Digital recorders

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Sue
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Digital recorders

Postby Sue » Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:57 am

Hi all,

Mike and I are thinking of upgrading from our current minidisc to a digital recorder. We only really use it for recording live music performances ( with permission of course ) having looked around, I think the choices are between the Zoom H2, (best price around £130) Zoom H4 ( about £180) and Edirol R09. (£250 - which probably rules it out anyway)

I've read various reviews, but wondered if any of you any first hand experience / advice regarding these devices. We currently use a good quality external mic with our minidisc, but if these are good enough we perhaps wouldn't need to with these ? It needs to cope with live bands and record at a high volume level without distorting.

The zoom H4 is also a 4 track, and has many other functions, but I can't imagine we would ever use them - is it's recording performance likely to be better than the H2 ? Is it worth us paying extra for it even though we won't use the other functions?
Any thoughts guys ??

Thanks
Sue

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Bob Wilson
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Postby Bob Wilson » Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:59 pm

Hi Sue
Have a look at the KORG PXR4 Digital Recording Studio. Its a great little recorder which has built in effects if you want to play into it.
Best wishes
Bob

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Postby amgard » Mon Dec 03, 2007 9:28 pm

I'd agree that the Korg PXR4 is a great machine, but I would probably consider the newer Korg D4 as it uses compact flash cards rather than the smart-media, which have a lower 'ceiling' of capacity. (not really relevant, but I've been using a Korg D16 for years, and I'm very happy with it.)

The consensus of the Zoom H4 over the H2 (at the soundonsound forums) is that unless you need the extra tracks then it doesn't offer any real advantages.

Another one you might like to consider :
M-Audio MICROTRACK II - at about £225
http://www.dv247.com/invt/46157/

btw dv247.com are doing a nice deal at the mo' on the edirol r09
http://www.dv247.com/invt/45223/

hth

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Postby Sue » Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:05 pm

M-Audio MICROTRACK II


Two friends have had the Microtrack 1, both had problems with the battery dying. It wasn't user removable / replaceable and you had to return the machine for an expensive replacement - the battery was only guaranteed for 6 months too, so both have got rid of it although they thought it was good when it worked. I wonder if this has been rectified in the new model?

I'm still debating, and will further invetigate your suggestions, but I think the H2 is slightly in the lead at the moment - partly because of the price -considering the limited amount of use it will get I can't justify spending too much unless the next models up are dramatically better quality wise.

Thanks for your help - any more thoughts on the subject appreciated.
Sue

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Postby peterl » Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:43 pm

I am so naive I didn't know these things existed. :?
Having looked at the H2 and H4, I would personally go for the H4 as it seems more versatile and has more functions than the H2, but then it's more expensive. But you always get what you pay for in my experience. :lol:

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Postby Hobo » Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:05 pm

Hi Sue,

I have no direct experience of these recorders, but having read the reviews, I would suggest the Zoom H2 is more than capable of delivering the level of performance you require. The lower price and greater portability, also count hugely in it's favour.

Best regards,

Mick

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Postby amgard » Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:06 am

Sue wrote:
M-Audio MICROTRACK II


Two friends have had the Microtrack 1, both had problems with the battery dying. It wasn't user removable / replaceable and you had to return the machine for an expensive replacement - the battery was only guaranteed for 6 months too, so both have got rid of it although they thought it was good when it worked.


I hadn't heard that. It's always good to hear of others personal experiences, as I was considering this unit myself. Thanks for your comments.

Allan

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Postby Sue » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:35 am

Thanks for all your suggestions everyone. Since neither Mike or I are musicians the multi track side of things would not be used.

I really need a bit more free time ( whats that ??? ) to compare and understand all the specs and come to a final conclusion.

The new M Audio would be very tempting if I knew they had sorted the battery problem. Ok there are advantages and disadvantages to having a rechargeable battery built in - good for keeping down running costs but if it packs up you are in trouble and not always convenient as it needs mains / USB to charge.

Against that of course you have the cost of keep buying AA batteries for the H2, but at least you can replace them when needed - for example occasionally I need the thing to work for a longer period without access to mains. Still keep coming back to H2 as the best compromise for us - not as big as the H4 either.

