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Digital Audio Recorders


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#1 Ian Marks

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 10:23 PM

I know this isn't strictly a 16mm question, but I'd like your input. If you were shooting a quick-and-dirty 16mm feature, something along the lines of "El Mariachi" (but with proper sync sound), what would you choose to record audio? I think there must be some good, reasonably-priced digital recorders out there with professional mic inputs - I just don't know what they are. Any suggestions?
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#2 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 10:41 PM

I have been using the Edirol R 4, state of the art 96khz sound in a little box, great quality!
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 12:35 AM

On the real cheap, I one time used a little Sony Portable MiniDisc player-recorder and one of those Beachtek units they sell for miniDV cameras, the ones with the two XLR mic inputs that get mixed to the one stereo 1/8" mini-jack output.

A step up, we used an HHB PortaDisc MiniDisc recorder that has the two XLR jacks right on the unit and has a USB output so you can keep the audio digital as you send it into a computer for editing.

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I really liked the MiniDiscs, though they are getting harder to find these days.

-Tim
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#4 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 03:05 AM

YEah! That looks nice Tim


The edirol is kind of like that, but it records to a hard drive instead of a mini disc
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 06:46 AM

I would avoid minidisc if at all possible - it's OKish, but compressed as hell.

I've used a Fostex FR-2 with excellent results - it records to compactflash.

Phil
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 08:47 AM

I would avoid minidisc if at all possible - it's OKish, but compressed as hell.


Phil,

You bring up an interesting point. Not being an audiophile, I never gave that ATRAC 4.5 compression (that the HHB uses) much thought. I read reviews that said it sounded just as good as linear PCM to the human ear and I figured for just recording dialog it was fine. And I loved the fact that it transferred the audio digitally into my editing computer.

But when it came time for audio sweetening, I think some of the issues we ran in to were a result of the ATRAC 4.5 compression. When using noise reduction software and even lengthening the tracks by 1% to match the 23.98 fps pulled down film speed, we started noticing artifacts. It never dawned on me that they could be from the original compression scheme of the MiniDisc.

Interesting,
-Tim
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 09:54 AM

Hi,

This is why we don't like compression - not because it sounds (or, for images, looks) bad when you listen to the original recording, but because it stuffs you when you come to try and postproduce your material. I'd expect you to have severe problems trying to noise-reduce ATRAC'd recordings.

ATRAC is a pretty reasonable codec, but remember that the baseline minidisc version was first released in the early 90s and optimised for implementation on hardware with goals of portability and low power consumption. Comparing it to things like MP3 and AAC is therefore a little unfair, but it is generally felt to be quite considerably less good than either. And you wouldn't want to record your production audio as a 192Kbps MP3, which, with a good encoder, is probably better than what you're getting off a minidisc.

Compression is for distribution formats, not acquisition.

Phil
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#8 Gregor Scheer

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 05:18 PM

I use two sony dat walkmen recorders to allow me to pesition 2 mikes in different places. And I sync with the old slate procedure.
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#9 Eric Steinberg

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:24 PM

I think the best deal out there is the Tascam HD-P2. It records timecode, uses flash media, and costs approximately half of what the Edirol R-4 is going for....
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#10 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:26 PM

I'm moving this to the sound forum.
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#11 Christopher Kennedy Alpiar

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:28 AM

I would say anything with tape or discs is out. DAT is outdated, ADAT is outdated, CD/DVD are ok with the right situation. Other then disc tho: Fughedabaddit (as they say in NYC). flash recording or hard disk recording is the only real solution that wont be outdated and impossible to find media for in 5 years. Brand name is important, bad or cheap brands (today not necessarily ever) include: fostex, alesis, akai, behringer. Medium brands that might be pro-sumer but good or used to be excellent and are in decline include: edirol, HHB, Tascam, M-Audio, Korg. Good brands that are pro-sumer and excellent or at least decent on all levels professional include: TC Electronics, Presonus, Apogee, Sony (professional Sony), Marantz.

Hope this is helpful :)

Edited by Christopher Kennedy Alpiar, 01 August 2007 - 02:30 AM.

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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:31 AM

Hi,

I'm suspicious of ranking brand names. For instance, the Fostex unit I've used is certainly not a high end piece of equipment; it's largely plastic, so it wouldn't survive long in rental, and the noise on the microphone inputs is high until you have the post mod done. On the other hand, the Fostex PD-6 is a truly high-end piece of kit with a lot of capability. You're also overlooking people like Sound Devcies, whose 722 and 744 flash recorders are, I think it's safe to generalise, a staple of film and TV production all over the world right now.

It's related to but not quite the same world as the music production business.

Phil
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#13 Christopher Kennedy Alpiar

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 01:40 PM

Very good point Phil! I am not trying to say my list of brands is all-encompassing for sure! And nothing can replace personal experience! Also even the schleprock brands like behringer make gear that is meant to be used so anything you get new will have some ability or you call the BBB ;) But just from my many years in audio production that list is a general guideline of my experience with brands. Fostex used to be a much better company but its gone down hill the last 10 years in my opinion. Their pro-grade gear you can get much much better from another manufacturer, again my opinion :) Just trying to offer some help for new folks to audio who havent had 25+ years working with these brands to maybe get off on the right foot. Main caveat to all my posts: My experience is largely in pro-audio and music recording in the studio. While I have some experience in video filming/production and very little with film production, what I write is coming from an audio engineer's and a modern composer's perspective.
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#14 Ingmar Herrera

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 08:25 PM

I use Both,
Tascam HDP2 and Edirol R4, i find both bang for the bucks kind of recorders ,
i live in the tropics , so the weather is pretty humid and rainy... actually we only have 2 stations summer and rainy seasson ,(Panama City, Latin America)
i find Edirol a little stronger in that aspect Vs the HDP2, the Edirol its a little more rugged and it has 4 channels, of course i have both living inside Porta braces with portabrace raincoats included for both machines.

Tascam is a little touchy about conecting phantom mics with the phantom on ,, you could blow one of the channels (like i did with my first HDP2), but the operating system is more dedicated and it feels actually like a decent recorder for a production mixer.
VS edirol "Synth" Type of operating system, (the whole thing looks like a JV Roland Synth module). and some times get very obtuse chopping takes while you press pause and the record again it would give you a whole file (even if you press pause and start recording again) but it does record hifi audio
if you use the right mics. 96Khz

unlikely the HDP2, whenever you hit pause, the takes actually change while you do it,
that way you dont end with a 262M file with all your takes on it.
"sausage style"
and then have to chop it in your laptop.

i feed them input from Schoepps,Sennheiser and Lectrosonics Lavs


truth is,
i always take both to wherever im recording
and both had given me good results
within Film production or XDCam video, or pure
raw 192 Khz
bat recognition fidelity for freaks like myself.
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