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Old February 13th, 2011, 02:54 AM   #1
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Portable recorder for 100 bucks or less (for unexpected foley)

Hi there,

I am having the need to purchase a portable recorder that I can use to instantly record sound. I need something I can have with me all the time and that will be ready to record almost instantly. I have a Tascam DR-100 I use with my 7D, but it is huge to carry on my pocket and takes some time to power and start up. I did some research and came down to these 2:

Tascam DR-07 Portable Digital Audio Recorder DR-07 B&H Photo

and

Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder ZH1 B&H Photo

I really don't want to spend more than 100 bucks on this. Any recommendations? Either these 2 or any other?

Boot up time and sound quality will be crucial to me, since my need is to tape foley sound from natural indoor and outdoor environments.

I'll appreciate your advice,

Thank you very much!!
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Old February 13th, 2011, 04:14 AM   #2
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I have a DR-07 and I've been quite happy with the performance. I've seen a thorough review on another website, which seems to indicate that the audio quality is surprisingly good.

I just checked the boot-up time on mine, it's under ten seconds with a nearly empty 8GB SDHC card.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 10:17 AM   #3
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Last night I worked with the H1, H2 and H4n. Virtually indistinguishable in final recording IMO. I used the H1 for recording an orchestra from a mic stand and then as a recorder with NTG2 on a boom-pole for overhead vocal interviews with the same orchestra playing in the background.
I was extremely impressed with the H1 for the 100.00. It fit in my shirt pocket.
I used the momentary slider to turn it on and it said HI and gave the the volume levels. I hit the red record button and it recorded. Total time may have been 5 secs to start of recording.
I had earbuds plugged in to monitor the vocals.
I adjusted the levels when I placed it on the mic stand with the band.

This AM, I took the micro SD card out and offloaded. Placed the file under my raw video and am posting the vid on Youtube later if you want to hear it.
Here is one with the H1 sitting on a mic stand just out of frame center below:
YouTube - Charitybowl's Channel


I dont know what much else I could have asked for. $100.00. I'm no professional. I like automatic everything. Its simple, small and lets just say it, CHEAP.

IMHO
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Old February 13th, 2011, 11:13 AM   #4
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Is that link going to the correct videos? You said you posted this morning but the clip that comes up is dated last November. You also reference recording an orchestra in your post but the video that's the target of this link is an interview about the Chariitybowl with two of the players.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 04:43 PM   #5
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Sorry I didn't make it clear.

What I meant to say was, "here is this one, now", I'll post another after I upload it.

This one was shot/recorded last night. Uploaded this afternoon. The H1 was about 6' above the front right corner (from band point of view) of the stage. It was pointed slightly angled down at the singer. I think the levels were set to around 50. I just guessed on that as i had to set it quickly.
YouTube - KansasCity

I realize neither videos have foley sounds but it just shows the range of this little recorder. On last check it took 7seconds to actual record time. I was wrong on the 5sec mark.
I also own the H2. Small screen, but good sound. The H4n is too complicated for simple use IMO. Great if you want a whole studio in one unit and it has XLR, But its not worth me going 300 to get XLR, Its ON my list for that special use, but its way down when I get some free money.
All of the Zoom products are good IMO.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 06:45 AM   #6
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I wish they made a recorder with no on-board mics, I used the Zoom H1 in combination with a lav mic the other day and although the audio quality was awesome the on-board mics made the unit unnecessary big when hidden in a pocket.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 07:14 AM   #7
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They do. You want something like this;

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-WS-300M-Digital-Recorder-Player/dp/B000BJ1UAE
I have 3 of these. Good for multiple speakers moving around.
With an adapter they will take 2 mics if you want. I use them often with a lapel and slip it into their pocket. Headphone monitor if you need it. They are usb so you just plug it in when you want to offload. This is an older model, so you want the latest.
Also have mics and small speakers built in to it for emergency recording.

GLB
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Old February 14th, 2011, 07:22 AM   #8
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YouTube - VideoServicesVB's Channel

On the 3rd segment I used two of those Olympus digital recorders I linked above, one for each speaker, and a couple $24.95 lapel mics.
First segment was the H1 on a boom pole, second,, well lets just say fubar. Forgot to turn it on. Good thing its volunteer work. :)
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Old February 14th, 2011, 07:36 AM   #9
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I'll throw in another vote for the Zoom H1. I've used it extensively on a project I've been working on for a couple of months; stand-alone recorder, wired to a sennheiser lav, wired to a sennheiser wireless transmitter, wired inline from the reciever to the camera, etc.

Admittedly, it's my first foray into this type of recording system, but I have been extremely impressed with it's ease of use and high quality audio in some fairly demanding environments. For $99. it does a FAR better job than I'd ever hoped for
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Old February 14th, 2011, 07:54 AM   #10
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I just checked my H4n. Running on battery power and with a half-full non-SDHC 2Gb card in place, it took about 12 seconds to boot up. Another second at least to see for sure it was ready and then hit record two times. Call it 14 seconds for the most part. It might be faster with an empty faster card.

If it's already running, the H4n can be set to have 2 seconds of pre-record buffer.

