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Old May 20th, 2010, 02:29 AM   #16
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Yes, they have an adapter but it's pretty expensive, which is why I suggested checking out something like a Juicedlink or Beachtek - they'll perform the same function (ie XLR in and 3.5mm out and also provide phantom power) and they're quite a bit cheaper than the Sony adapter.

Beachtek | DXA-6A Audio Adapter | DXA-6A | B&H Photo Video

juicedLink | CX231 Audio Mixer and Preamplifier | CX231 | B&H

Sony | XLR-1 XLR Mic Adapter for PCM-D1 and PCM-D50 | XLR-1

The Sony has a 1/4 - 20 socket on the back so either the Beachtek or Juicedlink could probbaly screw onto the Sony
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Old May 20th, 2010, 02:37 AM   #17
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Garett,

I have a sinking suspicion that in most cameras - even pro cameras - the most expensive piece of the audio chain is the XLR connector itself.

I'm being a bit cynical, but I might be right!
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Old May 20th, 2010, 11:12 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
You don't give a budget at all ??? - No, because I have no reference point as to what this sort of thing costs. If all recommendations come at a price I can't afford, then I'll have to wait before buying. If I suggest something too low, I expect to berated for having too high hopes of what is possible.

OK - recommendations.......

The Nagra VI and Sound Devices 788T are both superb and are both in the £4,500 - £5,500 price bracket.

Serious recorders that are more affordable are the Nagra LB and Sound Devices 702 - The Nagra LB is £1,600 and I think the 702 is similar (the 702T has time-code and would be a bit more).

Personally I would choose these over everything else - they are all fully professional machines designed to give reliable service in all conditions day in, day out used by film and broadcast sound recordists.


If you are more semi-pro and a bit hard up, then the Fostex FR-2 and Tascam HD-P2 are worth considering; as also is the FR-2LE at a lower price. These three are good value for money, but are all plastic bodied.

I had the FR-2 for three or four years before I upgraded to the Nagra.

I hope this helps.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post

I have a sinking suspicion that in most cameras - even pro cameras - the most expensive piece of the audio chain is the XLR connector itself.

I'm being a bit cynical, but I might be right!
LOL - I think you might be right too.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 11:18 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
The Sony PCM-D50 is damned good! .

Yes, it's a nice bit of kit, but more a pocket device (though, I would say, probably the best of them). But the XLR inputs with phantom is an add-on box that is, I think, double the price of the recorder.

For quality at a low budget, I would say the Fostex FR-2LE is the best option.

I reviewed it for a pro broadcasting magazine when it came out and my conclusion then was that it was about the cheapest machine that you could call "professional".
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Old May 20th, 2010, 03:05 PM   #21
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What about the Marantz PMD661 mentioned earlier in this thread? Some seem to prefer it to the FR-2LE and it's a similar price point and a big improvement on the previous 660 - I've not read anything said against it though like most of these things you get what you pay for, but fully professional gear is too expensive for most so is kind of a red herring (why is it that pro gear though better is never as better as the huge leap in price suggests?)

I say this without any actual experience of the 661 but am interested, as like Annie, I'm looking to upgrade (from my H4).
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Old May 20th, 2010, 03:50 PM   #22
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Hi Annie
I started off with a Zoom H4. The original version. Sold it very quickly and bought a Fostex FR2 LE. I've been very happy with it.
If you decide to buy one I would recommend getting one of the high capacity model car etc batteries too. It seems to run forever on one charge.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Maybe something like a Beachtek or Juicedlink adapter with the D50 should work well and be in budget or pretty close.
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I paired the the Sony PCM-D50 with the Beachtek DXA-6A, and have been very happy with the combo. The DXA-6A provides phantom power, should you need that.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 03:28 AM   #24
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Yes, you're right about it being a pocket device. But as you say it may well be the best of the bunch and it can be quite nice as a stand-alone unit.

I just find that it's so damned handy on its own. You can stick it anywhere you want an additional mic or backup for the main mic/recorder. It's always in my bag "just in case". I had a little aluminum plug made up that screws into the mounting hole and then fits into a shock mount so I can mount it on a regular mic stand.

