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Zach Ashcraft

Lets Talk Audio....Recorders

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Not a huge amount of discussion on gear/techniques used to record audio on this forum, though its not totally neglected.

 

I have a background in classical music recording, and am used to a laptop audio interface rig with great preamps and nice mics. Needless to say, I'm not happy with the preamp on the H4N and the rode videomic type shotguns. 

 

Anyone have any experience with the Roland R26? I've heard good things, but is the noise floor really lower than something like a zoom? If so I'd be interested in picking one up. If not, I feel like I'm going to need to invest in something like a sound devices mix pre to feed my NTG2 and NT4

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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

I agree the h4n is crapola due to the shit pre-amps. Tascam d60 is comparable in function to the h4n but a considerable step up in quality.

 

I did my last short with a tascam and ntg2. I rented a h4n initially but wasn't happy with the quality at all. Of course there are much better more expensive options but the d60 does quite decent sound when paired with a good mic, for only about 100 bucks more than the h4n, the quality difference is night and day. h4n is unusable in my opinion. 

 

Good luck!

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I agree H4n is noisy toss. I have Tascam DR100, I've heard the Roland is great.

 

Edirol R44 and R4 are used on many features and so on, but you need other mics. 

 

R44 is one of the lowest price mixers with awesome features and sound.

 

My background was years of sound before video, also worked at Sound On Sound for a few years, so like yourself my standards are up.

 

If you worked in classical you've spoiled by Schoepps and Neumann no doubt ;)

 

Conversion is a huge factor in the crustiness of portable. Not much can be done for it!

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If in the US, sign up at HelloMusic (dot) com .  They occasionally have DR-40s and DR-100s up there for relatively cheap.  I picked up my DR-100 mkii there.*

 

Mixers, don't much about, but know I want one.  

 

(I borrow a friend's Rode NTG-2/boom setup for my shoots, but plan to eventually acquire an NTG-3 or a sennheiser 411? for my own kit.)

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I agree H4n is noisy toss. I have Tascam DR100, I've heard the Roland is great.

 

Edirol R44 and R4 are used on many features and so on, but you need other mics. 

 

R44 is one of the lowest price mixers with awesome features and sound.

 

My background was years of sound before video, also worked at Sound On Sound for a few years, so like yourself my standards are up.

 

If you worked in classical you've spoiled by Schoepps and Neumann no doubt ;)

 

Conversion is a huge factor in the crustiness of portable. Not much can be done for it!

I LOVE sound on sound. Used to go to barnes and noble monthly in college just to read it. 

 

I do like those roland recorders though they are a bit pricey. I definitely have no interest in the tascam units being mentioned. They are just as bad in my experience, especially the dr40. 

 

Never thought about running a mixpre into an ipad. That seems like a great solution. I would be a little worried about software though

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It may help if you state your budget range and application. If you think the Tascam dr60 sounds as bad as the h4n then you have broken ears. The tascam dr40 is a voice recorder and not of high enough quality for fillmmaking.

 

If you are getting a ngt2 mic, which is a great but budget mic, probably no point running it through a roles royce mixer, audio quality will only be as good as the weakest link. NGT2 compliments DR60 level recorder+preamp or similar IMO.

 

Otherwise, If you have the $$ and legitimate need, get a better mic and the roland or some other field recorder!!

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Never thought about running a mixpre into an ipad. That seems like a great solution. I would be a little worried about software though


It's totally workable I have seen a couple of posts from people using that set up. I recall that one chap was using Auria as the recording software.

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I LOVE sound on sound. Used to go to barnes and noble monthly in college just to read it. 

 

I do like those roland recorders though they are a bit pricey. I definitely have no interest in the tascam units being mentioned. They are just as bad in my experience, especially the dr40. 

 

Never thought about running a mixpre into an ipad. That seems like a great solution. I would be a little worried about software though

 

Awesome! :D Here's the section i ran (now sadly dead) http://www.soundonsound.com/videomedia

 

It's a great mag, though I'm not so much into studio production now, so only read occasionally, but I'm still in touch with all those there, they're a fountain of knowledge

 

I also wrote two opinion pieces that apply to video as well, one about gear lust, and one about whether things are better than one another or just different...

 

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul11/articles/sounding-off-0711.htm

 

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb12/articles/sounding-off-0212.htm

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The Zoom H4N was awful & the Tascam DR100 was a little better (did have quite a low recording volume).