I'll let you know what we decide and how we get on with the eventual winner,
thanks again,
Sue

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Postby TimH » Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:15 pm

Hi Sue,
I have recently acquired the Zoom H4 and I have to say I am very impressed with it. I haven't tried to record a band in full swing but it does a very good job with acoustic guitar and vocals and it's pretty straightforward to use (always a big plus in my opinion!). Never tried it but I would guess the H2 would have similarly good sound recording although it uses different microphones I believe. Can't imagine you'd need multi-track for recording ambient sound of a concert so suspect H2 would be sufficient for the job.

Let us know how you get on!
All the best,
Timx

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Postby amgard » Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:46 pm

The new sony PCM D50 is the (somewhat expensive) dog's botox ;)
It hasn't been released in the UK yet but is list-priced at $599 in the US - I bet it's more than £300 when it gets here though :(

mind you - it's the replacement for the D1 which is priced at £1500 ish

(it's $499 at musiciansfriend - translates to £242 !! if you have any state-side friends or relatives)



http://bssc.sel.sony.com/BroadcastandBusiness/DisplayModel?m=0&p=10&sp=83&id=90227

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Postby Hobo » Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:25 pm

Sue wrote:Thanks for all your suggestions everyone. Since neither Mike or I are musicians the multi track side of things would not be used.

I really need a bit more free time ( whats that ??? ) to compare and understand all the specs and come to a final conclusion.

The new M Audio would be very tempting if I knew they had sorted the battery problem. Ok there are advantages and disadvantages to having a rechargeable battery built in - good for keeping down running costs but if it packs up you are in trouble and not always convenient as it needs mains / USB to charge.

Against that of course you have the cost of keep buying AA batteries for the H2, but at least you can replace them when needed - for example occasionally I need the thing to work for a longer period without access to mains. Still keep coming back to H2 as the best compromise for us - not as big as the H4 either.

I'll let you know what we decide and how we get on with the eventual winner,
thanks again,
Sue


Sue,

Ref. the AA batteries, I believe you can use rechargeable ones, which would help keep the costs down.

Regards,

Mick

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Russ Gannicott
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Postby Russ Gannicott » Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:02 pm

Hi Sue,
I'd have to ask, why do you believe that changing from minidisc to 'digital' would be a positive step? I still love to use MD for any two track recording I do, and think in many ways it's far superior to 'jack of all trades' digital recorders. You will find that you have less headroom with digi recorders and will need to either carry a pocket size stereo compressor (behringer do one for about £35.00) or be prepared to record at a far lower gain level than you are used to. Whilst the main difference between MD and other formats is the storage medium, there is something about the way MD writes to disc that seems to give greater headroom before clipping - a sort of built in compresssion, which makes it ideal for catching all the energy of a live recording.
Good luck,
Russ

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Postby Sue » Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:46 pm

Hi Russ,
thanks, this is exactly why I asked for advice from the "anoraks" you all know far more about the technical side of this than I do.

It's more a case of needing to replace the MD rather than wanting to, as it is starting to play up and we thought that digital would be the next step. Its proving almost impossible to buy discs where we live, although I'm sure I'd get them online. To be honest, I haven't really investigated what is out there in the way of current MD machines ( but will now do so ! )Probably safer to keep a MD than rely on copying to hard disc / cd backups.

A friend has recently bought the H2, but has only used it once so far - I asked him about it yesterday, he said the recording was very quiet and thought he maybe needed to play with the settings. He said it toppled over, but thought that was down to the little tripod, but he liked the fact that it was easy to be sure it was recording. This is part of our problem - our current MD display is not backlit, and half the time you can't see what its doing when you are in a venue. It seems to either not start recording properly or switch its self off again once started.

So, we've still not decided........ :oops:
Sue

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Russ Gannicott
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Postby Russ Gannicott » Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:00 pm

From my point of view Sue, I can see no application where I would want my recorder to be in the same place I'd want my mics! As most gigs are mono not stereo, I'll use one channel to mic up the performance and the other to mic the audience for ambience etc. Then I'll re-mix and ballance the two tracks adding some stereo expansion to give 'width' to the recording. If you want a 'straight out the can' recording then use two directional mics off-axis ie at 90 degrees to each other (pointing INWARDS) about three feet apart just below ceiling level or a fott or so above head height.
Cheers,
Russ

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Postby Sue » Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:40 pm

Hi Russ,

excellent advice for serious recordings and in ideal conditions.... I'm after more of a "point and shoot" setup as far as this goes. Turn it on and forget it ! :shock: ....then get back to taking photos....

Sue


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