The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Portable recorder for classical chamber music Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 6th January 2017
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Portable recorder for classical chamber music

Hello all

I am a member of a string quartet and I am usually in charge of recording some of our performances. Some of our concerts are luckily recorded by professionals but if not we want to have a decent recording either for our own purpose (Studies, Youtube).

I have been using so far an Apogee Duet with a pair of Line Audio CM3 positioned around 3 meters off ground and around 2-3 meters in front of the quartet (depending on acoustics).

I am looking now for a even more portable solution. I don´t want to carry my Macbook for the Apogee Duet around and look for power outlets in churches and concert halls. Sometimes thats stressful to setup everything since I have to play in concert myself.

So I have looked at the Zoom H6 & H5, Tascam DR60 & Tascam DR70.

I am looking for (in order of importance):

- best possible sound with my Line Audio CM3
- decent battery life (at least 3 hours or more) with Phantom power on 2 XLR´s
- As little noise as possible
- as compact as possible

What would be the best choice?

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

Antonio
Old 6th January 2017
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Sound Devices 702
Old 6th January 2017
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by as1734 View Post
Hello all

I am a member of a string quartet and I am usually in charge of recording some of our performances. Some of our concerts are luckily recorded by professionals but if not we want to have a decent recording either for our own purpose (Studies, Youtube).

I have been using so far an Apogee Duet with a pair of Line Audio CM3 positioned around 3 meters off ground and around 2-3 meters in front of the quartet (depending on acoustics).

I am looking now for a even more portable solution. I don´t want to carry my Macbook for the Apogee Duet around and look for power outlets in churches and concert halls. Sometimes thats stressful to setup everything since I have to play in concert myself.

So I have looked at the Zoom H6 & H5, Tascam DR60 & Tascam DR70.

I am looking for (in order of importance):

- best possible sound with my Line Audio CM3
- decent battery life (at least 3 hours or more) with Phantom power on 2 XLR´s
- As little noise as possible
- as compact as possible

What would be the best choice?

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

Antonio
No recommendation, but as you know the sensitivity of the CM3 is low, so I suggest you pay attention to the gain available on the recorder preamps and reports of how clean they are.
Old 6th January 2017
  #4
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Smile

For that application I use a Nagra EMP and SD recorder (both battery powered).

The EMP is a small, top end, 2-clannel mic. pre. of the same quality as the Nagra VI and runs for about 4-hours from internal batteries.

I use the Nagra line cable - 2 x XLR-3F to SD connector and the small SD portable recorder.

Normally I use a Nagra VI or AETA 4MinX - but when I have to have high quality and be ultra portable the EMP+SD is what I use.
Old 6th January 2017
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Thank you for you replies. Unfortunately those setups are far beyond the budget I can spend at the moment:( For sure in future this would be my goal to upgrade to a Sound Device or Nagra.

I am looking for something around the 500.- range. As I wrote I had a look at Zoom H6 or the Tascam DR70. Would be the sound quality with such a recorder and CM3's equal or better then my current setup with the Apogee duet/MacBook?
Old 6th January 2017
  #6
Deleted User
Guest
Tascam DR100MK3 is well within that price range.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...100-mkiii.html
Old 6th January 2017
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Why not pick up a used iPod/iPhone and use it with your Duet - that would be pretty compact and wont cost you much
Old 6th January 2017
  #8
DR-70 will work fine, IF you invest even more in the mics. The mics make or break those here.
Old 6th January 2017
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
DR-70 will work fine, IF you invest even more in the mics. The mics make or break those here.
Are you suggesting that the Line Audio mics need to be upgraded no matter what, or that the Line Audio mics are ok, the DR-70 is ok, but somehow the two just won't work well together?
Old 6th January 2017
  #10
I would second the tascam dr100mk 3. It sounds good and the dual batteries will allow for extremely long recording times.
Old 6th January 2017
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
DR-70 will work fine, IF you invest even more in the mics. The mics make or break those here.
To make a significant move up in quality from the CM3s involves a significant investment, probably by adding a zero, so I don't think that's an option for the OP.

