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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #1
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Small recorder for use with SD 302

Does anyone with some research or experience have a recommendation for a field recorder to use with the Sound Devices 302? Ideally, of course, I pine for the 702T, but cost and form factor lead me to search for another option. Considerations:

1. Professional, rugged, but small enough ideally to fit in the front compartment of the Portabrace case for the 302.

2. Primary uses:
a. Dual system audio where TC not essential (unless can find such a unit with TC; probably just work with claps and plural eyes)
b. Backup/higher-res-than-camera copies of location audio, fed from tape-out of 302.

3. Phantom powering, limiters not really necessary since I have the 302 in front. Would be a nice option to have for standalone use, though, if I need to record, say, two channels in one place while I mix 302 to camera in another place.

4. Preferably $500 or less.

5. Preferably solid state.

So far I'm considering the Fostex FR-2Le, the Sony PCM-D50, the tascam dr-100 (and thought about the m-audio microtrack II but read bad reviews as to durability and battery life).

Any thoughts or reviews appreciated.

Thanks, a merry season to all,

JB
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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:18 AM   #2
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also

Also am considering the Marantz PMD620. Thanks again, Joe
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Old December 9th, 2009, 11:07 AM   #3
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The new Sony M10 is smaller than the D50, It looked and operated real nice when I fiddled with it at AES. It probably does not sound as good as the D50 with the internal mics though. I have the Marantz 620 and the Zoom H2 for redundancy and transcriptions, they sound about the same when feeding the line-input from a 302's tape-out. The H2 has more versatile internal mic settings if that's a consideration.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 08:46 PM   #4
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it's a bit over $500, but just a shy over. consider the marantz 661, for the XLR handles LINE-IN. also if you purchase w/ a super-mod from the oade brothers, i've heard it's up to par w/ the SD702
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Old December 10th, 2009, 04:02 AM   #5
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I recently acquired a SD302 and am (for the time being) using with an Olympus LS-10.

I was expecting to upgrade my recorder and had decided on a Marantz PMD661. However, using the line-in on the Olympus I was pleasantly surprised by how much better things sounded (than feeding microphones through the recorder's pre-amps). I have decent (but not pro) microphones, including K6/ME66. The Olympus is surdy (metal body) and the key annoyances are that the line-in and headphone connectors are on the side (which makes it wider in the bag than need be) and the headphone amp is a little noisy.

My experience and opinion elsewhere suggests that whatever you get, you should use line-in levels to bypass any built in pre-amps. The Marantz 661 is the only one noted that would allow you to do that over XLR and seems reasonably priced.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 04:18 AM   #6
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The Marantz 661 is great with the 302 and very, very good as a standalone recorder. For the money you can't beat it. The key is it's got XLR line in so you can stay balanced and avoid any potential interference when you're working around hot lights or high RF sources in the studio.

And yes the Oade Brothers mods are good, but you don't need them since you're running line in.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 08:57 AM   #7
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Zoom H4(classic version)
Fostex FR2-LE(very small/light weight)

Nicole
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Old December 10th, 2009, 09:01 AM   #8
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Hi Joe,

I own the marantz 620 and I think it is an remarkable sounding recorder for it's size. It is about the size if not smaller than a pack of cigarettes. I am able to attach the recorder on top of the pocket in my Petrol bag where my lectros live with the help of a mini bungie cord and velcro. That way I have easy access to the controls. I also found a perfect case for it at Radio Shack. It does use mini ins and outs but I never had a problem with those connectors in my bag. Especially if you use a right angle mini. The 620 also has mic or line ins and outs. The built in condenser mics are pretty decent sounding. There is a record level control but it only controls both the left and right channels together. So when I use the 620 for transcription I need to use a pad for the timecode channel.

