way bigger so that one is out for me

i want it to have a mic input since i got a Rode NT4 that i might want to use on occation..

EDIT: i found a recorder comparison and so far seems like the Tascam DR-07 MkII has the lowest noisefloor at least from the ones compared in that test: http://magazine.dv247.com/2011/06/17...er-comparison/

Most of them had a horrible amount of noise

but between the Tascam DR-07 MkII:
http://soundcloud.com/robin-heyworth/tascam-dr07

and

Zoom H4n:
http://soundcloud.com/robin-heyworth/zoom-h4-n

the Tascam seems to have less noise but does have slightly muffled sound compared to the Zoom...
so the lower noise floor on the Tascam might just be because it doesn´t record as much of the high end and mid as the Zoom does

i´d love to hear both recording some bassier effect sounds.. since the Tascam might be better for low end... hard to tell how the Zoom would do in such a recording

any thoughts?

Last edited by Sienis; 25th April 2012 at 12:26 PM.. Reason: found new info again
#2
25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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polytope is offline
Sony PCM D50 is worth its price.

Check out its cousin, the PCM M10. Unbelievably low noise floor.
#3
25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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anthonythecat is offline
The link below has a good list of the recorders available and their noise floors. Note that my Zoom H2 sits at the bottom of the list, probably explains why it sounds so crappy and why I'm too in the market for a new quiet portable recorder. Been looking at the M10 as well but looks like it is no longer in production.

Avisoft Bioacoustics - Microphone Input Noise Comparision

Some good reviews of some audio recorders with some spoken word audio samples (so you can hear the self noise) are available here:

Transom
Sienis
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25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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Thanx guys!!

In the end those tests make me more certain about what i want to buy..

The Transom link was very useful!

but damnit.. the Sony PCM-D50 does sound 40% better than the Zoom H4n that i was leaning towards..

the Sony PCM-M10 sounds pretty good too.. better than the Zoom H4n as well..
guess i´m dropping Zoom all together now and will be looking for Sony
#5
25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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mathieujm is offline
Yes the Sony is good but no xlr input for your Nt4.

Look at the avisoft list. The second in the list is the FR2LE. It's really the top on the noise criteria. And it has plenty of other advantages for outdoor recordings.
Sienis
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25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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i got a small mic jack cable as well for the NT4

hmm.. the Fostex FR2-LE seem really big n bulky... think i´d rather have something that i can bring with me to gigs in other countries where i can record just random outdoor sounds
#7
25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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I had a zoom something and I took it back and bought marantz. The zoom was a piece of junk. I felt like I really dodged a bullet by taking that thing back within the return window. My needs are different from yours - I don't need an XLR input although that zoom had them. Anyways, the zoom was pretty dog gone junky and it was junk.

I also was using it for outdoor sounds. I got binaural mics for the marantz and I am quite happy. The Marantz has made it onto several tracks for release.
Sienis
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25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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i duno which one you have but i listened to the Marantz PMD 661 and the noise level was noticeably higher than the Sony´s...

thing is when i record outdoors i will mostly use the built-in mics and then most of the time do some compressing/limiting on the WAV file to hear the sounds that are further away so the noise level needs to be very low

i got my Rode NT4 just in case i want to try it out if it´s any better than the built-in mics.. which i suspect it is.. but i´m guessing about 80% of my recording will be done on the built-in mics since i record abroad in other countries and don´t wanna carry my expensive NT4 with me..
but i want to have the option to use it if i want

i would not have space for it anyway since i need most of the space for my gear and clothes
#9
29th April 2012
Old 29th April 2012
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#10
4th June 2012
Old 4th June 2012
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Johnmack is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by anthonythecat View Post
The link below has a good list of the recorders available and their noise floors. Note that my Zoom H2 sits at the bottom of the list, probably explains why it sounds so crappy and why I'm too in the market for a new quiet portable recorder. Been looking at the M10 as well but looks like it is no longer in production.

Avisoft Bioacoustics - Microphone Input Noise Comparision

Some good reviews of some audio recorders with some spoken word audio samples (so you can hear the self noise) are available here:

Transom
-95 db noise level on the H2, sounds quite low to me, try this test, load a piece of music into your DAW and normalise it to -95db, play it back and see what you hear. I suspect you will struggle to hear anything at all.

I noticed the Zoom H4n being used by Gary Barlow, to record bits for what may very well become one of the biggest selling records of 2012.

Sing - Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band featuring Military Wives - YouTube

so it can't be that bad.
#11
4th June 2012
Old 4th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firby View Post
I had a zoom something and I took it back and bought marantz. The zoom was a piece of junk. I felt like I really dodged a bullet by taking that thing back within the return window. My needs are different from yours - I don't need an XLR input although that zoom had them. Anyways, the zoom was pretty dog gone junky and it was junk.

I also was using it for outdoor sounds. I got binaural mics for the marantz and I am quite happy. The Marantz has made it onto several tracks for release.
That's not exactly helpful as Zoom has a range of products. I've been using the H4n for years, used on multiple short films and for interviews with the internal mics as well as a shotgun in and never had a failure, breakdown, random disassembly or too much noise. It's extremely flexible and handles really loud bands as easily as quiet nature sounds.
Perhaps the Marantz is better, and definitely suited better to you, but the Zoom is definitely not junk.
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#12
5th June 2012
Old 5th June 2012
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kingtut38 is offline
The pmd661 has basically the same noise level as the d50. I recommend an oade modded 661 which will decrease the noise level even more.
#13
7th July 2012
Old 7th July 2012
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biom is offline
don't want to start the same thread, but have one more issue. Which one is the most accurate and "sharp" when it comes to very close sound-recording? e.g.: fire crackles, wooden creaks, tiny taps, springs and that kind of field recordings, when the task is to capture close, sometimes tiny sources.

signal-to-noise factor along with bassy, rich sounds as much as possible
#14
13th July 2012
Old 13th July 2012
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trumpetlore is offline
Have you considered a Sound Devices product? I'm looking into the 552 myself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sienis View Post
Im trying to find a robust high quality portable recorder to record outdoor sounds and other sounds as well (not music) that has a minimal noise floor

i´d love to hear both recording some bassier effect sounds.. since the Tascam might be better for low end... hard to tell how the Zoom would do in such a recording

any thoughts?
#15
13th July 2012
Old 13th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trumpetlore View Post
Have you considered a Sound Devices product? I'm looking into the 552 myself...
The 552 is a mixer with a backup recorder. A 702 would be cheaper, smaller, have better pre's and better A/D conversion.
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