Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
dick nixon
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by dick nixon » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:32 pm

I have a Sony M10 and love it. Sounds great, solid, batteries seem to last forever, easy to use.

mattadms
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by mattadms » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:21 pm

Olympus LS-5 .. almost the same quality as LS-10 but a few bux cheaper if that matters :)

polymer
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by polymer » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:27 am

Good site I found has a run down of all the field recorders
Still makes it hard to decide which is best though

http://www.wingfieldaudio.com/portable- ... ml#samples

gp23
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by gp23 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:47 am

I can recommend the Zoom H1. It is very cheap and the recording quality is excellent for its price. You will need a windscreen if you want to use its internal mics though (probably true of most recorders). I use mine with some binaural mics I built myself and the results are, at least to me, really very good indeed. Other advantages are that it can run for at least 8 hours on just one AA battery, and operation is quick and simple - all controls are on the body and not hidden in menus. I didn't bother with the over-priced accessory pack. I found a camera case that fit it and you can pick up windscreens cheaply or use an external mic.

I had a Yamaha Pocketrak 2G last year and it was totally useless (data interference on the audio signal), so don't bother with that. I can't speak for the newer models, but I would personally steer clear based on my experience.

hoffman2k
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by hoffman2k » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:49 am

Three notes about the Zoom H1 (and I'm not sure this goes for all units):

1) This thing eats batteries. Don't plan on making long uninterrupted recordings on a single AA. You'll need the USB power for that.

2) The cover for the battery is little loose. I have to use some tape to prevent rattling sounds or take the cover off.

3) It has a hole to mount it, but since its plastic you have to be super careful. Probably better off super-gluing a bolt to it.

That all said, its a great little recorder. But I don't think it'll live long.

andydes
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by andydes » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:11 pm

mattadms wrote:Olympus LS-5 .. almost the same quality as LS-10 but a few bux cheaper if that matters :)
Done some rearch into this. Apparently it's actually the same as the LS-11 but without the case, remote, cubase LE. None of which I need. Well, a case might be nice.

And it's quite a few bux cheaper. £165 vs £229

I think we have a winner.

Thanks everyone for the input.

machine+1
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by machine+1 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:15 pm

andydes wrote:I’m looking mainly for sound design in techno and similar electronic music. So more likely to be street scenes, industrial sounds, hitting random objects with sticks, pub brawls, animal attacks, etc. rather than trying to capture instrument performances.

It’s hard to say how I’ll be using these sounds at the moment, but I assume they’ll be mangled heavily with effects, slicing, etc.

Given that this is the case, having the best fidelity is probably not the issue. You're not trying to archive bird calls in the wild. Portability seems far more important for your application, so think small & hassle free. The best recorder is the one you have with you, to borrow a quote about cameras.

Regarding 90 degree stereo mic patterns (xy style recording), such as those built into the LS 5 and others--
This is a good and simple technique for recording stereo ambiences and scenes that are happening all around you ("street scenes", "pub brawls"). However, when close recording specific effects, you may run into the following problem: The two mics are directional, meaning one picks up sound from the left direction, the other from the right. Let's say you want to closely record the sound of "hitting random objects with sticks". If you point the whole unit at the sound source what you end up with is two channels of the sound, both almost identical, and off axis on both mics. Directional mics tend to sound worse off axis (indeed they are designed to). Since there's probably not much stereo image (unless you're also in an echo chamber or something) my advice is to point one of the mics directly at the source, on axis, and either throw out the other channel, or mix it in later as "ambience".

A more versatile technique is M/S recording, but that's really beyond the scope of what you need here.

Good luck!

Clearscreen
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by Clearscreen » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:01 am

I've got a Sony d50 that's GREAT for getting really clean recordings but for just grabbing random sounds get fire iPhone app - for the money it's as good as any of the cheap handhelds and if you're like me and pretty much always have your iPhone handy it' s one less thing to carry...
Hp Elitebook 2.8Ghz. Live 7.0.14 & Live 8.1.5, XP Pro. and stuff...

chrk
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by chrk » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:19 am

andydes wrote:
mattadms wrote:Olympus LS-5 .. almost the same quality as LS-10 but a few bux cheaper if that matters :)
Done some rearch into this. Apparently it's actually the same as the LS-11 but without the case, remote, cubase LE.
Minus 6GB of internal memory: (2 vs. 8), but the rest of the specs read the same, and both handle SD(HC)-cards up to 32GB.

Roy.G.Biv
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by Roy.G.Biv » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:26 pm

Hidden Driveways wrote:I own the Edirol R-09HR, the Zoom H4n, and the Zoom Q3. Of those I like the Edirol R-09HR the best.

If I were to buy a new portable digital recorder today, I'd get a Sony PCM-M10. It sounds good, has a good layout, and the battery life is the best in the industry:

http://www.wingfieldaudio.com/portable- ... -life.html

http://www.wingfieldaudio.com/portable- ... ml#samples
+1 on this. Wingfield's audio reviews are awesome. From personal experience, the H1, the R09HR, and the PCMD1 are the three best in their class. Obviously there's a big price spread.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/R09HR/ -- good video on the R09HR here

gp23
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by gp23 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:04 pm

hoffman2k wrote:Three notes about the Zoom H1 (and I'm not sure this goes for all units):

1) This thing eats batteries. Don't plan on making long uninterrupted recordings on a single AA. You'll need the USB power for that.

2) The cover for the battery is little loose. I have to use some tape to prevent rattling sounds or take the cover off.

3) It has a hole to mount it, but since its plastic you have to be super careful. Probably better off super-gluing a bolt to it.

That all said, its a great little recorder. But I don't think it'll live long.
Some older H1 units have a defect which causes the battery to drain very quickly even when switched off. I had one of the faulty ones and Zoom replaced it with a new one. Since then I've found the battery life to be fine. Sounds like you might have one of the defective units.

No problem with the battery cover on mine. The cover for the Micro SD slot is flimsy, but that's not something that necessarily needs to be accessed often.

Fair point about the plastic mounting hole, but it is not something I use personally. I think the one thing that bothers me most about the H1 is how exposed the mics are on it.

hoffman2k
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by hoffman2k » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:01 pm

gp23 wrote:
hoffman2k wrote:Three notes about the Zoom H1 (and I'm not sure this goes for all units):

1) This thing eats batteries. Don't plan on making long uninterrupted recordings on a single AA. You'll need the USB power for that.

2) The cover for the battery is little loose. I have to use some tape to prevent rattling sounds or take the cover off.

3) It has a hole to mount it, but since its plastic you have to be super careful. Probably better off super-gluing a bolt to it.

That all said, its a great little recorder. But I don't think it'll live long.
Some older H1 units have a defect which causes the battery to drain very quickly even when switched off. I had one of the faulty ones and Zoom replaced it with a new one. Since then I've found the battery life to be fine. Sounds like you might have one of the defective units.

No problem with the battery cover on mine. The cover for the Micro SD slot is flimsy, but that's not something that necessarily needs to be accessed often.

Fair point about the plastic mounting hole, but it is not something I use personally. I think the one thing that bothers me most about the H1 is how exposed the mics are on it.
Cheers. I'll look into getting a replacement. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

condra
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Re: Any suggestions for Field Recorders?

Post by condra » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:11 pm

The sound quality from the Zoom H1 is great but the housing is very light and "creaky", so handheld recordings can suffer from lots of spikey bits unless you hold the device very carefully or mount it on a stand or whatever.

I love my H1, but if I was to do it again, I would spend extra and get a H2/h4.

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