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Old September 9th, 2016, 04:31 AM   #1
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Reliability zoom recorders

Not sure what other users experience is but I have a 3rd zoom recorder that stopped working, my first one, a first gen zoom h4 worked fine for a year and then randomly stopped recording, my zoom h1, also a first gen recorder had the battery drain issue which is was known for meaning when you left a battery in the recorder and turn the recorder off the battery would still take power and be empty by the end of the day. That recorder eventually also stopped working, it wouldn't start up anymore, so I got a new zoom h1 and after a year this one just stopped working as well, it also refuses to start up anymore. I really liked my zoom recorders but the next one will be a small tascam, I have the dr40 and dr05 which seem to be more reliable (knocks on wood)

Now that my h1 doesn't start up anymore explains some of it weird behavior the past weeks, during recording I often had "clicks" at random times in the sound, if I connected it to the pc it also took a long time before my pc recognized it. It also reminds me of me h4 which also started to display weird behavior during recording, the worst part was when I got home to find out that a 1 hour recording was on the card as a 0kb file eventhough the recorder didn't display any strange message during recording.
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Old September 9th, 2016, 07:08 PM   #2
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

I've never had a Zoom so I can't comment on your problems there.

I do have several Tascams, and I love them except for one thing ... the battery run time seems to be surprisingly short. I can't quote any numbers off the top of my head, and the newer models might be somewhat better, but do check the specs before you buy one.

By comparison, my Olympus LS-14 has much better run time, and I am much less nervous when out in the field using it. I never have to worry, "am I getting close, am I getting close?" The manual says recording time is over 40 hours. I've never pushed it that far but I can easily believe it based on my observations of the battery meter. That is much longer than any of my Tascams ... not even the same ballpark.

Just my 2¢ worth, which might not be worth much down where you are!
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Old September 9th, 2016, 11:05 PM   #3
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

Thx, I just checked what kind of small recorders Tascam had in their assortment and I certainly will be looking for other alternatives. You are right about batteryuse, I always use new batteries for each job and once the batteryindicator goes from 3 to 2 dots the battery can drain much faster then expected, I always carry spares with me just in case.
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Old September 10th, 2016, 04:35 PM   #4
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

Hi Noa,

I have a Zoom Hi which I have never had a problem with, but my voice recorder of choice is this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have use two of them for the last year and have just bought a third. They are very small, the two AAA batteries last for several weddings, way longer than the zoom and they are simple to use. The one listed includes the Sony stereo lav mic which I really like, but you can buy cheaper without the mic.

Roger
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Old September 10th, 2016, 10:28 PM   #5
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

Since you made the comment on battery life, I did a quick look to see what I could find. On the Tascam site Product: DR-44WL | TASCAM they said “ A/D - D/A chip features …. low power use for longer battery life” and under “Other Hardware” on the web page it said “Long-time operation of over 16 hours using the internal batteries.” but that would be without using the batteries to supply phantom power.

Just picked it up a couple months ago but really haven’t had time to play around with it. There are a lot of ‘bells and whistles” and a lot to learn.

A few things I liked about it are:
Locking XLRs
Inputs can include 1/4” phono and 3.5mm mini with an adapter (not supplied)
Uses 4x AAs
WiFi capable and controllable from smart phone
Safety tracks

Oh, tried on the Røde Stereo VideoMic wind muff seems to fit it.
The price is down a lot since it’s introduction.
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Old September 11th, 2016, 01:18 AM   #6
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

The DR44WL is a great recorder, but it depends on what the use is mostly going to be. For me for weddings, the main use is to put in the Grooms inside pocket with a lav for vows or hide on a flowe display etc. For that, small size is essential and the Tascam would be too big and probably using a sledge hammer to crack a walnut. On the other hand the Sony, which is much smaller than the Zoom H1, would be no match for the Tascam where more sophisticated recording was needed with XLR inputs, phantom power and multi channel recording. For quick recording you could also get 5 Sony's for the price of 1 Tascam. Horses for courses of course.

Roger
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Old September 11th, 2016, 01:46 AM   #7
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
my voice recorder of choice is this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I have exactly the same :) I use a yamaha c24 with a lav for the groom and the Sony ICD-PX333 is a backup, only I need a zoom h1 replacement meaning it needs to be small and have decent microphones on the front. It also should be able to record at 2 files simultaneously at different levels or needs to have a good autogain.

Normally I always set my audio levels manually and my dr40 enables me to record a safety track at -12db, my h1 didn't have that function and there I either set the audio levels manually if I had access to the recorder during recording or if I had a idea about how loud the sound would be. Only I often would encounter situations where neither was the case and I rather use a autogain so that I would not end up with sound that was recorded too loud and not possible to fix.

