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looking for a good field recorder
Old 3rd December 2003
  #1
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Question looking for a good field recorder

looking to do sound effect and sample gathering out in the real world, so we're definitely looking for something you can throw over the shoulder with no extra pres or gear. what do you guys recommend?

there's always the portable dat machines, and also a few <$1k compact flash recorders that look nice, but i'm not really sure how they will sound.

thanks.

-adam-
Old 3rd December 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
Check out the HHB ones. A friend of mine reviewed one for Audio Media then bought it. He thought it was good.

Regards


Roland
Old 3rd December 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
atticus's Avatar
How about an iBook and a mBox?
Old 3rd December 2003
  #4
Gear Head
 

I've been playing with the Marantz PMD670. It's a great little machine; XLR mic ins with phantom, built-in mic and speaker for rough and ready stuff, PCM or MP3 recording, the latter with selectable rates, battery lasts up to 6 hours. Digital I/O on sp/dif, and a USB2.0 connection so that your files appear straight onto your PC desktop. Takes flashcards or microdrives up to 8GB.

I'd be very tempted if I had the cash.
Old 4th December 2003
  #5
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
thanks all.

roland - which hhb did he try? the 8-channel 24/96 one or the minidisc?

atticus - i think even an ibook and mbox will be too clunky, despite the obvious sex appeal...

doug - how does it sound? certainly LOOKS like the most bang for the buck out of the whole crop of options.

-a-
Old 5th December 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
Both!

My friend had the minidisc one and then tested the HD one.

Regards


Roland
Old 5th December 2003
  #7
Gear nut
 

I can never pass up an oportunity to suggest this.

It might be a little out of your price range at a rumored US$16k, but it has got to be the coolest-looking piece of gear ever.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #8
Gear interested
It is quite old thread, but Why should I add new thread...

My question is - If I cannot afford Sound Devices 702 field recorder, is there any useful field recorder in some fine price, which can be used for sound gathering and field recording?
I mainly use it for gathering the sound effects like footsteps, car engine, some ambience noise for example at the airport etc. simply for recording sound, when my colleague is filming on 4K mid-range camera.
I am not going to record really low amplitude sounds, but mainly some common real-life sounds, which sounds much better recorded, then to be postproduced from some soundbanks.

I have Zoom H4N and it is really not good with the preamps.. to much of noise. I know SD702 would be the best for me, but the price is really really high. I was thinking about some mid-range like Tascam DR-680 or MK2,
but unfortunatelly I read many negative reactions like it is not reliable on the field and the phantoms are really noisy. I need max. 3inputs at once (1shotgun for the certain sound effect and 1stereo mic for ambience) and I need some preamps for sure, SDHC / SDHX card recording and if possible as much reliable. I remember, that my Zoom if I do not press stop button properly or the battery life comes down, I can loose the entire file.
I would prefer to have some possibility if the recorder has some safety alert or if ti will be able to save files automatically, so I will loose for example the last part, but the rest of the recording will be already there as files.

I know I cannot count with the miracles for the price range like 800-900€. Maybe some used on ebay?

Thanks for any suggestion.
I have checked this: Avisoft Bioacoustics - Microphone Input Noise Comparison

It seems like the cheap fostex can do the entire work for me, because it has "by this test" really low noise level preamps, but It is strange, it is quite cheap machine and I read, that it is not so good in controlling. The menu etc. and You cannot delete files on place (for safety reasons maybe).
Old 1 Week Ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

The Tascam DR-70D might be worth thinking about - seems very popular with owners. Over on the TapersSection forums there are hundreds of user posts about it.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #10
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Roland's Avatar
There are several units around, depending on the spec you need and your budget, but things like the Tascam DR60 or DR70, Roland R44 or R88, Fostex DC-R302. These vary from £200 - £1200 so pick your budget and requirements. The Sound devices are good units, however, they have been around a while and the market is very much more competitive, I would expect any of these units to have decent specifications and be low noise, I would buy based on what facilities you need.
Old 1 Week Ago
  #11
I use the Tascam DR-70D and it's excellent. Only $299 at B+H. They had it on sale last month for $179.

Bird calls to gunshots all record beautifully, depending on how good your mics are.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #12
Gear interested
OK, I would like to describe some requirements:

1) I would like to connect Rode NTG4 shotgun mic + probably Rode stereo videomic X
2) I do not expect I will record shotgun and steremic in one time, but Tascam has 4channels, which should not be a problem
3) I need it mainly for gathering sound effects for videos, my colleague shoots the video and I am making the sound and sound postproduction.
I need the normal reallife sound fx to be recorded + ambient noise like street, passing cars + sometimes some interviews on shotgun or clope mic.
4) I need a reliability - I cannot risk, that my card will be accidently formated or corrupted by recorder + battery life should be also quite useful to not change the batteries every 1-2hours. I also hread, it is possible to somehow use my usb battery to power it up with it externaly?


I would like to have good result with quite some quality.

I did some research about Tascam and DR-680 has problems with noisy preamps, DR-70D I read, that it has just two different positions of gains, so high and low, and sometimes, you need to have mid, which can be a problem, if you use high it will go to clip, but for low, you will got low amplitude, so after normalizing the noise will be increased with the signal.

I have Zoom H4N and it is very noisy for me.. I tried Beyerdynamic MC 837 mic + Blimp with zoom and the result for sound gathering was bad... for some low level sounds it was useless.