I eventually went for the Marantz PMD661 - it was a little overboard, as i had a proper mic & a field mixer, but as a back up its excellent.

The problem is that al lot of these recorders just don't have great onboard mics etc.., so they're noisy crap.

 

However, if you get a secondhand mic & plug that in, then they can turn an H4N or DR100 into a butterfly!

XLR inputs essential, as is Phantom Power, on a recorder.

 

Sennheiser K3-U/ME-80 - an old, low budget film mic, which sometimes comes with all 3 mic extensions (ME-80, ME-40 & ME20) & can run off a battery or phantom - under £100.

 

This was the best review site i found when i was looking for a recorder:

http://www.wingfieldaudio.com/portable-recorder-reviews.html

 

But as with all things you can go really nuts or just slowly build up.

 

If you're budget minded - you can pick up a small used 2 channel mixer, an old mic & plug it all into a small recorder - will all fit into a small bag which you have over your shoulder & the mic can be shotgun handheld or fixed to your camera. The quality will be sooo much better than onboard mics. All said & done £500 or less - if you're careful/patient looking for a bargin.

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Awesome! :D Here's the section i ran (now sadly dead) http://www.soundonsound.com/videomedia

 

 

No way?! I used to read that section all the time! I always desperately hoped they would continue to create content as I could never quite get enough out of it, and the folks over at the gearsluts forums weren't too knowledgeable when it came to cameras. 

 

May seem like a small thing but just wanted to say thank you - those articles where very helpful to me when I first picked up a camera about 2 years ago. 

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I'm going to rent some sound devices gear for my next documentary and experiment with running that into my H4n. If that isn't too my liking, i'll probably pick up the R26. I've had some success with that in the past. I do want something that can record great dialogue, but also pristine stereo music recordings if need be. Thanks all for the thoughts and suggestions thus far people, and if I learn anything useful along the way i'll let you all know

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No way?! I used to read that section all the time! I always desperately hoped they would continue to create content as I could never quite get enough out of it, and the folks over at the gearsluts forums weren't too knowledgeable when it came to cameras. 

 

May seem like a small thing but just wanted to say thank you - those articles where very helpful to me when I first picked up a camera about 2 years ago. 

 

You're welcome, it's great to know that I actually helped someone! A lot of readers were so violently negative about it, climing I was "stealing" pages from audio and so on. totally bizarre. There's still no equivalent anywhere either... Still the magazine focused on their core market again, and I'm no longer there, so no more video section :(

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I'm going to rent some sound devices gear for my next documentary and experiment with running that into my H4n. If that isn't too my liking, i'll probably pick up the R26. I've had some success with that in the past. I do want something that can record great dialogue, but also pristine stereo music recordings if need be. Thanks all for the thoughts and suggestions thus far people, and if I learn anything useful along the way i'll let you all know

Sound Devices gear is really good & one of their field mixers into the H4N will be absolutely great - you'll never turn back!

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I picked up a Sound Devices USBPre2 (with a USB battery) and DR100mkII (has digital in). Sounds the same as a Sound Devices 702 only much lower cost. That said, I never used this combo as it's too complicated and fragile. As a computer interface, the USBPre2 provides amazing quality. For field work the 702 is looking more appealing.

 

The JuicedLink gear works however the Sound Devices gear sounds better (MixPre-D is a good choice).

 

This preamp might be a good compromise ($349): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1012401&is=REG&A=details&Q=

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Anyone have any experience with the Roland R26? I've heard good things, but is the noise floor really lower than something like a zoom? If so I'd be interested in picking one up. If not, I feel like I'm going to need to invest in something like a sound devices mix pre to feed my NTG2 and NT4

 

This reply is maybe a bit late but for what it's worth I use an R26 with an NTG2 and it's fine - pretty low noise floor. No problems like those reported with the H4N anyway. I seem to remember reading Roland claim the preamps in the R26 are the same as the R44.

 

I find that I can use the NTG2 on phantom for a decent amount of time (an hour perhaps but have never timed it) on 4 eneloops in the R26. With battery installed in the Rode, longer but it's a bit noisier I think.

 

I haven't done much critical recording with the onboard mics. They seem decent to my amateurish ear but the noise floor is much higher than with the NTG2. 

 

I also use a Rode Lav (with XLR) with the R26 and that gives a very clean recording.

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