portable recorders and junk

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calaverasgrandes
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portable recorders and junk

Post by calaverasgrandes » Tue May 19, 2009 1:42 pm

Well I finally retired my ancient Tascam DAP1.
What are you kids using for field recording?
Not too concerned with being able to record bands etc mostly for grabbing atmospheres interesting sounds for samples and manipulation.
Things I am looking for;
quiet, good SNR
small, I'd like to have it in my bag at all times in case that once in a lifetime weird sound presents itself.
balanced ins and outs are nice of course
ability to function as a sound card for my laptop.
must record at decent bit depth and sample rate. Not really interested in anything that compresses audio files.
SD chip storage is preferred I already have a bunch for my camera.

Any pitfalls of the Zoom H4N for example?
??????? wrote: "everything sounds best right before it blows up."

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JGriffin
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Post by JGriffin » Tue May 19, 2009 1:43 pm

I'm using the Zoom H2, having also retired a DAP1.
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calaverasgrandes
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Post by calaverasgrandes » Tue May 19, 2009 1:56 pm

dang batteries cost an arm and a leg, and its only 16/48k!
And dat tape isnt as easy to find as it once was. Though to be fair I have 15 year old dat tapes that play back. Cant say the same for CDRs!

The more I look it seems the Zoom H4n is the only field recorder/interface in the flock. Are all the other manufacturers just stupid?
??????? wrote: "everything sounds best right before it blows up."

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mikeyc
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Post by mikeyc » Tue May 19, 2009 2:01 pm

I picked up an Alesis ProTrack a couple months ago. It's an iPod recorder thingy. Records at 16/44.1 direct to the iPod, sounds pretty good (it sounds better in mono). SNR sucks using the onboard mics, but its not bad using external inputs. I've used it about 3 times to record conversations with my daughter. Works great for that.
My assumption is that the H4 would be a lot cooler, but it works for me.

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aurelialuz
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Post by aurelialuz » Tue May 19, 2009 2:12 pm

still loving my H4 a year and a half later.
"While every effort has been made to ensure optimum sound quality, priority has been given to historic content and importance."

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Brian
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Post by Brian » Tue May 19, 2009 2:28 pm

Roland R4Pro.
Harumph!

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Post by dsw » Tue May 19, 2009 2:46 pm

The Zoom H4n is a really solid piece and it has a "stamina" mode that gets you 11 hours of battery. Not bad.

The only thing you can't do is adjust the left and right channels to separate record levels. A film guy with a boom and a lav for instance won't like that, but for 95% of what people do with one it works just fine.

I think you'd like it.
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endofanera
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Post by endofanera » Tue May 19, 2009 2:54 pm

Weve been using the Sony PCM-D50 for a while now. Excellent portable recorder.
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calaverasgrandes
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Post by calaverasgrandes » Tue May 19, 2009 3:09 pm

The Sony units look very high quality. However for the price the inability to function as a backup soundcard kind of kills it for me. I am travelling to NYC in a few weeks and dont need to be carrying 2 different boxes that do almost the same thing!
??????? wrote: "everything sounds best right before it blows up."

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Post by Jeff White » Tue May 19, 2009 3:14 pm

I have been using the first version of the M-Audio Microtrack since 2005. I absolutely love it. Tiny little thing. I use it for samples, ideas, live recordings of friends' bands, etc. It interfaces with my Macs painlessly, sounds great with my mics, does Phantom Power, balanced inputs, etc. The new one is less money than mine was and does BWAVs, has more headroom, etc. The only problem with them is that the battery requires a factory replacement once it gets low. Mine is getting there. I think that it is simply $60. I'm actually going to go to the M-Audio site and check it out.

Anyway, I can't say enough great things about the Microtrack. Love mine. If it broke, I'd grab the new version of it asap.

Jeff

UPDATE: Battery replacement is $75, they pay return shipping. I could probably go another year before needing to replace it. 3.5 years of use so far.
I record, mix, and master in my Philly-based home studio, the Spacement. https://linktr.ee/ipressrecord

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endofanera
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Post by endofanera » Tue May 19, 2009 3:19 pm

calaverasgrandes wrote:The Sony units look very high quality. However for the price the inability to function as a backup soundcard kind of kills it for me. I am travelling to NYC in a few weeks and dont need to be carrying 2 different boxes that do almost the same thing!
Ive also heard good things about the Sound Devices units, and as I recall, they can be used as an external sound card. I dont think any of them have built in mics, but that may be preferable depending on what you are intending to record remotely.

http://www.sounddevices.com/products/7.htm
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dsw
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Post by dsw » Tue May 19, 2009 4:00 pm

D50 has only 1/8" mini mic ins.
H4N has XLR

H4n allows both XLR and built in mics use at same time.

Sound Devices are F'n gorgeous but in a much higher price bracket.
"Analog smells like thrift stores. Digital smells like tiny hands from far away." - O-it-hz

musicians are fuckers, but even worse are people who like musicians, they're total fuckers.

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endofanera
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Post by endofanera » Tue May 19, 2009 4:26 pm

dsw wrote:D50 has only 1/8" mini mic ins.
H4N has XLR

H4n allows both XLR and built in mics use at same time.

Sound Devices are F'n gorgeous but in a much higher price bracket.
Ive never had need to use anything but the built in condensers on the D50. They are good sounding, quiet, have wide response, and take high SPL.

I have used the H4 and can say that most of that is not true for their built in mics. I have never tried using an external mic with the H4.

The user interface on the Sony is also clearer to use and read, but that's of negligible concern once you become familiar with any unit.

My main complaint about the H4 though is that it feels as though it is built to be disposable -- plastic body, crappy switches, generally just low build quality.

I have recommended the H4 before to people and organizations for whom price is a paramount concern, but if you had a little more budget I would recommend folks weigh other alternatives. One could easily still decide that the H4 is for them as it is a good unit for the money, but I would definitely make sure you play with it first.
"You get a kink in your neck looking up at people or down at people. But when you look straight across, there's no kinks."
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Brian
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Post by Brian » Tue May 19, 2009 5:52 pm

Korg makes a 1 bit unit that is supposed to be sonically superior to anything else out in any other format.
Harumph!

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Post by ott0bot » Tue May 19, 2009 6:20 pm

I used the H4 last week to record sound for some live music for a TV show....and it was ok at best. The device felt kinda clunky was very sensitive to movement when recording. It was nice that it has replaceable batteries, but we actually had to plug it in halfwaly through and a 2 hour show, so the battery life isn't too great. The interface is kinda awkward and there are several sub menu's that need to be accessed to set up the H4. Plus the sound quality wasn't so great. The high frequency sounds seemed to phase in and out a bit at times. It sounded much better on an acoustic band than it did on any of the rock groups.

I think they crammed too many features into a unit they could have made a bit more streamlined and functional. I do like that it had phantom power and xlr connections, but I didn't get a chance to use them. Also I think the phantom power would shorten an already small battery life. My synopsis is that is was useable, and affordable, but it isn't not going to impress you.

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