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Old June 5th, 2012, 05:56 AM   #16
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Hi Greg, I had the t20mx which needed the archos preamp I had attached to it. Without it I had no sound.
About ordering overseas, I have done that before but when adding custom taxes and sending costs it becomes too expensive for such a cheap device where it often is double the original prize, it's only worth while if I order from f.i. China, that gets delivered right to my doorstep without extra taxes.
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Old June 5th, 2012, 10:53 AM   #17
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Noa,

I never heard of the T20, perhaps that a non-US model. The T20 appears to be pretty small, but the need for an external preamp offsets that fact. I can't even find detailed specs online, it must be rather obscure. A lot of folks use the iRiver 7xx or 8xx series, which do have mic-level inputs, but are rather thick.

Too bad you don't have a friend coming to visit you from the US soon, who could bring you a few PR-10s as gifts... they are dirt cheap right now ($69 USD). Is it really that bad buying stuff, living in Europe? What happens when you buy stuff from eBay?

Good luck with your quest!
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Old June 5th, 2012, 12:18 PM   #18
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Yes, the T20 is discontinued longer time ago and is very small but together with the archos preamp it becomes quite bulky but it has served my purpose well, a few years ago there was some talk about the t20 on this forum and some weddingvideographers used it, when I started looking it was not been made anymore but many were to be found on Ebay in the US, luckily I found a Belgian audio store that had 2 of them as last stock and they were quite cheap as well (around 40 dollar for the iriver and 30 for the archos preamp with clipon mike)

If I buy from Ebay in the US I have to consider custom duty costs, taxes and sending cost which easily can double the price for a cheap item. That's why it's often no benefit, I do buy quite some accessoires from China, like last time I bought a batterygrip and 2 (not original) canon batteries for my t2i and it was dirtcheap (around 60 dollar) then I don't have to deal with these extra costs, even sending costs are amazingly low, it's often more expensive to send something in my own country then getting it from China to here. :)

Well, I finally placed my order just now (as I need it on a shoot this friday) and it is a Yamaha Pocketrak C24 from a Belgian audio store, the Tascam dr08 was not available in Belgium, only the Netherlands and when I buy in another EU country it becomes a intracommunautaire transaction, it basically means tax is deducted immediately and as a company I can by "taxfree". If I buy online their paying system should take this into consideration but often sites don't have this arrangement meaning it will become difficult for my bookkeeping accountant to retrieve the taxes I paid. The Dutch sites where I found the Tascam did not have this so it's cheaper/easier just to buy in Belgium. You see, very complex arrangements just to buy something :D

So, often I"m better of buying in Belgium or China : )
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Old June 5th, 2012, 09:19 PM   #19
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Noa,

I do not envy you with all the extra pain of buying, shipping across borders, import duty, taxes, etc. It makes me thankful to be here.

I hope the Pocketrak will serve you well. I remember looking at those, myself, before I bought the Tascam line (DR-03 and DR-05). As I recall, they looked pretty good... perhaps I bought the Tascams because of a lower price. If you have a chance, post back here with a review of your experience with the Pocketrak, after you have used it a few times, as it might help others in the future.

Cheers!
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Old June 9th, 2012, 06:46 AM   #20
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

So yesterday I put the yamaha to the test, a bit too soon as I did just a few testruns the day before using a clipon mike connected to the line in of the recorder and that at least sounded really good, I"m not an audio guy so specialists will probably hear differences between a zoom h1/4 or whatever recorder but if I don't hear noise in the background and if can boost the signal considerably without getting excessive noise I"m happy.

Yesterday I did encounter a problem, where they held the ceremony there was no sound mixer, that was on the other side of the building and they had xlr outputs in the wall in every major room, so they could easily plugin a mike and control the sound from one central location. So I was not able to get a line for my xh-a1 to capture the voices. The sound mixer itself also didn't have any available output line to go to my zoom h4 and the soundspeakers where build high into the ceiling.

Then I decided to strap the small yamaha directly onto the handle of the handmicrophone and use it inbuild microphones, I used a small piece of rubber (cut from the inside tire of a bicycle) to place between the mike handle and recorder to prevent it from sliding and used 2 velcro straps to tighten it onto the handle. The yamaha is a bit longer but very thin and not wide so you could still grab the mike handle, incl the recorder without a problem.

The yamaha recorder I put on auto gain controll to let the recorder handle the audio levels and to prevent any clipping of sound if persons would speak too loud and close to the mike and I selected a mp3 quality with a bitrate of 192kbs.

I just heared the result, some persons had the handmicrophone against they mouth with maybe 5 cm distance to the external microphones of the Yamaha and some guys where talking quite loud. The result was just great, the sound quality was very good and when it was silent I couldn't hear excessive hiss because the autolevel pushed the gain too high, perfectly usable audio that was equally good compared to using my clipon mike attached to a persons vest.

