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Old February 29th, 2008, 05:03 PM   #1
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Fostex FR2 LE

Guys, I am thinking of buying the Fostex FR2 LE as it is within my budget and would (I hope) allow me to capture high quality sound which I presume would/should be better than my camcorder [Canon XL2]. I am not saying the XL2 audio is poor but I just wonder if there will/should be a marked improvement in audio quality plus, it would allow me to capture ambient sounds/effects without necessarily lugging the camcorder along. Anyone got any views/advice please? Intention is to use with Sennheiser K6/ME65/ME67 set up. Thanks for your views, Mike.
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Old February 29th, 2008, 05:48 PM   #2
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I was just talking to a mixer from NYC today who said that a lot of guys are investing in the regular FR2. The review at DV mag states pretty plainly that it's a decent recorder but the preamps aren't good enough to justify 24 bit recording. If you aren't going to record at 24 bit, I'm skeptical that double system makes a whole lot of sense frankly. I think the preamps on the XL2 are actually pretty good, but you definitely want to feed it as hot a level as possible and the lack of balanced line inputs is a definite bummer. Frankly, I'd rather have a decent mixer first, before I'd buy a recorder.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 05:29 AM   #3
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I've done quite a bit now with the XL2 and the XL1.

Personally I like them both for audio. Agreed that the line in would be better balanced but I have had zero problem with it being un-balanced and this includes using a 14 meter loom set up on occasion. I did some tests with the XL2 before the first day I spent tethered to it and decided that the phono line in was the best option for me. I use an SQN mixer feeding it at line level. Setting tone at -18dbfs = 0db and aiming to peak at +8 db or -10dbfs on the camera. At first I ran hotter but got a bit too hot with tone at -12 dbfs and learnt my lesson. Having done the post production on these recordings too I am confident in the results which are good. For ambiance just drive the levels harder than normal to improve the noise floor.

It is better than the Sony cameras I've used and hasd a better headphone out than the 450 (? new one) which is delayed. The line out on that I'm told is good though but that's another story.

I'd also advise you to get a better mixer and also a better mic before a recorder. Recorder comes last.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 03:31 PM   #4
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Fostex FR2-LE

Mike, some good info and links in these threads about the Fostex FR2-LE. We now have one and it's pretty good!

Also, although it won't take XLR inputs (without a optional attachment) this new Sony looks a good option to consider as well as it will be similar price point to Fostex.
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Cambridge (UK) Corporate Video Production

Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; March 1st, 2008 at 04:10 PM.
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Old March 1st, 2008, 11:03 PM   #5
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I don't have a Fostex, but I have a Microtrack 24/96 and an XL2. I tend to stay with recording through the XLR inputs on the back of the camcorder whenever possible.

The XL2 does 48khz 16 bit audio, slightly better than CD quality. I understand the advantages to 96k, 24 bit audio, but for the most part the viewing audience won't be able to tell the difference between the two. Recording to the camera means no synch problems in post, PERIOD. If I can get a line to the back of the XL2, that's the way I go.

Most of my work is solo. It's rare when I have the luxury of a second person to handle audio. As I explained it to one client, I can either concentrate on good video, good audio, but if I try to do both, then likely both will suffer. I've come to appreciate the autolevel setting for the XL2 audio. It hasn't let me down yet, though I know there will be times it will.

I use the MicroTrack for times where I can't cable directly to the camera or when I can grab a send from the mixer board. It's also handy for looping dialog or grabbing sounds to be mixed in later. I don't care for trying to synch wild sound files to video. I've done it, but for me it's a money-losing proposition. For me, time in post is the real killer, so there has to be a good reason to do separate audio.

Canon XF300, Canon 5DMkII, Canon XL2, Rolls MX422 mixer, Zoom H4N, AT899 lavs, AT2020's, Azden SGM 1X shotgun, Manfrotto 501 head on 351 tripod
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the posts guys, I appreciate the comments. What I should have said in my original post was that I would intend using the Fostex to supplement the audio captured by the XL2 by way of independently recording sound effects, background sounds and ambient audio. As I meant to say, the intention would be to maybe have a day capturing wild bird song, water effects (streams/waterfalls etc) to later add as effects to other video that has been shot on the XL2. My thought was that instead of carrying all the video gear, I could just take the Fostex and a microphone and hopefully capture audio that was at least as good as (hopefully indistinguishable from)that from the XL2. As some of you have said, I too think the audio capabilities of the camera are pretty good and I am hoping the Fostex will be at lest as good. Thanks for taking the time to reply, I do appreciate it. Mike
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 02:01 PM   #7
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I'm sure that the Fostex has measurably better performance than the XL2. In fact, it's probably overkill for what you want to do.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 04:40 PM   #8
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Mike. That's exactly what I use my FR2 LE and I'm really pleased I bought it.

I bought an 8gb card and large capacity battery (from a model shop).

It lasts for at least 6 hours.

So I don't have to worry about running out of media/power. Which is good when you are working singlehanded.
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