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Zoom H1 , Tascam DR 22, 40 Audio Recorder

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looking to invest in my first audio recorder... I was about to get the default Zoom H1  most suggest as a starting point 

After looking around there are three I have found within striking distance... they vary from $70 to $110 New

1) Zoom H1            $70 (no tax)

2) Tascam DR-22   $105+ Tax

3) Tascam DR-40   $110 (no tax)

I make mini docs recording interviews and sometimes audio performances (Next project will include recording a bag pipe performance)

The DR-40 is really raising an eyebrow as it's  discount is major usually priced $180+  and has 4 channels... But it is huge compared to zoom H1 ( was looking to mount my recorder on my NX1)

Could you give any thoughts on these choices?

Is there some product I should be considering at this cheap price point that I'm not? 

 

Thanks 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

The Zoom H1's size is awesome!!

I too started out with the H1 a few years ago. But even when I got the Tascam DR-60D (for its XLR inputs, and general awesomeness) I still found the Zoom H1 to be very handy for a number of uses: slipping it into the groom's pocket with a lav running into it (as a "wireless" one on the cheap! ha :-P ), or just generally carrying it around with me everywhere as a back up (as I'm mainly a cameraman, but you never know.... especially on these ultra low budget shoots. Soundie might be lacking. Or I might be filming an event and I will pop the H1 downstairs closer to the stage, than where I'm filming from). It has lots of uses!

The DR-22 is kinda tempting for its wireless feature, but it seems it is mostly a bit gimmicky for now?! I've pondered buying it sometimes. 

DR-40 is too bulky for my tastes, plus the more its prices creep up....  the more I'm tempted to say skip this and go straight to a Tascam DR-60D for only a little bit more. 

So in the end I reckon it is clear: get the Zoom H1! :-D

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I own a Zoom h1 and an older Zoom h4 first release, both have issues. The latter has problems with internal power: while using internal batteries it has a noise at 700Hz, more or less. If it's powered from outside (I made a simple battery pack with 6 AA Alkaline) there is no problem at all.

The H1 has a serious issue with the buffer, here an explanation: http://www.danmccomb.com/sound-bag/zoom-h1-battery-sound-problem-and-swift-resolution-from-samson/#comment-75724

I sent mine to Samson and they sent my another one in replace, but the wop-wop-wop-wop noise is still there...

Both are really noisy, to be fair...

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I think it's obsolete now, but I use an Olympus LS-3 which is very small, metal-bodied and sounds good (as long as you avoid the 'auto' level control - which 'pumps' badly - use manual plus limiter instead).

It looks like the current equivalent is the LS-14, but that is bigger all round and possibly made of plastic (as it doesn't say it's metal in the specs). The LS-12 is basically the same but with less internal memory and without the centre 'low bass' mic ('Tresmic') of the LS-14.

My LS-3 has 'Tresmic' but I normally have it turned off because the bass response using the normal stereo mics is quite good anyway, and it becomes positively subterranean with it 'on', picking up every rumble and puff of wind (even with a muff on it).

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I've read that a lot of people use plural eyes or woowave sync so it sounds pretty painless to add good audio. I've also been trying to figure out what's important in an audio solution so I can get a good value, but it's like audio has its own language (that I don't speak yet). Specs-wise, it seems like some differences are:

  • XLR inputs can be locked vs 3.5mm which can't
  • headphone jack for monitoring vs none
  • 320kbps vs 128 kbps bitrate 
  • 24 vs 16 bit
  • stereo vs mono
  • manual gain control vs (in camera) auto gain control 
  • Sampling frequency in Hz
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Boot time
  • T mark
  • Recording format 

It'd be helpful to know which of these is really important vs optional, and maybe there are other important things to think about that I didn't mention.

Also, if you don't need one of the physical options like XLR inputs, can't a lot of these features be replicated by attaching a small lav mic to a smartphone? Wonder if there are any good audio apps that give you the same features as a recorder.

