Field Recorders...

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silikon
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Field Recorders...

Post by silikon » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:05 am

Hey all...
Wanted to see if anyone actively uses field recorders in their work and what they use -- and why... I'm looking to get a new recorder (my old-a*s DAT recorder finally s**t the bed)... I would prefer something that has an good internal mic (stereo would be first preference) as well as the option to jack in two external mics when I want to do more.

There are a few to choose from... i would prefer one that uses removable media -- so there's no issue with drivers or wierd compatibility issues in the future, and it would be nice to get 96kHz/24bit resolution, but I guess it's not absolute.

Thoughts? :)
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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by garranimal » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:21 am

I've got a Tascam DR-05 that I use for recording audio for my youtube videos. It has stereo mics and 1/8" input jack and comes with a 2GB micro SD card. Connects via USB and can transfer files directly to computer very easily. While normal operation can be PCM format, you can select MP3 format and optimize the bitrate for different uses. The DR-05 can be found for $100 or less on sale, its been a great buy. When considering this purchase I looked at the Zoom H1 which is well rated but the battery life was less, it uses 1-AA where the Tascam uses two.

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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by skizzle » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:45 am

I use the edirol r-09hr found on CL for $100 because of crack/cut in the plastic screen over the display. Very happy with it.

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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:54 am

I've got on r-09hr too, which I use to record bands live just for archival purposes. It's always been reliable and sounds decent considering, although the internal mics aren't very directional so getting a particular sound isolated (band over crowd noise for example) can be tricky. In that case it just comes down to positioning it well. I haven't used it for any outdoor recordings so can't comment on how it goes for that.

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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by Plumpudding » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:29 am

I've got a zoom H4. I'm happy with it. Have had it for quite some time now. Mostly recorded rehersals and concerts. It's got l/r in, and I would recommend using external microphones for live acts, or if everything goes through a mixer, just straight in from the mixer. Works fine for field recording, everything can be dumped via usb, I recommend buying a bigger SD card than the one that comes in the box. I also use it as an audio interface, since I'm a poor/cheap bastard, and that works fine too. If you want, you can use it as a 4 track recorder. The menu is a bit fiddly and awkward, but one gets used to it after a while. Battery time isn't great. If you get one I'd recommend to always bring backup batteries. Been quite a few times where I've had to run to the nearest 24/7 supermarket to buy new batteries in the middle of a concert I'm recording.
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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by blackdiscoball » Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:36 pm

I have a Dr-05 and absolutely love it. Its small and easy to transport, sounds great, and the price can't be beat. I've been working a couple years to get a really good sample library (so when clients come in and want some wave noise's or people talking I can just bring up a sample I already have as opposed to searching the internet) and I was using a cheap no name but the DR-05 was an incredible upgrade. While I was all set on getting something that I could plug external mics Into I never do, the mics on the dr are great and most of the time Im trying to be quick and lo-key so the built in mics are easiest.
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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by stephen » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:04 pm

I've got a Yamaha pocketrax, nice little unit, can't complain.
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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by Esus » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:56 pm

I use everything from a Zoom H4n to a Sound Devices 788T (I also have a Fostex PD-4 I bought in '97. It makes a great doorstop these days). :D
The H4 sounds great, but the 4n is much easier to use--Samson must have listened to user feedback. It also has what you're asking for--removable media, 24/96, etc. I use mine for recording music, voiceovers, ambiences, and double-system video production. I think you can get them for around $279US street price. I've definitely gotten my money's worth.
I also think that at the rate these recorders are changing and improving, it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of cash--you'll probably want to upgrade in a year or so anyway.

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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by silikon » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:59 pm

Esus wrote:I also think that at the rate these recorders are changing and improving, it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of cash--you'll probably want to upgrade in a year or so anyway.
This was the main reason why I wanted 96/24 and removable media. I used my old tascam DAT for a damn decade or more before it gave out the other week, in an unfortunate roadside accident. I really don't want to upgrade next year. I would like to get a few years' use out of it. WIth 32GB SDHC cards so cheap these days, recording memory is cheap. As long as the internal mics are up to the gig, and the A/D converters don't sound completely aliased and garbage, that should suit me for some time.

I would be using mine strictly for recording stuff for import into samples (found sound, ambient sound spaces, field recordings, etc)...

I'm leaning towards the Tascam DR100mk2 just because I've familiarity with Tascam stuff and for all intents and purposes, my old DAT took some serious abuse, and kept ticking.

Based on the feedback, I probably need to look at edirol and samson too...
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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by cryabetes » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:33 pm

there's a zoom h4n on my local cl right now. seeing as it's small enough, dude'd probably ship it.
http://appleton.craigslist.org/msg/2747889763.html

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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by Shreddie » Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:40 am

I've had a Zoom H4 for 3 years or so now and have used it so much (thousands of hours of recording) that all the legending has worn off. It's a cracking thing for most purposes but the mic preamps are pretty noisy at high gain (I record alot of low level sources so this is a problem for me) and wind noise with the internal mics can be a particular problem. Otherwise I've used it for recording alot of what you intend to use it for, general ambiences, found sounds etc. I will be upgrading to a serious field recorder in the future though, probably something from Sound Devices.
Plumpudding wrote:I've got a zoom H4.
snip
Battery time isn't great.
Get some very high capacity NiMH rechargables. I use 2700mAh ones and regularly get 8-12 hours continuous recording. It's partly because of the way they discharge that they last so long.

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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:19 am

The one time I used an H4n (actually three of them, for a live filmclip shoot) when I pressed stop at the end of the (only) take I got a 'data write error' from one of them, and the recording was missing. This understandably sucked. I don't know if it's something that's been rectified with subsequent OS updates but I know a couple of other people this has happened to. Something to be aware of if you're recording critical stuff.

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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by Esus » Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:42 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:The one time I used an H4n (actually three of them, for a live filmclip shoot) when I pressed stop at the end of the (only) take I got a 'data write error' from one of them, and the recording was missing. This understandably sucked.
Hopefully the same audio feed was going to all three recorders. If so, you had two backups.
I had a similar situation with multiple recorders, except one was the master feed and the others were ISO'd. Guess which one went down... :cry:

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Re: Field Recorders...

Post by Shreddie » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:37 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:The one time I used an H4n (actually three of them, for a live filmclip shoot) when I pressed stop at the end of the (only) take I got a 'data write error' from one of them, and the recording was missing. This understandably sucked. I don't know if it's something that's been rectified with subsequent OS updates but I know a couple of other people this has happened to. Something to be aware of if you're recording critical stuff.
The H4 only updates the File allocation table at the end of the recording so if you get a power failure or a data write error, you're kinda screwed... Although, if you immediately remove the SD card, the data can be recovered with the right software, I once used Recuva to recover some audio I accidentally deleted off my H4, it worked a treat. The H4 isn't the only type of recorder to work this way just so you know.

Some however, such as the larger Edirol recorders, update the FAT every few seconds so in the event of some sort of failure, you'll never loose more than a few seconds of recording. This is a feature that's generally reserved for more up market recorders though some smaller/cheaper ones now do this too.

It's certainly worth checking out.

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