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Old June 30th, 2003, 02:15 PM   #1
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MiniDV vs DAT

Which is better? Why?
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Old June 30th, 2003, 03:33 PM   #2
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The 1987 DAT Standard is capable of 2 channel, 48 kHz, 16 bit audio recording the same as MiniDV, but some DAT recorders can run the tape twice as fast (16.3 mm/s) to record 4 channels. This cannot be done with the 1995 MiniDV standard.

Recording audio with MiniDV has the added benefit of not having to laboriously synch up sound to picture in post.
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Old June 30th, 2003, 11:36 PM   #3
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The limitation isn't the spec., but the implementation by various manufactures. The audio components and attention to audio quality isn't paramount to any of the manufactures. Preamps are generally weak and noise levels in various components are high.

DAT manufactures on the other hand need only concentrate on the audio specs and generally have higher quality components with better performance. I think most users can hear the difference in audio quality very easily.

The extra step of syncing the audio can slow down post production, particularly when many cuts are involved. It can create as many problems as it solves for some projects. But overall the better audio quality is usually worth the effort in my opinion.
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Old June 30th, 2003, 11:52 PM   #4
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Well said, Jeff. Has there been any benchmark testing of the audio circuitry of the XL1s etc.? Actual dynamic range, SNR, frequency response, and so forth?
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Old July 1st, 2003, 01:52 PM   #5
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Some of the reviews have had audio specs listed. I don't remember which ones I'm afraid, it's been several years since I looked at new cameras seriously.

Just my personal observation, I would rate the Panasonic DVX100 having the best audio in the mini DV camera category (assuming you use a good external mic). I would rate the XL1 second and the Sony PD150 a close third. However, to my ears, none come close to DAT. Mini Disc may be close to DAT in audio quality. I haven't used MD enough to really have a good feel (listen) for it.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 02:59 PM   #6
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Information pertaining to range, SNR, response etc. for the Tascam DA-P1 DAT, JVC DV-300, XL1, GL2, PD150, and the DSR-570 along with the MZR-37 minidisc can be found here (http://dv.com/features/features_item.jhtml?category=Archive&LookupId=/xml/feature/2002/rose_feature1102).
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Old July 1st, 2003, 04:37 PM   #7
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Thanks, Tim, that link answers some questions. Its conclusion is the same as Jeff's, naming the DAT recorder as the sound purity winner.

Note that a DV.com registration is required to view Tim's link.
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 12:56 AM   #8
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The other thing about going DAT, is that you can jam sync it with your slate (assuming you don't get a model like the Sony DAT Walkman... it can't). As a former editor, having that sync clap is invaluable. Maybe the typical one or two frame drift in mini DV doesn't bother a lot of people, but I'm not fond of it. If I had the money (which I don't), I'd DAT every shoot. Would save time, money, and headaches.

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Old July 6th, 2003, 03:07 PM   #9
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ok what I really want to know then. ..

If shooting on dv what portable dat would do the best job as far as quality vs synch?
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Old July 6th, 2003, 04:37 PM   #10
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If you are doing independent filmmaking, then a MD recorder ain't a bad idea. Just remember to use a clapboard to avoid headaches in post production.

MD recorders are cheap too... I'm sure there's other things you'd like to spend your money on. You should also base your decision on your target format. If you're going to TV, then dynamic range isn't as important as most people watch TV with small and crappy speakers.

IMO the right microphone is the most important element of the chain. Spend money on the right microphone first (lavalier, shotgun, or hypercardioid).
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Old July 6th, 2003, 05:15 PM   #11
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Marantz introduced a new professional solid-state recorder, which I think will be a hot piece for the documentary and the ENG/EFP industry. It has all the professional features you need, like phantom power compressed or uncompressed (DAT quality) recording, long battery life, direct connection to a computer plus lots of other great features.

The recorder uses Compact flash type cards and is compatible with the IBM Microdrive that can handle up to gig (if not more). However, after doing some research, I think that the best way to use it would be to buy only a 640MB card along with a portable Compact Flash to CD recorder that is battery operated and does NOT Require a computer, so you can transfer your files to a CD on the fly, empty the card and continue recording. A Compact Flash to CD recorder is only about $299

The PMD-670 will retail between $750 to $800 and is expected to ship this month.

http://www.marantzpro.com/Products/PMD670.html

http://www.marantz.com/p_product.cfm?id=2418&cont=e&line=prd&cat=pro
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