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Advice on a portable recorder
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Advice on a portable recorder
tony d
I am looking for opinions on portable recorders for around or under $300.
I plan to use it for recording my music from a mixer so i don't really care of the quality of, or if any mics are on board.
Obviously i would like to find something capable of a good quality but i know i am limited by how much i can spend.
Thanks for any info you guys can give me.

Tony
tIB
Hello tony, I was looking at this a while back on another forum and the zoom H2 came up as great for the price. I was looking at the H4 initially but it turns out the H2 has the same engine.

I never ended up getting one as my mate came over here and bought me a soundcard with him but I can provide a link if you want to check out what people said if you like.

http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h2/
tIB
Sent you the links via PM as they were on another forum...
deastman
In that price range, the Zoom H4N is the most popular recorder. I had the original H4, and while it was functional, there were a lot of things about it which bothered me. I recently traded up to the H4N, and they really did an excellent job correcting all the shortcomings in the original. Given the price range, I really can't think of a single complaint.
hpsounds
+1 for the Zoom H4N in this price range.
Babaluma
i haven't played with one, but have researched around a bit, and i too would go with the zoom h4n.
tony d
Cool. I will look into the h4n then. Thanks.
sascha.victoria
In pretty much every price bracket for those things your essentially getting the same product with a different shell. Just buy the one that has the most popular in sales from Sweetwater or something and be done with it.
tony d
Do you guys feel that you get a good recording off your mixer with these ?
The reason i am interested in possibly purchasing a portable recorder is because the only reason i turn my computer on anymore is to either record music or check this forum out. i have also been having some jam sessions w/ 2 friends and want to use it to record these sessions and possibly have material we could release.
I guess the big question is am i gonna get a recording i feel good about ? or should i save and get something higher end?
timmah
sascha.victoria wrote:
In pretty much every price bracket for those things your essentially getting the same product with a different shell. Just buy the one that has the most popular in sales from Sweetwater or something and be done with it.


dunno, i tried a few out when i bought mine and there were definite differences in quality from the inbuilt microphones.
I went with a marantz PMD 620. this was last year when zoom had the h2 and h4 though.
tIB
tony d wrote:
Do you guys feel that you get a good recording off your mixer with these ?
The reason i am interested in possibly purchasing a portable recorder is because the only reason i turn my computer on anymore is to either record music or check this forum out. i have also been having some jam sessions w/ 2 friends and want to use it to record these sessions and possibly have material we could release.
I guess the big question is am i gonna get a recording i feel good about ? or should i save and get something higher end?


Id expect to get the same quality as one of the cheaper 'high end' soundcards... I ended up with this (http://www.alesis.com/io2) and a netbook, to be honest I wouldnt expect the quality from either zoom recorder to be any worse than that (not that the alesis is high end pro gear anyway). Technically they should be better, with both being capable of 24/96 recording and the alesis 24/48.

If youre looking at the H4n the preamps could be a blessing or a curse depending on the quality. Ive heard live sets recorded from a mixer into a H2 and didnt notice anything bad about audio quality, so Id guess anything made would be useable, if not audiophile quality (whatever that is).

I dont like having a computer near my gear unless Im recording... I ended up with a netbook/soundcard as I needed something for browsing in daily life. I settle for what I have at the minute so ultimately I guess whether you feel good about your recording depends on your standards.

As a shameless plug you could always check out some audio here: http://soundcloud.com/tib
All of which was recorded onto the soundcard I mentioned through a cheap yamaha mixer. Definately ignore the first track though as its a mess (purposefully mind!). The zooms should get you similar quality if not better.
loudone
just got a zoom r16, it is awesome! 400 dollors but 8 tracks/ 16 , 8 inputs all xlr/14. And uses SD cards. NO harddrive to break!
It is so simple, and light, small as a laptop closed up.
check it out.
Even can be used to as a controler and as a usb card reader, Wil send tracks from zoom to comput6er in a snap and the drag into ur daw to finish.
deastman
Unless you're approaching the H4N from a serious audiophile perspective, I think you'll be very happy with it. Again, there are MUCH more expensive recorders on the market, and you should be expecting $300 worth of preamps and A/D converters. That said, 24/96 recording on the H4N sounds pretty good to my ears. They did make major improvements to the built in mics over those in the original H4, but also remember that you can always plug in a couple of external mics if you want.
tIB
^ never seen that before, looks good... what are the dsp effects like and the sound quality overall.

I was looking for a new mixer next year but this and my current mixer might give me all I need...
tony d
Thanks deastman. I am not an audiophile and am not using high end gear(alesis/firewire mixer or mackie vlz) in front of my recordings, i am just wanting something that will give me a playback of what i hear when i am recording. I have read some reviews of people getting clipping very easily when using the line in (which is all i will use this for) Do you experience this ever ? or maybe a case of user error ?
I have used minidisc in the past and have been happy with it if that gives you a perspective of what my expectation level is. Again i know with $300.00 i'm not gonna be blown away by the quality but i am going to be disapointed if i don't get the quality of recording i do with my computer.
Sounds like i should see what my local music stores return policy is and just check one out myself.
Thanks for the advice from everyone so far !
Tony
tIB
^ If you get the levels set up right you wont get clipping (based on what Ive heard and not from experience tho)
tony d
So in case anyone is researching the same thing, i picked the zoom h4n up today and i am happy with it.The recordings sound very clear and doing a/b tests sound exactly as to what i am hearing out of my mixer.
It is very easy to use and the build quality feels good.
I haven't used the mics yet so i can't comment on those.
Also, the inputs do seem to be very sensitive regardless of if you adjust the internal record level it is still very easy to clip the signal so i have to keep all my levels on my mixer alot lower than what i am used to, which is actually probably a good thing for me because now the signal is bouncing between -6 and -3 rather than pegged at +6.
All and all i am happy and think this is exactly what i was looking for.
Thanks for everyone's comments.
Tony
deastman
Clipping should never be a problem if you record 24 bit audio. I haven't done any actual noise floor testing, but I've been keeping my RMS around -18db and then adjust the final level in post when converting to 16 bit, and there is no noticeable hiss. No chance of clipping that way, and plenty of data bandwidth for normalizing.
Morley
Edirol R09HR
Great little unit
tj
zoom h4n thumbs up
tony d
deastman wrote:
Clipping should never be a problem if you record 24 bit audio. I haven't done any actual noise floor testing, but I've been keeping my RMS around -18db and then adjust the final level in post when converting to 16 bit, and there is no noticeable hiss. No chance of clipping that way, and plenty of data bandwidth for normalizing.


That all makes sense.The thing is i have to keep my mixer levels lower than usual or else the input lights start blinking (visual indication of clipping)
Were are you usually keeping your main mix out level ?
Right now mine is at no more than -10 before clipping occurs.
deastman
I normalize my whole signal chain as usual, ending up at the H4N normalized to -18dB. Your mixer should be set to the appropriate level for unity gain, and set the H4N input level lower as needed.
b3nsf
these in ear binaurals are really great and my minidisc recorder works well with them also...for a lightweight solution... i recommend them highly!

http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/item/SP-TFB-2



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