Best portable recorder at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 1st, 2010, 10:20 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 481
Best portable recorder

I have been using a Zoom H2 for high-quality, no-fuss, manual recording of small classical chamber groups. However, as times are always changing are there better devices now ?

RonC.
Ron Cooper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 1st, 2010, 10:26 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,206
Do you have a price point in mind?

There are much better units out there at much much higher prices.

If you have a sort of pocket sized recorder in mind, a lot of people think very highly of the Sony PCM D-50 and consider it a stellar price performer (Including me, but then I've never tried the Zoom)
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 1st, 2010, 10:56 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 481
Thanks for your prompt reply Jim. Price wise, I was thinking of similarly priced units, as the Zoom seems to do a reasonable job. Someone did suggest the Edirol R 05 but I don't know much about it.

RonC.
Ron Cooper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 2nd, 2010, 12:42 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,206
I'll have to let someone else chime in on the Edirol gear. I have a Sony and really like it a lot - I use it as a backup for my real mics (so to speak!) I mostly do concert brass band and classical chamber music recording and my real setup delivers significantly better results than the Sony - but when I consider that the Sony costs maybe 5% of what my real setup cost it is very impressive indeed.

I've run side by side tests, some of which I posted on this forum, and the Sony is quite nice all things considered. I recommended it to a maker of high end classical guitars and he says he is very pleased with it.
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 2nd, 2010, 01:03 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,384
A friend uses and H2 and I have used it several times. I then purchased the H4N and there is a significant difference in quality. First thing I did was record my acoustic guitar with it and I was blown away. I've been a recording engineer for over 20 years and have done a lot of classical and acoustic recording including some work with Decca. Had this unit been available back in the day, I could have saved a lot of back pain lugging around top end mic pre's and DAT machines.
I think the coolest part of it is the fact you can record the built in mics AND another pair of inputs to 4 tracks. For ensemble recording it's great 'cause you can run a stereo pair near the group and use the built in's for ambient.
There are more expensive units with better A/D's and mic pre's/mics but to my trained ear, you really have to be doing something critical to justify that cost. Buy an H4N and use the saved cash for a pair of good mics.
As I'm a nut for redundancy, I'd take two of these before one higher end recorder any day.
(I'm not a salesman for Zoom, just really impressed by the H4N...not so much with the H2)
__________________
A7RII, C100, 1Dx, 5Dmk3, 70D, Kessler goodies, Adobe, Pro Tools and more!
Robert Turchick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 2nd, 2010, 06:35 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 481
Thanks Robert. I am intrigued when you say "I was blown away". What was the particular characteristic that impressed you with the H4 ?

Have you seen this ? Field recorder harmonics

I am more into simple & quick recording and don't want to fuss with extra mics so 4 track recording is not a big deal for me but I can understand that it would be useful for many people. I also wonder if the H2 has some LF lift built-in when using the internal mics as usually these little electrets are somewhat bass light, but this is not so obvious with the H2. In fact I was somewhat surprised by the bass from its built-in mics.

RonC
Ron Cooper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2010, 06:56 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arcata, Ca
Posts: 750
Interesting test Ron. I have found the H4 to distort fairly easily myself.
__________________
My Work: http://www.youtube.com/ChadWork1
Sony FS5 :: Panasonic GH4 :: Sony PMW-EX1 :: FCPx :: AT4053b :: Rode NTG-3,
Chad Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:29 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Novato, CA
Posts: 1,770
For hand held field recorders I give another vote for the Sony D-50. I use to use one for additional sound during live performances and the sound quality is very good. I also had both the D-50 and H4 on several shoots and had a chance to do direct comparisons and I found the sound from the D-50 much more natural.

The biggest problem I had with the D-50 was the lack of XLR inputs. I had to sell it to purchase a less portable recorder but was more suited for the projects I work on. I do miss having the portability and ease of use of the D-50 though.

One other thing, the D-50 has one of the best limiters I've ever used.

Garrett
Garrett Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:50 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,206
Glad you mentioned the limiter - it is one of the really good things about the unit.
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 4th, 2010, 12:43 AM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,384
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Cooper View Post
Thanks Robert. I am intrigued when you say "I was blown away". What was the particular characteristic that impressed you with the H4 ?

Have you seen this ? Field recorder harmonics

I am more into simple & quick recording and don't want to fuss with extra mics so 4 track recording is not a big deal for me but I can understand that it would be useful for many people. I also wonder if the H2 has some LF lift built-in when using the internal mics as usually these little electrets are somewhat bass light, but this is not so obvious with the H2. In fact I was somewhat surprised by the bass from its built-in mics.

RonC
Specifically my acoustic guitar (a very nice handmade Larivee) Set the H4n about a foot away about where the fretboard meets the soundhole and did both fingerpicking and strumming. The even-ness and presence was a bit shocking for such a low priced system. Very low noise floor. Phase was dead on (as to be expected from permanently mounted mics)

Having recorded my guitar in several studios using some incredible mics (M149, C12, U67 for mono and KM84's, 414TLII's, U87's and so on for stereo) I would consider the Zoom to make a completely useable sound. Is it my favorite? No. Will it pass for a professional recording? Yes!
I understand that my impressions may be a bit subjective but here's my reasoning. If it can do that well on my guitar which I am very critical, it will be more than adequate for general recording in the field for video applications. While not my first choice for ensemble recording, it would be a strong contender due to it's size, ease of use and quality. Did I mention the price? I mean it's a third of the price of ONE of my 414TLII's...forget my mic pre's and portable Pro Tools rig I normally would lug around!

And on the subject of the "review" you linked to...
Here's my take on it (not being a scientist analyzing with test equipment)...
Many years ago I was working as an engineer/producer in NY. Our tech guru had called and said he wanted us to check out his new mic pre (which he hand built). The guy is a true genius with electronics and could fix any piece of gear we could think of so we had him bring it over. When he showed up, he unloaded several of his crates full of test gear and set them all up in our control room. He wanted to compare his pre to our assortment which included vintage Neve 1272's, Manley Voxbox, Langevin's, Cranesong's, etc. all the way down to a cheapo ART tube pre. After all his "tests" he determined that his pre was (of course) the best based on the specs he had tested. And our best pre was the Cranesong closely followed by the cheapo ART. Citing that all of our other pre's suffered from harmonic distortion or odd frequency responses and a slew of other "unacceptable" flaws.
My boss started laughing and asked him one simple question, "How does yours sound?" To which he had no real answer. The ONLY answer that matters. We borrowed the pre for a few weeks to give him our unscientific opinions and when we gave it back, we told him it was super clean, had plenty of gain but truly lacked any personality. So he was absolutely correct in one respect but we turned him down when he offered to build us a pair as they wouldn't add to our tonal palette.

Not saying that you want your recorder to have a "personality" but take that "review" for what it is and use you ears. I have had no serious issues with my H4n using the line-ins, mic-ins or internal mics.
__________________
A7RII, C100, 1Dx, 5Dmk3, 70D, Kessler goodies, Adobe, Pro Tools and more!

Last edited by Robert Turchick; August 4th, 2010 at 01:20 AM.
Robert Turchick is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:02 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network