With this result I will use this recorder for the evening speeches or whenever I can attach it onto a mike since I never have been able to capture those 100% right, the only disadvantage the recorder has is that is has a bulge where the mikes are and to have it flat against hand-microphone's handle I needed to place it with the controls against the handle. That means I first need to start the recorder, activate the "hold" switch on the recorder to prevent any other unwanted actions and then strap it onto the mike. In that way I can't control the start/stop button once it's recording and in order to stop it I need to take it off again. Think I will make something to fill the gap on the backside so I can attach it and just leave it onto the mike as long as there are speeches and I can turn it off in-between any speech.

For the very limited time I have been able to use and test it the outcome is much better then I expected so this will be a fixed item in my gear bag. :) It's only too bad that it looks and feels like a toy, the plastic looks shiny, smudges easily and looks cheap but as long as it performs and don't fall apart I don't care.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #21
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

I strongly recommend you NOT use mp3 for your original source recordings. PCM (wav) files recorded at 48kHz, 16bit, are the preferred format for original recordings that will be synced to video. The smaller file sizes, thus longer recording time, gained by using mp3 are a poor trade-off for the lower sound quality and potential timing (sync) issues introduced by the mp3's compression scheme. MP3 is useful for audio sketchbook kind of recording - class notes, band rehearsals, that sort of thing - or for distribution, but should never be used for original master recordings destined to be edited and mixed. If you need to distribute an audio-only file as an mp3 for some reason, it should still be originally recorded as uncompressed PCM and left that way throughout the entire editing process, converting it to mp3 only as the very last step after everything else has been completed.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 12:46 PM   #22
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

I only use mp3 to get much more on a card and honestly, when played back through the speakers of a regular lcd tv, (where all my dvd's are viewed at by my clients) it sounds pretty good and clear to me. The only sync issues I get is with my zoom h4 and with mp3 and wav recordings but that was a problem with the first gen devices of this recorder anyway, speeches from other recording devices in mp3 (iriver, zoom h1) have not caused any sync issues so far with my video, even not with one hour plus recordings. The only difference I have heared between mp3 and wav is that mp3 produces a bit more noise and that is when using a relatively good sennheiser headphone to hear that, but once it passes the tv soundspeaker, I can't hear the difference and I"m sure my clients won't either. I'm not saying mp3 is better then wav because it isn't but for what I deliver that difference will not be noticed.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 12:49 PM   #23
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

I'm with Steve.. I would NOT use mp3 for your original source recording. Furthermore, every time the MP3 is re-encoded, another performance hit takes place.
If you need to save space, some recorders have a 'mono' (single-channel file) mode. Where it's half the size of a stereo -2-track PCM files. Of course this is only really usful in a single mic config.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 02:30 PM   #24
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

No disrespect intended Noa, but I just can't believe a cheap consumer recorder has an accurate enough clock to maintain dead-on sync with a video camera over the course of a single take that lasts an hour. It's hard enough to achieve with pro level equipment costing multiple thousands of dollars and professional broadcast concert productions rely on master clocks feeding common time-base sync signals to both the cameras and the audio recorders in order to achieve it. Five minutes, maybe ... but if you say it stays in sync for an hour or more I can only conclude you're not looking at it critically enough. Loss of sync to ANY perceptible degree, no matter how small, is unacceptable in a program you have charged a client money to produce. You can't count on your clients always only using minimal equipment - sure as shootin' one of them is eventually going to play your DVD on a state-of-the-art home theatre system with high-end sound and a screen big enough to clearly see the speaker's lip movements and when he does, it better look and sound perfect ... not just close but perfect!
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Old June 9th, 2012, 03:05 PM   #25
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Steve, I never had any sync issues with my iriver or zoom h1 and that for one to 1,5 hour recordings, only with my zoom h4 but that goes out of sync on mp3 and wav and those first gen models are known for that.

I just did the test with the 192kbs mp3 recording I did yesterday with a 100 dollar Yamaha Pocketrak C24. I added my main camera, a xh-a1 to the timeline, a one hour and 27 minute continuous recording and synced the Yamaha at the very beginning and at the end the audio was still dead on, I could not hear the slightest echo and I used a Senheiser HD485 to check on the sync, if there was a delay, I would have noticed.