The zoom h1 had a usable autogain, my dr05 just as comparison not as it quite aggressively reacts to silence.
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Old September 11th, 2016, 10:42 AM   #8
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post

The zoom h1 had a usable autogain, my dr05 just as comparison not as it quite aggressively reacts to silence.
I find the Zoom auto gain far too aggressive for most of my recording, whereas the Sony is much more gentle and I use them more and more where I had previously used the Zoom. I always use the H1 when I need manual level control and onboard mics.

Roger
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Old September 11th, 2016, 11:03 AM   #9
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

The dr05 is totally unusable with it's autogain, I do agree that the h1 can react quite abrupt when it records a very loud increase in sound like people applauding but in general it's a lot better then the dr05. I actually never tried the Sony's without a lav, I take it that they are nowhere near the quality the h1 produces when you use the onboard mics?
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Old September 11th, 2016, 02:14 PM   #10
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

My 2 cents worth:

I have a Zoom H6. Reliable so far. I like some things about it but not all of it. Be aware that the 12db back up is becoming common on some recorders. Nice feature but check it out closely. On the H6 it is limited to the L R tracks only. It does not work on the other four inputs. The L R tracks are for the on boards mics that I do not use. I have the XLR adapter for those inputs but when you use it you can not supply phantom power. I really wish -12 BU was available on all inputs.

I also have an Olypus DM-620 for a drop it in a pocket recorder. It is now replaced by an upgraded model.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...&fromDisList=y

The AGC on this device is hyper sensitive. With a lav on a chest it will record every audible breath along with tons of AGC noise. It is manual only.

Noa, I am curious to see if others jump in about reliability issues. A lot has been said here about Zoom but that is not one of them so far. Maybe you were just unlucky. Bad things happen in threes ;-)

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Old September 12th, 2016, 04:47 AM   #11
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
The dr05 is totally unusable with it's autogain, I do agree that the h1 can react quite abrupt when it records a very loud increase in sound like people applauding but in general it's a lot better then the dr05. I actually never tried the Sony's without a lav, I take it that they are nowhere near the quality the h1 produces when you use the onboard mics?
I've never used the Sony onboard mic either, as it is a mono flush mic, only recording with an external lav or bigger mics. The quality of recordings with it have always been very good for voice, with no noticeable system noise. The Although the H1 should theoretically sound better, I have never found that to be the case for weddings, although it does offer wav. and MP3 recording. MP3 is fine for voice recording and if it is suitable for just about every music download, it will do for me and I can't hear any difference between wav. and MP3 when recorded at the Sony's higher quality.

I'm sure that there are plenty of other recorders equally as good, but the Sony's reliability, small size, robustness, long battery life and ease of use make it ideal for my wedding and school filming work.

Roger
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Old September 12th, 2016, 07:05 AM   #12
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

Since I have the sony recorder I just will test it this week to see how it records a voice with it's internal mike when I place the recorder on a table.
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Old September 14th, 2016, 03:31 PM   #13
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

I have the Zoom H4N, Tascam DR-40, DR-60. I was shooting a doc in Europe and the H4N was standing up on a table and just tipped over onto it's face. Not even a hard fall, just barely tipped over. Cracked the plastic/glass cover but it is has still functioned fine for years. Not the best recorder but it will do in a pinch. I think the Tascams look better built and sound slightly better but I am on my second DR-40. The first died out of warranty so I chucked it and replaced it. Replacement functioned for two years and now it just died. Zoom is still going strong. DR-60, I don't use much since I stop shooting with DSLRs and mirrorless.

So in my corner, while I like the Tascam cheap recorders operationally and they seem to be better built, the Zoom has been much more reliable over five years.
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Old September 16th, 2016, 12:54 AM   #14
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Hi Noa,

I have a Zoom Hi which I have never had a problem with, but my voice recorder of choice is this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have use two of them for the last year and have just bought a third. They are very small, the two AAA batteries last for several weddings, way longer than the zoom and they are simple to use. The one listed includes the Sony stereo lav mic which I really like, but you can buy cheaper without the mic.

Roger

Hi Roger.
I took your lead on that "Sony" from a similar thread last year, thought it would be a good back up for my 2 H1s.
Turns out that I cant really tell the difference in quality, so I'm using them for my main audio capture, one on the groom with a lapel, one hooked up to the PA and one clipped on to the MIC.
The one clipped to the mic works very well, the auto gain seems very well behaved, no need for a lav mic..
Would be nice to have something even smaller to clip on to MICs, but I've had no complaints so far.
Thanks for the heads up!!!!!!
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Old September 16th, 2016, 06:47 AM   #15
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Re: Reliability zoom recorders

Hi Jack,

That's great to hear that you took up my recommendation and are as pleased as I am with the recorder. I always try to speak as I find, but there is always the doubt that people think that you are biased towards your own purchase, so positive feedback is always welcome :-).

Roger
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