I agree with others that the Tascam Mark III is a good choice.
Old 6th January 2017
  #12
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
The little tascam units are perfectly good recorders, but may not provide adequate clean gain for the CM3s. The DR60 or DR70 would be a fine match with mics like the Neumann km184 and similar. Since I would be wary that any of the entry level portable recorders has adequate gain for the CM3s, and since the recorders that can adequately drive the CM3s, such as the SD702, are quite expensive, I would suggest investing in a pair of higher end mics which will match up better with an affordable recorder like the DR70. I believe the preamps in the 70 are the same as those in the new v of the DR100.
Old 6th January 2017
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Can the apogee be used in a standalone mode as a preamp for an inexpensive recorder? It's a few extra wires, but still a simpler operation than using a laptop.
Old 6th January 2017
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
The little tascam units are perfectly good recorders, but may not provide adequate clean gain for the CM3s. The DR60 or DR70 would be a fine match with mics like the Neumann km184 and similar. Since I would be wary that any of the entry level portable recorders has adequate gain for the CM3s, and since the recorders that can adequately drive the CM3s, such as the SD702, are quite expensive, I would suggest investing in a pair of higher end mics which will match up better with an affordable recorder like the DR70. I believe the preamps in the 70 are the same as those in the new v of the DR100.
I'm going to try some Triton FETHEAD phantoms with my CM3s. Originally designed for ribbons, these add clean gain at the source, and will still pass through the required phantom power to the microphone.

I honestly don't like the KM184. I used the KM84 way back when and remember it fondly. The 184 sounds harsh on the highs in my ears.
Old 6th January 2017
  #15
Lives for gear
If Voltronic doesn't post in this thread, PM him because he is using CM3s with a DR-70d as I recall. Battery life is no issue if you use an external cell phone battery. Avoid the HI+ setting, and use a card from Tascam's approved card list. But check with Voltronic.
Old 6th January 2017
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Thank you for so much input and suggestions. I was also wondering if there is way to continue using the Apogee Duet (1st version) but does it really work with a iPod or inexpensive recorder since it is was always powered by my MacBook (FireWire)?

I will reach out by PM to Voltronic. Curious to hear how the combo CM3 works with the DR70. I will also look into the Tascam dr100mk3. I have seen they are around 300.- which would be good.

Out of curiosity, would be for example a Tascam dr100mk3 for my task superior then a ZoomH6? I am asking since there was no mentioning concerning the Zooms.
Old 6th January 2017
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by as1734 View Post
we want to have a decent recording either for our own purpose (Studies, Youtube).
The problem of using cheap mics with cheap electronics is that the mics demand lots of clean gain, and the electronics demand a microphone that's sensitive enough to not need a lot of clean gain. This conflict results in... noise.

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone; I'm just stating the obvious.

That said, the CM3s are excellent sounding mics, if not very sensitive. I suspect they would match well with a Zoom F4. If you want what I think of as a "decent recording" this is about as low as I would go on the recorder itself. And it meets most of your requirements (including battery power).

Do some searching, read what people who actually have them (that doesn't include me) say about them. See what you think.
Old 7th January 2017
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Konfus's Avatar
 

If you are on a budget, i would go with the zoom f4 / f8. I own a f8 and i think the preamps are great, clean and good dynamik range. i also own a h6, these preamps are somewhat less good...but also absolutely useful if your mic's not too noisy. big plus: you can all of them use as an audio interface..!

i love the f8.. really great little box, especially for this little money. i do professional jobs with this (sure thing, on set i let nobody know what brand, for many people there exists only sound devices..lol)
Old 7th January 2017
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Pohaku's Avatar
 

Definitely check in with Voltronic. He is using the CMC3s with the DR-70. My recollection is that he is a music teacher and records student band performances and other "non-amplified" music.
Old 7th January 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
The Duet with a Macbook is already pretty compact. You could use an iPad with it, which would make it a little more compact.

But you also say that setting it up is also stressful, so that brings us to shaver type recorders. The ones you mention are probably not going to be the equal of your Duet, so you should be prepared for a drop in sound quality. On the other hand, with those you can just put up the shaver with it's internal mics, or plug in the CM3s when you have a few more moments.

But then, you also say that you want "best possible sound" with your CM3s, which none of those inexpensive recorders will give you.

Honestly, if you want best possible sound with the CM3s AND you want it really portable, AND you want it stress-free, then your best options are either a Nagra Seven or Sound Devices 702/722. Both are excellent. The Nagra is easier to operate. The most inexpensive version of it (there are several configurations and it is user-upgradeable) is $3300, but it is a delight to work with. There are always used 702s in excellent condition popping up for around $1500.

I know that even a used SD 702 is a lot more than might have been expecting to spend, but you will never regret buying one of those excellent machines. And it will vastly outperform anything from Zoom or Tascam, and probably your Duet too. One thing to consider is that the 702 has analog limiters, which you'll really appreciate as compared to the digital limiters in the other options.

Last edited by bwanajim; 7th January 2017 at 07:18 AM..
Old 7th January 2017
  #21
Lives for gear
The old one with very good preamps and 8 hours continuous regording with internal battery : the Fostex FR2LE !
FR-2LE : CF Field Recorder

I use it for a lot of years now, with OM1
No complaint except the headphones output, not the best !
Never had a problem with it.
Old 7th January 2017
  #22
Gear Addict
FR2LE is now an archived product to Fostex, no news by Fostex about new portables .....
Old 8th January 2017
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
I recommend a Nagra Mezzo. Relatively cheap and you can easily set it on a music stand and capture your rehearsal.

