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Budget preamp/recorder to use with CM4
Old 3rd March 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Budget preamp/recorder to use with CM4

I'm looking at doing live recordings of a string quartet and small ensembles.

I just bought a pair of cm4s and was going to use them with a zoom H5, but now I realize I may need something better then the H5 that will give me clean gains.

For someone on a budget, would you recommend something like the DR70D as a good recorder to start with? I'm looking for something with 4 xlr inputs, if possible, in case I want to add more mics later.

I also have a laptop/ipad that I could use with a preamp device.

Another thought is to just buy some Fetheads to get started to use with an H5, but I don't know if this would be smart financially if I keep adding mics.
Old 3rd March 2020
  #2
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TVPostSound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojostache View Post
I'm looking at doing live recordings of a string quartet and small ensembles.

I just bought a pair of cm4s and was going to use them with a zoom H5, but now I realize I may need something better then the H5 that will give me clean gains.

For someone on a budget, would you recommend something like the DR70D as a good recorder to start with? I'm looking for something with 4 xlr inputs, if possible, in case I want to add more mics later.

I also have a laptop/ipad that I could use with a preamp device.

Another thought is to just buy some Fetheads to get started to use with an H5, but I don't know if this would be smart financially if I keep adding mics.
Fetheads don't pass phantom power!!


A used Mixpre 3 would be your best value
Old 4th March 2020
  #3
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojostache View Post
I'm looking at doing live recordings of a string quartet and small ensembles.

I just bought a pair of cm4s and was going to use them with a zoom H5, but now I realize I may need something better then the H5 that will give me clean gains.

For someone on a budget, would you recommend something like the DR70D as a good recorder to start with? I'm looking for something with 4 xlr inputs, if possible, in case I want to add more mics later.

I also have a laptop/ipad that I could use with a preamp device.

Another thought is to just buy some Fetheads to get started to use with an H5, but I don't know if this would be smart financially if I keep adding mics.
There is a model of Fethead - the Fethead Phantom - that will pass P48 but, before you spend any money on gear, why not try out the CM4 with the Zoom H5...I think it will probably work fine unless you are recording very quiet sources. And I can vouch for the preamps on the DR70D, as I own one: they will provide enough clean gain for a CM4 too.
Old 4th March 2020
  #4
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

+1 used MixPre-3

Or for even cheaper, get a used MixPre-D and record into your phone.

-Mike
Old 6th March 2020
  #5
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voltronic's Avatar
 

For an inexpensive but high-quality 2-channel preamp, I enthusiastically recommend a used Sound Devices MixPre / Shure FP24. I have used this combo for years with my CM3s.

Here are a few on eBay I just found. They also pop up every so often on Taperssection.com.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shure-FP24-...n/192977127970
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sound-Devic...r/112449935214
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sound-Devic...e/324059643040
Old 6th March 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
If you do get the Shure FP24, be sure to use the 48 volt and not the 15 volt onboard phantom option.

Even though the Line Audio spec for the CM3/CM4 says:
"Phantom power: 12 - 48V (P48 recommended for best performance)"

...'best performance' is a code for lowest noise and highest headroom/overload avoidance or dynamic range capture.

If you're operating down at the 12-15 volt end of that phantom pwr range, you can expect precisely the compromised and hissy mic performance that you seek to now escape from !
Old 7th March 2020
  #7
Gear Addict
 

It sounds to me you may want to keep expanding in the future. Personally, I much prefer dedicated recorders to interfaces for laptops/iPads. That being the case, I need recorders that have digital I/O so I can use external ADCs and DACs coupled with external mic pres if I choose. If you want to go the recorder rout, I'd just hang off and save some extra cash and get a recorder with digital I/Os, allowing you more options in the future.
Old 8th March 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
Compared to what the Sound Devices 7xx series used to cost, the Mixpres are so much more affordable. Why not save up for a Mixpre?
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