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Old September 14th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #16
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If you're using a Mac OS X laptop, you'll find that you'll get rock solid audio recording over FireWire or the built-in line-level input, even with the network active and stuff going on with the machine (not that it is not a good idea to stack the cards in your favor by using it in a dedicated mode for recording). But, I've done tests using Boom Recorder and checking my email and using my web browser while recording and it continued to record without missing a beat. In fact I'm doing it right now :-)
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Old September 14th, 2007, 04:12 PM   #17
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Thanks, David, but I'm actually using a Dell Inspiron.

So, does anyone have any other suggestions for firewire interface? So far, I think I'll go with the MOTU UltraLite.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 04:46 PM   #18
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Any comments on the quality of the mic amps on the MOTU box?

I have a 302 that would let me bring 2 mics in via the 302 mic to Line level and 2 additional via the MOTU box to get 4 independent mic tracks. Just wondering how the quality of the MOTU amps would compare to the SD amps.

If you actually get the MOTU unit let us know how you like it.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #19
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I will certainly do that, Jim. All the review I read of the MOTU highly praised the MIC preamps, but that doesn't really say how they compare to those of the 302.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #20
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The XL2 is pretty good for audio if you use the bottom two RCA inputs which are line level. They physically bypass the pre amps and I have been getting very good results peaking at -2dbfs on the built in meters. This is post limiter which I have engaged on the field mixer.

It is 16bit 48 khz so maybe use it that way for your back up guide track. Forget the xlr's, they are good only for mic level I think because they physically rought through the pre amps even if set to line level.

Incidently that seems to be a real problem with the prosumer gear. That turned out to be my issue with the Sony HDV1.

If you have good quality preamps and good level acheived on tape then 16bit 48 can be more than enough for most things although 24bit will give you much more lee way and is as mentioned before highly preferable although not as important as your recording technique. You may find that too much attention to detail might cause you to take your eye off the bigger picture though, which is mic placement, speed, simplicity etc..

Good luck though. I think the MOTU stuff is great and definately firewire. I tape the connector to the laptop on crucial recordings and run a minidisc as back up. Particularly in the windows world I have seen pc's just die for nothing. I think they feel stress!
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:47 PM   #21
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[...] I think the MOTU stuff is great and definately firewire. I tape the connector to the laptop on crucial recordings and run a minidisc as back up. Particularly in the windows world [...]
Excellent suggestion, with cheap compact flash recorders and mini disc recorders, it's never been easier to record back-ups.

Dale, since you're using a Sound Devices 302, it's easy to record a back-up, what I do with my 302 is I run the XLR main outs to the camera (or recorder, or FireWire interface, or whatever) and I run the unbalanced line-out to a small compact flash recorder which you can Velcro right to the mixer. This is a good way of running a back-up recording. The 302's line-out uses a mini-XLR (TA3) connector, if you're handy with soldering (or know someone who is), you can make your own cables, I've made three for various uses: (1) TA3 (female) to L & R RCA males for running the 302 mix out into line-in jacks; (2) TA3 (female) to mini-jack stereo running into small recorders or the MacBook Pro line in; (3) TA3 (female) to mini-jack stereo with an attenuation circuit with plug-in power filter (I found the circuit description online) for running into mic inputs in a pinch. Between this and the standard XLR balanced line outs I've been able to connect the 302 to everything I've come across.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:50 PM   #22
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Actually, B&H has a TA3 to 3.5mm female cable. I am planning on using that to connect to my backup.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 03:49 PM   #23
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If you can carry a laptop into the field, why not consider the excellent Sound Devices digital recorders? They are smaller and lighter than a laptop, and definitely more rugged than a laptop, and the battery power seems to last forever :-). I have a SD 722 recorder - and I am very happy with the performance.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 05:16 PM   #24
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If you can carry a laptop into the field, why not consider the excellent Sound Devices digital recorders? They are smaller and lighter than a laptop, and definitely more rugged than a laptop, and the battery power seems to last forever :-). I have a SD 722 recorder - and I am very happy with the performance.
I have no doubt the Sound Devices recorders are wonderful, I don't own one but have been lucky enough to tool around with them. I really appreciate their rock solid reliability.

