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Old October 6th, 2007, 09:33 PM   #1
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Advice on digital audio recorder with XLRs

Hi-

I have never lurked around this Audio section before. I poked around a bit in search of this.... but did not stumble upon what I'm looking for.

I'm in need of a digital audio recorder that I has an XLR input... or perhaps two. I need to narate a video documentary. I would also like to use this device in the field at some point. My budget is about $300 to $450.

Any ideas?

Thanks
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Old October 6th, 2007, 11:42 PM   #2
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Hi Tim.................

Zoom H2 (I think) and H4 (definately) fall into this category. I have the H4 and with external mic's it works great (the internals pick up way too much handling noise if hand held).

Check 'em out.


CS
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Old October 6th, 2007, 11:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tim Bickford View Post
Hi-

I have never lurked around this Audio section before. I poked around a bit in search of this.... but did not stumble upon what I'm looking for.

I'm in need of a digital audio recorder that I has an XLR input... or perhaps two. I need to narate a video documentary. I would also like to use this device in the field at some point. My budget is about $300 to $450.

Any ideas?

Thanks
Zoom H4? Marantz PMD660?
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Old October 7th, 2007, 12:22 AM   #4
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Hi Tim,

You'll find used Marantz PMD660 recorders for around your price if you look at the sites. If you don't need quite that much and are very careful with your recorder, consider the Zoom H4 (but be careful not to bang it around). If you have a laptop and don't need the portability, you might even consider recording right into your laptop via a USB field mixer - I use the Tapco Link.usb which has two XLR channels. But if you're looking for a one channel device that's really small, try the CEntrance MicPort Pro.

Good luck, Michael
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Old October 7th, 2007, 10:05 AM   #5
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Thank you for the advice!

I like the looks of the Zoom H4. Does this recorder, or similar ones, have the ability to use SMPTE timecode? I use a Canon XL2 and edit with Premiere Pro-2. I think I can handle matching the audio from the H4 to the video in post. However, it would be handy if you could sync the time code of the audio device with the time code on the XL2.

Based on what I have read about the Zoom H4 there is a time sync issue. It looks like you have to fudge the audio in a bit to match the video. Hoever, all the reports that I have read about this recorder were positive. It appears to be a very powerful little rig.

Thanks again!
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Old October 7th, 2007, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Bickford View Post
Thank you for the advice!

I like the looks of the Zoom H4. Does this recorder, or similar ones, have the ability to use SMPTE timecode? I use a Canon XL2 and edit with Premiere Pro-2. I think I can handle matching the audio from the H4 to the video in post. However, it would be handy if you could sync the time code of the audio device with the time code on the XL2.

Based on what I have read about the Zoom H4 there is a time sync issue. It looks like you have to fudge the audio in a bit to match the video. Hoever, all the reports that I have read about this recorder were positive. It appears to be a very powerful little rig.

Thanks again!
To get timecode you're going to have to move a bit to Zaxcom's new recorder (~$1000) or Tascam's HDP2 (~$1300) and the Zaxcom doesn't offer XLR
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Old October 7th, 2007, 11:29 AM   #7
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To get timecode you're going to have to move a bit to Zaxcom's new recorder (~$1000) or Tascam's HDP2 (~$1300) and the Zaxcom doesn't offer XLR
I assume your talking about Zaxcom's lav recorder. This device is different in that it really is designed as a replacement for wireless. The idea is that as the radio spectrum gets more crowded and gets sold off here in the US, this will be the replacement for wireless gear. You jam time code to the devices from a master clock put in the miniSD card and start recording. There is an added benefit for those in the UK and elsewhere that require additional fees for airspace, you won't have to pay for it. However, this is not the device for you if you are trying to use full size microphones. Only a few lav microphones have been qualified (I write the manuals for Zaxcom, and they haven't provided me with a current list, but there are only 6 mics I believe that were qualified to work when I did the first version of the manual).

Wayne
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Old October 7th, 2007, 12:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Bickford View Post
Thank you for the advice!

I like the looks of the Zoom H4. Does this recorder, or similar ones, have the ability to use SMPTE timecode? I use a Canon XL2 and edit with Premiere Pro-2. I think I can handle matching the audio from the H4 to the video in post. However, it would be handy if you could sync the time code of the audio device with the time code on the XL2.

Based on what I have read about the Zoom H4 there is a time sync issue. It looks like you have to fudge the audio in a bit to match the video. Hoever, all the reports that I have read about this recorder were positive. It appears to be a very powerful little rig.

Thanks again!
I can confirm what Steve wrote and more. The H4 does not have any timecode capability. It also has a somewhat crippled file system, in that there will be no creation date/time associated with the file once you pull it in to a computer. What it does do is sequentially number files.

Therefore, I can't recommend it for sync work with short takes. With long takes this isn't too much of a problem, and I find it very handy for eg. recording the mixing board output at a live event, or using its own mics or an outboard stereo pair to do stereo recording for a music event for later video sync.

The internal mics are really not bad if the unit is on a stand, it comes with a 1/4" tripod socket. I keep a 5" tripod in the case with the recorder, which can be used tabletop or be strapped to a music stand or mic stand.

It is an extremely handy device for a musician who wants to do casual recording of lessons, rehearsals, gigs, etc. Quality of the recording is excellent. I find myself using high-bitrate MP3 for the casual stuff, and 24/48 PCM for the video sync work.

I'll also echo Steve's comment on the Tascam HD-P2, it has what one needs in terms of timecode gen. Also, look at the Edirol R-4 Pro.

But the Zoom H4 is in your budget... Apparently Zoom did accomodate timecode on the H2, I have a hope that there will be a firmware update or a new version of the H4 with TC. I'd buy it in a minute, this is one handy device.
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