 

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In my searches I came across this......blew it off may be I should take another look. I think there is 3 products similar to this one out there. 

https://www.zoom-na.com/products/field-video-recording/field-recording/zoom-iq6-professional-stereo-microphone-ios

I do have my old iPhone 4 sitting around perhaps this could work

 

Im just a one person operation making personal interest videos.

I seem to be a goldfish swimming with whales on this forum  

At this point the idea of carrying  around XLR Cables and huge mic stands is not appealing im run and gun as much as possible.

I just plan on making a mini documentary of  a friend that is training to be a Professional bagpipe player and want to record her performance decently 

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I also want to buy an audio recorder of some sort to grab some nice sound pieces while doing my documentary next year.  I have a Rode VideoMic Pro on the camera (which I tend not to like), a Rode SmartLav+ and am after something to get atmospheric sound...would a Zoom H2 or H4 be a good bet? I've used a Tascam DR-05 and didn't mind that but wouldnt mind future proofing myself a little as I was thinking of getting the XLR add-on for the Sony A7SII.

And would something like a Rode NTG3 be a must for good field sound?

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This year I've shot 5 interview-based corporate documentaries all by myself. I have a Tascam DR70D, Zoom H4N and Zoom H1s. Out of all these available options, I far prefer the H1s because they are small, simple and easy to deploy. I use wired lavalier mics with them. My experience is that, unless you have a dedicated sound person, you need to simplify as much as possible. The most important thing with the H1s is getting your levels right.

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And would something like a Rode NTG3 be a must for good field sound?

What is a must for good audio is to have the mic as near as possible to the sound source you want to capture. If you must be further than 1 meter, it's better to use a mic with directional response. So if you must be at 3-4 meters, a shotgun like the Rode you mention is great! Of course, if the background is noisy, divide the distances by three!!! ;-DD

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been surfing around trying to educate myself on audio options and found this

 Audio-Technica ATW-1701L System 10

http://www.adorama.com/ATATW1701L.html?emailprice=t&hotlink=t&svfor=5m&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_source=rflaid62905&cvosrc=affiliate.62905

The people in the know say this is a awesome deal a little under 50% off its like $400+ on B&H 

 

Guy did a cool review on YouTube

 

 

This seems like it may be over kill for me but recording interviews live and in sync with my NX1 maybe worth it

I just don't think I can record a music performance with a wireless lav Mic... or can I? 

Hmmm.....

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I imagine that a lot of what you're paying for there is the wireless capability, and I just can't imagine wireless is as reliable as wired.

Found a good explainer that lists some smartphone lav mic apps

http://photography.tutsplus.com/tutorials/use-a-lapel-mic-and-your-smartphone-to-record-audio-for-video--cms-24328

Wavepad, the Android one, allows you to record in wav/pcm (which is not a lossy compressed format like mp3) in 24 bit (and apparently even in 32 bit) at 44.1 kHz.

Of course a proper lav mic on a smartphone would be optimal, but it'd be interesting to compare the built in mic of a smartphone placed a few feet away from your subject vs a nice shotgun mic 5-10 feet away to see which wins. Smartphone might also have the advantage of recording lossless 24 bit compared to whatever quality a camera is recording at.

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So the actual microphone in the H1 is on par with the H2 or H4?

 

Check by yourself:

AudioTechnica ATR-25 ZOOM H1 H2 H4n comparison
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52efPmB6ECA

Zoom H1 V.s. Zoom H4n quick head to head
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fn6-WWJFeA

Zoom H1 VS Zoom H2N | Best Mics For DSLR Audio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J61cLwIGg4w

 

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I have had a Zoom H1 for years and it has taken a beating and still works great.  I have a cheap lavalier and a cheap shotgun mic that I use with it, and the sound has been very nice.  IronFilm was spot-on in mentioning the H1's advantageous smallness allowing it to be used in the actor's pocket with a lav mic.

 

My shotgun mic is the Audio-Technica ATR-6550 (US$53 at Amazon)Here is a review of the ATR-6550.

