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Old October 21st, 2007, 08:28 AM   #1
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Any good recorder other than iRiver 7 or 8 series?

Any other brands or model of voice recorder with line in for mic that works, perform and priced closed to the iRiver 7xx or 8xx series? Use mainly for wedding :)
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Old October 21st, 2007, 06:25 PM   #2
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Any other brands or model of voice recorder with line in for mic that works, perform and priced closed to the iRiver 7xx or 8xx series? Use mainly for wedding :)
I just picked up a Samson H2 Zoom. It is about the size of a wireless body pack transmitter, accepts mic or line level inputs, has a very good onboard set of mics (can even record surround sound). Has limiters, AGC and Compression settings all built in. Cost is $200...about the same as the iRivers when they debuted. It is much better than iRiver, easier to setup right without all the guessing and hoping for the correct levels. Records to SD media card for easy transfer to computer. Will record in mp3 and wav format. It even records to 96/24 wav files if you are crazy about quality. With one of these you can plug into a DJ sound board, check your levels with the onboard meters and let it run. It will handle it just fine ... much better than iRiver. I have 4 iRivers and will continue to use them for vocal stuff but this H2 is just awesome with instruments and sound feeds. Very much worth the $200.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/H2/

There is also a big brother to the H2 called the H4 that has a few other big features like dual XLR inputs but is bigger. There is also an Edirol product called the R09 that is about as good as it gets in the small form factor. It is slightly bigger than the H2 and has the best internals of any of the small digital recorders I am aware of in the sub $500 price range. The R09 is around $379.

Keep in mind they may cost a little more now but audio gear has a much longer shelf life than our video gear. You can get good quality audio equipment (mics, recorders etc) that will still be perfectly usable and good enough for many years. Over time it is worth it to upgrade the audio side of your business to more pro-level type stuff. It will last so look at it as an investment and not an expense.

BTW...I'm no audio expert by any means but have some friends that are that hang out on another videographer forum. These recommendations are all based on what I have learned from them. If you want more info PM me and I will link you up.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 11:40 PM   #3
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Thank Philip for the recommendation. The H2 looks really good for it's price. Have you tried recording instrumental music using the built-in mic? How's the verdict?
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 08:51 AM   #4
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Thank Philip for the recommendation. The H2 looks really good for it's price. Have you tried recording instrumental music using the built-in mic? How's the verdict?
Well written Phillip.

Kenny, the H2 is very good for recording instrumentals.
One great thing about this little recorder is that you can record in 5.1 surround sound if you prefer. The H2 has 4 individual mic elemnts that will let you record through both sides of the mic in either 2CH or 4CH mode.

You could place the H2 in the (middle) sweet spot of a band or quartet and record teh instruments through the front mics and ambiant audio through the rears. Or just record all of the instruments at the same time. Just place it on a mic stand set your recording mode, press record twice and go.

The internal mics are pretty darn good, and the pre amps are ok (what do you expect for $199). It isn't the best recorder on the market, but quite a value for the price (The Edirol R09 is better but $399, Zoom H4 gives you built in XLR's, 48v phantom power, but is larger and $299). As Phillips said much better and more versitile than the iRivers.
I had posted a review of the H2 in the Audio forum here, so feel free to read some of my feedback.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...hlight=zoom+h2

BTW, I am one of the friends that Phillips mentioned. I produce event and coorperate video, and am a big time audiophile. I have owned the M-Audio Microtrack (good unit, but battery life was dreadful as it only has internal battery), and currently own Edirol R09, Zoom H4, Zoom H2, and Edirol R4 (Pro 4 track field recorder).
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 08:51 AM   #5
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Thank Philip for the recommendation. The H2 looks really good for it's price. Have you tried recording instrumental music using the built-in mic? How's the verdict?
I just got the H2 last week and don't have another wedding till Nov 10th so I will try it then.

However, for my last wedding on 10/16 I borrowed a friends H4 Zoom (the big brother) because the wedding was held in an old historic opera house and they had a string quartet in an upstairs luxury box and opera singers and piano on the stage. The music was pretty important so I wanted something better than an iRiver would do. I just used the onboard mics and placed the unit on a ledge near the strings upstairs. The audio from the strings was nothing short of incredible. Sounded great. The audio from the opera singers on the stage was good but not as pretty because they were farther away and I actually had to reposition the H4 because the strings had me blocked and I couldn't get to it. In the original spot it would have been good for both.

I said that about the H4 simply because I have been told the on board mics on the H2 actually do a little better job for ambient recording. All you need to do is stick the H2 on the floor in the middle of a string quartet and you will be set.

The cool thing is how you can configure the mics on the front and back of the unit. THere are 4 different ways to configure them and one setting will let you have front and back with left and right control....your file will even be split into 2 wav files for front and back. Basically 4 channel surround. Take a vocal track and mix it easily to 5.1....pretty cool.