Back in the old days (2000!) my Deva had 10 seconds of pre-record buffer.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 08:34 AM   #11
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And if I remember correctly, the H1 has the same mics as the H4n. I am as impressed as Wayne. For the value..
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Old February 14th, 2011, 10:29 AM   #12
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Guitar center had the Tascam DR-07 on sale for $49 a couple weeks ago. Got mine last weekend and it works great with a lapel mic.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 08:28 AM   #13
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That's an outstanding price for that little recorder! If I didn't already have one, I would certainly grab one, for backup if nothing else.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 12:01 PM   #14
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Okay, I have both of these recorders. My use of them is a bit different than yours, but I can give you a bit of an idea.

I originally bought the DR-07 to work with my Sign ENG44 field mixer. I had decided that rather than buy an all in one field recorder, I would just use my field mixer which should have better controls and feed a simple recording unit like the DR-07. It has worked great under those circumstances.

This last year, I went ahead and bought the H1, with a gift card from BH photo.

When I first got the Zoom H1, I didn't really test it figuring that I would use it as back up to my DR-07.

This thread actually forced me to sit down and check the units out as stand alones.

The DR-07 has a lot of menu based controls, is larger, heavier, and feels in comparison to the H1 a lot for durable. The H1 has a kind of plastic feel. The H1 controls are mainly accomplished by slide switch. I like the larger SD cards in the DR-07 too, as the H1 use a micro card.

However, after doing some initial sound tests with the onboard mics today, I found the H1 seemed to have a wider response range, particularly in the lower ranges, as the on board mics seem to provide a better base level. Simply stated, my voice test seemed more pleasing on the H1. I do believe I had all filters off on both units

I am curious if others have had a similar experience.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 08:23 PM   #15
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Thanks Gary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Lee View Post
Last night I worked with the H1, H2 and H4n. Virtually indistinguishable in final recording IMO. I used the H1 for recording an orchestra from a mic stand and then as a recorder with NTG2 on a boom-pole for overhead vocal interviews with the same orchestra playing in the background.
I was extremely impressed with the H1 for the 100.00. It fit in my shirt pocket.
I used the momentary slider to turn it on and it said HI and gave the the volume levels. I hit the red record button and it recorded. Total time may have been 5 secs to start of recording.
I had earbuds plugged in to monitor the vocals.
I adjusted the levels when I placed it on the mic stand with the band.

This AM, I took the micro SD card out and offloaded. Placed the file under my raw video and am posting the vid on Youtube later if you want to hear it.
Here is one with the H1 sitting on a mic stand just out of frame center below:
YouTube - Charitybowl's Channel


I dont know what much else I could have asked for. $100.00. I'm no professional. I like automatic everything. Its simple, small and lets just say it, CHEAP.

IMHO
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Lee View Post
Sorry I didn't make it clear.

What I meant to say was, "here is this one, now", I'll post another after I upload it.

This one was shot/recorded last night. Uploaded this afternoon. The H1 was about 6' above the front right corner (from band point of view) of the stage. It was pointed slightly angled down at the singer. I think the levels were set to around 50. I just guessed on that as i had to set it quickly.
YouTube - KansasCity

I realize neither videos have foley sounds but it just shows the range of this little recorder. On last check it took 7seconds to actual record time. I was wrong on the 5sec mark.
I also own the H2. Small screen, but good sound. The H4n is too complicated for simple use IMO. Great if you want a whole studio in one unit and it has XLR, But its not worth me going 300 to get XLR, Its ON my list for that special use, but its way down when I get some free money.
All of the Zoom products are good IMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Lee View Post
They do. You want something like this;

Amazon.com: Olympus WS-300M 256 MB Digital Voice Recorder and Music Player: Electronics

I have 3 of these. Good for multiple speakers moving around.
With an adapter they will take 2 mics if you want. I use them often with a lapel and slip it into their pocket. Headphone monitor if you need it. They are usb so you just plug it in when you want to offload. This is an older model, so you want the latest.
Also have mics and small speakers built in to it for emergency recording.

GLB
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Lee View Post
YouTube - VideoServicesVB's Channel

On the 3rd segment I used two of those Olympus digital recorders I linked above, one for each speaker, and a couple $24.95 lapel mics.
First segment was the H1 on a boom pole, second,, well lets just say fubar. Forgot to turn it on. Good thing its volunteer work. :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Lee View Post
And if I remember correctly, the H1 has the same mics as the H4n. I am as impressed as Wayne. For the value..
Well Gary thanks very much for all of your answers. Very much appreciate them. 7 seconds isn't bad. Jay reported 14 seconds. Either way is a bit long for what I am trying to accomplish. I need a good quality recorder that will be able to tape in at least 5 seconds because most of these unexpected foley will be gone by the end on those 5 seconds. 5 seconds seems very little but unfortunately feels more like forever for this specific task. I remember the old tape recorders. Those where fast, just press the 'rec' button. And that is kind of speed I am needing, but on the digital sound. Would you guess the quality of the H1 compared to the DR-07 is the 96k range?

I am still considering these recorders, so this information is great and very valuable for me :)

THANK YOU!!
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