Edirol R-4 PRO

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by jasondirckze, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. jasondirckze

    jasondirckze Guest

    Hey all,

    Hoping someone out there has some experience with this 4 track "field recorder" and would be willing to share some stories.

    I guess Im looking for reports on durability and ruggedness.

    It will be primariy used for location sound in the reality sector, and the ocassional atmos recording.

    Apart from the Sound Devices 744T (which is a bit over budget), do any of you know of any 4 track flash/HD recorders with TC input?


  2. photowriters

    photowriters Active Member

    I looking for the same kind of information but with a different use in mind. I am looking to record our church choir next year on our sightseeing/performing tour of Great Britain. I've looked at the lower priced hand-held 2 and 4 track units, and have come to the conclusion that they will not produce the quality of recording we want. Hence the quest for information about the Edirol R-4 and R-4 Pro.

    Unless the Pro model produces significantly higher quality recordings, I believe the lower priced R-4 with its smaller 40GB drive and lack of a SMPTE time code function will suffice nicely. However, I would like to get some feedback from users of the gear especially concerning the quality of the recordings, whether an external pre-amp is necessary for the minimum noise level with condenser mics, and if you have used an external battery supply with the unit and how well it did or did not work.


  3. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I am recording a choir for a week at a UK cathedral using DPA4061 (on a semi-visible stand and stereo bar made of 1/2-inch wooden dowel painted black, a DPA MMA6000 micpre (made for the 406X) and an M-Audio Microtrack recording to Seagate 4GB Microdrives.

    The battery in the Microtrack lasts 1 hour and I can get two evensong services on one microdrive and transfer the 24/44 files when I return to the states.

    The Microtrack is pretty bullet-proof. The little supplied dynamic omni stereo mic works VERY well but suffers from noisy micpres which I will be bypassing.

    The variety of inputs (analog mic and line level and SPDIF) and ability to record either 16 or 24 bit WAVs or MP3s make this a very handy (the size of a pack of cigarettes) stereo capture device.

    Can't speak to the Edirol, although the size is quite a bit larger than the Microtrack.

  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    One bit of caution -

    Handle the Microdrives with EXTREME CARE and don't expect a long life out of them.

    My wife is a professional photographer and used the Microdrives extensively for a while. That is until they all started to crap out one after another after another. It's not that she was mishandling them either (she's extremely cautious with her gear.)

    Asking around in the pro photo world soon led me to the conclusion that the Microdrives are not to be counted on for any work which you hope to actually keep. The solid state devices are FAR more reliable (yet to have a single one go bad out of over 100 used.)

  5. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    All those good mics and pre and ........a microtrack?

    R-4 is a better choice. haven't used it but others say good sound... not really rugged.


    Have wondered about those tiny little HDs, and what you (cucco) have said affirms my feelings about them. A 4gb chip is a lot more reliable.

    Ask wife what is meant by 'auto sleep function' on some Kingston x133 CF cards, and they aren't HDs. How will this impact recording to them. Sounds to me like it's some kind of typo in the specs.... how does a chip go to sleep?
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yeah, I'm with you. The "autosleep" function on a solidstate chip doesn't make sense. She's not the techie type though, so if I were to ask her, she'd give me a blank stare and ask me what the hell I was talking about. (She's still a fan of film - just a recent convert to all-digital. Normally, she would carry two film bodies - 1 B&W and 1 Color Slide to a wedding as well as a single digital. Now - recently - she's carrying two digital bodies and no film.)
  7. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Rich, I am very interested in your choice of gear for this gig. Is it because you are traveling and want to avoid lugging and getting your big kit through customs, or is it because of stealth recording requirements.

    I love the look of the MMA6000 and am thinking of getting two 4060, one of these and an ARES-MII to record concerts with all the gear taped to the top of the Manfrotto.

    Also, why did you choose the 4061, instead of the slightly quieter, higher sensitivity, 4060?
  8. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Thinking here.

    You say you need TC. That narrows the field a bit. You say you need four channels, definitely narrows down the field.

    Now, TC can be useful when running together with cameras. Not absolutely necessary though, the good old clip board works perfectly well.

    4 channels. Well, in the film world I believe people generally record to one or two channels, using inputs from many mics going through a field mixer. The field mixer additionally has a lot of outputs so you can send signals to the camera for recording there (some cameras has good recording circuits, the mics may be less good). You can also send sound to the other people, say a headphone listen for the director.

    Ambience, well, four channels is not really much to have. Two is difficult enough.

    You may be very on, but I guess that it is a good idea to start with a very clear picture about the two demands: 4 channels and TC.

    Said that, here are the ones I know of:
    SD744T (needs two more preamps)
    Edirol R4 Pro
    Sonosax mini R82 (needs two more preamps)
    Deva II (check for used units, sometimes pops up)

    As an example of a field mixer, check Sound Devices 442 (a top-line unit, with quite a bit of connectivity). You might be able to find used units though, I have a beat-up Sony MX-P42 myself, found that one used for about 400 pounds.

