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<$500 Portable DSLR Audio Recorder
Old 9th June 2017
  #1
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Thread Starter
<$500 Portable DSLR Audio Recorder

Do you guys have any suggestions on a low noise/high gain recorder for use with a DSLR? So far I've found...
  1. Zoom H6 (Heard it's noisier than alternatives)
  2. Tascam DR-60D MKII (Large/don't know much about it)
  3. Tascam DR-70D (Don't know much about it)
  4. Tascam DR-680 MKII (Doesn't look like it'll mount to a tripod/DSLR)
  5. Tascam DR-701D (Don't know much about it)

I'm currently upgrading my church's audio/video recording.. It would seem that a DSLR+audio recorder is the cheapest/modular way to accomplish this. I started out with a Zoom H4n Pro + Rode NTG-2, but found the preamps on the H4n to be quite poor at the gain required to "drive" the NTG-2.
Old 10th June 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
1) not familiar with the zoom
2)60d has two xlr inputs and a 1\8 stereo input. There are physical gain controls to adjust the level out to your DSLR.
3)70d has four xlr inputs. I have read that the camera level is set once you hit record unless you adjust overall gain...i could be mistaken about the details. There isn't a physical control wheel for separately adjusting camera gain like the 60d.
4)680 IMO is overkill for dslr use, IMO. Its a 12v recorder. 60d and 70d can be powered with cell phone batteries.
5)701 has time code over HDMI if your DSLR supports that option.
Old 10th June 2017
  #3
RPC
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The new Sound Devices Mixpre-3 is a little outside your price range ($650) but in all other respects seems just what the doctor ordered.
Old 10th June 2017
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
1) not familiar with the zoom
2)60d has two xlr inputs and a 1\8 stereo input. There are physical gain controls to adjust the level out to your DSLR.
3)70d has four xlr inputs. I have read that the camera level is set once you hit record unless you adjust overall gain...i could be mistaken about the details. There isn't a physical control wheel for separately adjusting camera gain like the 60d.
4)680 IMO is overkill for dslr use, IMO. Its a 12v recorder. 60d and 70d can be powered with cell phone batteries.
5)701 has time code over HDMI if your DSLR supports that option.
Which would you choose for this application, may I ask?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RPC View Post
The new Sound Devices Mixpre-3 is a little outside your price range ($650) but in all other respects seems just what the doctor ordered.
Actually, I just scored a great deal on a DSLR, so that frees up some of my budget to put towards a sound recorder. Could you elaborate on why this is your recommendation? I'm still pretty green when it comes to professional recording!
Old 10th June 2017
  #5
RPC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clanderson View Post
Could you elaborate on why this is your recommendation? I'm still pretty green when it comes to professional recording!
You specified low noise/high gain - the Mixpre-3 will do up to 76dB analog plus 20dB digital gain. It's designed specifically to fit under a DSLR. It's brand new and nobody has much experience with it, but the early reviews are very positive. Look at the thread "New Sound Devices Recorders!"
Old 10th June 2017
  #6
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Post #4--answer to first question: Maybe none of the above for other reasons.

Good video and audio requires a lot of things to come together just right.

-to start with, the lighting and audio capture has to be right.
-church lighting tends to be dim
-dim light means you have to have large aperture lens that cost $$$
-some people are just uncomfortable having video made of themselves
-then's there the audio recording side that costs more $$$
-then there's the editing process
-then there's the question of how it gets used and distributed.

I see some churches putting up video or streaming services and I ask myself whether they've done all the work necessary to obtain the copyright clearances for the copyrighted music recorded on their video? I also ask myself how many views they are getting and how much impact it really has to justify the level of investment and work involved.

For me, I'd rather have a few great photos and put that $500 into a lens budget.
Old 10th June 2017
  #7
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You didn't say how many inputs & tracks you need, but take a look at the Fostex DC-R302 (3 channels/2 track). I used it a couple of times, and it really sounds great, imo better then a Zoom. Also has a great headphone amp and functions as a DSLR-remote. The Fostex is already discontinued, but you can have it fairly cheap on E-bay.
Tascam 701D will be of similar quality.
About DSLR: if you wanna do hour-long recordings, a DSLR is not the best choice. Many will overheat before that, or simply stop after half an hour. For long form recordings you'd best get a 'real' Camcorder. Exception to that rule would be a Panasonic G series camera, which is optimised for video.
Old 10th June 2017
  #8
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
Post #4--answer to first question: Maybe none of the above for other reasons.

