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Old February 7th, 2014, 11:40 PM   #16
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Selecting a recorder on the basis of the line-levels accommodated is like buying a car because you like the gear-shift knob. It wouldn't even make my top-10 buying decision list.
Line in recording out of a mixer is 90% of what I'd be using it for.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 12:33 AM   #17
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

Attenuators are horrible for portable use because they stick out and their weight and length ends up stressing the XLR connections. Plus XLR and attenuators almost double the length of the X4n versus a 1/8" plug.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 05:42 AM   #18
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

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Originally Posted by Tom Morrow
XLR and attenuators almost double the length of the X4n versus a 1/8" plug.
You wouldn't be using a 3.5mm plug (they aren't actually 1/8" any more) for line input on the H4n anyway. Its 3.5mm jack (rather inconveniently located on the underside of the recorder) is for unbalanced stereo mic.

For balanced input you'd definitely be using the XLR connectors. Agreed, I would not like to use the separate XLR style attenuators, plugged into the recorder, with the input cable plugged into those... they are, indeed, very long and very hard on the connectors. I like to use them between two short XLR cables, so they are not hanging out of the recorder (or the source gear, either). Alternateily, It is possible to make attenuator cables with the 1/8 watt resistors inside the XLR shells, no additional size at all.

And since the OP is recording from the mixing boards, hopefully he will be in a location where he can set up the recorder, and a DI box, on a table of some sort, not dangling out in space. (Of course there's no way to guarantee that every situation will be this lucky.)
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Old February 8th, 2014, 08:02 AM   #19
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

I would say that 99% of the recording I have done with my H4 and H4n have been with -10db outputs from a variety of mixers, totaling hundreds of hours. I don't have any problems with overdriving the 1/4-inch inputs or getting distortion in my recordings. The Zoom H4n manual says these inputs can receive a maximum of +2dBm.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 09:49 AM   #20
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

It should noted that the DR-40's line level mode does not have full record level adjustment range. It will not go down to infinity or even close. You can boost (or cut) 12dB at most, though I have not done any precise measurements. It would be fine for using with an external mixer. It does not have a 3.5mm mic or line input option. XLR/1/4" TRS combo jacks wired in parallel. .I also suspect a line level signal is NOT attenuated and sent through the mic preamp.. like most budget recorders. The DR-40 supports additional lower level 'safety' tracks as well. It's pre amps are far from stellar, but likely better than the H4n.
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Old February 13th, 2014, 01:41 AM   #21
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

Here's a $5 attenuator cable from Radio Shack to use from tape out. It attenuates -60db. You'll need a 1/8" to 1/4 adapter in addition to the cable.
Amazon.com : RadioShack 6ft (1.8m) Shielded Attenuating Audio cable : Hdmi Cables : Electronics
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Old February 15th, 2014, 02:21 AM   #22
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

Up until recently I'd been using an H4n. I got a Roland/Edirol R-44 (
Edirol / Roland R-44 Solid-State Four-Channel Portable R-44-E
) recently, and it's much better. Plus it doesn't take 2 minutes to fire up, unlike the H4n. For half the cost you may also want to check out the Roland R-26: Roland R-26 6-Channel Digital Field Audio Recorder R-26 B&H
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Old February 15th, 2014, 05:25 PM   #23
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

The Zoom H6 has switchable 20 dB pads on its balanced XLR inputs. I've used this on tape outs with good success compared to previous Zoom recorders I've tried.

The Sony PCM-D50 line in (unbalanced stereo 3.5mm) worked with +4 line outs at a recent show I recorded but this recorder has been discontinued and replaced with a much higher priced recorder, the PCM-D100 (and the new recorder's main new feature is DSD recording ... ).

The PCM-M10 has an excellent reputation for handling line in, is very compact, and is reasonably priced, but I haven't used one to be able to confirm that it works as desired. Line in is also 3.5mm stereo unbalanced.

Fran
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Old February 16th, 2014, 04:05 AM   #24
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

When I did a lot of conference work years ago , I used to use my Sony MZR-35 Minidisc recorder .

It was handy both for playing 'walk in' music before the conference started and also for times when I was asked to provide recordings of the conferences ( I would be doing sound ) .

This recorder was ( still is ) quite happy plugged into the 'tape out' phono sockets on the various desks we used , or a group output on 1/4" jack if need be ( depending what was available ) . I generally just carry a 2x phono to 3.5mm mini-jack lead plus two 1/4" jack adaptors in the kit with the recorder ; although , if doing sound , I always have my box of odd leads and adaptors/pads which have saved the day on past occasions .

The recorder will record for something like 3 hours on a single minidisc if you select mono mode ( which is fine for conferences ) and has the added benefit of bypassing the AGC which operates in stereo mode , and is generally more than enough to record any session .

