Re: Portable Sound Recording Devices

From: Marcy Saude (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Oct 16 2007 - 12:35:24 PDT

I have been saving my pennies for the Edirol R-09 (records 24 bit WAV or MP3, real small, (well-reviewed, USB 2 and all that- but with stereo mini mic inputs) but I may have to consider this Zoom H-4 dealy now!

If you want tape and don't care about sync, why not pick up a used Sony TCD-5 or early Marantz PMD cassete recorder? They're dirt cheap at this point, and were the standard for high-quality music bootlegs for quite awhile. Don't call it tape hiss, call it "analog warmth."

I'd be leery of trusting the archival dependibility of a format just because it's "tape" (learned my lesson the hard way with mini dv tapes- luckily the original footage was on film). Whether digital files or tapes, make multiple copies placed in more than one location, and resign yourself to semi-regular file/ format migration for as long as you'd like your stuff to last.

Good luck!



I use a Sony Hi-MD Walkman MZ-RH1. It is small, lightweight and
inexpensive. It can record 16-bit uncompressed audio for an hour (per
disc) and hooks directly up to my computer via USB. I use a Mac, so
the files appear on my desktop in WAV format, making them easy to use
with Final Cut Pro or Protools. If you use a PC, I believe they are
imported in a different format.

If you are concerned about having your media in more than just a file
format, you can use the disks once and store them, although I do not
know their shelf life; however, I doubt it is much worse than magnetic
tape. If money is an issue, you can simply treat the disk as though it
were a flash card, downloading to your computer and then deleting the
files off the disk. This is what I do. To the best of my knowledge,
minidisc is not like mini-DV and multiple uses are acceptable, though
I do not know the lifespan on a hi-md disc used in this fashion.

Problems: the MZ-RH1 doesn't supply phantom power. It's recording
options, such as recording level, are accessed through a menu (this
will probably be the case for anything small and cheap). 16-bit
uncompressed is great, but it ain't 24-bit uncompressed, which some
flash/hard-drive recorders are capable of. On-site file management
(naming, categorizing, etc.) isn't really an option.

4-tracks are great, but the ones I'm familiar with don't really meet
your qualifications of "light weight and easy to transport." Mine
needs to be plugged into the wall, rendering it pretty useless as a
field recorder.

Los Angeles

On 10/15/07, Ryan Marino <email suppressed> wrote:
> Thanks for all of the links and suggestions, I really appreciate the
> What I am ideally looking for is something that I can bring with me
 while I
> am out shooting with my bolex. Ultimately everything will end up on
> computer so I am looking for something that is somewhat easy to hook
 up to a
> computer and import. I mentioned having a preference to tape because
> thought of only having material on a disc or hard drive makes me
> Some one mentioned using primitive 4 tracks which I have used in the
> and have gotten good results from. The lofi aesthetic is something
 that does
> interest me, but I just don't want to feel limited when I feel like
> crisp sound and only being able to have sound with tape hiss in the
> background. I was considering buying a reporters tape recorder, a
 sort of
> high end cassette deck that is easy to carry around.
> A Nagra is pretty much out of the question.
> thanks
> -Ryan Marino
> Michael Wechsler <email suppressed> wrote:
> I know it's not tape based, but you may want to check out the Zoom
> recorder. Haven't used it personally, but from what I hear it's a
> pretty cool little gadget. Records lossless as WAV or compressed in
> MP3 to removable SD card up to 2GB (WAV records at up to 96kHz/24 bit
> and everything in between). Though it doesn't have AIFF recording
> support, that shouldn't really matter because both WAV and AIFF are
> lossless formats and a Mac can read both. The sound should be
> exactly the same aside from a few bits of data in the file header.
> Other cool features of the H4 are its two built in microphones in an
> X/Y crossed pattern to give you stereo recording, a USB interface and
> its ability to phantom power mics and serve as a USB audio interface
> on your computer. It's got two hybrid XLR-1/4" jacks and runs off
> two AA batteries. The product page
> products/productpage.cfm?prodID=1901 might give you some
> more info.
> Like I said, I haven't personally used this one, but an in-the-know
> acquaintance has tested it out and raved about the sound quality.
> On Oct 14, 2007, at 7:39 PM, Kristine Diekman wrote:
> > Hello:
> > I use the Marantz recorders with the flash drive. They work well,
> > but you can only set them to wav or mp3, no aiff. The other draw
> > back is that they only have xlr inputs, so if you are using a
> > stereo mic with dual phone jacks or a stereo mini, you need to
> > adapt. I also use a marantz which records to a CD. This is really
> > my favorite tool, but it is not portable even when it is a field
> > recorder. Takes both xlr and phone jacks. I take it into the field,
> > but I would not travel with it. Finally, I also have the smallest
> > and best tape based sony DAT recorder which I have had forever. It
> > sounds great, is very easy to use.
> > kd
> >
> > Kristine Diekman
> > Professor, Video
> > Art and Technology
> >
> >
> > 760-750-4188
> >

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