Best portable recorder with powered mic-in for use with mono 1/8" mini-jack lav mics? at DVinfo.net

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Old February 7th, 2011, 08:07 PM   #1
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Best portable recorder with powered mic-in for use with mono 1/8" mini-jack lav mics?

There are so many hand held recorder units out there that have a powered 1/8" mini-jack mic-in made by companies such as Zoom, Tascam, Sony, Olympus, Edirol, Korg, M-Audio, Yamaha, etc.

For those of us who want to wire a lav to a person and put the recorder in the person's pocket, which of the portable units has the best sound from its mic-in? I own the Zoom H2 and I find the sound via the mic-in unacceptable. I know a lot of people recommend the Zoom H1 for this purpose, on account of its size and price, but I get the feeling the sound is similar to that of the H2. What about all the other similar units out there -- do they have just as bad mic-in sound, or is there one or two that shine above the rest? Any Sony PCM10 or Tascam DR-2D owners out there try out their units with a 1/8" mini-jack lav?
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Old February 7th, 2011, 09:17 PM   #2
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I don't have the Sony PCM 10 but do have the PCM D50

It works fine with my lavs so I suspect the D10 would also work well due to "family resemblance". Just guessing but I'd be surprised if there were very much difference.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 12:04 AM   #3
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Found some info about the Sony:

----

"I just received a SONY PCM-M10 and measured the EIN of its microphone input. The

figure of -122 dBu(A) that I got is very similar to that of the Olympus

LS-10/11. But in contrast to the Olympus recorders (which exhibit a unfortunate

increase of the noise below about 500 Hz), the frequency spectrum of the noise

floor is quite flat across the entire frequency range."

-----

"Aaron, You're right. The EIN of the preamp in the HiMD

recorders is about the same as the PCM-D50. The PCM-M10

is noisier by a few dBu, according to Raimund Specht's

tests. It's a difference I found I can hear when recording

a quiet subject."

-----

What's come up for me in web searches is that the Zoom H2 EIN is around 100dBu(A) and the Zoom H1 is around 100-110dBu(A). But I have no idea how reliable any of this information is.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 12:22 AM   #4
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I'm in the market for something like this too, so maybe I can piggyback this thread.

Was thinking about the Zoom H1. I don't care about the built in mics, just going to use 1/8 lav mics (from my G2 wireless packs) and drop it in talent's pocket.

Sound doesn't have to be perfect, just delivering to the web/Youtube. I do need to buy a bunch of these so any suggestions on other options in/below the price range of the H1?
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Old February 8th, 2011, 12:25 AM   #5
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Dylan, to my knowledge, the only things in the price range of the Zoom H1 worth considering are the Zoom H1, Tascam DR-08, and the Tascam DR-03.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 11:37 AM   #6
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Ah the Tascams are what I'm looking for. 1/2 the width of the Zoom H1 makes them a lot more pocketable. Thanks!
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Old February 8th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #7
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Olympus LS-5 is worth considering too if the price and size are the factors.

But, I have Sony PCM M10 and PCM D50 with M10 being my favorite for portability, battery life and features.
It's worth every single penny and to my knowledge is the only stereo recorder to provide enough plug-in power for some quality unpowered stereo mics. It lasts about 30 hours on two AA batteries and has MP3 recording. Really powerful preamps too. I have stuff from SD and Edirol PRO series and thes are even comparable in real life recording situations where people are involved. Sure, not for really quiet music or super amplified nature where additional professional preamp should be used but if you add a two to four channel amp (I use Juicedlink) to the PCM M10 you get something for almost every occasion.

PCM M10 is quiet enough for most situations and specially for speech and ambience - it's the best "crossover-sized" recorder. Next step up would be D50 but it's hard on your pockets and if you let it run it will eat up your card space quite fast as it only records uncompressed.

I have used M10 with the Sanken COS11 and the quality was spectacular (COS11 has really-really low self noise) .

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Old February 8th, 2011, 11:49 AM   #8
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I'm very curious about this - the conventional wisdom says that the quality of the lav itself would be way more important than the preamp specs.

What's your experience? What lavs are you working with?

I need some quality self-powered lavs that are 1/8" - 3.5mm...
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Old February 8th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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Both are important! If I had to choose though, I spose' I'd take a good lav over a 'not-so good' mic pre.. but then, what's the sense of having a good mic with a POS mic-pre. I guess we're SOL either way... so it comes down to what's acceptable, which is subjective.

"I need some quality self-powered lavs that are 1/8" - 3.5mm".
Are you saying you need battery powered mics? Most cameras and recorders these days have plug-in power. As I'm sure you are aware of. Can you elaborate?
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Old February 8th, 2011, 07:30 PM   #10
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Battery-powered because Portland Community College's Canon GL2 camcorders have a 3.5mm microphone input, but, no micpower. Instead, there's an adjacent 2.5mm power connector.

