Compact units for field recordings

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
PLacidBasilisk
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Compact units for field recordings

Post by PLacidBasilisk » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:44 am

I've been thinking about getting something nicely portable for doing field recordings but am unsure of what to get. It would be nice to get something small enough that I can take it literally everywhere with me and record stuff anytime anywhere. I'm thinking something no bigger than a glasses case... The problem is that quality is going to be pretty shoddy. Anyone have experience with smallish recorders that make decent quality recordings? Is my best bet to get something like this TASCAM recorder? How good is the recording quality of these things?

Alternatively, does anyone know of any smaller or cheaper options like high quality mini dictaphones that offer decent quality and more portability?

Willyum
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by Willyum » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:33 am

I've been looking at the Zoom H2. Looks like it has the best features at the best price. It also doubles as an USB 'asio' sound card, guitar tuner and metronome.
http://www.amazon.com/Zoom-H2-Portable- ... 696&sr=1-1

PLacidBasilisk
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by PLacidBasilisk » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:48 am

Seems like a pretty solid and handy little unit. Biggest drawback for me is the lack of xlr port but I guess there's always going to be a trade off.

littlepig
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by littlepig » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:32 am

I have owned a Zoom H2 for about 6 months now. Overall I am happy with it. I have used it for field recordings and for recording acoustic guitar at home.

I haven't used all the features like tuner, metronome usb audio. The only thing I don't like about it is the switches on the sides look a little flimsy...

six_o_clock_crow
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by six_o_clock_crow » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:44 am

If you need an XLR input then the Zoom H4 or new H4N has dual XLR inputs.
HARDWARE:
Vaio laptop / M-Audio Transit / Zoom H2 /
Alesis M1 Active 520's / Sennheiser EH2200's
Behringer BCR2000 / misc. instruments & toys

SOFTWARE:
Live 7 / Sound Forge Audio Studio

Willyum
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by Willyum » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:46 am

littlepig wrote: I haven't used all the features like tuner, metronome usb audio.
Have you installed the Asio driver from them, could you give it a try for us with Live. Curious about the latency (i know it's system dependent) I would just like to know this thing would work.

Will the headphones get the audio from Live or only from the mics or audio in on device. Can you or anyone give a review on the usb audio card functionality of this device (I already know that audio recording from the mics work very well).

Any info would be appreciated.

PLacidBasilisk
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by PLacidBasilisk » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:24 am

So you think its ability to record ambient sound and field samples is sufficient for use in tracks?

creature
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by creature » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:01 am

I recently got a tascam DR-07 because it wasn't to expensive and small. Doesn't ahve XML but it is a good sounding and easy to use recorder.

subunit23
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by subunit23 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:57 am

I've got an Olympus LS-10. Quite cheap, no xlr but very good internal mics. Records in any format from mp3 128 to wav 24/96. I use it to record ambiences for tracks or specific sounds when I am outisde. Pre-amps can be a bit noisy in certain conditions but 90% of the time they're quite transparent. Also it feels very solid, very compact and looks a bit like a mobile phone so very easy to use discretely in public places. Very quick to switch on (about 5s from switched off to record), easy and straightforward interface and menus. I recommend. This is a recording I made with it in a glass bin http://bit.ly/gteRE

To the OP : your tracks are beautifull!

DaffyDub
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by DaffyDub » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:13 pm

More bass in the hihat
http://www.youtube.com/DAFFYDUBBY

first 124 posts as: Overdub

Hidden Driveways
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by Hidden Driveways » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:22 pm

Lots of threads on this:

http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php? ... +Recorders

http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php? ... +Recorders

http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php? ... rs#p917104

But I'll summarize them:

The Zoom H2 is still the cheapest - it feels cheap, but records good.

The Sony PCMD50 sounds the best in the $500 price range, but it's almost too sexy looking for its own good.

The Edirol R09HR has the best user interface.

Personally I would reather have the Edirol, but get which ever one you can get a good price on. They're all really similar to each other at the end of the day, except for the Marantz PMD660, which is a total pice of crap.

Tarekith
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by Tarekith » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:43 pm


ghostly
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by ghostly » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:36 pm

Willyum wrote:
littlepig wrote: I haven't used all the features like tuner, metronome usb audio.
Have you installed the Asio driver from them, could you give it a try for us with Live. Curious about the latency (i know it's system dependent) I would just like to know this thing would work.

Will the headphones get the audio from Live or only from the mics or audio in on device. Can you or anyone give a review on the usb audio card functionality of this device (I already know that audio recording from the mics work very well).

Any info would be appreciated.
I have used the H2 as an interface with Logic. Worked great. You hear the audio out from Logic through the headphones and quality is pretty good actually. Only problem is that you constantly hear the microphone input, only workaround is to turn the input volume to the lowest setting which works pretty well when mixing etc, but that is no good if you want to hear the wet signal fed back from the DAW.

Willyum
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by Willyum » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:55 pm

ghostly wrote:Only problem is that you constantly hear the microphone input, only workaround is to turn the input volume to the lowest setting which works pretty well when mixing etc, but that is no good if you want to hear the wet signal fed back from the DAW.
Thank you very much. I'm sure it will be fine for my work (day job) environment. Have you tried putting a dummy plug in the line in jack to cut off the mic, that works on most devices that use automatic circuit switching.

rsagevik
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Re: Compact units for field recordings

Post by rsagevik » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:52 pm

The Zoom recorders are pretty good. I use the H4 and it's great.
It can also be used as a 4 track and as a USB soundcard. Handy.
The only downside so far is it's size.. It could have been a bit
smaller. ..on the other hand, since I almost always have some sort
of bag with me size is not an issue really.

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