Advice on buying a stereo hand held recorder.

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BobbyRay
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Advice on buying a stereo hand held recorder.

Post by BobbyRay » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:09 am

The singer for a band I am in wants to be able to record our rehearsals himself. I suggested one of those hand held reorders by tascam, alesis, or zoom. I really know nothing about them, any tips, experience and/or advise would be appreciated.

Can they all download to a computer fairly easily?
Are you able to edit the songs at all?
Do they all have similar quality in microphones?

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timcoalman
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Post by timcoalman » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:25 am

I love the zoom - use it all the time - search past posts and you will find a lot of discussion about the zoom h4 and the new h4n. It is easy to use, upload/import audio files, select frequency and bit rates, and accpets 1/4 inch plugs, XLR and comes with its own high quality built in mics.

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Post by ott0bot » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:27 am

I like the Zoom. It sounds pretty good, and has xlr inputs. The 4 track and interface feature is a cool add on too. But I have two problems with this guy. First, the handling noise is pretty bad. Anytime you touch the thing you here it. So plan for setting it up on the tripod or a table. Holding it while recording is definately problematic. Second, the button layout and menu aren't great either. It makes it easy to press the wrong button, and is just not designed well. The screen is hard to see in low light without pressing a button to illuminate, and of coarse when you press a button there is a wonderful noise. This is in reference to the older model, I know they have redone some things for the new one, but not sure these have been fixed or not.

I've have really great experiences with the Edirol R-09HR, and plan on buying one once I have the money. Great sound, low handling noise, great built in mics, functional button layout, good screen. No xlr iputs, but you can get a break out cable fro fairly cheap. I have used it for field recording samples, movie reference takes, and live performance. Great little tool.

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Post by vvv » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:28 am

Back in the 90s I used a little Sony Walkman-type recorder with a stereo mic that plugged in.

It was barely useable.

I now have the Zoom H2, which is essentially point and record - it works amazingly well.

The The Friday Project link below has all drums recorded on the H2.

We record our practices, also.
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Post by rboyce » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:08 pm

I have the Tascam DR-07. I think its built-in mics are fine for recording rehearsals, but that's about it. However, the unit gives you the option of using an external mic as well (via a TRS mini-plug, unfortunately). But for $140, it's a great deal. It has replaced my portable Minidisc recorder for recording rehearsals/ideas/live shows.

My one complaint is that the firmware won't let you split files recorded in mp3 format. The split function can only be used on files recorded in wav format. (Personally, I don't see the point of recording 24 bit wav files using the barely usable built-in mics). Basically, this limitation means that you have to perform any splitting/editing after you transfer your mp3 recording from the DR-07 over to your computer.

HTH.
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timcoalman
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Post by timcoalman » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:45 am

But I have two problems with this guy. First, the handling noise is pretty bad. Anytime you touch the thing you here it. So plan for setting it up on the tripod or a table. Holding it while recording is definately problematic. Second, the button layout and menu aren't great either. It makes it easy to press the wrong button, and is just not designed well. The screen is hard to see in low light without pressing a button to illuminate, and of coarse when you press a button there is a wonderful noise.
+1 - I hear these are mostly addressed in the new version (H4n). I have the H4 and I hear a very distinct noise that seems to be related to some regular power cycle that adds a muffled clicking noise about 3 or 4 times a second - very regular - I think the last time I used it it seemed to be the flashing light on the front of the unit. Any measureable volume drowns it out but silence is not silent - sounds like someone on a hi-hat two rooms away from you.

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Post by joel hamilton » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:35 pm

I am about to write an entire review of the H4n, and I am super impressed with it.
I brought two of them to Africa for two weeks in a very inhospitable environment for recording thingies, and the H4n kicked total ass. PLUS, the ability to use the H4n as a 2 channel audio interface when laptop recording allowed, was a totallly awesome feature.
The sound of the built in mics is actually quite nice, especially when used with a pair of something decent in 4ch mode, and with the built in just capturing ambient sounds.
The thing that is TOTALLY worth it is to get a redhead windscreen, and get the optional remote so you get ZERO handling noise because you put it on a stand with the suppllied stand adaptor, and then hit record on the remote, and even change the recording level via remote... its only like 34 dollars or something and really makes a huge difference.
I am a super fan of the H4n..... watch for a full review and write-up of the africa recording trip soon!!!!

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Post by JohnnyMac » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:30 am

joel hamilton wrote:The thing that is TOTALLY worth it is to get a redhead windscreen...
I have to agree here - I have a Tascam DR-1 (which you can probably find for ~$190). If you are doing any field recording, these Redhead windscreens can help a ton. I do recordings outdoors from time-to-time at work and am definitely going to be using this little system (DR-1 + Redhead windscreen) - you can hear an example from the DR-1 here if you like:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/199833/Mostly%2 ... reline.mp3

I plan to use this little recorder a lot for some of the games I will be working on in the near future.

Also, I used the DR-1 to record our last practice with the band, and it did a great job. I just ran a 2-mix out of the mixer into the stereo line in on the recorder. Hope that helps.
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Sony PCM D50

Post by Marlowe » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:48 am

I've got the Sony PCM D50 and it has been great. It's only flaw is it's inability to record mp3 files (?!). Outside of that, it kicks ass.

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Post by CarlWelden » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:43 pm

Since the ZOOM H4N came out, the earlier H4 model came down in price so I snagged one from AMS around Christmas...mind you, my last hand-held recorder took micro-cassettes, so anything digital was a step up.
It's own mics work great, minus handling noise. The menu lets you even set them to emulate the way other mics might sound (421, 57, etc).
The main reason I went with ZOOM was that the H4 has two XLR inputs, (complete with phantom power) and after two clients of mine had me do remote VO sessions with their ZOOM H2 recorders, I was impressed by the quality.
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Post by kingmetal » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:49 am

I had a Zoom H4 and pre-ordered an H4n and don't regret the decision whatsoever. Zoom stuff always has funny little quirks (noisy 48V phantom, weird interface decisions) but you cannot beat them for the price. Your singer probably would do well with a H2, which by all accounts is an awesome device for the money. It is less complicated, smaller and cheaper than the H4n.

Sounds like Joel has my setup exactly -- remote + redhead + H4N = total win. The only thing I would add to this setup (besides LOTS of batteries) is an external phantom supply.
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Post by vikingrecording » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:39 pm

H2

Great!

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