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Old July 7th, 2007, 06:27 PM   #1
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Marantz PMD660 vs Zoom H4

Hello,
I seek your advise for a recorder that would be most suitable to my needs.
I have been reading reviews on the internet and the PMD660 is the most expensive that seems to fit the bill I can afford, but I'd like to buy Zoom H4, if it's good enough.

Since I have no experience with either of these models, here's what I need a sound recorder for:

<> Using as a separate recorder while shooting short films, connected to an external XLR mic.
<> Recording sound effects (sea waves, footsteps, breathing) with an XLR mic or without it.
<> Recording live band performances (XLR).

Do you think Zoom H4 is good enough, or maybe there's another model that falls within the $500 price range and fits better for the purposes?

Thanks!
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Old July 7th, 2007, 06:42 PM   #2
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On the other hand, I just read this:
Quote:
The Zoom H4 is a great recorder with good mics and
features. Most of those have been mentioned in prior reviews
here, so I wont go into detail except that I agree with the
recording capability.
The H4 however has a time lag problem when trying to sync
with Video. Please do a web search and you will find postings
all over the web. I experienced a 2 second difference in the
zoom vs. the camera every 30 minutes. Those who have
actually tested the clock speed come up with 1.069 seconds
every 39 minutes. This makes editing video a real pain. I
have to cut my video in tiny chunks and then try and match
up the sound. What makes this doubly frustrating is that
Zoom tech support will not respond to the issue.
Use the Zoom for recording interviews or music, but not for
recording sound while recording video.
Please help, I'm lost.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 07:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andris Krastins View Post
Hello,
I seek your advise for a recorder that would be most suitable to my needs.
I have been reading reviews on the internet and the PMD660 is the most expensive that seems to fit the bill I can afford, but I'd like to buy Zoom H4, if it's good enough...
Well, the Marantz has XLR inputs...but, I probably wouldn't go with it because it's just a 16 bit recorder.

I haven't used the H4...

I would recommend that you consider looking at a couple other options:

1) Edirol / Roland R-09 (http://www.rolandus.com/products/pro...x?ObjectId=757)
2) Korg MR-1 (20 gig hard drive advantage, 1 bit technology...but a little out of your price range)
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Old July 7th, 2007, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andris Krastins View Post
On the other hand, I just read this:


Please help, I'm lost.
Sveiks Bralit,

That huge drift concerned me as it would require some additional work in the video editor For something as critical as audio synchronization, I wouldn't take the risk. So, I'm going with the Edirol R4, probably the Pro version. For the Zoom H4, you could just perform a sampling rate conversion on your files to that time difference, provided that the delay added sampling rate (anywhere from 10-500 samples) conversion process isn't significant to you. Many thanks to the person that posted that note about the drift.

Here are some of the choices. There are a few active threads in this forum on portable recorders.

Edirol R-04, and Pro version
Edirol R-09
Marantz PMD 660 , PMD670,
Tascam HD-P2
Zoom H4
Zoom H2
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Old July 7th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #5
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Dear Andris,

I will try to help.

I will attempt to explain the quote, I will be using non-technical language to the best of my ability.

When you record video, the camera records so many frames (individual pictures) per second.

When the audio is recorded in the camera, the sound should match the video.

When you record audio on another device, the audio must be recorded at the same speed as the audio and video is recorded in the camera.

If the actual recording speed of the second device does not match the camera's speed, then the audio will not line up with the video.

It may line up at the start, but over time the audio gets out of sync with the video. This causes problems when the audio from the second device is used with the video.

