New 8 ch Field Recorder! - Tascam DR-680 at DVinfo.net

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Old March 25th, 2010, 08:25 PM   #1
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New 8 ch Field Recorder! - Tascam DR-680

If this baby is clean, and we can get an Oade Brothers mod on it, it looks pretty nice. I caught a little preview in Mix Magazine, but it's not quite out yet in anyone's hands who has written about it first hand.

Tascam DR-680 999.00
B&H Photo Video | Digital Cameras, Camcorders

8 Tracks (4 x XLR, 2 x Mic/Line, 1 x Stereo S/Pdif)


* Records 8 Tracks at up to 24-bit/96kHz
* Records to SD/SDHC Flash Cards
* 6 Mic Inputs with Phantom Power
* Digital S/PDIF Input
* USB 2.0
* Integrated Speaker
* Backlit LCD
* Onboard Mixing
* Battery Powered (8 x AA)

You can string 2 of them together too!
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Old March 25th, 2010, 10:45 PM   #2
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Looks super sweet but why... in the blazing heck... would they provide balanced inputs and unbalanced outputs?
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Old March 26th, 2010, 11:34 AM   #3
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Looks super sweet but why... in the blazing heck... would they provide balanced inputs and unbalanced outputs?
Probably more for bragging rights than for real use. Most likely the users of this box don't need it to be a mixer. It's a field recorder, and the main thing is to get as many channels into the box as possible, but if you wanted to send these tracks out individually the option is there, though not at the highest quality.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #4
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Looks super sweet but why... in the blazing heck... would they provide balanced inputs and unbalanced outputs?
Chad hit it on the head. The purpose of this isn't to be able to feed to another recording source. The thing that kills it for me as an ENG/EFP acquisition device is the lack of TC. I have the Tascam HD-P2 and having TC makes dual system production so much easier and more efficient. I would love to see Tascam come out with a TC version of the DR-680 that only costs slightly more.

That would definitely be worth it.

Garrett
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Old March 26th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #5
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I would love to see Tascam come out with a TC version of the DR-680 that only costs slightly more.

That would definitely be worth it.

Garrett
I think they keep timecode for the big boy units like that 8 track monster they have, and with Edirol's R-4 Pro (which I use) at 2,200.00. I have never used timecode myself, as I'm shooting on a Sony EX1, and previously a VX2100. HOWEVER there is Plural Eyes if you have a lot of pieces to assemble. I have not used it, but it's only 150.00 now, and would be useful for dual system setups. Check out their video:

Singular Software


Even without plural eyes, in a concert style shoot it's not too labor intensive to line up the tracks by eye/ear because there isn't a lot of cuts. If you have a clip that won't slide exactly to the camera audio because of frame snapping, put the audio one frame BEHIND the video rather than before. Sound is slower than light, and it looks more natural. But I digress...
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Old March 26th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #6
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My HD-P2 has TC and it's only $750. So if they could add TC and keep it to say within $1300 I think they'd have a huge seller. Build quality isn't as good as say a SD on the Tascam units but the sound quality is very good (still not up to an SD 702 but better than any on camera acquisition). I use the EX3 and have to admit that I've become use to having the ability to just pull all my assets onto my time line and have them line up. For concerts the biggest advantage of having the TC is that I don't have to worry about drift between my camera(s) and audio.

And an even bigger advantage is the type I shoot I had a couple of weeks ago. It was an educational conference. Full day shoot in a large auditorium. I pulled sound to my recorder from the PA system and sync'd it effortlessly to three cameras. for the entire conference i ended up with close to 200 clips. I would have hated to have to line all of those up and look for audio sync.

I'll have to look at software to see if that's something I should add to my post suite as I do receive non-sync'd material for a lot of edits.

Garrett
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:34 AM   #7
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Like you guys, I'm definitely interested in this little box too! Can't wait to hear how good the pre's and converters are in field use. But Garrett, just because you're using TC does not mean that you will not experience any drift between your audio device(s) and your EX3. TC just gives you a common time base. It does not gen lock your cam to an external clock, which is exactly what you have to have to guarantee absolute synchronization between multiple devices.

Drift between outboard audio and cams occurs because you have multiple digital devices that are running off of their own internal clocks. Of course, drift between multiple digi audio devices is impossible because you must sync to one master wordclock generator, otherwise you'll have WC errors, clicks, pops, "pumping", etc.

