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Old December 26th, 2008, 08:08 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Tristan Howard View Post
Jack, I've got the Microtrack II. My biggest problem is that the sound from my external mics simply isn't picked up well. There's a lot of static and when I increase the levels to increase the volume of what's picked up while recording, the static gets worse. My old minidisc recorder did a much better job with my external mics. Still, I think my Microtrack II doesn't have any anomalies. It just doesn't work well with my mics. I've actually got it posted on the classifieds here at dvinfo.net.
I use all kinds of mics, from re50, Tram TR50, various AT mics, and they all sound fine.

How are you connecting the mics. For an balanced XLR mic you need an XLR to 1/4" balanced plug (same as a stereo plug). Is that what you are using?

If you have the right adapters and cable, there may be something wrong with your Microtrack, such as a loose connection on the connector, a bad cable, or something like that.

The Microtrack gives you balanced input for standard mics, and you shouldn't get any static at all.

If you use the 1/8" powered mini-jack you need the right kind of mic and plug. (This is the same input that would be on most consumer camcorders.)

Using the input volume controls on the Micgrotrack (the switch on the side, the setting in the menu--pad or no pad--and the volume rocker buttons on the front) should give you good levels to record.

You may still want a different recorder, but perhaps you could have someone else who uses the Microtrack take a look at it and the way you are connecting your mics.

The advantages of the microtrack are, number 1, it's small size (though this is only important for some uses), balanced mic input, phantom power (up to about 32v), 1/8" powered input, high capacity removable media (such as a Flash Drive), 24 bit recording, limiters (on the II model), various outputs, etc.

In any case, the problem you describe should be able to be fixed.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 09:05 PM   #17
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I just read your ad for the recorder and noticed you are using the 10-foot (3m) cable to connect the AT822.

This may not be correct. Have you tried the other cable that comes with the mic that ends in a singls 1/8" stereo plug. Try this cable and plug it into the 1/8" input jack on top. This should work, though you have to change the input setting in the menu.

According to the Microtrack manual if you input an unbalanced single to the 1/4" jacks, it should be line line level.

If you use the 1/4" jacks for a microphone, it needs to be a balanced output mic, such as the RE50 (but not the AT822 Stereo, which is unbalanced).

To connect the RE50 you need an XLR to TRS Plug and plug it into one of the 1/4" jacks on top of the Microtrack. This is a mono-balanced connection.

On the AT822, the stereo unbalanced output should go into the 1/8" input on the microtrack.

Even if it works properly with these connections, you may still want a different recorder.

Last edited by Jack Walker; December 27th, 2008 at 11:27 AM.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 03:05 AM   #18
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Anyone familar with the Edirol R-09HR by Roland?

Thanks, AL
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Old December 27th, 2008, 08:47 AM   #19
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I have the Edirol R-09HR and the Fostex FR-2LE.
I never consider Sony in a purchase. It's personal, I don't like Sony.
R-09HR sounds very good, has good mic preamp.. although 1/8 mini.
Can power lavalier mics like EMW... wired for
Senn G2.. can put the lav on actor and turn recorder on, put recorder in pocket.
(I don't need no Zaxcom)
Line input very good. Runs on 2 AA rechargables for 8 hours recording.
Will record 2 GB file and start a new file seamlessly, no pop or glitch when
putting the files together.
Menu extremely easy to use, you really don't need to read the manual! but you will.
This is the third generation for this recorder, and the bugs have been worked out.
Best to use class 6 SDHC card. Chokes after about 4 GB recording 96K/24B.
48K/24 bit fine, even with class 4 SDHC card like Sandisk Ultra II.

FR-2LE very good also, stops recording after 2 or 4GB file.
You need to format CF card in the sample rate and bit depth you want to record.
Runs 10 hours on Tamiya hobby battery.
Larger and heavier.
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Old December 28th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
The Marantz 661 should be available soon. Same basic design as the Marantz PM660 but a little smaller, better battery economy, OLED display, SD cards, 24 bit, among other updates.
Hopefully Ty Ford will get one soon to evaluate.
D-Mpro.com is the US distributer.
Thanks for the heads-up, Rick. I have a few PMD660's (one with Oade mod). Here's the specs on the 661:


Regards, Michael
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Old January 1st, 2009, 12:12 PM   #21
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Hsien, thanks for the links about power stations and battery packs. While I think theyíre a bit too much for my current needs, itís nice to know such powerful, portable power sources exist.

Jeff, thanks for the reassuring info on PCM-D50 battery life.

Jack, thanks for the large amount of info. I originally always connected my mics with a 10-foot cable that has a 3-pin XLRF-type connector at the microphone end and a 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) stereo mini plug at the output end. With my minidisc recorder, this cable gave me great sound on with my AT-822 (not the case with the microtrack). Based on your suggestion, I tried the 1.7-foot 1/8 inch input plug cable that came with my mic. It picked up better sound than my 10-foot cable with the 1/8 inch plug. I wonder why my 10-foot 1/8 inch plug cable is such a problem for the microtrack? Anyway, I also tried the 10-foot cable (XLRF-type connector at microphone end with two ľ inch plug adapters at output end) that came with the AT-822 and it seemed to work even better than my 1.7-foot cable. I used the ľ inch TRS setting for recording with the 10-foot cable and used both plugs. Still, I thought the big, ľ inch sockets were only for balanced mics. The AT-822 is unbalanced so it seems odd that it would come with two ľ inch plugs. Still, those are just adapters and can unplug to reveal two 1/8 inch plugs. Iíve yet to try recording mono with a single 1/8 inch plug on the 10-foot cable that came with the At-822.

