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Old November 12th, 2008, 02:45 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 2
Advice on a good oral history recorder

Looking for advice on buying a good solid-state audio recorder for an oral history project.
I've searched the posts here and followed Google searches all over, and read up on what StoryCorps is using. I've got a couple of devices in mind, want your opinion on which would work best for the project.

Brief project summary: most interviews will be in people's homes siting down using one or two lav mics. Output will pair with multimedia presentation with photos, b-roll, and potentially to capture audio for video when I buy a mid-grade ($1,500) HD video camera.

- 2 channel input, XLR or 1/4". (I want to stick to XLR or 1/4 to be compatible with the mid-grade video camera on the future buy list)
- doesn't have to be pocket, but portable
- will use AC power most of times, some interviews will be on the fly with batteries
- will use good wired lav mics most of the time, but again, some interviews may rely on built-in mics

Options I'm currently considering:
Tascam HD-P2 - is the Oade Bros basic mod worth 300?
Marantz 671 - is the Oade Bros basic mod worth 250? (I'd consider one of the better mods but want to maintain built-in mics)

Question, for this oral history project:
Are the two recorders mentioned over-the-top for an oral history project?
Or would I be just as happy with something else at half the price, such as a MicroTrack II, or a Marantz 660 Oade Bros basic mod?
And are there other recorders I should be looking at knowing the requirements?

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Old November 14th, 2008, 04:20 AM   #2
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You can include the Fostex FR-2 and FR-2LE on the list - both are good.

If you can afford pro. look at the new Nagra LB (new model due in a week or two), or the Sound Devices 702.
John Willett - Sound-Link ProAudio and Circle Sound Services
President: Fédération Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons
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Old November 14th, 2008, 02:29 PM   #3
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Might you happen to have access to a laptop?
I'd suggest just getting a USB Mic Mate and recording into a laptop for the time being. That way you'll have the additional funds from the money you saved on a recorder to spend on a better camera. The difference in camera from $1500 to $2,000, puts you in a range of higher end gear. For example, I can't think of a $1500 camera with built-in XLR. It's that $2k mark where you jump from consumer to prosumer.
Listen to the mic mate on this page, I was blown away by the demo. Player

There is a new "pro" version of the Mic Mate which offers headphone output too MXL Mic Mate™ Pro

For a High quality Mic that will sound great and not break the budget, I'd look at the large diaphragm RODE NT1A as a good place to start. Its around $229.

If you're deadset on a portable recorder, I like the Edirol R-44. We use ours all the time and really like it. That might be a bit pricey though at around $895.

Hope this helps,
Guy Cochran
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Old November 17th, 2008, 07:51 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 2
thanks for the advice

Thanks for the advice. I'm going with the recorder so I'm not tied to a laptop. I'll check the ones mentioned here to see what you're recommending.

Does anyone have any reason NOT to go with the Tascam HD-P2 or Marantz 671, and are the Oade Bros. mods worth it?

RE: the video camera, I'll take into serious consideration going up to a $2k camera, or perhaps, I'll go the route of a good recorder and use that sound with video from a consumer camera.
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Old December 10th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #5
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You can get a Fostex FR-2 for $446.00 on in their used dept .
Factory Refreshed full manufactures warranty.
I just bought on myself works well .
Only CON so far is its a tad bulky compared to the SoundDevices recorders($1.2+K)
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