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Old February 5th, 2008, 10:06 AM   #1
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M-Audio Multi-track II vs. Zoom H4

I had a Multi-track II. Actually, I have had two, both of which had terrible noise problems in the 1/4" input settings. I have a Edirol R-09 right now, but I really miss the 1/4" inputs...

#1. Has anyone had any problems with their new Multitrack II or did I just get two bad apples in a row? I'm inclined to get another one and hope for the best since the 1/8" input was VERY GOOD on this thing which is what I use it for mostly.

#2. The Zoom H4 looks cool and has XLR which would be very practical. How do these two compare? (H4 Vs. Multitrack II). I was told at the Guitar Center that they don't carry Zoom because it's, "junk," to use their own words. Although I have seen some good reviews on them.

Any suggestions? I want AT LEAST a 1/4" feed in, but preferably XLR+1/4", but I don't want to buy "junk," or another lemon!

I should mention that I use this instrument for field recordings of interviews for podcast-type recordings or sometimes as a backup audio for video recordings.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #2
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I have the M-Audio and have had no noise problems with it. In fact, the reason I got it was because the noise on an earlier purchase of a different brand was unacceptable.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 04:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
I have the M-Audio and have had no noise problems with it. In fact, the reason I got it was because the noise on an earlier purchase of a different brand was unacceptable.
DO you have the Multitrack 1 or 2?
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Old February 5th, 2008, 04:20 PM   #4
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Mine's the Microtrack II.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 09:33 PM   #5
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Zoom H-4

I have two Zoom H-4's that do a decent job. If you like, I can upload a sound sample.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 09:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Andrew Dickerman View Post
I have two Zoom H-4's that do a decent job. If you like, I can upload a sound sample.
That would be great. Thanks. How are the XLR inputs working for you?
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Old February 7th, 2008, 10:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Dickerman View Post
I have two Zoom H-4's that do a decent job. If you like, I can upload a sound sample.
I also have a Zoom H4 that I've used just for field sound recording (without video). For $300, the sound quality is unbelievable, and you get hours of sound storage on cheap SD memory cards. The phantom powered XLRs work well. Noise isnít a problem as long as the levels are right.

For video, I've read that the H4 didnít sync well for longer duration shots, but it looks like this may be limited to recorders with old firmware. See here for details:
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2007/0...ie-production/
The post on December 29, 2007 claims only 5 frames drift after 30 minutes using the latest firmware.

Have you had any sync problems with the H4, or is this just smoke?
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Old February 8th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #8
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M-Audio / Zoom / Edirol vs. Fostex FR-2LE

After looking at this some more, I think I might go for the $600 Fostex FR-2LE. I have the Zoom H4, and have personally used the XLR inputs with great success for audio field recording. The real problem is the levels. If they're not just right, either the noise of the H4 preamps becomes apparent, or it clips.

As strange as it sounds, I actually prefer the clipping. My version of CoolEdit has an clip restoration plug-in that works really well. Light clipping actually seems somewhat fixable in post, but it's not something you want to do all the time. I haven't found a good way to remove noise without affecting the quality of the audio source.

Anyway, the Fostex seems to have at least 4 clear advantages:

1) When using the shoulder strap, the LED meters face up. The meters are also color so you can see where you're at with just a glance.

2) There's a real knob for the gain - not menus and switches. The knob also faces up with the shoulder strap. Much easier to control.

3) Less noise on the XLR inputs

4) Much better reputation for video production sound. Everyone seems to know the PD-4. Given that some PA or audio person will probably be running this while I use my Steadicam, other people's respect for the equiptment will be important. Also, the main display on the FR-2LE seems much easier to read, so it looks more pro all aorund.

Does anyone have experience with the Fostex FR-2LE? Any problems?
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Old February 8th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #9
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We got a Fostex FR2-LE a few months back (380 quid in UK) and it is superb but I find the preamps a little lower in amplification than we would have liked (you have trim adjustment - just not enough of it with the mics I've tried so far!) However, the preamps are super quiet so boosting in post is no issue at all.

Only issue with it is that it's a little large... so more often than not my Zoom H2 gets used. H2 is actually really good for what it does (at it's price point, $200 area in US but 140 quid in UK.) However, it is not in the same quality bracket as the Fostex. You'll need to swap out the CF card for a larger one (it comes with a 128MB one.) We put in a Sandisk 4GB Extreme III.

It all works just fine. The FR2-LE seems (nay is) a seriously good bit of kit - hoping to use it a lot more when our new Stereo mic (AT825) arrives later this month!
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Old February 10th, 2008, 01:17 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
We got a Fostex FR2-LE a few months back (380 quid in UK) and it is superb but I find the preamps a little lower in amplification than we would have liked (you have trim adjustment - just not enough of it with the mics I've tried so far!) However, the preamps are super quiet so boosting in post is no issue at all...
Thanks! Just what I was looking for. What mics have you tried so far? (condensor/dynamic?) Also, could you estimate the mic's distance to the source, and give a rough idea of the level of the source itself? I'm trying to figure out if the preamp level issue will be a problem in my application. Thanks again.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #11
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Mics tried so far on Fostex FR2-LE

OK, this is not an exhaustive list (!!!) but Senny ME66, and Omnidirectional AT (forgot the code and my mate who owns it is in NZ right now), Sony shotguns (the ones supplied as standard with PD150 and V1 (again don't remember the code) and Rode Videomic (with Rode XLR to 3mm adapter plug.)

With all of these, even up close (spoken voice etc. from about a foot away) it's still a little quite...rough estimate is that I'd like it to be more than 10 dB louder than it really can do (at full trim) with these mics. But this is very rough and ready "guestimate" and from not much use in real action so far so please take other opinions as well. Like I said, it's very easy to boost in post as it's so devoid of noise. In actual fact it will be used by us mostly for recording choral and organ music in a cathedral (and it can get pretty loud in there!) so I expect this to be a non-problem really.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #12
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Andy, This is exactly what I was looking for. If it's only 10db too quiet, I can deal with it in post without worrying too much about noise. Thanks!
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