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Old May 22nd, 2015, 06:04 AM   #1
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Quieter alternative to a Tascam DR-44WL?

I recently bought the Tascam DR-44WL and am very disappointed with the noise from the pre-amps when using a Sony ECM 55B lapel mic to record voices. Feeding the mic into a Sound Devices MixPre, and line level into the Tascam, improves things but only to an 'almost acceptable level'. Tascam says that there is not a problem with the recorder and that this amount of noise expected. Perhaps I'm hoping for too much from non-studio equipment but I wonder whether anyone has had a similar experience and found cleaner sound from an alternative in a similar price range - possibly a Mirantz PMD 661 MkII or Zoom 5 or 6? Feeding the same mic into an ancient Soundcraft Folio Spirit mixer coupled to a Sony DAT Walkman (neither 'top end') gives much a cleaner background that the Tascam, but unfortunately both are on their last legs now.
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Old May 22nd, 2015, 09:48 AM   #2
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Re: Quieter alternative to a Tascam DR-44WL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncan Say View Post
I recently bought the Tascam DR-44WL and am very disappointed with the noise from the pre-amps when using a Sony ECM 55B lapel mic to record voices.
Increase the levels coming from the Sony, and decrease the levels the Tascam is using to record. You end up at the same place, but now the Sony is doing more of the work, and the Tascam preamps are doing less of the work, and therefore should be contributing less hiss.
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Old May 22nd, 2015, 10:25 AM   #3
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Re: Quieter alternative to a Tascam DR-44WL?

Assuming the recorder is set to (+4dB) line level via a good, properly wired XLR cable from the MixPre.. Did you calibrate the mixer>recorder with a test tone?
If you haven't done so already, remove the battery from the ECM-55's power supply and engage Phantom Power on the MixPre.

"Perhaps I'm hoping for too much from non-studio equipment"
> I'm not familiar with the DR-44, but I've used a 302> DR-40 combo and didn't experience noise issues.. though not specifically with a ECM-55 (which is a decent mic). I'll look at the Tascam DR-40/44 spec comparison for clues when I have time.
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