But after using Boom Recorder for a while, the laptop offers some things that portable recorders don't, things I really like, namely the ability to (1) choose the file naming scheme, (2) record tracks to both single files and a composite file (e.g. track1, track2, track1&2), (3) record details notes that are directly tied to the recordings, (4) produce detailed sound reports.

Boom Recorder running on a MacBook Pro is so robust I've been able to check email while recording (not recommended for many reasons, but I did it just to demonstrate how robust the recorder was, the new MacBook Pro is not like older, slower laptops, it can do more than one thing at a time).

The Sound Devices recorders are great, but they are in a strange middle ground. Lighter yet less versatile than a laptop, and heavier than the new generation of small digital recorders. That's not a fair comparison, though, you can't compare the reliability, speaking as a owner of a dead M-Audio Microtrack 2496 thinking about what I'll replace it with. In the meantime, the situation introduced me to Boom Recorder. I'm glad I've gotten to know it.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 06:44 PM   #25
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Are there any good recorders for the PC similar to the Boom Recorder? Also, what equipment do you use to input the XLRs/mics into the laptop? What are the options there? I know about the Sound Devices USB Pre which is attractive in so far as it's bus powered, which I think would be a big deal when looking for a portable recording solution. This said, a four channel input device would be far more attractive to me, depending on its battery life (if even available as an option).
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 09:04 PM   #26
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I'm going to run some tests tonight with my laptop. It's a Dell Inspiron 1150, and I'm using an M-Audio USB Fast-Track Pro w/ Sony Sound Forge 9.0c

I've been interested in doing this for a while actually.

It's USB-Powered, I haven't purchased an AC adapter for it yet (it's an optional add-on).

Not sure if this has any affect whatsoever on the sound quality. I wouldn't think so. It still seems to supply enough phantom power also.
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 11:15 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by David Tames View Post
But after using Boom Recorder for a while, the laptop offers some things that portable recorders don't, things I really like, namely the ability to (1) choose the file naming scheme, (2) record tracks to both single files and a composite file (e.g. track1, track2, track1&2), (3) record details notes that are directly tied to the recordings, (4) produce detailed sound reports.
Actually, 1, 2, and 3 are things Zaxcom's Deva IV, V, 5.8 (and eventually Deva 16) can do. However, I think all of us Deva owners REALLY want #4.

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Old September 23rd, 2007, 12:25 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Eugene Kim View Post
Are there any good recorders for the PC similar to the Boom Recorder? [...]
I don't know, I have neither the patience nor the time to deal with Windows.
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[...] Also, what equipment do you use to input the XLRs/mics into the laptop? [...]
Personally I'm using a Sound Devices 302 Mixer and running the LINE OUT of the 302 into the LINE IN of my MacBook Pro. The line in of the mac is a tiny bit noisy, but it's not terrible. A real Firewire audio interface would offer a quieter input for more demanding applications.
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[...] What are the options there? [...] a four channel input device would be far more attractive to me [...]
I've used the MOTU Ultralite FireWire interface which works great and is very quiet, however, for my application, and to carry the least amount of gear, I'm happy with the 302 mixer line out into the Mac line in solution. This gives me three channels mixed to two (and in a pinch the Sound Devices 302 gives you two additional line inputs if you're willing to give up the audio return jack).
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 03:13 PM   #29
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I can think of many reasons for using a laptop for recording, for example, one of the things I love about Boom Recorder is the detailed sound reports and the ability to customize how files are named which helps me out in post. For documentary and ENG shooting it makes sense to record sound on the camera, time, attention, and bodies are at a premium, but for more elaborate feature shooting, live events, multi-track recording beyond the two channel recording of a camera, etc. good old double system sound enters the picture with many advantages. Imagine getting a set of files and sound reports with all the information you need in terms of timecode, slate, scene, take, roll number, person speaking, etc.
BoomReccorder is very cool.

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Old October 2nd, 2007, 03:31 PM   #30
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I have the Mackie Onyx...

It works well with a macintosh. The pre-amps are reasonable considering the low cost of the unit. It's firewire bus powered. When it is docked in the base station it has a bunch of ins and outs.

I have one hooked up to my G5 tower and use it as my every day audio interface. It has basically been hooked up and powered on for the last year with no burps.
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