Sorry to say I don't have that experience you have with sync at all with my mp3 recordings and my hearing is still quite allright :)

edit: also to let you know, with my zoom h4 I do adjust the tempo in audacity for each recording to get it in sync with my camera's, not close but perfect, I don't deliver dvd's with out of sync audio.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 06:26 PM   #26
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Sorry, but I don't know what you're looking at when you say "there's no echo" as a test for sync accuracy. Here's how to test it. Roll camera and your recorder. Whack a head slate with a clapper. Let 'em both roll. An hour later whack a tail slate and turn them both off. Import your video into your editor. Add your audio file, aligning the audible clap at the head to the video frame where the sticks just touch each other in the video. Fast forward 1 hour in the timeline. If the audible tail-slate clap doesn't fall on the exact frame where the sticks touch each other again your sync has drifted and your setup is not close enough to use a take of that length without adjustments in post. I would be amazed if the audible clap at the tail came within +/- 3 frames or so of the video frame where the sticks come together. For two cheap clocks to be identical to within a 1/10 second tolerance over an hour's time is an amazing feat.
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Old June 10th, 2012, 12:38 AM   #27
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Steve, what you just described is the routine I did to calculate the amount of out of sync with my zoom h4 and to get the exact percentage it deviates and get the number I have to enter in Audacity to change the length, that routine was described very detailed by a zoom h4 user years ago who faced that sync issue I and many other zoom h4 users did, he wrote it in a forum and it very well could have been this one, I don't remember.

if you lay 2 sound recordings on top of eachother, like I did yesterday with my xh-a1 and the yamaha and if you make them sound equally loud, if there is the slightest sync issue you will start to hear a echo which will get worse after time untill you hear the voices being totally off, if in both recording after one and a half hour you don't hear any deviation or slightest echo at all, for me the recorders don't deviate; I also have the waveform to confirm that. If you would apply the routine that you described for a 1,5 hour recording, then yes, you might find a very small deviation but let's be honest, if you don't hear any deviation or see any deviation in the waveform after 1,5 hour with 2 recordings running simultaneously, why would you even bother to run that test you described?

I mean, you don't have to believe me, I only can talk about my experience with my zoom h1, my iriver and now my yamaha recorder and they at least don't drift like my zoom h4 does, for each mp3 recording I have done for weddings (ceremonies specifically) the past years the zoom h1 and iriver never gave me any issue when I synced them with my other camera's. Maybe I"m just extremely lucky :)

Also about the quality difference between mp3 and wav, yes, mp3 is a compressed format and yes, mp3 will result in a lower sound quality but what I hear coming from my yamaha f.i. is still miles better then what you could hear coming out the sound speakers in a church. You should also know that the only rule to get good sound is to get it as close as possible to the speakers mouth, a 10000 dollar mike on the other side of the room is worse then a 100 dollar recorder attached to the hand microphone where they speak in.

For my clients all they where used to is that crappy hollow sound that came out of the sound speaker which is often very difficult to understand (especially in churches), add a crying child to the background and you are totally lost, I provide them with MUCH clearer sound coming from a cheap iriver (that unfortunately has died now) as that one was attached to the grooms vest or like with the last wedding directly attached to the hand microphone and each time they can't believe how good and clear the sound is, a sound guy will hear the difference in his expensive audio software and sound system but my clients will never hear the difference between mp3 or wav recordings since they can only compare with what hey heard live and compared to that it's like I can provide sound to the deaf. :D

If I have a bit more time I will run your test with my video camera and the yamaha recorder and report back here, just out of curiosity how much it actually deviates, judging on the waveform I can't see even one frame deviation right now.

Last edited by Noa Put; June 10th, 2012 at 05:02 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old June 10th, 2012, 12:54 AM   #28
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

double post
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Old June 10th, 2012, 01:57 PM   #29
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Ok, had the xh-a1 run for 1hour and 15min and the yamaharecorder the same time, I recorded in mp3, 192kbs, made a clapping sound in the beginning and at the end, placed both recordings on the timeline in Sony Vegas Pro 10, synced both with the first clap in the beginning and after 1hour 15min there was a deviation of about 0.008 sec.(I don't know how to read these timeunits in Vegas as I couldn't see a scale but I enlarged that much that 1 frame filled my lcd screen, measured the length of one frame and then the length of the deviation which was 20% of one frame and that should be 0.008sec, if I"m wrong math wizards should correct me. :) )

So 0.008 sec over a time period of 1 hour and 15 minutes, still not convinced Steve? I am :)
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Old June 11th, 2012, 12:17 AM   #30
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Re: looking for a iriver replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I only use mp3 to get much more on a card and honestly
Honestly, a 2GB card holds 2+ hours of WAV file, a 4GB card holds 4+ hours, etc. With so much time available on inexpensive cards, there is no reason to use the lower-quality MP3 files.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
when played back through the speakers of a regular lcd tv, (where all my dvd's are viewed at by my clients) it sounds pretty good and clear to me.
Just "pretty good and clear"? So you think all of your dad's clients have cheap TVs? You don't think anyone might watch one of your videos on a decent system some day? You don't aspire to gain a good reputation in the future?

You did come here for advice, right? So I'm wondering why you are disagreeing with advice from established pros. Or have you suddenly gained many years worth of experience and expertise yourself?

No offense intended, but really, step back and look at the big picture...
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