    Lots of options really.

  9. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Let's see--- you have no personal experience with any of the gear you mentioned, but you want to slam it nonetheless?

    I have never had any problems with the Microtrack, especially as a capture device going in SPDIF. Going in line-level I know the A/D is less than wonderful, but unless an ADC is awful, it is the least important piece of the puzzle.

    As for the microdrive-- again no problems, and as with all mechanical drives it is not smart to physically abuse them.

  10. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    There were several requirements for the rig:

    1- be as invisible as possible in the middle of the aisle between the left and right choir stalls

    2- offer sound that only omnis could deliver

    3- record 24-bit files onto media that could be quickly and easily transferred once back home

    4- employ stuff that I already own or can get on loan

    THe 4060 is very high output-- too high in many applications. Given the ambient noise of the cathedral and the organ I do not expect to be offended by the mic self-noise.

    As for the remarks earlier on the Microtrack-- Fred Vogler uses one for stereo backup (via SPDIF) and if it is good enough for Fred, it's good enough for me!

    Tell me more about the ARES bit!

  11. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Its a gorgeous little tiny Nagra, about the size of a mobile phone, the second generation of this now has more memory and USB 2.

  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Did I read right? It has 24 bit converters but only records at 16 bit?
  13. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    Very interesting DPA preamp. Yes, I've never heard or used the MicroTrack.
    Consider this.... When using those MicroHDs instead of CF chip cards, the little drives make noise which bleed into the recording electronics.
  14. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    The expert speaks again!

    IN FACT, the noise from the microdrive does NOT "bleed" into the electronics. If you had actually used this gear maybe you might have noticed.

  15. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    The ARIES is undoubtedly built to a higher standard that the Microtrack and appears to be the ideal choice for a journalist doing interviews, and offers a variety of small microphones as well as auto level, plus onboard basic editing. The minus column shows that neither model have removable media nor digital input.

    The Microtrack seems to have advantages in the area of music recording with removable media, a choice of mic, line, or DIG inputs, supplied omni stereo mic (that works surpisingly well), choice of WAV (24 or 16 bit) and MP3 recording, and very small size (pack of cigarettes). The minus side is that monitoring while recording is not possible (it looks like the ARIES can do this). And the price is undeniably advantageous-- $1360 for the Nagra vs $300 from Sweetwater (then add larger media).

    For journalists the choice is Nagra (as it has been for decades). For music recordists, the choice is yours!

  16. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    Man-oh-man......... I always run into audio people with chips on shoulder.
    I guess 20 years full time audio/film employment isn't enough!

    I'll get back to the question from the original poster. The R-4 pro -with/ TC is the only 4track that I know of besides the SD 744t, and it's the one I see on display at audio-for-film location recording shops.

    Or, use a laptop, fw preamp interface and this.

  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Such bitter sarcasm...is that necessary?

    Besides, I think what is MEANT to be said here is that there is in fact a mechanical noise from the microdrives. If you were close enough, this would be audible through the microphones (obviously quite a low level since the drives generally aren't THAT loud - unless it's defective).

    Also, would vibration in and of itself not be potentially problematic. Afterall, vibration equals energy which ultimately makes its way into the electronics one way or another. Of course, I seriously doubt any significant sonic impact.
  18. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Yep I agree that the big negatives for the ARES, are lack of DI, and only 16 bit recording and perhaps the lack of removable media. But when I want to use a tiny system I feel these are minor disadvantages. The A/D is very good, and with that lovely DPA micro preamp I am sure to be happy. Its certainly ideal and aimed at journalists, no question.

    Removable media is less of a problem I think, due to 2GB and USB2, although one would have a laptop or PDA handy to suck off the files and burn them to DVD or whatever. Removable media causes me to worry about those little pins getting bent while pushing and pulling cards. Nagra do have the ARES_PII for that, but its not as tiny.

    The ARES-MII is on special in Australia at present (for SMPTE show) for $1100 AUD, or about $935 USD, which is pretty good value. It is completely silent in operation, no vibration from drives, very tiny and light and runs for 10 hours on batteries.

    That DPA preamp is the find of the week though, thanks Rich. The mind boggles at the wonderful possibilities for invisible recordings.
  19. rfreez

    rfreez Active Member

    (sonarerec on the microtrak)

    what was that again please? does this mean that i cannot hear what i'm recording?

  20. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Firmware update may have fixed that, but previously a file must be recorded then auditioned.

    In a practical sense does it matter? Unless one is mixing down to 2 channels (and if so the mixer would likely have a headphone jack) there isn't anything one can actually do about anything you hear. Better to sneak out and listen to the real performance to be able to judge the recording against that.


Share This Page