I did some concentrated internet searching, but couldn't come up with a commercial adaptor. I made one, but it wasn't that great, since 2.5mm TS plugs aren't that available either, I ended up with some poor quality, and there's a tendency for the whole y-cord to pull out of the cam pretty easily.

So, I speced Giant Squid lavs with battery boxes, but they've not survived the student use that well.

I'm in the hunt for a battery powered 3.5mm lav of decent (not great) quality, to purchase about 8 of them. Ideally, powered from AA batts. Certainly not button cells (I think there are some AT that are).

One of these days the intro course will inherit the advanced course's DVX100a'S, but until that time... we need some mics!
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Old February 9th, 2011, 08:34 AM   #11
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2.5mm plugs certainly are available. All Electronics corporation -- LINK -- 800-826-5432 -- has a few different options.

Cat. # PMMP is a mono plastic plug (perhaps rather cheesy) for $0.40 ea.

Cat. # SPP is a stereo plastic plug (as above) for $1.35 ea.

Cat. # CB-119 appears to be a mono plug with 22AWG wire pigtail, stripped ends, for $1.10 ea.

I have never bought these items and can't vouch for them. I've been quite happy with some stuff I've bought from this company, and less happy with other stuff. But if you really want a source for 2.5mm plugs, this might be helpful, especially the molded version with pigtails. (In my experience, hand-soldered and non-molded 3.5mm and 2.5mm plugs are rather unreliable... it's too easy for the wires to break off.)

--

FWIW, 2.5mm plugs are also available from Jameco Electronics, Mouser Electronics, and probably numerous other electronics parts vendors. (But maybe not with molded pigtails.)

--

Hopefully if you get a short 3.5mm extension, the 2.5mm pigtail, two resistors, and some heat-shrink tubing, you can make a Y-adapter that will work just fine. The question in my mind: is the DC on that 2.5mm jack intended for powering mics? If not, it might have a bit of electrical noise, in which case the mic signal could end up being noisy. If the voltage is noisy, you might have to add another resistor and a filter capacitor to your adaptor, and the heat-shrink junction could end up getting rather fat and ugly.

Out of curiosity, does Canon supply any information or literature about powering the mics this way?

Last edited by Greg Miller; February 9th, 2011 at 09:07 AM.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 10:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
....The question in my mind: is the DC on that 2.5mm jack intended for powering mics? If not, it might have a bit of electrical noise, in which case the mic signal could end up being noisy. If the voltage is noisy, you might have to add another resistor and a filter capacitor to your adaptor, and the heat-shrink junction could end up getting rather fat and ugly.

Out of curiosity, does Canon supply any information or literature about powering the mics this way?
It's apparently originally intended for Canon's own accessory on-camera mic, which uses a proprietary double pronged plug. They used the two different prong sizes, 3.5mm for audio and 2.5mm for power, so the connector would be polarized and can't be plugged in backwards. Why they would do that rather than a conventional plug-in power arrangement is anyone's guess.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 11:01 AM   #13
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TecNec AC122 2.5mm Stereo Sub-Mini Plug Connector .. All metal shell from Markertek.
- All metal 2.5mm plug from Markertek.

Another option.. though certainly not ideal, is a battery powered XLR adapter (like the overpriced Tram TR79) with a TRS for Senn,. or TA5 for Lectro or hardwired, and a XLR to 1/8 plug adapter cable. At least this would allow using most pro quality lavs.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 11:07 AM   #14
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Hmm. So perhaps a Sony PCM M10 + a good lav + a 3.5mm mic preamp (e.g., Edirol and FEL 3.5 Series 3.5 MX ) would do the trick.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 12:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Battery-powered because Portland Community College's Canon GL2 camcorders have a 3.5mm microphone input, but, no micpower. Instead, there's an adjacent 2.5mm power connector.

I did some concentrated internet searching, but couldn't come up with a commercial adaptor. I made one, but it wasn't that great, since 2.5mm TS plugs aren't that available either, I ended up with some poor quality, and there's a tendency for the whole y-cord to pull out of the cam pretty easily.

So, I speced Giant Squid lavs with battery boxes, but they've not survived the student use that well.

I'm in the hunt for a battery powered 3.5mm lav of decent (not great) quality, to purchase about 8 of them. Ideally, powered from AA batts. Certainly not button cells (I think there are some AT that are).

One of these days the intro course will inherit the advanced course's DVX100a'S, but until that time... we need some mics!
Have you considered the MA-300 and then use regular XLR connections? We use these with of GL2s at church.

Top Five Canon GL2 Accessories
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