Professional cameras and audio recording devices try to minimize this problem with very high quality electronics that run at precise speeds and/or use a connection between the camera and recorder to ensure that the audio and video will match. "Match" is another way to say that they are "In Sync".
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Old July 7th, 2007, 08:03 PM   #6
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Does recording in 24P make an even bigger impact? Is that difficult to sync to a recorder like these?
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Old July 8th, 2007, 01:51 AM   #7
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Thank you all for your replies; does R-09 have XLR inputs?
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Old July 8th, 2007, 02:03 AM   #8
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A device that small and inexpensive will not have XLR inputs. Check out the specs tab at B&H. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...le_24_Bit.html
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Old July 8th, 2007, 02:05 AM   #9
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What do you think about Fostex FR-2 LE? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...2_Channel.html
It's +100$ (from PMD 660), but if it makes a difference, I'm prepared to go with it.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 02:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andris Krastins View Post
What do you think about Fostex FR-2 LE? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...2_Channel.html
It's +100$ (from PMD 660), but if it makes a difference, I'm prepared to go with it.
I don't think you'd go wrong with the FR2LE, it has a reputation for having great pre-amps. Although I've never used one, I own its older brother (the FR2) and have no complaints about its pre-amps.

The PMD660 I have also owned .... and while it's "okay" its lack of 16-bit recording is a big weakness. Also, you need to be *really* careful pairing a mic to the PMD660. These are the two main reasons I traded up to a FR2. For example the PMD660's pre-amps cannot handle a hot mic like the Sennheiser K6/ME66 (35mV/Pa) but is fine with something colder like the Audio Technica AT897 (10mV/Pa). I've had no such problems with the FR2, and I would suspect the FR2LE shares much of the same components and tolerances as the FR2.

The FR2LE is new, it took about two years to go into production, and if you read the forums over at Fostex you'll see they're still releasing firmware updates to address issues.

This thread may help you make up your mind:
http://www.fostex.com/mercuryboard/i...a=topic&t=3380

HTH
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Old July 9th, 2007, 02:44 AM   #11
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Thank you for your input, I ordered FR2LE.
Cheers!
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Old July 10th, 2007, 03:47 AM   #12
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Quote: "The Zoom H4 is a great recorder with good mics and
features. Most of those have been mentioned in prior reviews
here, so I wont go into detail except that I agree with the
recording capability.
The H4 however has a time lag problem when trying to sync
with Video. Please do a web search and you will find postings
all over the web. I experienced a 2 second difference in the
zoom vs. the camera every 30 minutes. Those who have
actually tested the clock speed come up with 1.069 seconds
every 39 minutes. This makes editing video a real pain. I
have to cut my video in tiny chunks and then try and match
up the sound. What makes this doubly frustrating is that
Zoom tech support will not respond to the issue.
Use the Zoom for recording interviews or music, but not for
recording sound while recording video. "

First choice for overcoming this problem, as advised in this thread, has got to be better equipment, but for those folk whose budget may not extend quite far enough, I find this procedure works well for correcting the errors found from the more 'budget' audio recorders:

http://www.mfbb.net/myvideoproblems/...yvideoproblems
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Old July 10th, 2007, 04:15 AM   #13
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<Quote>: "The H4 however has a time lag problem when trying to sync
with Video."<End quote>

I just read about this and have exactly the same problem, this is the answer I got from support:

<Quote>: "Thank you for your inquiry.
Unfortunately, the internal clock of the H4 and other device is slightly different.
Also, the H4 has no synchronized capability with external audio devices.
So, it's not possible to keep the same audio length. Please be kind to understand."

Sincerely yours,
ZOOM Corporation. <End quote>

Eventhough I find this soundrecorder of a good quality for it's price and a usefull extra sound source but editing is indeed a real pain having to cut a half hour length in small pieces and syncing each piece back up again.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 01:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post

Eventhough I find this soundrecorder of a good quality for it's price and a usefull extra sound source but editing is indeed a real pain having to cut a half hour length in small pieces and syncing each piece back up again.
You might try the procedure I linked to above -- it only has to be done once, and you should find it much easier to sync longer sequences, by just applying a single correction factor.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 01:47 PM   #15
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Thanks Jon for the link, I did not read every message in this topic and overlooked it. I will surely try that in my current project I"m doing.
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