Good video and audio requires a lot of things to come together just right.

-to start with, the lighting and audio capture has to be right.
-church lighting tends to be dim
-dim light means you have to have large aperture lens that cost $$$
-some people are just uncomfortable having video made of themselves
-then's there the audio recording side that costs more $$$
-then there's the editing process
-then there's the question of how it gets used and distributed.

I see some churches putting up video or streaming services and I ask myself whether they've done all the work necessary to obtain the copyright clearances for the copyrighted music recorded on their video? I also ask myself how many views they are getting and how much impact it really has to justify the level of investment and work involved.

For me, I'd rather have a few great photos and put that $500 into a lens budget.
I understand your concerns, but we have everything pretty much taken care of legally (copyrights etc.) and this equipment will be used for recording services (for people who miss a Sunday), classes, skits/interviews and weekly "Life Group" lessons. We have considered lighting and the impact of the room on video/sound and are making improvements there as well. Like I said, I definitely understand your concerns though. I believe in many cases, it's better to wait and do nothing than do something in poor quality. As far as the price/impact ratio, we've thoughtfully and prayerfully considered this as well. I volunteer about 15hrs a week trying to make something meaningful and high quality with the dated, subpar equipment at my disposal. I've been waiting many years to get the budget (and opportunity) to do this. It'll be a learning experience, but it's clear we need to move forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmann View Post
You didn't say how many inputs & tracks you need, but take a look at the Fostex DC-R302 (3 channels/2 track). I used it a couple of times, and it really sounds great, imo better then a Zoom. Also has a great headphone amp and functions as a DSLR-remote. The Fostex is already discontinued, but you can have it fairly cheap on E-bay.
Tascam 701D will be of similar quality.
About DSLR: if you wanna do hour-long recordings, a DSLR is not the best choice. Many will overheat before that, or simply stop after half an hour. For long form recordings you'd best get a 'real' Camcorder. Exception to that rule would be a Panasonic G series camera, which is optimised for video.
Actually, the DSLR I mentioned getting a great deal on happens to be a Panasonic GH4! That 29m 59s bureaucratic nonsense is amusingly ridiculous, hah.
Old 10th June 2017
  #9
RPC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clanderson View Post
That 29m 59s bureaucratic nonsense is amusingly ridiculous, hah.
I got caught by this when I first started using my DSLR for video. I ended up purchasing a used Ninja-2. (ProRes was quite the eye-opener (sorry).) If you don't need 4K, they're available cheaper than ever on the 'bay.
Old 11th June 2017
  #10
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Why not just use a video camera rather than a DSLR?.........

Video cameras are designed to do what you are wanting to do, DSLRs are still pic cameras. (its a bit like eating soup with a fork..yes you can do it but a spoon is better).
A video camera will save hundreds of hours over a year in post production time...What is your time worth?

Why on earth have you paired a Rode NTG2 with a Zoom H4n? there is SO MANY threads out there on the web about this as a bad combination.

Sony, Cannon, Panasonic all have cameras in the 'sub' broadcast range that would suit your situation.
Old 11th June 2017
  #11
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Thread Starter
Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
Why not just use a video camera rather than a DSLR?.........

Video cameras are designed to do what you are wanting to do, DSLRs are still pic cameras. (its a bit like eating soup with a fork..yes you can do it but a spoon is better).
A video camera will save hundreds of hours over a year in post production time...What is your time worth?
Clearly the budget. You can get a much higher quality DSLR for the price of a very low end camcorder. I'd have to spend much more to get a camcorder of comparable quality while losing some of the flexibility. I suspect you'll have a gripe with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
Why on earth have you paired a Rode NTG2 with a Zoom H4n? there is SO MANY threads out there on the web about this as a bad combination.
Did you just come in here to vent, or have you never made a mistake in your life? I had an H4n and happened to get an NTG-2 practically free. Subsequently I found out the H4n has some poor preamps. Does that appease you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
Sony, Cannon, Panasonic all have cameras in the 'sub' broadcast range that would suit your situation.
Right. Thanks.
Old 11th June 2017
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clanderson View Post
Clearly the budget. You can get a much higher quality DSLR for the price of a very low end camcorder. I'd have to spend much more to get a camcorder of comparable quality while losing some of the flexibility. I suspect you'll have a gripe with this.