In response to Kirk's comments. I never had any issues with RF getting into the 620 and I have zaxcom and lectros in my bag. Not sure why you would think hot lights would cause a problem. Possibly dimmers but I have never had dimmer RF problems with any of my bagged battery operated gear. The headphone amp is a weak link. It is not very powerful but when a crank my head phone return in my SD 302 or 442 I can hear the return pretty well. Most of the work I do I am recording right to the camera so I mostly use the 620 for transcription but I do use it as a back up when working with a RED camera. Recently I got a really nice sounding recording of Yo Yo Ma playing after an interview I did with him.

Andy
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Old December 10th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #9
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Here's a nice you tube video on the PMD661:

YouTube - Marantz PMD661 Portable Digital Audio Recorder Overview

Andy, I've had noise on unbalanced lines into a PMD670. When I switched to balanced in on the PMD661 the noise went away. I work in a couple of different studios with 5K and 10K Bardwell Mcallisters on a very old board.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 01:32 AM   #10
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I think SD is coming out with a new 302 replacement soon with a built-in recorder (similar to the 552 only scaled down).

That may be an option if you don't need it immediately, but there's not word on when or specifics on the device.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:22 AM   #11
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The Fostex FR2LE is lightweight.
It's a bit bigger than the SD302.
A 4300 battery lasts forever.
They fit into a small Petrol bag together very well.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 06:54 AM   #12
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Andy, I've had noise on unbalanced lines into a PMD670. When I switched to balanced in on the PMD661 the noise went away. I work in a couple of different studios with 5K and 10K Bardwell Mcallisters on a very old board.[/QUOTE]

Kirk,

Probably you had bad AC wiring in the studio or your were interfacing your recorder with another piece of gear that was plugged into the same circuit as the lights were plugged into. You should always keep lights on their on properly grounded circuits. You can get problems like you described even with balance lines.

Andy
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Old December 26th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bailey Jr. View Post
Does anyone with some research or experience have a recommendation for a field recorder to use with the Sound Devices 302? Ideally, of course, I pine for the 702T, but cost and form factor lead me to search for another option. Considerations:

So far I'm considering the Fostex FR-2Le, the Sony PCM-D50, the tascam dr-100 (and thought about the m-audio microtrack II but read bad reviews as to durability and battery life).

Any thoughts or reviews appreciated.

Thanks, a merry season to all,

JB
I use the Sony PCM-D50 with the 302, and it works great!

You can get a SD cable that taps into the 302 output socket, add a right angle adapter to the Sony line in, and the D50 will fit into the bottom section of the Portabrace 302 bag (the section made for a NP1 battery) perfectly.

One caution when shopping for a recorder to interface with the 302 output interface, is that it is unbalanced output and not all recorders will interface with it (the Sony was one of the few that did - and I tested a lot of sub $1K recorders with the 302, including most of the ones mentioned in this thread).
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Old December 26th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #14
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The 302 has unbalanced tape level output on TA3 locking connectors AND
active-balanced line/tape/mic level outputs on XLR connectors.

It will interface with any of the sub $1K recorders.
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Old December 27th, 2009, 11:36 AM   #15
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Kirk,

In my post, I was assuming the OP wanted to use a small recorder as a backup recorder off of the TA3 socket and the XLR outs to a camera.

Be aware that on _most_ sub $1K recorders, the XLR ins are not line in, they are mic in, and of the few that I found that had line/mic switchable XLRs, they would not take the line out off of either the TA3 plug (using an interface cable that had R & L XLR plugs), or the line (at 0dB) outs from the 302's XLR plugs without distorting. One could always change the output on the 302 to a mic level friendly setting, but that's sort of the cart pulling the horse.

Not many of these sub $1K recorder manufacturers make it very clear that their XLR ins are not line level inputs, or if they are, what the parameters of the signal source have to be.

My sound guy and I personally tested a bunch of them with the 302. I wish I would have kept a list of what works, and what doesn't, off of what ins and outs to save everybody else here the same hassle we went through.

The Sony PD-50 has turned out to be a wonderful match to the 302 using the SD XL-3 interface cable off of the TA3 into the Sony's line in mini plug.
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