If you haven't had to deal with drift between your audio and video, then you've been fortunate, but not because you're using TC. The correct solution would be to implement a box like this in your remote rig to act as the master WC generator -

DCD-8

with the VSG-4 video sync generator and then buy cam's with gen lock capabilities to lock to the dcd8.

And, of course, PluralEyes cannot fix "drift" as the company clearly explains on its site. The only thing you can do is start time stretching the audio with your NLE and that means you're mathematically manipulating the actual wave file for each track in order to preserve the original pitch while essentially re-writing the underlying timebase - not exactly what you want to be doing if absolute audio quality is at the top of your list.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #8
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But Garrett, just because you're using TC does not mean that you will not experience any drift between your audio device(s) and your EX3. TC just gives you a common time base.
True Aaron, TC will not correct for audio drift. The HD-P2 has World Clock In and Sync capabilities.

Not that the DR-680 doesn't sound like it could be a great little box. At that price having 8 channels is pretty incredible. And if the sound quality is like my HD-P2 it should attract a lot of people.

Aaron, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this device:

http://www.aja.com/products/converte...s-hd-gen10.php

It seems like a very cost effective solution to use in the field.


Garrett
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Old March 27th, 2010, 01:06 PM   #9
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Chad thank you for making me aware of this product! Looks brilliant!
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Old March 27th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #10
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Even if it is a little noisy, I bet te Oade Brothers will have a mod for it before too long. We should petition them to carry it as they do the Modded R-44!
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Old March 27th, 2010, 05:38 PM   #11
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If you have a look at the tascam web site it seems the 680 is a mid step between the p2 and the p82.
What they have done is to try and fill the middle ground and they seem to have done it well.

TASCAM p2
TASCAM dr680
TASCAM p82
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Old March 28th, 2010, 05:25 PM   #12
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Aja

Hey Garrett, regarding those Gen10 boxes, I don't have any audio devices that will clock to AES - everything is wordclock. Everything in pro audio that I've ever seen is wordclock - 8 ch mic strips, converters, digi mixers, outboard processors, etc. So if you wanted to put together a serious outboard multitrack system, I don't see how those boxes would be of any use unless you use some conversion device to go from AES to WC. That seems more of a pain than what it's worth, considering what's available. Plus, it's nice to lock your whole audio rig to a master that has some degree of contingency in place in case that master loses its primary clocking source (something that the Brainstorm box has and is probably more effective than Apogee's BigBen, which apparently has some issue on this front, at least according to some reports I've read on gearslutz from the remote guys).

Plus, you're kinda stuck with 48k when the rest of the world has moved on to 88.1, 96, & 192K sampling rates. That's why that DCD-8 is such a sweet piece - it's so flexible. Use that as your master clock for your audio & video rig and then use the little Ambient boxes to gen lock your cams. I have not tried this yet, but I can't think of any reason this pairing would not work beautifully...
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Old March 29th, 2010, 10:57 AM   #13
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Aaron,

I started a new thread so I wouldn't hijack this one:

Sync between Sony EX3 and Tascam HD-P2

But now I'm somewhat confused. Andy further info and education is greatly appreciated.

Garrett
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Old March 29th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
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...
Plus, you're kinda stuck with 48k when the rest of the world has moved on to 88.1, 96, & 192K sampling rates. That's why that DCD-8 is such a sweet piece - it's so flexible. Use that as your master clock for your audio & video rig and then use the little Ambient boxes to gen lock your cams. I have not tried this yet, but I can't think of any reason this pairing would not work beautifully...
Note that while the music CD standard is 44.1 and its multiple 88.2 or above is often used for source recording for release as music CDs, the standard audio sample rate for film and video is 48kHz. Some production mixers will use 96kHz or even higher for music and FX but 48kHz is the baseline and recording for film/video at 44.1 gives rise to potential headaches as all of the sound source materials ultimately MUST be converted to 48kHz in post.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #15
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all of the sound source materials ultimately MUST be converted to 48kHz in post.

Not really true. I make a lot of TV spots, and I use 44.1k audio a lot in 48k sequences, as my music comes off of CDs. I record VO and mix with music in an audio app called Cubase at 44.1, then drop the final 44.1 audio file into the FCP timeline with no issues. I work with blended timelines too with 48k camera audio, and 44.1k music/vo audio without issue.

Where I do get issues in in Cubase, where if I have a project at 44.1k, then I drop in a 48k file, that file plays slow. So much of the time I export audio from FCP at 44.1k, which is easier than converting all my music files to 48k.
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