I am trying to get into some more remote recording, and I would like to reduce the size of the equipment that I carry.
I currently use a Fostex DV2424LV and an A&H Zed R16. However, I am more interested in classical, jazz and other small acoustical ensembles than larger multi-tracked band set ups. As such I was thinking of mating up the Fostex with a Micstasy to keep things compact. The only problem with that (that I can see), is that I have no method of monitoring on headphones.
I would like to keep things as high a quality as possible (within reasonable financial constraints), so do not want to be plugging the adat from the
Micstasy into something that is going to degrade the signal before it gets to the Fostex. I have a Presonus Central Station, which only has spdif and toslink digital inputs, so am not sure whether that could be used, or whether the quality is up to the job.
Anyone any ideas for something that could link the two that doesn't break the bank, or another option entirely? I have considered, but am not overly keen on purchasing another smaller mixer. I would like to be able to rack everything.
Thanks for any advice that you might be able to give. Sell everything and buy a Nagra VI?
The Nagra VI appears to be amazing, but it is really designed as a field recorder (i.e., it can run on batteries). If you need this feature and can afford it I am sure you will be very happy with it. But if you are working where you can run a power cable, I would suggest looking into the RME UFX. It has a built in "direct to USB" recording feature that is a very convenient way to have a back up, which I feel is a critical feature of any location rig. The UFX's conversion and pres are excellent, or you can add outboard pres and/or conversion (e.g., a Lavry Blue 1U system) for a very portable and world class system that costs a lot less than the Nagra VI.
I see your dilemma in that the Fostex has no headphone out. So you could use Micstasy's ADAT outs to your Fostex. Then you take the analog outputs of the Fostex in to a mini-mixer--Mackie or such. Do your on site mix from your mini-mixer to a cd or other format.
That way you have preserved your ability to obtain very high quality mic amps and super conversion--mix it later.
Obviously Micstasy is 8 channels. You can add another Micstasy and have 16 channels for well under the cost of the 6 channel NVI. So if you do need higher than 6 channels, it might be a good use of resources to stick with your 24 trk. Fostex.
Some words about the Nagra VI:
It is really a 6 channel recorder. That is, it has 4 mic / line inputs and then using an outboard mic amp, one can add two more inputs on line inputs 5+6 to the NVI. The only way to garner the last two inputs on the NVI is to go in AES in from an a/d converter. How much more inconvenient could it be?
The answer: very inconvenient and that is why I have never used it for more than 6 trks.
Perhaps you would like to consider the configuration I use. I did try a Micstacy, via ADAT to a BabyFace (limited to 48K sampling!), and remote control software for the Micstacy via MIDI. There is an i64 USB interface available for direct connection to a PC. The issue is the lack of monitoring on the Micstacy.
I ultimately decided on a UFX, plus 4 channels of DAV (BG2) via line -in. There is room for another 4 channels if needed. There is a choice of two flavours of preamp. The UFX pres are in the same class as the Micstacy (not as much gain), but I usually prefer the BG2 for the main mics. The UFX BG2 and power conditioner fits is a compact rack case and weighs surprisingly little. The ability to record directly to a USB HDD from the UFX provides the main recording path. A laptop sits on top of the rack case to provide control of monitoring, backup recording (FW or USB) and supervision. The above cost less than the Micstacy. (If needed, another BG2 for 12 channels would take the cost slightly above.)
I believe the sound would only be bettered by a Nagra VI or a Prism Orpheus. Either would be more expensive and less convenient for a lot of what I do (location concert recording).
(PS. There was a possibility of using MADI to put the Micstacy on stage and do recording in a more convenient location - but implementing MADI (co-ax or fibre) is expensive. But it appears that RME might be introducing a MADI over CAT5 solution. This makes a Micstacy solution more interesting because CAT5 is more accessible and it may remove the need for running lots of long mic cables.)
Thanks for the responses.
I mentioned the Nagra somewhat tongue in cheek, as whilst I probably could have afforded it had I not bought any of the other equipment over the last two or three years, now it is out of the question.
Thanks John, I came across the AETA 4MinX last night, and also the SD 664, which whilst not listed as a digital recorder looks very interesting, and is a more acceptable price, particularly if purchased from the USA.
Plush, I think you've hit on the best solution, assuming I go with the Micstasy. I was concerned about degradation of sound, whilst passing through another piece of equipment prior to the recorder. This solution overcomes that concern. I would also not be too bothered about the ultimate quality from this last link in the chain. Any ideas for something that could perform the task and be rack mounted?
Thanks for the response Panatrope. I'm going to need to do a little reading tonight, as I'm not familiar with some of the equipment that you've mentioned, but I do like the part about your solution being cheaper than the Micstasy!
Any more ideas?