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Old June 15th, 2007, 05:12 AM   #1
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Looking for a reccommended DAT Recorder/Mixer

I am shooting a short film in Spain this summer and having got all the visual side ready (Canon XHA1, SG Pro 35mm, primes, RR Follow focus etc) I am trying to get the audio side ready.

My requirements are modest, but not being an expert in sound recording I would greatly appreciate the advice of the regulars on NHS - I have read many of the previous posts and now have a half decent understanding of the sound recording process, thanks for all the info you've shared guys!

What I am looking for:

1) A single unit that will RECORD but can also handle the line monitoring and basic levels adjusting that a MIXER can. MIXER functionality does not need to be anywhere near SOUND DEVICES level. Basic mixer stuff only, but decent ability to see input levels is a must.

2) Decent Preamps would be nice.

3) Connectable to my AT897 microphone via XLR.

4) A great optional extra would be 1 XLR out which would give me the option to use the recorder simply as a mixer and run the sound to my XH A1 to avoid synching audio to video when I can't be bothered. This is optional!

5) 1 Channel support essential, 2 better. No more required.

6) Lastly I would like to buy second hand from ebay, therefore DAT may be the way to go as I am sure there are lots of great units being dumped in the transition to solid state.

BUDGET: No more than 500 pounds, which is roughtly 950 dollars.

Though not DAT, out of interest do the Edirol R-4, Fostex FR-2, Marantz PMD670 or Tascam HD-P2 fit the bill (second hand of course).

Preferably I am after advice for DAT type recorder/mixers as I am not bothered by the lengthy post and am looking for a bargain second hand.

Thanks,

Alex

Last edited by Alex Bianco; June 15th, 2007 at 05:15 AM. Reason: Title spelling
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Old June 15th, 2007, 11:46 AM   #2
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You'll have to do your own research on XLR out, but in their day:

The Tascam DA-P1 was decent.

The HHB PDR-1000 was outstanding. It also had a TC version that included a timecode generator.

Both are portable 2-ch. DAT recorders with xlr mic preamps.

There are also some Fostex pro portable DAT machines, at least one has a timecode generator.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #3
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Seth great call on the DA-P1, I am looking at some second hand units right now for decent prices - any other reccommendations from anyone?

I assume the minor annoyance of DAT compared to Solid State is you have to pump out the signal in real time to a computer to be able to edit it and work with it in the NLE
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Old June 15th, 2007, 12:09 PM   #4
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Be careful when buying a second hand DAT. Wear on the heads and tape path can cause them to record with data errors. A second hand CF recorder may be a better choice. If you do get a DAT, try to run a recorded tape on a machine like the Panasonic SV-3800 in diagnostic mode and check error rate.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 12:14 PM   #5
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Of the solid-state recorders you listed the FR2 is generally rated as having the better pre-amps (on the reviews I've seen) - I also own one. It's younger brother the FR2-LE might also do what you need and reportedly has even better preamps, at half the price (though they are pretty new I don't think you'll find one second hand - about £400 new). They are both two channel and have adequate metering and gain control. The FR2 has unbalanced phono line-out, I don't know about the FR2LE but looks like it does-
http://www.solidstatesound.co.uk/fostex_fr2-le.htm

The compact flash media these things take is cheap and it's a doddle transferring the the rushes over to the computer (assuming digital post) - much easier (IMO) than messing with DAT and all its flimsy-ness.

My tuppence, HTH.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 04:55 PM   #6
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Yes I like the look for the FR2 - I agree with the DAT wear issue, tough to check when its second hand bought through somewhere like ebay - I only knew of the FR2 which was a bit too expensive, didn't realise there was a cheaper version, I will have to look into it!
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Old June 15th, 2007, 06:04 PM   #7
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http://www.fostex.com/index.php?file=products/pfr/fr2le
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Old June 16th, 2007, 07:48 AM   #8
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Any idea how the FR2 LE is for keeping an eye on the line input levels from the XLR mic - I am only after a simple metering display as long as it is in realtime!
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Old June 16th, 2007, 12:37 PM   #9
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For Line input, it's set at -10 unbalanced 1/4 connector. Trim control doesn't work, but master record knob is active.

Trim controls are only usable while recording with a mic on XLRs.

Fostex has just released a new software up-version for the FR-2LE.

Now has the option of changing metering from Peak to Continuous level display, although the LEDs are very small. Metering is minimal.
-48,-24,-12,-6,-3,OL. If you know what you doing, you shouldn't have any problem.

Headphone monitor amp has some hiss, but it's not there in the recording.
Recording quality is very good.
Also with the latest software, you can format a CF card to record in mono, so as not to waste space on the card recording the second channel with nothing on it.

DAT is gone. I'd be careful buying a used DAT. I never did think that format was reliable to begin with.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 01:58 PM   #10
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I bought a used DA-P1 about a year ago. When I got it, it was a bit shaky. I got it serviced at a place in MA that was excellent, cost about $150 and it is now very solid. I've seen DA-P1s go for as low as $200 now that the HD-P2 has taken over. I think it would be a solid investment for a low-budget user.

The DA-P1 has two unbalanced RCA outs if you want to go straight to camera. The outs are line level and not adjustable. This was a slight issue when going to an XL2, since that model's line level is considerably low. The only solution we found was to set the camera on mic level and mix low on the DAT.

Best of luck!
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Old June 17th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the advice guys, much appreciated
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