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Looking For Cheap/Decent Portable Recorder

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Suntower, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    I recently received some field recordings done with some sort of Sony digital 'walkman' style recorder. They sound FANTASTIC.

    So, I'm wondering if y'all have used any of these and if you have any recommendations. The ones I have looked at all seem to be something like 'swiss army knives'. My main concerns are:
    1. Sound quality. (No compression, please)
    2. Portability
    3. Durability (I'm a klutz)
    4. Ease of use. (It should be usable in the dark if possible.)

    It should have decent built in mics, but have inputs for external mics or line devices. It should also be something I just plug into my DAW and it shows up as a drive without any intermediate software crapola.

    I recently read a 'shoot out' in EM but it wasn't all that helpful as all the devices seem to 'do' similar things. It seems like the Zoom H4 is the most bang for the buck, but I question it's build quality.

    Your thoughts?


  2. darklion99

    darklion99 Guest

    Suntower, I don't know if you're still reading this forum, but you might want to check out the reviews of portable recorders at Transom.Org here:

    You might be thinking of the Sony PCM-D50 which is reviewed there.

    Here's another review site, although a bit snootish, but still good information:

    I'm insterested in the Marantz PMD-661 with cleaner XLR and mics pre installed by Oade Brothers, here:

    Hope this helps!
  3. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I use a Fostex MR8 mkII 8 as a field recorder and it produces reasonable recordings I would not go as far as FANTASTIC!!! It can be used for multitracking in a pinch at remote locations.

    I have done a tremendous number of field recordings over the last thirty years, everything from nearly every band practice, jam sessions, opem mics, to all our gigs to concerts (I know I shouldn't be admitting this though I have never distributed bootleg recordings.)I have used a multitude of different devices and have found that just like studio recording the three most important criteria are placement, placement, and placement. Did I mention placement?
    Even these tiny internal mics will yield good (relative) recordings if the units are well placed, the issue is it is very difficult even with 'phones to pinpoint where that is and then variables like someone sitting down nearby and having an OH MY GOD GIRLFRIEND discussion.
    I noticed that they are making mics (one even made by Blue) for Ipod recording but I don't have any experience with them.
    Couldn't you just ask your friend what he used?
  4. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    I ended up getting the Zoom H4. LOVE it. Of course, 1 month later they came out with the -new- H4 which I would love even more because it has two features that would -really- help...
    1. You can now record on both the mics -and- the line-ins at the same time (which you can't on the original.)

    2. The new one time stamps each file, which the original does NOT. That's the thing that -really- is a drag.

    Other than those quibbles, I LOVE this thing!

  5. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I have heard mixed reviews on this, a buddy just bought one and he had it at the studio the other day (H4) and I made a couple of quick recordings with it. Easy to use and the mic set up was interesting the recordings sounded pretty good though I did not really test it.

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