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Old August 31st, 2007, 11:21 PM   #1
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Laptop field recorder or 744T?

Hi all. . .

I am really in a quandry with respect to field recording for a double system. I honestly don't know what's the best way to go.

I currently have a MacBook Pro 15" laptop and I have read about Boom Recorder software (which looks very impressive).

The questions are these:

1. What else would you recommend I buy if I go the MacBook route as a field recorder if I wanted to record, say six channels in the field?

2. What am I losing by going the laptop route versus a 744T?

3. The fact that the 744T only has two XLRs is a pretty big issue with me, as I can't imagine using at least four mics, which means that I'll either need to add somelike like a MixPre to the 744T to increase the channels up to four (since the 744T only has two XLRs and two line-ins). Do you 744T users find only two XLRs a problem???

Thanks very much.

Stephen
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Old September 1st, 2007, 01:06 AM   #2
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You should take a look at the following current thread.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=101047

I have the SD 702. I concluded that if I wanted to go the route of more than 2 mics it would be more economical to get a unit like the Mackie 400F which has 4 mic inputs/amps and talks to the PC over Firewire.

In fact I think it would be more economical than the 744 even if I had to buy a new laptop as part of the deal! Not as portable, but my thinking was that if I was getting into a real multi mic setup I wasn't going to be all that mobile anyhow.

http://www.mackie.com/products/400F/index.html

I have no idea how good the amps in the Mackie are and so far haven't needed more than 2 mics so this is just to share what I was thinking, not an experience based personal recommendation, and there are a bunch of other units besides the Mackie out there that may be just fine for what you're after.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 10:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Pruitt View Post
2. What am I losing by going the laptop route versus a 744T?

3. The fact that the 744T only has two XLRs is a pretty big issue with me...
You'd lose portability and reliability by using a laptop and interface vs. a dedicated field recorder. To some extent this can be made up by good practices in many situations.

The 744T is a marvelous deck. I'd pair it with the 442 mixer for maximum effect, including 4 channels of mic preamps. An alternative is to use line-level sources for channels 3 and 4. We think of wireless sets as "mics", but, in fact many wireless receivers have a line-level output e.g. Sennheiser EW100G2.

For a 4ch. recorder with 4 mic preamps, you might look at the Edirol R4 and R4Pro. Not really in the same league as the Sound Device gear, but, good stuff.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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There's always a trade-off. You try to balance between Price, Portability, and Performance. If reliability and portability are paramount, you'll be better off with the Sound Devices 702 recorder and it's ilk. Clearly a Mac or PC laptop rig with an audio interface is going to give you the most flexibility.

If you are considering VOS Games Boom Recorder, check out Brian Copenhagen's set up as well as his related blog posts.

Personally when I went looking for a field recording rig (for audio interviews as well as double-system sound for video) I was attracted to the small size and weight of the MicroTrack 24/96 CF recorder when it first came out, it was so much cheaper and lighter than the Sound Devices recorder, and I often used it attached to my Sound Devices 302 mixer as a back-up when shooting video and as my main recorder when shooting audio only. But recently while I was at the Woods Hole Film Festival the MicroTrack just stopped working. Sudden death. I was reminded I got want I paid for, so be careful. If you need solid reliability you can count on, the Sound Devices recorders are the way to go. The Sound Devices recorders (and their ilk) are tough and engineered for location sound recording. Other recording arrangements are inherently less reliable. A laptop with an audio interface is more versatile, but laptops are laptops. And as far as cheap digital recorder, well, they are certainly not reliable. Maybe I should have bought two.
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