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firebox vs. sony pcm-d50


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#1 Lee Young

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 01:05 AM

I've been looking at many options as far as sound recording goes. I already have a nice rode shotgun microphone and a couple of lavs. I've really been conflicted between the these two products: The Sony PCM-D50 and the Presonus Firebox (which I would hook up to my mac laptop). My primary concern is which of the products have the better preamps. From this website (http://www.transom.o...cmd50/index.php) it is very clear that the sony PCM-D50 has nice preamps that can even handle low output mics. Can I expect the same quality from a bus powered interface? Has anyone used one for field recording?

My other concern is the practicality of using a laptop/interface to record sound on my 16mm shoots. My laptop is usually quiet and since the microphones used on a set are very directional I am supposing that laptop noise will not be an issue. The other concern is that of portability. In hot, bright conditions it seems that it may be hard to carry around a laptop/interface and read the meters, although I could see how this may also be true of the sony pcm. Thanks for looking this over. Any help is immensely appreciated.
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 08:20 AM

The sad truth is that specifications for prosumer electronics are so "massaged" by the manufacturer's marketing departments no specification is trustworthy. Try to borrow or rent that equipment and test it yourself. At the very least seek advice from people who use that gear themselves. The important things to check with mike preamps are signal-to-noise, transparency, and overload characteristics. No hiss, clean sound, and minimal "crunch" on overload are what to look for.

In the top circles of professional recording it's common to find people using dedicated mike preamp/mixers like the Benchmark Pre420 which costs $2750 for 4 channels. Really good preamps are not cheap.
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#3 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 04:33 PM

Recording on a computer can be nice indoor, or in studio-situation. BUT you need an assistant (boom-operator), it could be some hassle running around with a computer, a sound-interface plus all the cables around your neck and trying to boom and modulate at the same time. Documentary-work, with often only one sound-guy, is nearly impossible with a computer.

I'd get a fieldrecorder, it will be much less hassle, most of them work with standard batteries you get in every supermarket or shop around the world. They are made for field-use, a computer might get hurt in ruff shooting conditions.

Since you have already some mics you don't need one with build in mics like the sony. For me the most important feature would be smooth going and accessible volume-pods. Pots have to be accessible and the VU-meter visible while the device is its carrying pouch around your neck. XLR-inputs with phantompower are an evidence.

I have a fostex fr-2 and I am very happy with it, only pain in the ... are the coupled volume pods and the ridiculous high powerdraw when phantom is on.

The fostex FR-2 LE is in the same price range like the sony. I guess it's similar to the FR-2, this would make it a good deal.

The marantz pmd660 seems nice too, although I never used it...

cheers, Bernhard

Edited by Bernhard Zitz, 21 May 2008 - 04:36 PM.

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Visual Products

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Opal

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC