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Portable Recorder / Mics
Old 2nd January 2020
Here for the gear

Portable Recorder / Mics

Hi -

I'm trying to figure out the best option for purchasing a portable recorder and mics. I'm mainly looking to record solo piano right now, but I will probably also use it in other situations down the road, such as jazz combo.

I've been looking at the zoom H5 and H6, as well as the zoom F4 and F6 and the Sound Devices MixPre-3 II. For mics, I'm mainly looking at the zoom capsules, the Audio-Technica AT2022 X/Y Stereo Microphone, and 2 Rode NT5 mics with additional omni capsules. I've also considered the Tascam DR-100mkIII.

I'd like to keep the budget as low as possible, but at the max it's around $1,000 for recorder and mics.

I'm wondering how important 32-bit float and getting to 192 sample rate are. If I don't need these, it seems I can be ok with the zoom h 5 or 6 might be better off investing the rest in mics. On the other hand, it might be nice to have the option to use the the zoom f or mix pre as an interface with my laptop when I have it for more serious projects.

I definitely need 2 tracks, but I think I would probably need 3 tracks at the most. I'm trying to balance portability and ease of set up and take down with quality.

Any advice or other options I might consider?

Thanks -
Old 2nd January 2020
Lives for gear
Pindrive's Avatar
Tascam Dp-008ex has two built in mics or you can plug in a couple of your own. It records up to 8 tracks(2 at a time). Then you can compress, add some effects, mix down, master & put on a card to transfer to computer. I use it to track my stereo mixes to, then normalize & put into the computer for mastering. It has been a solid unit for me.
Old 2nd January 2020
Here for the gear

thanks. hadn't considered this one
Old 2nd January 2020
Lives for gear
The Zoom H6 can be used as an audio interface.
Old 7th January 2020
Gear Guru
Sound Devices also
Old 7th January 2020
Lives for gear

Sound device = best choice (mostly because of the build quality and mic preamp quality...but all the rest too)
It sounds great!
mics :
Pair of Oktava mk012
""""""" Line audio CM4

NT5s aren't bad..but a bit on the bright side.
Old 7th January 2020
Gear Maniac

Sound Devices
Old 4 weeks ago
Tascam DR-100mkIII because it has digital inputs so you can bring an external A/D if necessary. Very versatile box.
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Head

Sound Devices!!
Although Zoom recorders are decent sounding and the brand changed the whole location recorder game, Sound Devices Recorders have significant higher sound quality.
The mic pres in particular are much better than the Zooms or any other brand (Tascam, Roland..)
Line Audio CM4 for cardioid and Line Audio OM1 for omnis.
Oktavas are good too (but more expensive with cardio & omni caps)
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Guru
Originally Posted by johannburkard View Post
Tascam DR-100mkIII because it has digital inputs so you can bring an external A/D if necessary. Very versatile box.
I used my Korg with DI. Great way to use hard discs wish Sound Devices would do a DI.....
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear
trick fall's Avatar

I've been very happy with the Zoom H4, but haven't recorded anything as delicate as acoustic piano, or a jazz trio. It does a great job of recording my band's rehearsals though and I did do some field recording of a stream that came out very nice.
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Maniac

I've used both ZOOM and SD.
Zoom has improved with the F series (F4/F8), preamps are cleaner, with much more gain than the H series (H4..H6)
Zoom's getting closer to Sound Devices, while being cheaper and more inputs.

But ... Sound Devices still has the edge sound wise :
I prefer the sound of the Kashmir pres, and limiters with 76dB gain make for incredible headroom (pretty much impossible to clip)
These are true analog limiters as opposed to digital limiters in the Zoom
HPF is pretty useful too (also analog) and the headphone amp/output is really good.

Finally the Sound Devices can be synced with a DSLR camera via HDMI.

I second the recommendation for Line Audio mics, you will need to spend much more money to top these.
CM4s have an cardioid pattern...but more like an open cardioid, you get the best of both worlds from cardioid and omni (and you can add a pair of OM1 for real omnis)
I find them better sounding than NT5s NT4s (Rodes are not bad but lack a bit of low end and are on the bright side) I prefer oktava mk012s to NT5s for piano...I'm not sure oktavas beat the CM4s/ OM1 though.
Yes compared to the Schoeps the Line Audio mics lack a tiny bit of detail but they come close and with one Schoeps you can buy 12 CM4s...
Some will say they're noisier than the Shoeps... but 16dB self noise is not bad at all, and more than good enough for piano or a live concert. (Rode's self noise is also 16dB and oktavas 18dB)
Although AT is a great brand, the 2022 will not give you as much flexibility as 2 separate mics, and the 20 series are not the best.

Last edited by Niconic; 4 weeks ago at 03:19 PM..
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