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Old July 21st, 2011, 06:11 AM   #1
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I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

I recently got a Zoom H4n, with the intent of using it with an XLR lapel mic to capture the groom/brides vows at weddings. However, because of its size, this will not be feasible to put in the grooms back pocket or breast pocket. Can anyone recommend a recorder/mic (under $500 total) with good signal-to-noise ratio that would work well for this purpose? I have a Zoom H2, which is significantly smaller, but have never used it for this purpose because I can't find a mic that works well with it. Any suggestions are appreciated!
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Old July 21st, 2011, 08:03 AM   #2
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

The Tascam DR-03 is probably the best small, light recorder under $100.00.

Assuming you don't want the added bulk of a separate phantom supply, you will need to find a mic that works with "plug in power" which is pretty much a consumer standard.

I can't recommend a specific mic of that type; hopefully someone else has more experience with that flavor microphone.
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Old July 21st, 2011, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

I use a Zoom H1 + Giant Squid Wired Lav Mic ($25) and get results that would useable in some contexts (but of course nothing near broadcast quality).
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 07:52 AM   #4
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

There must be some fairly good AT mics, or perhaps even a Countryman that can be configured to work with "plug in power." I certainly hope someone will chime in, as I'm also interested in the answer.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendndation!

A while back, the same question was asked.. so I tested an H2 recorder with my (G2/3 wired) Trams, Countryman B6/3s and OST TL40s... all worked fine. (except for the less than pristine Zoom pre amps.... certainly useable though.
PS- Plug-in power on the H2 must be activated via the software menu.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 01:10 PM   #6
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

I second the squid with the H2. With any lav I recommend a black hair rubber band thing to pull the plug in tight. I've had some problems with the plug partially coming out.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 02:00 PM   #7
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

I have the H1 and H2 and prefer the H1. I have OST lav's (the 801's I think) which are good but not as sensitive as the Giant Squid which is why I would recommend the Giant Squids with the H1.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #8
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

Rick, thanks very much for posting that information. That is very good news indeed, and it also saves me from doing a lot of research.

Now, a question about the Giant Squid mics. I have never used one. I have always considered them to be something of a "Joe's Basement" brand, sort of similar to Sound Professionals (which have disappointed me greatly). Does anyone have an opinion comparing some GS mics with some of the more established brands? For example, a $50 GS omni lav, compared to a $50 AT omni lav, etc.? Will I get more bang for my buck with GS? Or will a small basement brand like that be less consistent within a given model number? Opinions, anyone?
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Old July 24th, 2011, 11:25 PM   #9
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
Rick, thanks very much for posting that information. That is very good news indeed, and it also saves me from doing a lot of research.

Now, a question about the Giant Squid mics. I have never used one. I have always considered them to be something of a "Joe's Basement" brand, sort of similar to Sound Professionals (which have disappointed me greatly). Does anyone have an opinion comparing some GS mics with some of the more established brands? For example, a $50 GS omni lav, compared to a $50 AT omni lav, etc.? Will I get more bang for my buck with GS? Or will a small basement brand like that be less consistent within a given model number? Opinions, anyone?
I think this really depends on your recorder. For example, in my case, I bought the OST 802 (listen to review and sound clip of the very similar 801 here: ProAudio Coalition: Sync.Sound.Audio by Christian Dolan | Founder ). This mic is clearly decent and some say equivalent to the Tram TR50 for much less price.

But on my Zoom H1 I actually find myself using the GS mic because it's much more sensitive. When I subjectively compared my H1 recordings with the OST 802 and the GS I preferred the GS or I couldn't really notice a difference. But with a professional pre-amp/recorder the 801 sounds amazing (see review) and I don't know how the GS would sound with the same setup.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 11:47 AM   #10
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

The H1/Giant Squid combo is ok, but I get much better results from the H1 mated to my Sennheiser EW100 wireless lav. I keep the receiver plugged into the H1 in my pack and switch between the lav and the handheld. The GS is a backup in case something goes wrong with the EW. Its slightly out of your price range new, but if you're willing to go used on ebay you can easily get within your $500 budget.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 12:11 PM   #11
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

FWIW, the OST 801/802 has about the same sensitivity as the Tram TR50 and without close inspection are identical to the TR50, in fact, the clips and windscreens are interchangeable. Furthermore, in my experience (and confirmed by others) Oscar Sound Tech's customer service is top shelf. (in the leaque of SD and Lectro)
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Old July 27th, 2011, 12:52 AM   #12
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

I'd think that any mic designed for wireless lavaliers (e.g. Sennheiser g2/g3) would also work with an h1. They both put out some phantom power presumably in the 5-10V range.

The annoying thing is that the Sennheiser screw on 1/8" connector tends to pop out of the h1 because it's just a bit too short to make correct contact since the h1 doesn't mate with the threads.

This is why I like the Rode microphones with the Micon connectors... I can use the same mic with Sennheiser g3 screw on connector, h1 non-screw on connector, or XLR into a mixer. Talk about flexible!
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Old July 27th, 2011, 11:35 AM   #13
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

" I'd think that any mic designed for wireless lavaliers (e.g. Sennheiser g2/g3) would also work with an h1."
> Yes , but... (and that's a big butt)

"They both put out some phantom power presumably in the 5-10V range."
> "Phantom Power" is a whole different animal than "Plug-in Power" and the two should not be confused. Disaster could result if someone mistakenly tries to apply Phantom Power" (normally 48 Volts) to a "Plug-in powered" mic which only needs about 5 volts or less of bias current.

Triva: Phantom Power© was developed by Neumann but has become synonymous as a power source for 'condenser' microphones.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 12:23 PM   #14
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
"They both put out some phantom power presumably in the 5-10V range."
> "Phantom Power" is a whole different animal than "Plug-in Power" and the two should not be confused. Disaster could result if someone mistakenly tries to apply Phantom Power" (normally 48 Volts) to a "Plug-in powered" mic which only needs about 5 volts or less of bias current.
This is very important!

Too many people (especially in the US it seems) keep describing "plug-in power" as "phantom power".

Plug-in power is unbalanced low voltage for consumer electet mics (normally around 5V).

Phantom power is balanced only and is normally 48V (24V and 12V is also allowable, but no other voltage is permitted).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
Triva: Phantom Power© was developed by Neumann but has become synonymous as a power source for 'condenser' microphones.
Yes and no - yes in that 48V phantom was developed by Neumann. No in that it is not really "synonymous" but is actually laid down in ISO specs. as an international standard for powering condenser microphones. It lays down both voltage and current draw that has to be adhered to (though some cheap equipment does not seem to adhere to the current draw as they fall over too quickly if a mic. is attached that draws current). A mic. can actually draw up to 10mA according to the spec., though most seem to be between 2mA and 4mA.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 07:36 AM   #15
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Re: I Need a Pocket-Sized Recorder/Mic Recommendation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
I'd think that any mic designed for wireless lavaliers (e.g. Sennheiser g2/g3) would also work with an h1. They both put out some {snip} presumably in the 5-10V range.
I guess I wasn't that optimistic. After all, a lot of them use connectors that have more than two circuits, so there might have been a number of different wiring schemes (e.g. tip for audio, ring for DC, etc.). Some might be common negative, some might be common positive (which supposedly gives a lot more headroom for the FET in the capsule).

Based on what Rick says, though, it sounds as if most (maybe all) of them do use a two-wire negative ground scheme, so that's great news!
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