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Old March 25th, 2009, 07:19 PM   #1
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The right choice for a digital audio recorder

I am not sure this item falls in the right thread but may be you could direct me to the right direction.
I have a EX1 camera and would like to interview people not in using any microphone connected to the camera or a wireless system, but instead in using an independent digital audio recorder which means that a synchronisation will be made with the clip during the montage.
I read a long time ago that some of these items have difficulties to synchronise with the camera but do not recall which one(s) was criticized.

My interest is on the Marantz PMD620 Professional Handheld Digital Audio Recorder or the Tascam DR-07 Portable Digital Audio Recorder.

Can someone tell me if they are OK and I have no fear for bad audio-picture synchronisation ?
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Old March 25th, 2009, 09:02 PM   #2
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You can find many answers at 'All things audio' part of the forum:

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Old March 25th, 2009, 09:39 PM   #3
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Syncronization on all these small units is dependent upon the clock in your camera and the clock in the recorder being exactly matched, since they do not have clock inputs.

Even the worst of them is good for about 15 minutes or so, an hour fairly common, several hours if you get lucky.

There are variations even between units of the same model, so just because one works for one person with a particular unit and camera does not mean you will get exactly the same performance.

In the majority of practical uses, it does not matter much, because it is a pretty trivial matter to slide the audio slightly to get it back in sync.

If you really, really need long term sync, the only way to guarantee it is to use a recorder that is designed to sync, like this one:

TASCAM

The recorders you mention are in different price ranges, but judging from the features and reviews, I would still probably pick the DR-07, or better, the DR-1 over the Marantz.

Read the stickies in the audio section.

-Mike
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #4
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OK I got another question for gurus..

What if I were to take a digi 002R on location with a macbook to record sound. How do I sync with ex1
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Old March 27th, 2009, 02:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Artkran Temritikulchai View Post
OK I got another question for gurus..

What if I were to take a digi 002R on location with a macbook to record sound. How do I sync with ex1
You can probably do that by feeding any video output, or the genlock output, to one of these:

MOTU.com - MIDI Timpiece AV

which will convert it to LTC, MTC, ADAT Sync, or word clock (or Digidesign "superclock").

I say probably only because the 002R, unlike the 003, does not seem to have a word clock input. But I expect it has a way to handle the sync over its firewire connection. Look at the manual for your software version to see.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 02:29 AM   #6
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Recording audio into the Camera is your best bet for sync, since there is no output for Time code from the EX1 to sync with external audio recorder.

I've been using the Zoom H4 recorder for years. Mostly for back-up. But it comes in handy (for performance/lecture ) placing it in the audience to pick up clapping, questions, laughing, or heckling. Then I mix it in later in post. It works fine as primary audio.

If recording separate with out Time Code: the most important thing is to create a video and audio CUE: a hand clapping, slate clap, first word, first music note. This way you can sync both tracks in post. It is also wise to also record audio on the camera as a scratch/reference track - even if its just the camera mic.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 07:47 AM   #7
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I have the Edirol r-09 handheld digital recorder and it's very nice. An excellent sound and fairly priced.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #8
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I use the LS-10. Totally rocks. We brought it with us to China:

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Old March 28th, 2009, 02:17 PM   #9
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Edirol r-09 handheld digital recorder - excellent sound and fairly priced.
Another shout for the Edirol R-09 HR which is now a constant travelling companion.

Zooms have had sync issues - a couple of friends in the business went for the Zoom for its XLRs, and they all swear at them. Others bought the Edirol and swear by them. One of them went on to buy the 4 channel version too, which saves bacon on complex round-table interviews.

Absolutely NO sync issues on the Edirol line. Used one to record line feed from sound desk at an event over full afternoon of presentations. No problems whatsoever.

Nicer limiters, great on-board mics, mine's become 'the other radio mic'.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 02:21 PM   #10
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Old March 28th, 2009, 09:25 PM   #11
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Absolutely NO sync issues on the Edirol line.
Certain element of luck involved there -- remember that even if the audio recorder 'clock' is absolutely spot on, if the camera clock is slightly different (which is entirely possible- all these devices use commercial crystals which have a tolerance), then the remote audio will still be the one that has to be adjusted for sync. The camera audio is the one that is in sync with the video, and has to remain the master.

I posted a procedure here: My Video Problems :: View topic - Synchronise external and camera audio tracks. a while ago, that offered some suggestions for syncing remote audio tracks.

For the most part, the differences on short takes probably don't justify any realignment, but for longer takes it can be useful.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 11:03 PM   #12
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Edirol R-44

What's your budget looking like? Check out the Edirol R-44. A very nice portable recorder and it records each input on a separate track(excellent for post).

Nicole
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Old March 29th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #13
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Why not use or split the monitoring feed, and send it to the Camera as well as capturing the audio on the recorder? You're already going to use a digital recorder, why not make a backup, and have audio on the video that's good enough to rough-cut or preview?

I'm using one of those Samson/Zoom H2 units...It's amazing what those little things are capable of. No XLR inputs, though...But what I'd do is record the interview using the 4-point surround mode uncompressed, and use a headphone splitter to send the monitor output to both a set of headphones (if you're going to monitor, and you should) and the camera's Mic In port. Adjust levels accordingly. To get a good level on the camera, you may have to boost the audio out of the recorder and use an inline pad for the headphones (like an inline volume control---try Radio Shack).

Everything is gonna have differences in the clock, unless you're syncing everything up with timecode. Using a slate at the beginning and end of the take will greatly aid in sync later...Make sure you use a full-featured editor, or the process will be impossible...
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Old March 29th, 2009, 01:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dave Harris View Post
... Everything is gonna have differences in the clock, unless you're syncing everything up with timecode. Using a slate at the beginning and end of the take will greatly aid in sync later...Make sure you use a full-featured editor, or the process will be impossible...
one note francois, is that timecode, e.g. the timestamp in the header of the file, is different than the clock rate, which guides the sampling frequency of the analog to digital conversion. you don't necessarily need the absolute time code, you can sync those together using some visual / audio clue (hand clap, etc.). but if the clock frequencies of the camera and audio recorder are similar, then your audio will stay synced better. and if you have an audio / visual reference at the end, then you could adjust in your editor.. but timecode and clock rate are different things, fyi. some audio recorders can accept a video signal in and sync their clock to the video clock rate as determined by that input, but this is more needed for long takes.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #15
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Thanks for all these useful comments. At the end my uage of it does not justify paying more than $200 for suchd evice so the one I am interested is the Tascam DR-07 at $199.
Since it is for use to interview my wife during about 30 seconds or 1 minute max whilst showing the Grand Canyon background, the synchronisation should be easy when producing my montage. It is just a matter of asking my wife to make a clap with her hands before talking to ease the syncrhonisation.
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