 

My lavalier is the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 (US$25 at Amazon).  Here is a recent Frugal Filmmaker review comparing the Aspen HQ-M battery-less lav with the Radio Shack version of the ATR-3350, both used in conjunction with the Zoom H1.

 

By the way, Frugal Filmmaker has a lot of helpful instructional videos.  Here is one that shows how to make a simple $3 adapter that adds an attenuated safety track when using a mono mic on the Zoom H1 (which doesn't have a built-in way to independently adjust the two channels).

 

One other thing -- audio is important.  It is one half of your movie.  It takes a little knowledge to get good audio.  Don't just hand the boom to your cousin or brother-in-law and expect the audio to be usable.  The person operating your boom (and your mixer) should basically understand how a shotgun mic works and how to optimally use it's characteristics.  I can't count how many times I have seen PAs holding a boom close to the subject, but aimed away from the subject (usually at a distant AC unit).

 

Generally, a shotgun mic should be on it's narrowest setting, aimed directly at the subject's mouth.  The mic should be positioned so that any distant noise makers (such as AC units) should be off-axis to the shotgun mic (as opposed to positioning the shotgun so that the noise is coming from directly behind the subject).  Also, the boom operator should minimize sliding hand movements on the boom pole and avoid any kind of finger impact on the pole.  If the boom needs to be rotated back and forth between two actors, it's best to rotate by using one's wrist.

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I also want to buy an audio recorder of some sort to grab some nice sound pieces while doing my documentary next year.  I have a Rode VideoMic Pro on the camera (which I tend not to like), a Rode SmartLav+ and am after something to get atmospheric sound...would a Zoom H2 or H4 be a good bet? I've used a Tascam DR-05 and didn't mind that but wouldnt mind future proofing myself a little as I was thinking of getting the XLR add-on for the Sony A7SII.

And would something like a Rode NTG3 be a must for good field sound?

The NTG3 is absolutely fantastic from what I've heard! I kinda regret getting the NTG2 instead of the NTG3 (even though it is far more expensive). 

In your list before of audio points, you left off a big one: the quality of the pre amps! Very important, is a big reason why I'm buying a Sound Devices 552

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The smartphone idea might not work for me. Looking at mics on B&H's awesome website, I could see that the mid-range $60 lav mics require phantom power through the mic jack, and unlike the recorders, smartphones don't provide any phantom power through their mic jacks.  

In your list before of audio points, you left off a big one: the quality of the pre amps! Very important, is a big reason why I'm buying a Sound Devices 552

I'm def learning that preamp is in the secret sauce. My Rode Videomic has zero preamp, and apparently part of the trick with AGC is to preamplify the signal so that the camera's AGC doesn't try to boost the signal because it'll also boost the noise...creating the low hiss I hear all the time despite turning on the high pass filter. Apparently this is the trick on the Rode Videopro microphone. It preamps the signal before it ever reaches the camera, which helps trick the in camera AGC into not trying to boost the sound. 

But that's really just a hack. Without being handicapped by a camera's AGC, a better strategy seems like a recorder with decent microphone + good preamp + manual gain control + lossless recording format. 

This review and this review were helpful because of the commentary on the quality of the preamps in various under $400 recorders. Now all I need to do is find the right microphone preamp recorder combo as my first upgrade from a Rode Videomic without dropping $3K on a Sound Devices 552 :)  

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I seem to have found my solution... A bit bulkier and more expensive but flexible and still pretty run and gun.

On this website http://suggestionofmotion.com/blog/view-factor-contineo-gh4-cage-review/

He is reviewing a Cage for the GH4 but at the bottom he shows his audio rig. 