Anyway....I am pretty confident the onboard mics are pretty darn good. The unit was designed for people to record concerts and bands "on the fly".
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:03 AM   #6
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Hey Phillips, welcome aboard DVinfo. I don't remember if I have seen you pst here before, but you probably have.

I just used the H2 at 2 differnt events over the last 2 weeks. One was a live band and the other was a DJ. In both cases I miced the PA stack, only beacuse I also wanted to capture the speeches and toasts (the live band one had many long speeches). I would have used my R4 for that event, but wasn't informed that there was going to be a band.

In both cases, as I said I miced the PA stack, had external Preamp switch set to L (low), recording levels at 106, and mic configuration at 2CH. the results were very satisfactory for my taste. As the H2 never clipped once (and the volume was cranked (especially by the DJ), and I got a pretty good ambiant crowd reaction that I can work with in post. Actually for the DJ's toast, his wireless had a really bad buzz in the line, the I could hear clear as day (as everyone else could to) in my headset (from my wireless). After I reviewed the audio from the H2, I noticed that the buzz was not recorded much at all.

For the band audio, I had to turn on my MIC ATT switch on both my onboard and wireless feed in my PD170 as the audio was severly distorting. But the H2 never clipped once (that I have been able to tell). Some of the vocal toast are a bit low, but I can work with that in post fairly easy, as the noise floor on the L preamp setting was pretty quiet.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 11:25 AM   #7
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Hey Phillips, welcome aboard DVinfo. I don't remember if I have seen you pst here before, but you probably have.
I've been around DVINFO for awhile but not much in the audio area. I frequented the Canon A1 area when I was considering my HDV upgrade and after I bought the A1. I still check DVINFO a few times a week to see what's up and on a whim checked the audio forum for fun and found the question related to this thread.

Good to hear about the H2 audio and how well it works with onboard mics. That is exactly why I wanted it.

Couple of questions that may help others as well.

I have tried to remember some posts I read about the H2 here and elsewhere (you know where) and can't remember all the rules.

When do I/should I use the following settings to bet optimum audio:

AGC?
Limiter?
Compressor?

Not being an audio geek I am not completely clear on it all. I know what they do but don't know the best scenarios for their use.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 11:34 AM   #8
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"AGC?
Limiter?
Compressor?

Not being an audio geek I am not completely clear on it all. I know what they do but don't know the best scenarios for their use."

I would recommend leaving all of them set to off.
The reason being that they don't seem to respond fast enough to really make a difference.

If you leave these off you can replicate what sounds best to your ears in post.

If you really deisre to set up anything, then for a loud setting, I might set the compressor to Concert 1, I believe.

The only thing I would recommend is that you have your recroding levels set to at least 100 ans set your pre amp accordingly (M or L).
The reason for this is that you will experience some additional noise form the noise floor, if you record below 100. The reason is that Zoom setup the record levels before the pre amp.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 11:40 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=Michael Liebergot;762726

I would recommend leaving all of them set to off.
The reason being that they don't seem to respond fast enough to really make a difference.

If you leave these off you can replicate what sounds best to your ears in post.

If you really deisre to set up anything, then for a loud setting, I might set the compressor to Concert 1, I believe.

The only thing I would recommend is that you have your recroding levels set to at least 100 ans set your pre amp accordingly (M or L).
The reason for this is that you will experience some additional noise form the noise floor, if you record below 100. The reason is that Zoom setup the record levels before the pre amp.[/QUOTE]

Thanks....that is the info I was looking for. I will leave them all off and just play with the mic level settings.

Is the same true for recording from direct feeds off a DJ or sound board?
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 11:47 AM   #10
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"Is the same true for recording from direct feeds off a DJ or sound board?"

I have used the H2 only once from a sound board, and it was for ceremony audio only. I had everything off and did a sound check before hand, and all was well. I don't know about extremely loud levels like during a reception, especially where the DJ might be riding his levels throughout the night.

In this case I ride my levels on the low side of things.
I have been using my R09 for board feeds, as I like the pre amps on it better.
Besides, in my opinion, the H2 performs better and gives me more options than the R09 does for live mic recording. That and the H2 was really designed for live field recording. They just gace you the option for external mic (lav) or line usage.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 01:01 PM   #11
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line in

Keep in mind that if you use Line In to record, there is no way to adjust levels - you have to adjust the source.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 12:22 AM   #12
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With all the front and back speakers set to on, can the H2 also record a line-in input simultaneously from a mic situated somewhere further?
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Old October 24th, 2007, 05:53 AM   #13
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With all the front and back speakers set to on, can the H2 also record a line-in input simultaneously from a mic situated somewhere further?
No, line in is line in. Once you plug in a cable to the H2, either in the 1/8 mic or line input, then the external speakers are cut off.
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