Otherwise, continue to hire real recordists so that you can sound at your best.
Old 8th January 2017
  #24
I honestly think that using CM-3s on a mic stand in ORTF/XY/NOS feeding a Tascam DR100 Mk III would give superior results to the Nagra Mezzo with its internal mics placed on a music stand. I agree that the Zoom F4 would be a better recorder choice if you can find one for the budget, or come up with the extra $100. Since the purpose of this solution is for non-professional use (internal review and YouTube), better to get something "good enough" so that money can be saved for better recording services that will benefit from the performance improvements that come out of the players reviewing the "good enough" recorders.

The NFL doesn't spend gazillions on filming scrimmages - "good enough" is good enough for this type of work.
Old 8th January 2017
  #25
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
I'm going to try some Triton FETHEAD phantoms with my CM3s.
I am actually quite pleased with the FETHeads. I have used them on a Royer SF-12 and they are clean and provide about 27dB of gain; enough to make the preamps in the SD 788T quite useable. My experience with the Cloudlifter series was pretty awful. Noisy, noisy, noisy.

And I also agree with Tim and say to all those who believe that the KM18x series sounds "just as good" (all on what Neumann says) that I didn't find that to be true. I got rid of mine as fast as I could while still being quite happy with my KM100 amps and AK40 heads. Not my first choice but they don't sound bad.

D.
Old 8th January 2017
  #26
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
User response review on the Nagra Mezzo. It seems to act like the infamous Chicom junque, but I may be wrong: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...n_st_mics.html

On the basis of this one review you might want to consider something with a less expensive name.
Old 8th January 2017
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by as1734 View Post
I am a member of a string quartet and I am usually in charge of recording some of our performances. Some of our concerts are luckily recorded by professionals but if not we want to have a decent recording either for our own purpose (Studies, Youtube).
Your microphones and a Tascam D100 MKIII will work fine for this this application, it is within your budget and meets all of your stated requirements. The high-end Nagra and SD recorders are great, but you don't need a Ferrari to go grocery shopping especially if you can't afford it.

The Tascam is a relatively new devise and at this price point you can stay away from used and discontinued recorders or recorders that are about to be discontinued.
Old 8th January 2017
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
The reason I recommended the Nagra Mezzo is not because I am a Nagra acolyte necessarily, but because over and over again, this particular model has made great recordings. I have personal experience with it.

Let's not be silly and guess about its performance. Let's not make any conclusions based on 1 review from a disgruntled non informed user from BH web site.

The OP does not need anything more than a hand held for his intended purpose.
Quick, easy and high quality make for a great feature set.

Boojum and Metzinger are guessing when they post doubts and question marks.
Why do you guys follow me around and post contrary views whenever I make a post?

Both of you over post, especially Metzinger.

Mr. Metzinger has objected to my points of view saying that my recommendations and criticisms have no more basis than, "because I said so."

OF COURSE I said so. Those posts are from the basis of my own experience. They are my opinions, so of course it is because I said so.

I really am in the music recording business at the highest levels on a full time basis. That is why I say what I say.
Old 8th January 2017
  #29
Hudson, my counterargument to your recommendation of the Mezzo really had nothing to do with the fact that you recommended it. Nor did it have anything to do with reviews of the unit. Nor was I thinking anything unflattering about your motives - we've had those disagreements and I think I've always tried to separate when I'm discussing gear versus discussing people.

My counterargument, which I stand by, is that Antonio already has a pair of nice sounding microphones. He indicated he wanted to use them, and was asking about small portable recorders for that purpose. Some of the great recommendations here are out of his budget (and I apologize, I was referring to the calls for the four-figure recorders in my NFL analogy, not the Mezzo). My issue with the Mezzo is that it won't let him use his existing mics - it doesn't offer XLR inputs nor phantom power. So if he gets the Tascam, he has a small factor recorder that he can use all by itself, in a fashion similar to the Mezzo, placing it on a music stand (although I still wonder about reflections), AND he has the option of using his CM-3s and experimenting with different techniques. I think that the additional flexibility for the same money is a better result, both for the sounds he'll get and the things he'll learn getting them.

I'll think about your comment about overposting, but be assured that I'm not following you around just to argue with you personally.
Old 8th January 2017
  #30
Lives for gear
Nagra-sort of a rarity making it harder to assess and precludes use of cm3s.

Dr70-allows use of cm3s but will it be quiet enough with these mics for chamber music?

Dr-100 mkiii tascam claims to have their most quiet preamps. Relatively new product. What will be the cost to replace the internal battery in the future?

Sd702 out of stated budget.

Not familiar with zooms to offer any comment.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump