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MicroTrack 24/96 portable 2 channel compact flash recorder


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#1 Alex Ardenti

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 03:34 AM

Has anyone ever recorded sound for a film camera project using digital recorders that use compact flash cards?

I found the MicroTrack 24/96 portable 2 channel compact flash recorder on the net all over the place at $399.
I'm guessing I can put a great quality shotgun mike on it and use it for my first feature.
Then I can just download it to my Mac in Final Cut.

Too good to be true?

Any advice would be immenseley appreciated

Alex

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#2 Chance Shirley

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 10:50 AM

I did a little research on portable digital recorders a while back and found this review of the MicroTrack:

http://digitalmedia....ack-review.html

Short version -- a good, if delicate, recorder for the money. And watch out for the phantom power: it's a non-standard voltage.

For some alternate options, check out:

http://www.oade.com/...ders/index.html
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 01:52 PM

The concept is good, but I would look to a higher quality machine. The numbers are good. 24bits, 96Khz, but that says nothing to the mic amp, proccessing effects loop options, etc. Audio tools are the hardest to select, because what genuinly affects the quality of the audio is never revealed. They wont tell you what op-amps the preamp circut is using, they dont specify the A-D converter chip, its usually a big mystery. I would go with a bigger brand name than microtrack, though if its all you can afford, its probably the best recorder you can hope for at that price.

That said, I too am looking at these devices. I found one for 800 bucks on B&H and another model for 999 that even generates/jams to timecode. It has unique features that can really help in the edit bay. Look for a model that can have a ps2 (not playstation 2, but the input port that was used before the advent of usb) keyboard input. This will let you name the track something usefull, so you dont have to listen to the audio slate you leave before every take to find the right clip. You can even leave notes for yourself and hooked up to a digital timecode slate you can sync your film and audio very quickly.

Check out all the models of recorders. But I definatley like the concept. A 2gig solid state card is probably a lot cheaper than any mechanical tape spooling mechanism, and much more reliable. Once you have the sound on your comp you can make backups and edit without worry about digitizing or anything like that. make sure if you do get the recorder, try and spend some money on an effects loop. A simple compressor and EQ may be all you need.


To ask a quick question: I have heard of bi-level recording. For any of you who know audio better than me, can you tell me if this means running the same mic into two channels at different attenuations (IE one track is leveled for wisper to mid voice level, and the other records the mid to very loud/shouting dialoge.) is this technique usefull or wise or? I have just heard the name, figured thats what it means, and generally i find I only have one boom mic, and a wasted recording track. would a simple distrabution amp or mixer be all I need to set that up?
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#4 Marco Leavitt

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 02:52 PM

Michael,
I've never heard that term, but it does seem to describe the process of the recording a mono signal to two tracks with one level set higher (usually about 6 dB) than the other. This gives you a better S/N ratio with a little more protection against clipping. It wise to do it all the time unless you are using multiple mics.

I haven't used the Microtrack, but there is consensus that it doesn't have good enough preamps to make 24 bit recording viable unless you use an external A/D converter. It is a neat gadget though, but I wouldn't use the phantom power, and battery life looks like a big issue as well. It would work best with a field mixer.

Edited by Marco Leavitt, 06 April 2006 - 02:53 PM.

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#5 David W Scott

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 04:29 PM

I don't think you have to spend $1000 to get a good field recorder. Take a look at the Marantz PMD660:

PMD660

I haven't used it, but my favourite podcaster does. (Michael Butler, the Rock and Roll Geek Show) It sounds pretty good, and he likes it.

Short battery life seems to be an issue for all of these recorders, but the Marantz uses AA's so you can keep feeding it more batteries. The MicroTrack has a non-replaceable battery, so when you're done you're done... until you charge it. That would be a deal killer for me. On set, you need to have the ability to keep it running. Not having an interchangable battery is inexcusable.

Also, the Marantz has real XLR's and standard phantom power.
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#6 Alex Ardenti

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 05:29 PM

I don't think you have to spend $1000 to get a good field recorder. Take a look at the Marantz PMD660:

PMD660

I haven't used it, but my favourite podcaster does. (Michael Butler, the Rock and Roll Geek Show) It sounds pretty good, and he likes it.

Short battery life seems to be an issue for all of these recorders, but the Marantz uses AA's so you can keep feeding it more batteries. The MicroTrack has a non-replaceable battery, so when you're done you're done... until you charge it. That would be a deal killer for me. On set, you need to have the ability to keep it running. Not having an interchangable battery is inexcusable.

Also, the Marantz has real XLR's and standard phantom power.



Thanks!
This helps SO much.

Now it's time to get a good shotgun mic. I've been checking out B&H and seems like I can get a good one for under $500.

Anybody with suggestions on that? Will probably make my own boom pole.

Alex

www.alexardenti.com
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#7 Robert G Andrews

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 05:30 PM

The final result might be clear but the same as a Nagra IV?
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#8 Henri Titchen

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 05:09 PM

Thanks!
This helps SO much.

Now it's time to get a good shotgun mic. I've been checking out B&H and seems like I can get a good one for under $500.

Anybody with suggestions on that? Will probably make my own boom pole.

Alex

www.alexardenti.com


Regarding the shotgun microphone the Rode NTG-2 gets very good reviews. There is also the Rode NTG-1 which I understand is phantom power only.

Henry.
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 06:16 PM

Hi,

I have used the Fostex FR-2 quite a lot, and it is most wonderful.

Yes, you just get a CF card full of wave files.

In common with many cheaper units, it will record 24/96, but the mic amps are too noisy to make it worthwhile.

Phil
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#10 Robert G Andrews

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 02:56 AM

So you thought that the Fostex FR-2 was good....why don't you use that for your first feature? Is a Nagra out of the question? a nice reel-t-reel would give you a smooth and full richness...
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