Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

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Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby IraSeigel » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:36 pm

I'm thinking of trying to record WITHOUT my laptop. Too many issues with interfaces, cables and audio glitches. I've looked on the KVR forum for some advice, but the responses there are 3 and 4 years old.

Is there a BEST small digital recorder out there? I know of Tascam, Sony, Zoom and Edirol. I'm looking for at least 4 inputs - 2 built-in mics and 2 XLR (for console feeds or additional mics).

I can't afford the Sound Devices, but I'm up for just about anything else.

Something that could record up to 8 tracks simultaneously would also be a contender.

Thanks.
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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby shmick » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:58 pm

I haven't used the H4n, but I've used other Zoom recorders and have been quite pleased, so I'll throw a vote in the ring for the Zoom H4n

http://www.amazon.com/Zoom-Handy-Portab ... B001QWBM62
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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby gdougherty » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:40 am

+1 for the Zoom units with XLR inputs. Edirol typically is a lower end unit. Can't go wrong with Tascam in my book and they've got all kinds of options. I'd probably favor a Tascam or Roland over a Zoom.

I used a Sound Devices 788T to record a local choir and wow is that thing awesome. Of course for $7K it better be.
http://softwareaudioconsole.wikidot.com The start of a wiki. It's slow going and there's a ton of info that should be in there yet.
Biggest item is the Command Reference on how to do most actions within SAC. It's 90% of what you need for UI proficiency.

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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby BrentEvans » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:37 am

Take a look at the Tascam DP-24. 8 tracks to SD card. It's a little larger than a handheld, and no built-in mics. I've not had that one specifically, but an earlier model in the series, and it sounded great and was easy to use.
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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby IraSeigel » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:37 am

Thanks.
I've used other people's Zooms many times, and they seem to be pretty easy to use. I've never heard any of the recordings, tho :) .

I've had other Tascam gear in the past, and it's always been pretty reliable, and I would say "pro" quality.

Brent, the DP-24 looks a little too big for my purposes.
What do you think of this one http://tascam.com/product/dr-680/
or this one http://tascam.com/product/dr-100mkii/??

(I know I originally asked about units with built-in mics, but now I'm not sure I'd use them all that much for my purposes)

George, that Sound Devices unit that you mentioned is the one I saw in use last week, and that's what got me thinking about recording on a dedicated machine rather than on a laptop. Pretty nice unit, huh? I'll get one as soon as I win the lottery....

Thanks everyone for your ideas.
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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby RBIngraham » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:15 am

If you look on some of the film sound forums or groups the order of preference, leaving out the "big boy" toys is Sony, Zoom and then edirol or tascam. The tascams ussually get low mark in mic pre quality. Personally I have used just about every Zoom model, at least the handheld stuff, I would go with the H4n. I have the H2 myself and like it quite a bit, but only with the built in mics. I will try to dig up an old like where some guys record a choir with an h2 and two other fairly expensive mic/recorder combinations, costing many times the price. Pretty impresive results actually.
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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby IraSeigel » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:26 am

I've only seen a couple of handheld Sonys.
The one in their Pro Audio line is the PCM M10 http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/cat-audio/cat-recorders/product-PCMM10%2FB/
The one in their consumer line is the more expensive PCM D50 http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665760564#features

Neither of these have XLR inputs.

Can you give me any info on other Sony units?

I've heard great things about the sound of the above handhelds, but unfortunately they don't have the features I need, i.e., XLR inputs and ability to record 4 tracks simultaneously

thanks.
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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby BrentEvans » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:01 pm

IraSeigel wrote:What do you think of this one http://tascam.com/product/dr-680/
or this one http://tascam.com/product/dr-100mkii/??


No experience with either, but the 680 looks pretty nice.

FTR, I've had no problems with Tascam pres on the device I owned, or on other tascam products i've used. They're not boutique pres, but certainly no worse than any other entry-level ones.
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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby gdougherty » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:43 pm

IraSeigel wrote:George, that Sound Devices unit that you mentioned is the one I saw in use last week, and that's what got me thinking about recording on a dedicated machine rather than on a laptop. Pretty nice unit, huh? I'll get one as soon as I win the lottery....

Yeah, recorded to internal solid state as well as external USB HD and I think it could have managed another storage device for another level of backup. Controlled and monitored the recording from the free app on my iPhone as well. Really slick stuff.
http://softwareaudioconsole.wikidot.com The start of a wiki. It's slow going and there's a ton of info that should be in there yet.
Biggest item is the Command Reference on how to do most actions within SAC. It's 90% of what you need for UI proficiency.

g is for George
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Re: Best Handheld (or Portable) Digital Recorder?

Postby IraSeigel » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:58 pm

As difficult as it is ( ;) ), I'm admitting to myself that I REALLY don't need the top-of-the-line 2-ch unit from Sound Devices (the 702). My end goal is to make decent archival, off-the-console live recordings that will be handed to the artist after a show or mailed to their management office. After thinking though the project, I realize I really DON'T want to wind up with a 4-channel recording, because I just don't have the time - and I'm not being paid - to do any remixing or post mixing.

I was close to deciding on the Tascam DR-100 http://tascam.com/product/dr-100mkii/ when I came across these, neither of which I've seen a mention of here. In fact, I hardly ever think of this company.

http://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/FR-2.shtml
http://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/FR-2LE.shtml

Has anyone here worked with these or similar, or have any opinions about them?
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