Did you just come in here to vent, or have you never made a mistake in your life? I had an H4n and happened to get an NTG-2 practically free. Subsequently I found out the H4n has some poor preamps. Does that appease you?


Right. Thanks.
The answer is NO I did not come here to vent.... Lots of people buy a DSLR as an intro to video, but by the time you get the camera, the lenses, the audio setup it ends up more costly than a sub broadcast video camera..... You can do the costings for yourself.

I also have a H4n and fed with the right signal level it can deliver amazing results, infact I have done many TV network commercials with it.

People often quote 'quality' of the DSLR while the picture quality is VERY good, what is the point of having great video and rubbish audio (unless you are shooting silent movies)..... Video production is all about balance and compromise. (or thats what 40+ years of working in the TV broadcast industry has taught me)

How do you intend to mic the church or are you using the camera 'top' mic....If your intent is to use only the top mic quality is not high on your list of priorities.
If you intend to use the PA mix split how are you going to get it to your mixer / recorder?
Old 11th June 2017
  #13
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
The answer is NO I did not come here to vent.... Lots of people buy a DSLR as an intro to video, but by the time you get the camera, the lenses, the audio setup it ends up more costly than a sub broadcast video camera..... You can do the costings for yourself.

I also have a H4n and fed with the right signal level it can deliver amazing results, infact I have done many TV network commercials with it.

People often quote 'quality' of the DSLR while the picture quality is VERY good, what is the point of having great video and rubbish audio (unless you are shooting silent movies)..... Video production is all about balance and compromise. (or thats what 40+ years of working in the TV broadcast industry has taught me)

How do you intend to mic the church or are you using the camera 'top' mic....If your intent is to use only the top mic quality is not high on your list of priorities.
If you intend to use the PA mix split how are you going to get it to your mixer / recorder?
I'm sorry, it seemed aggressive when I read your reply. I don't want to be spiteful, I apologize. I'm just (trying to do) doing the best with the time/knowledge/money I have.

I was able to purchase the Panasonic GH4, lens, batteries and extras for under $1000. I haven't worked out how to mic the church, but our pastor's headworn mic is fed into our camera with fantastic great results. Ultimately I'd like to get some sort of area mic(?) for the audience.
Old 11th June 2017
  #14
Lives for gear
The gh4 is listed as a supported camera for the dr701d near the end of this page. Product: DR-701D | TASCAM

I have no experience to say how well time code stays in sync between these two devices. If it holds sync, that could be a timesaver.

But I would carefully look at the sound devices offerings because of their reputation for quality products and customer service after the sale. I understand that there is a waiting list to buy one of the new sound device recorders at these new price points.

The simple way to record is to feed the soundboard into two channels of the recorder and then have an audience mic or mics into one or more other channels of the recorder. Then mix to taste.

Edit gh4 mentioned as compatible camera by Paul Isaacs of sound devices in this video. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...D4FB&FORM=VIRE

So the camera sends a start or stop command over HDMI to the mix pre and a time code signal is also recorded. And you get sound devices quality and customer service for $649. No wonder there is a waiting list.

Last edited by 2manyrocks; 12th June 2017 at 01:16 PM..
Old 11th June 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
Post #4--answer
. . .
I see some churches putting up video or streaming services and I ask myself whether they've done all the work necessary to obtain the copyright clearances for the copyrighted music recorded on their video? I also ask myself how many views they are getting and how much impact it really has to justify the level of investment and work involved.
. . .
I do not mean to be too pejorative but some of the impact the churches seek may be for the people sitting in the pews/stands (and who pay their offerings/subscriptions and the like) to have a live sound experience and also see that video work is being done as well. And young members have fun stuff to play with, which encourages youthful participation.
Old 11th June 2017
  #16
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^I think it tends to be driven by the pastorial mindset that if they can just reach one more person, it will be worth the effort.

But if a church is going to do it, they need to do it well or it may be very counterproductive.
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