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Portable recorder

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Gpp, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. Gpp

    Gpp Active Member

    Good morning,

    I need your consultation: my Tascam HD-P2 is in assistance and probably I'll need to buy a new recorder.
    I made a list of devices may fit my demands, of course you can suggest something else:

    Tascam HD-P2 Portable Stereo CF Recorder
    Edirol / Roland R-44 Solid-State Four-Channel Portable Field Recorder
    Tascam DR-100mkII - Portable 2-Channel Linear PCM Recorder

    Tascam DR-680MKII Portable Multichannel Recorder
    Sound Devices 702 - High-Resolution 2-Channel Compact Flash Field Recorder


    I know that the Sound Devices brand is the top, but the price is quite high for my budget:
    I am an electroacoustic music composer, I am looking for a professional device, but I don't know if it's worth to spend around 2000 $.

    Any advice is welcome.

    Thank you in advacne.

    Giuseppe
     
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    There's a wide range of specifications implied in the devices you list. Can you tell us:

    1) Do you need a recorder with built-in microphones?

    2) How many channels of recording do you need?

    3) How much time do you need to record for before changing the recording medium (e.g. flash card)?

    4) Will you have mains power available when recording?
     
  3. Gpp

    Gpp Active Member

    Hello Boswell,

    thank you.

    1) Do you need a recorder with built-in microphones?
    I have a set of Sennheiser mics (k6 modular system with ME62, ME64 and ME66 heads);

    2) How many channels of recording do you need?
    I need two-channels, but I may aslo buy a 4 channels device and use only two of them;

    3) How much time do you need to record for before changing the recording medium (e.g. flash card)?
    3-4 hours

    4) Will you have mains power available when recording?
    No, it's for field recording.
     
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The recent commercial trend has been for manufacturers to bring out portable recorders that have a built-in pair of stereo microphones. Most of these recorders have additional channels with pre-amps and XLR sockets for external professional microphones. For what they offer, they are good value for uses that fit within their limitations.

    An example is the Zoom H4N, which is a 4-track recorder with an integrated pair of stereo microphones and dual XLR sockets with 48V phantom power for external microphones. You can, of course, just record the external microphones tracks if you want. Although the sonic quality of the pre-amps behind the XLR sockets is reasonable on this recorder, the noise level is a lot higher than a mains-powered quality pre-amp, and also the battery life is chronically short if you switch on the 48V phantom power.

    The H4N shortcomings for professional use are not unique to that model, and affect most of the other all-in-one recorders to various degrees. It's only when you get to units like the Sound Devices recorders that you find high-quality, low-noise pre-amps and a reasonable battery life when supplying phantom power. It's that sort of professional specification that you pay the extra for when choosing Sound Devices. On the other hand, if you want to go for a low-cost portable all-in-one model, you may want to consider coupling it with a battery-powered external pre-amplifier/phantom power unit to get around the problems inherent in that type of recorder.
     
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  5. Gpp

    Gpp Active Member

    Thanks again.
    What about the Tascam HD-P2 Portable Stereo CF Recorder or the Tascam DR-680MKII Portable Multichannel Recorder?

    Usually I power the k6 microphones with their internal 1.5 V battery, which gives quite good results.
     
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I have never used either of those Tascam recorders, so can't comment on their performance. However, I have looked at the specifications in their manuals and Tascam carefully avoid giving any useful noise figures.

    The DR-680 manual makes no mention of noise, but this is from the HD-P2 manual:
    I don't know exactly what they mean by "up to -55dBu", but taking it as the output level on max gain with a shorted input, it would imply that you would hear the noise from the recorder when using low-output microphones or when attempting to record low-level sounds such as wildlife or a large dynamic range source such as an orchestra.

    Noise apart, the overall specifications of these devices look suitable for the task you have outlined, but it would take a word from others on these forums who have used either of them to comment on the pre-amp and conversion quality.
     
    pcrecord likes this.
  7. drumrob

    drumrob Active Member

    I own the DR-680 - the original version, not the recently released MKII version. I use it for field recording for bands and have found it to be great. Are there cleaner preamps out there? Sure. But I find the stock preamps very usable (with good microphones) and if I want to spend a little time and carry a little more gear for a super critical recording, I can use external preamps and run into the DR-680 via line level. The only caveat I have about it is that channels 7 and 8 can only be recorded to using a digital input. The Tascam uses the more consumerish version of SPDIF apparently (the one that adds a copy protection scheme), and that means that not all preamps that output SPDIF will sync up with the DR-680. So I look at it as a great 6 track recorder most of the time, and if you are careful with what you are feeding to 7 and 8 you will have a great 8-track field recorder. Note also that although you can do some level setting of the output of the 8 channels, this unit is not really designed to be a mixer. It's really designed to record 8 tracks, then bring them into a computer for mixing and editing.
     
    Brien Holcombe likes this.

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