Looks great for me.. Not too big no huge XLR connections to worry about.  A video mic pro, A Wireless Lav Feed into a Device that splits it into 2 channels with Level control. Giving you 2 separate Completely in sync audio tracks. (no post syncing)

 

Just to test the the rig out I found this super cheap Pyle wireless system on Amazon ($15) and a $40 ish Mini Boom Mic  

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007L8BQW/ref=pd_luc_rh_bxgy_01_01_t_img_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Ill test it out just to see how the whole thing works then get a more expensive one Probably this one if the sale continues till early January when im prepared to buy it.

http://www.adorama.com/ATATW1701L.html?emailprice=t&hotlink=t&svfor=5m&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_source=rflaid62905&cvosrc=affiliate.62905

 

If anyone interested Here is Links to the components im considering (some are repeats of above)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CS9E0XE?creativeASIN=B00CS9E0XE&linkCode=w01&linkId=CYKCKOMLEVSXZ4GB&ref_=as_sl_pc_ss_til&tag=6520-20

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N2GJCB2/ref=pd_luc_rh_sbs_03_01_t_img_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007L8BQW/ref=pd_luc_rh_bxgy_01_01_t_img_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1

http://www.amazon.com/Rode-VMPR-VideoMic-Rycote-Shockmount/dp/B00YAZHRZM/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

http://www.adorama.com/ATATW1701L.html?emailprice=t&hotlink=t&svfor=5m&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_source=rflaid62905&cvosrc=affiliate.62905

 

Im still no going to jump until early January so if anyone has thoughts id love to hear 

Thanks 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View-Factor_Contineo-GH4-Cage_044_Minimal-Rig-Setup-693x520.jpg

View-Factor_Contineo-GH4-Cage_045_Minimal-Rig-in-Hand-693x520.jpg

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The blue thing looks like a Beachtek MCC-2 passive adapter. (Can you tell I've been researching these too?) haha

I am buying 2 old active adapters to test out (I'll resell 1 of them), the BeachTek DXA-SLR and JuicedLink - DT454. They can be had for 50-100 on ebay, and a few years ago they were sold retail for $250+ but are now discontinued and replaced by newer better models but the reviews on them are pretty decent, especially considering the money you pay today. I figure it makes sense to start with hand me downs since I have absolutely no idea what's what at this point. This is one of those situations where you can only learn what you need by jumping in.

Biggest difference between these and the one you're looking at is:

  • Better mics usually require phantom power. MCC-2 doesn't provide power. (Another option: some mics can get phantom power from their own battery.)
  • Active vs passive. Active adapters have preamps and can boost the signal 15 or 30 db before it reaches the camera. If the preamps are good, the camera will get a strong clean signal without noise (and overwhelm the camera's AGC which otherwise will try to raise the volume together with the noise, resulting in a hiss). If you get the MCC-2, you should get something like the Rode Videomic Pro which has its own strong signal, since the MCC-2 doesn't have any preamps.
  • AGC gain disable function. Active adapters I'm buying can turn off the in camera AGC gain by sending a low frequency sound into one of the stereo channels to trick it. You're limited to the other channel then for actual sound. Reason for this feature is AGC cannot be disabled in camera, except for a handful of cameras. AGC is one reason in camera audio is usually poor, because it raises the sound of the noise.
  • The bigger active adapters I'm looking at are mounted under the camera instead of on a hot/cold shoe like the MCC-2.  

I decided to start out with XLR cables because it's only slightly more bulky but you get less noise interference through the cable, which could become an issue if you ever have a long cable run. All of the better mics use XLR connections so using unbalanced mic jacks also forces you to use bulky adapters anyways (which may degrade signal).

That's cool if you're gonna go wireless. It looks like that's what everyone is doing with lav mics now. I don't think I'm going to have a big use for lav mics, but I bought a cheap used Sony ECM-77B (wired XLR) to try out (which some reviews call an industry standard). Maybe at some point I'll get a recorder for the omnidirectional lav mic, but I just decided it was unrealistic for me personally to sync all audio. 

I'm mainly trying to find the right mic to put on camera now. Apparently shotgun mics are for outdoors and they recommend cardioid or hypercardioid for indoor rooms which cope with reverb from hard surfaces better. 

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