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01-28-2012, 06:08 PM #1
Paging SystemOverBlow'ed and Tippster: Audio Recording devices opinions solicited
So I'm going to be recording an interview this week.
I've used the H4N a couple of times when I was last doing production, and I know everyone swears by it but I thought it was a POS. With the condenser lav I had, it just sucked. Way too quiet. It was easy to use but didn't feel like it was particularly well made or anything. Was I just spoiled by not using anything crappier?
Anyway, I really have no need for four track recording or any desire to spend $300.
If I get one of the cheaper Tascam's, am I going to walk away feeling like I wasted $100?
I haven't used a Tascam since the original one of these bad boys in the good old days:
Thanks for any help while I search for previous threads so I can quickly delete this before my audio Jongness is revealed.....I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record
01-29-2012, 01:00 PM #2Corporate Lackey
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
- A parking garage at 8000 feet
It would REALLY suck to set up to shoot a panel of 3 people and say sorry but I can only mic you one at a time. I don't shoot weddings but groom/bride/priest/crowd seems like EXACTLY the place you want a 4 channel recorder (or maybe two).
01-29-2012, 01:22 PM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- Seattle, WA
I've had a lot of experience with the Zooms (H4, H2 and H4n) and I finally just jumped ship to a Tascam.
The main reasons were the pre-amps can be noisy on the H4n and, more importantly, I started to get audio drift on long interviews with the Zoom. It makes syncing to my 7D footage next to impossible without lots of editing. I have yet to experience this with the Tascam. So far, so good.
None of these units is pro-level the way a fancy Sound Devices or other recorder would be. But if you monitor using real headphones (not ear buds) you can usually dial in the sound and get the levels right. It's weird that you couldn't dial in the lav mic on the Zoom H4n. I've had no real problems with the Zooms on that front. A bigger issue is the short battery life these things all have when they're running phantom power.
The two track you linked to will be fine if it's just a 1:1 interview and you want to place the device near the subject or overhead, like a boom mic. It'll be better than the camera audio (if we're talking DSLRs here). There's also the 200 dollar Tascam D-40, which looks interesting though has some limitations compared to the next model up (300 bucks).
I'm really curious to try out the Olympus LS-100 when it streets next month (supposedly). That's $400 but looks like it may be the ticket to decent audio for less than $500.
01-29-2012, 01:32 PM #4
Blaming the recorder for poor sound before blaming the mic?
Was your condenser lav plugged into the 1/8" or the XLR? If it was plugged into the 1/8" it wasn't powered and therefor you were using the built in mics on the H4n. Phantom only goes through the XLRs. I know it sounds obvious but I had a friend using the machine wrong for months wondering why it sounded like crap.
Also, just straight up the H4n won't sound very good. You need to go inside the effects and mess around for each person you interview and for the room tone.
Listen to the audio this guy gets out of using the built in condenser microphones.
PS... if you are using any other lav besides a sennheiser it was your mics fault and not the recorder.
01-29-2012, 01:37 PM #5
And also, the Zoom is the LOWEST I would go. Sound Devices is what you should be using, but the H4n is for budget users. It should only be used when there is no other options. But it is the absolute best option for the money, hands down.
01-29-2012, 06:20 PM #6
01-29-2012, 06:47 PM #7
Thanks for getting back to this.
Audio drift would kill me, I'm pretty shit at almost all of this stuff and don't want to have to fuck around trying to get shit to sync as much as possible.
I agree this isn't pro equipment at all, but this is still a huge market for people making little docs to throw up on vimeo, etc. In a certain way it's all pretty expensive and limited compared to a $500 ipad.
looking forward to checking out the video after I hit reply, hope to learn some more.
Thanks for all the help today, I'll let you know if this thing sucks or whatever. Sure it's nothing one of these things couldn't fix:
B+H is going to have to change their return policy, though.....I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record
01-30-2012, 12:05 PM #8
Sony\\\'s ECM-77B lavs seem to be the industry standard for TV ENG production. We do use Sennheiser MKE102 Lavs in the studio, but they are too finicky in the field. Sennheiser's K-6 phantom power module (on most wired Lavs) also seems to put out -40dB instead of -50 like most other microphones, which might explain the level discrepancy you experienced.
I don't use record decks so cannot comment on those - everything I shoot gets recorded in-camera, either directly from the Mic or through a Shure FP33 mixer.
In general you should never use the 1/4" or (shudder) 1/8" jacks if you have XLRs available - not because of phantom power or the lack thereof (shit - easy enough to install a AA battery in the mic) but because the audio is "balanced": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio
01-30-2012, 12:10 PM #9
Yeah those Sony's are pretty decent. I'd still use a sennheiser though
01-30-2012, 04:37 PM #10
01-30-2012, 04:39 PM #11
PS OP, if you're not monitoring through Sony MDR7506's you're doing it wrong
01-30-2012, 08:07 PM #12
My apple earbuds arent good? But there white!.....I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record
01-31-2012, 12:58 PM #13
01-31-2012, 01:12 PM #14
01-31-2012, 02:01 PM #15Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
Speaking of headphones, I was stuck outside during a big SWAT thing at my apartment complex today, and was shooting the shit with a bunch of the ENG crews and photogs. One team was rocking this little JVC cam, and they'd ziptied one cup from a pair of headphones to the handle so that it'd be right at the ear when looking through the VF. Probably nothing new but I'd never seen it before.
02-10-2012, 09:59 PM #16
Just wanted to update the hive about this audio device. My shoot got cancelled, but I decided to fuck around with the Tascam before returning it.
The line out / headphone jack has one output setting which is pretty damn loud. Definitely an odd choice by Tascam to cheap out there rather than using additional software or a knob to monitor.
Then the amount of menus for everything else is pretty infuriating. It's well laid out enough but fuck me. Menu, scroll, select, scroll, select, scroll, select for anything you need to change. fuck that.
Lastly, i was using a line in today and the shit wasn't working. checked it on my mac and it worked fine. so fuck me. there's still no solution for $200 or under with xlr's...
And we're so close to having the perfect software driven device on an ipad that $200 seems like a waste of dough for a substandard audio recorder. I just expect these things to get a lot cheaper over the next year although the DR-40 is pretty close otherwise......I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record
02-15-2012, 10:24 AM #17
02-15-2012, 03:09 PM #18
The interview didn't go as well as I hoped, but I got a few shots that I liked.
.....I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record