Thanks for the details guys!
Old 6 Days Ago
  #13
Lives for gear
The old FR-2LE can answer most of your requirements
- good quiet preamps and lot of gain
- very reliable. Never lost an octet. Impossible to delete a file in the FR-2LE. You have to format the whole card to delete files. Automatic save of the recording every minute or so.
- Internal battery that can give a full day recording with phantom power.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 

I have the Tascam DR-70D and have absolutely have no issues with the gain structure/noise. The design is a bit puzzling for sure, as you have to set the gain range first and then use the knobs to adjust your gain. Noise is not an issue especially if you record in 24bit.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #15
+1 for the FR-2LE, it's an EXCELLENT recorder with very very low noise. I used it for a long time recording SFX myself, before upgrading to the creme de la creme, my Sound Devices 702t. If you can find a used 702t you won't do better, but it's a whole different ball game in terms of cost. It uses Sony batteries which will last all day, but can also be switched out pretty quickly as well. It's the best of the best tho. It also uses FW 400 for file transfer, which strangely is becoming somewhat harder to find on newer computers, so keep that in mind. You can always pop out the CF card and use a reader as an alternative method.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #16
Gear interested
So It is a competition between 70D and FR-2LE :c))

+1 for Tascam - it has dual recording with different gains
+1 for Fostex the saving files every minute and lownoise preamps, but Tascam could be a competitor.

That's the question.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 

As far as I know, the Tascam 70D also has very quiet preamps, it uses their new HDDA preamps. Also I think it saves files continuously. If power is lost in the middle of recording, it will retain the file up until the power loss. I use mine as a secondary device for classical remote work.

Also the 70D can be found easily for under $299.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #18
Gear interested
Ok it sounds really nice for 70D and what is good for me is that it is possible to power it with external usb battery like powerseed which has 12000mAh. It can be enough for field recording to have 2-3batteries.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #19
I don't have experience with the Tascam, but from the specs it looks like you can't really go wrong with either of them. I can absolutely confirm that the Fostex has REALLY quiet preamps with plenty of gain. But the extra 2 channels on the Tascam could come in handy sometimes too.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #20
Gear Head
 
voltronic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid Shadow View Post
As far as I know, the Tascam 70D also has very quiet preamps, it uses their new HDDA preamps. Also I think it saves files continuously. If power is lost in the middle of recording, it will retain the file up until the power loss. I use mine as a secondary device for classical remote work.

Also the 70D can be found easily for under $299.
All of this is true. I mostly record choirs, and so far I haven't had any issue with the self noise of the built-in pres.

Regarding the power / file saving: I had a concert a few weeks ago where I thought I was running the 70D off my external power pack but I wasn't, and the internals died. I must have forgotten to click the "USB Power" prompt when you plug it into an external power source. Now I check obsessively that the little USB icon is on screen during recording.

Even though I lost the last third of the concert due the power loss, the files it saved were perfect and error-free.
Old 6 Days Ago
  #21
Gear interested
it will always be a competition between the quality and the price. You can go for a high end for a high price, but you can also make a good projects with mid / low end devices, if you know, how to use them and if it has the basic properties. So I will probably go for Tascam, the price is not so high, so it will not be such a big deal and hopefully good Mics will do the rest of the work :c)
Old 6 Days Ago
  #22
Gear interested
Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
All of this is true. I mostly record choirs, and so far I haven't had any issue with the self noise of the built-in pres.

Regarding the power / file saving: I had a concert a few weeks ago where I thought I was running the 70D off my external power pack but I wasn't, and the internals died. I must have forgotten to click the "USB Power" prompt when you plug it into an external power source. Now I check obsessively that the little USB icon is on screen during recording.

Even though I lost the last third of the concert due the power loss, the files it saved were perfect and error-free.
It is good to hear! I remember the last time, when I was recording the whole stage - DJ sets on my zoom h4n and the last set was lost, because somebody accidently plugged out the power supply adapter before the saving of the file was finished. There were just headers of the file and file itself was broken.

So the saving of the session + dual recording is really great feature for the field recording.. imagine, you are recording a part of the videoclip and you will have one take in CLIP, then you have a problem. We always record the voices also on camera mic to easily match the audio together to get it in sync, when you dont have time-code sync, but you know, evenif We use 4K mid-range professional camera, the build in mic is not that perfect. It is usable with some postproductio using some denoiser or great iZotope RX restoration suite, but to have a great takes is alway much better, then to try to fix the bad material.

Thanks for your advices!
Old 5 Days Ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Lots of used SD702s about, they are bullet proof, run for ages, good pres, very portable, well made,easy to use even in the dark and rain
CF is a great medium , better than HD imho.
Old 5 Days Ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 

The FR2LE had a reputation for having wonderfully quiet preamps and a woefully noisy headphone output - you had to trust the preamps and ignore the noise in the cans. But of course better that way round than the other.
Old 5 Days Ago
  #25
That Tascam DR-70D uses upc4580 opamps for the line and headphone outputs, it's a quiet opamp. The mic preamps use NE5532.

I changed the opamps in mine with National LME49720MA, less noise, much clearer sound. I also added some .01 uf/250V WIMA polyfilm bypass caps across the 8 22uf/63V phantom blocking caps to allow for more details to be heard. Any local surface mount repair center can do this work for you, others already have.

It's top notch now, records beautifully with high end mics.
Old 5 Days Ago
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
The FR2LE had a reputation for having wonderfully quiet preamps and a woefully noisy headphone output - you had to trust the preamps and ignore the noise in the cans. But of course better that way round than the other.
^^^^THIS

I'd honestly forgotten how rotten the headphone amps were. Yes, you just had to trust that the recording would be clean, despite the everpresent hiss in the cans.

And regarding the SD702s, they're actually built in the US, which is a pretty uncommon thing for recorders, I would think. I love mine, and wouldn't trade it for anything.
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