I suppose if I had a 4 or 8 track recorder I might not use the Sony as often as I do, but there are times when I want more than the two tracks the 702 will handle, and don't want to drag a PC/Mac setup around with me if I can avoid it.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:59 AM   #25
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Try answering this for digital mics

Suppose we do this exercise with one, or more digital mics. Can we just use the reasonable preamps that come with the mic? Or are we going to get better quality by investing in more preamps on the recorder? Do we really need timecode on a recorder, or can we just use some cruddy $10 mic that either comes on the camera or that we add on for reference audio? I sure dont want to be crawling around in the jungle or climbing some tree with the 310 x 74 x 285mm of bulk and 3.8 kg of the Nagra vi), if I can record as well with the 131.5 mm x 48 mm x 22.4 mm bulk and 165 grams of the Olympus LS-11.

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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:47 PM   #26
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With a digital mic there are no pre-amps - it's digitised in the mic., so no pre-amps at all.

The only portable recorder that will take an AES42 digital mic. straight in is the SD788T (a lot smaller than the Nagra VI).

If you want a small pro. portable recorder, then it's really only the SD 700 series and the Nagra LB (a lot smaller than the Nagra VI).
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Old May 28th, 2010, 04:19 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
The Sony PCM-D50 is damned good! As mentioned it doesn't have XLR inputs (unless you buy the $499 adapter!) BUT the built in mics are way better than you might expect at this price point. I am always pleasantly surprised at how good a job it does in side by side tests against my Schoeps.
.
My vote also goes to the PCM-D50!

You're not going to find anything even near the price that will do a better (or even equal) job.

It has phenomenal battery life (a full two 14 hour days at least on 4 AA), has 4GB internal memory (5 1/2 hours @ 48K) and I have an 8GB card installed that the sound person can switch to when the internal memory is full (Sony says 4GB, but I have had no probs using the 8GB card). Tested sync drift (using a time code slate) with my JVC GY-HD200UB is less than a frame an hour.

I use it with a SD 302 mixer, and it fits perfectly in the bottom compartment (made for the NP battery option) of the SD 302 Portabrace field bag. I connect the tape out on the 302 to line in on the Sony using the SD XL-3 cable (and a right angle adapter on the Sony side), and using the Sony remote (which is excellent, BTW), the sound person can operate the PCM-50 even when it's secured in the Portabrace.

Here is a pic of my set-up: Production (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

The director I was doing this shoot for (William Malone), liked the sound quality of the PCM-50 so much, he borrowed it to do the Director's BD/DVD commentary for Parasomnia (using the built in mics), and he said the sound came out fantastic and that he did not have to tweak it at all.

So, yes, I really, really like it too!
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Old May 28th, 2010, 08:09 PM   #28
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I find recording sound for natural history projects very difficult mainly because many of the sounds to be recorded are at such a low level and are often unpredictable. I have tried a PCM-D50 largely because it is small, light, easy to use, economical on battery power etc. However base level noise is a problem when recording in very quiet conditions above a gain level of about 4.5 on a scale that goes to 10. It has the ability to cache but it is so sensitive to handling noise (and wind noise) that it is very difficult to use this facility with the built-in microphones. I considered buying an external preamp and a phantom power supply combination but decided this would be awkward and bulky so I bought an SD 702 and NTG-3 instead. At the moment I am not convinced that it is much better at handling low level sounds and it does not permit trimming of takes within the recorder unlike the PCM-D50. I find that at high gains I also pick up handling noise when using the Rode blimp. However SD702 does have a built in timer so that it is possible to leave the recorder close to where a bird might call at dawn for example.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 02:31 AM   #29
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Thanks to everybody for your input. It has made the choice much easier.

I will get the Fostex FR2-LE. That gives me some scope for expansion, eg a second XLR mic, and doesn't seem too complicated for a novice recordist with not much time to get to grips with recording.

Maybe in a few years I'll find a need to upgrade, but for the time being I'll take the same line as I do with using Premiere elements (v Premiere pro) for video editing, viz that by the time I can devote a significant amount of time to doing the job and therefore justify the extra expense, there is likely to be a newer version of the professional kit on the market.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 09:01 PM   #30
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Congratulations! I hope you're happy with the Fostex. Much as I like the Sony it isn't the right tool for every situation or every sound person and I've heard good things about the Fostex. Let us know how it works out for you.
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