At home , I have a Minidisc deck with optical out connected to my Mac and it is easy to transfer recordings to disc for clients .

Certainly a lot easier than humping a Revox along , as we used to do in the old days :)
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Old February 16th, 2014, 02:05 PM   #25
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

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Originally Posted by Derek Heeps View Post
...At home , I have a Minidisc deck with optical out connected to my Mac and it is easy to transfer recordings to disc for clients...
I loved my HHB field minidisc recorder, but it's been on the shelf for a long time now. Stunning preamps, great quality. I could make you a very good deal on it!

However, I don't miss the real-time transfers! Record 3 hours of conference, 3 hours to get it into the computer.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 03:03 PM   #26
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

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Originally Posted by Anthony Agius View Post
I will be recording stuff from various mixers for use in recording talks & conferences and would like to know if there's a portable recorder that can handle recording from the normally "hot" RCA tape outs, without any extra adapters - just a good quality 2x RCA to 3.5mm cable directly into the recorder? I like to use the RCA tape outs as they're often free and don't require any tweaking on the audio guy's end.

I've heard that the Zooms have a low line level input and the high level of the tape outs on a mixer are too much for it and create distortion. Is there a good portable flash recorder that can handle pro line level input?
Anthony,

First, I question your choice of using the tape outputs. I don't know what type of conferences your going to record but I work in that world. A lot of corporate conferences have very complex audio set ups with a multitude of input sources, IE: computers, video players, audio players, wide variety of mics etc. Recording from the tape output seems like a good idea but will not always get you the MIX you want for your recording. You will get the mix that has been set for live sound reinforcement with no way to adjust for independent sources. For that reason we take a feed from an aux send and adjust record levels for every input before the show starts. Then, small adjustments are made live by tweaking the aux send on any channel that needs it.

Second, you inquired about a recorder that is designed for the DSLR world, and so the conversation went. Tascam, Marantz, and others make recording decks designed for recording from mixers that may suit your needs better.

Third, "without adapters or anything". Cables, adapters, attenuaters, DI boxes, and such are all part of good audio. You will see a DI box between every laptop that is an audio source (most are in AV) and its input into the console.

My point is, a tape output straight to a recorder will get a recording. But it may not be a good one. It is mixed for the house, not you.

Steve
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Old February 17th, 2014, 09:58 AM   #27
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Agius View Post
Line in recording out of a mixer is 90% of what I'd be using it for.
And that has absolutely nothing to do with our advice. You don;t seem to like the recommendation that you need a proper kit of various adapters, cables, and isolation devices to be prepared adequately for different situations you will encounter. To expect to find some recorder that will magically accommodate ANY source you encounter is completely unrealistic magical thinking. If you don't want to do the job properly, then recommend that you hire someone with the appropriate gear and experience.
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Old February 17th, 2014, 12:25 PM   #28
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley
You don;t seem to like the recommendation that you need a proper kit of various adapters, cables, and isolation devices to be prepared adequately for different situations you will encounter.
I don't get that impression at all.

Back in post #14, Mr. Agius said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Agius
Looks like a Tascam DR-40 (which says it has a max of +20dBu Line Input), a Behringer ULTRA-DI DI20 DI box and my usual grab bag of cables should cover all the bases.
I get the impression that Mr. Agius plans to take our advice and use a proper DI box, and proceed in what sounds like a reasonable and appropriate manner.
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Old February 17th, 2014, 12:49 PM   #29
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

+ 1 Greg.

Anthony, welcome to the forum. There are some very knowledgeable guys here always willing to help out. And don't hesitate to dig up some old stuff. I know there are plenty of threads here in the audio section where guys have talked about recording corporate events and what is in their kit.

What are you using the recording for? Is it the console feed for video recording? Many of my clients are meeting planners. A lot of them have horror story's about how often conference video gets messed up. That happens because they use AV companies to record it, not video production companies. I don't want to sound negative but, I have many years of experience working in that environment. So I can tell you some AV companies don't take recording video seriously enough. Nine times out of ten if they mess it up it is the audio that goes in the toilet. Back up, back up, back up.

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Old February 18th, 2014, 07:10 AM   #30
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Re: Which portable recorder for pro line level use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
I loved my HHB field minidisc recorder, but it's been on the shelf for a long time now. Stunning preamps, great quality. I could make you a very good deal on it!

However, I don't miss the real-time transfers! Record 3 hours of conference, 3 hours to get it into the computer.
For the little use mine gets these days , it is all I'll even need :)

The real time transfers were never a problem as I just set it going , then left it - either before going to bed , or while I would get on with something else . Sometimes I could just hand over the minidiscs as they were only for producing a transcription of what was said . Quite often we were recording onto audio cassette , using two cassette decks to produce overlapping recordings , and the MiniDisc was just the backup in case I missed a changeover ( who mentioned falling asleep ? ) .
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