I played a narration recording that I made with the Microtrack II and then played identical narration recorded with my minidisc recorder. The Microtrack II didnít sound bad, but there was still more static than I got from my minidisc recorder. I processed both pieces of narration with identical procedures in Sony Soundforge 7.0.

Anyway, I ordered a PCM-50 back in December, so hopefully that comes soon. Thanks again to everyone for all your input. Take care.
Presenting North American wildlife videos and Western landscape photos.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 02:59 PM   #22
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You wont be sorry with the Sony. It really is a great piece of kit. I've really not found anything about it I don't like (nearly.)
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:33 PM   #23
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I see that you are no longer selling the Microtrack (dang). I'm wondering, how does the sound quality compare to what you were used to with the minidisc recorder, now that you've improved the cables.

Also, does the headphone monitoring work properly? I want to ensure that what-you-hear-is-what-you-get (WYHIWYG) when recording in the field.

Jon Fairhurst
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 12:53 AM   #24
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I just want to add that I don't like rechargeable AA batteries!! They have never been reliable in my experience. I now buy AA batteries in bulk at 60% less than retail value, that works great for me, I put in a fresh batch on every job and don't run the risk of the batteries dying on me in a critical situation. I don't understand why we don't have Lithium-Ion rechargeable AA's.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 02:04 AM   #25
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Dear Nicholas,

I use Energizer rechargables and find them reliable, but with rechargables it pays to take some extra precautions.

I use Energizer chargers.

First, charge them just before the shoot. This could be overnight, or the same day for a night shoot. NiMH batteries lose their charge over a fairly short time.

Take them out of the charger soon when the charge cycle completes. If left in a charger, you are draining the charge from the battery.

Use a digital voltmeter to check each battery. Sort them into groups of similar voltages. The ones with the higher voltage are best.

If your equipment uses more than one battery, one weak battery may cause problems. It is a little extra work, but I find it comforting to check each battery before a shoot.

I find that, within a few hours of them being charged, the better ones are around 1.40 Volts or better. Others, possibly much older ones are around 1.2 to 1.3 volts.

Keep a lot of them on hand. During breaks in shooting, I check the battery levels, as shown in my audio gear. If they are half empty, I exchange them for new ones.

I turn off the gear if we will not be using it for 30 minutes or so.

I always take my chargers on the set and recharge the ones that I used.

With these steps, I have never had one fail, or quit unexpectedly.
Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 04:41 PM   #26
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I'm sorry to get back to you so late. I've been busy with college and promoting a new wildlife film. Even with the 1/4" plug cables, the Microtrack II (with the record level set in the middle at 5 marks to the right) still doesn't pick up sounds as well as my minidisc recorder. Nevertheless, while doing experimental recordings when trying new cables with my Microtrack, I accidentally recorded some sounds with the recorder set at the wrong setting to correspond with an attached mic (for example recording with a 1/8" plug on the 1/4" TRS setting). There's a chance that may have messed up my Microtrack, though I'm not sure. A few weeks ago, I finally got my minidisc recorder to work again after I unjammed a diskette. I attached files of 3 test recordings where I set my mics up on a stand and recorded a few seconds of audio (from one of my films) coming out of my computer's speakers.

The minidisc file was recorded with an 1/8" stereo mini plug cable hooked to the AT822.
The Microtrack file was recorded with 1/4" cables hooked up to the AT822.
The T-mic came with the Microtrack and plugged directly into it with a 1/8" mini plug.

Out of my samples, the Microtrack hooked to the AT822 came out the faintest, the Microtrack with the T-mic sounded better, and the minidisc recorder with the AT822 came out the loudest. I've since tried the Sony PCM-D50 and it picks up sounds with much more sensitivity than all my test recordings.

As for headphone monitoring with the Microtrack, it seems to work fairly well. Still, I haven't done enough monitoring and post-recording file analyzing to give a super informed opinion. Sometimes, it was hard for me to tell what I was getting with my headphones, because I could also hear my live surrounding sounds fairly well.
Attached Files
File Type: wma mini disc test recording (AT822).wma (355.0 KB, 40 views)
File Type: wma micotrack II test recording (AT822).wma (367.0 KB, 31 views)
File Type: wma microtrack II test recording (T-mic).wma (329.4 KB, 31 views)
Presenting North American wildlife videos and Western landscape photos.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 08:12 AM   #27
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AA batteries

I look at devices that use AA (or any other standard size) batteries as a big plus. With proprietary batteries you end up paying a premium because it's a captive market. Furthermore if the maker of the device goes belly up or stops supporting the device you're sol. Rechargeable AAs can be found anywhere (Radio Shack, Harbor Freight, etc.) and if you can't find them you likely can find alkaline that will do in a pinch. Regarding flash memory digital recorders, I've been using the Edirol R09 series, first the 48k then the 96k, for some time now and I've been very pleased with the sound -- though, in fairness, I'm no musician.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #28
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I agree. With AA you have the choice of using various AA rechargeables if you wish, and in any case you always have the option of using AA primaries, which can literally be bought just about anywhere.
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