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Author Topic: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...  (Read 8626 times)

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Offline monkfish

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #45 on: December 09, 2014, 09:45:42 AM »
Without starting a separate thread I just want to add my thanks for all the great advice in this one. I'm a noob too - well, if you don't count Tull at Madison Square Garden in 1979 or Floyd at Nassau Coliseum in 1980 that I recorded on a mono cassette deck w/internal mic ... or the 17 Dead shows I taped in 1991 using a D6 with ECM-909 - Phil who? - and the heaviest/tallest stand in the section ... or a few Radiators shows including one at the Paradise in Boston where I happily learned of the concept of sbd patches. Anyway, this board is an amazing resource as I look to get (back) in the game and sort out options.

My first objective is to record my guitar-playing son in his ensemble at his high school Thursday night. I'm not going to be able to decide on and get external mics in time but am pretty close to pulling the trigger on a DR-40; the internal mics will suffice for this. I may or may not do stealth down the road so size isn't a huge consideration, but I do anticipate having use for the XLR/TRS combo inputs for field and home recording. My one noob question at this point - and from my research I think but am not sure I know the answer: Will I be able to plug an unbalanced output like a guitar into the TRS input, and if so what if any effects might there be? Or would I have to run it through a separate pre-amp?


Offline ScoobieKW

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #46 on: December 09, 2014, 10:44:42 AM »
My one noob question at this point - and from my research I think but am not sure I know the answer: Will I be able to plug an unbalanced output like a guitar into the TRS input, and if so what if any effects might there be? Or would I have to run it through a separate pre-amp?

To record guitar direct, you need to go from instrument level (high impedence unbalanced) to mic level (low impedence - balanced)
The tool for this is a direct box.

Cheapest direct boxes are around $20, ones with high quality transformers can set you back several hundred
The Whirlwind iMP 2 at $50 is a good, reliable choice.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/IMP2?adpos=1o2&creative=54989263441&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAiA2JqkBRDshIOY_9eMghkSJABvNd1QpP94trAyytZ4ibWQHIT_bnJwHWjbEBhVYwPbGQ8H8BoCU0Lw_wcB
Busman BSC1, AT853 (O,C),KAM i2 Chuck Mod (C), Nak 300 (C),
M10, UA-5, US-1800, Presonus Firepod

http://kennedy-williams.net/scoobiesnax/

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2014, 10:56:10 AM »
It has been reported that the Dr40 does not like unbalanced inputs.  https://mikeriversaudio.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/tascam_dr-40_review_mr_final.pdf


Have you looked at the DR 60D?  Two mic/line inputs plus 1/8 stereo input for $169.99 (no internal mics)?  Or looked at the DR100mkii now for $199 two channel, but card and omni mics built in plus XLRs with phantom power? 

I'd be surprised if any of them could handle a guitar direct in without a DI box which will come in handy anyway. 

Offline chinariderstl

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #48 on: December 09, 2014, 11:22:05 AM »
I have always coveted the Tascam DR-100mkII.  One of these days, I'll pick one up for no good reason. ;)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/832911-REG/Tascam_DR100MKII_DR_100mkII_Portable_Linear.html
Mics: Audio-Technica AT853's, Avantone CK-40 (Busman mod), Busman BSC1's, DPA 4022's, DPA 4060's
Pres: Apogee Mini-MP, Core Sound Battery Box
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Offline monkfish

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #49 on: December 09, 2014, 01:24:50 PM »
I think I'm leaning more toward handheld (though the 40 and 100 seem a little big to be crotched?) and thus away from the 60D form factor. Also, I could use internal mics (like this Thurs night), and at this point I don't have a DSLR, for which the 60D seems particularly well suited.

I've been going back and forth between the DR-40 and 100mkII. I note that the latter also has digital S/PDIF in and I see that is a big ask around here - is that used in the field somehow (patching?) or is it mainly for home recording out of a HT rig or something?

I kinda like the ability to do XY or AB on the DR-40 but the fixed mics are not a deal-breaker for the 100 as I'd be getting external mics before too long anyway. And I realize the DR-40 isn't truly 4-track so I'm not getting hung up on that, though I suppose there could be situations where it would be nice to be able to record room ambience along with a SBD feed. And dual recording functionality on the DR-40 seems like potentially helpful redundancy while the 100 doesn't have that, but I think I can live with the tradeoffs.

Decisions, decisions.

I see it's a matter of both learning the capabilities of different pieces of equipment and refining what my requirements  likely will be, at least for starters. I appreciate everyone's thoughts (including the DI info).


Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #50 on: December 09, 2014, 04:46:04 PM »
The digital s/pdif in allows you to record from a nice external preamp that sends that kind of signal. 

Tascam has managed to piece meal features among these recorders to the point that I get what you mean by decisions, decisions. 

I just brought up the 60d because it would allow you to record off the soundboard and also have two external mics for true 4 channel recording. 

The new Dr70d is more compact than the 60d, but with true 4 channel XLR recording capability for $299.

There are a couple of nice sets of mics in the yard sale right now (AT853's and Countryman B3s) at pretty good prices. 

Offline monkfish

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #51 on: December 09, 2014, 06:29:21 PM »
All things considered I wanted to stick to budget of ~$200 for the recorder - I also needed to buy a DI*, batteries and bigger SDHC - so the 70D was out.

After looking up direct comps and individual reviews, reviewing specs, etc I decided I definitely wanted ... a hybrid of the DR-40 and DR-100mkII :-\

I wound up pulling the trigger on the 40. In case this helps anyone else going through the same decision-making process, these were the main pros and cons I weighed for each, given my purposes:

- Biggest negative I came across with the 40 is that with a button instead of the 100's thumbwheel, input gain control changes apparently are audible on the recording when using the internal mics - though not if using externals, which I plan to go to before I pull anything serious, so I think I can live with that.

- lesser pres in the 40, but I'll mostly be recording loud music so I suspect that won't be much of an issue.

- 4-channel/ability to in effect record a matrix on the fly (the 40) was pretty appealing. Also, for any situations where I would be relying on the internal mics (like the night after tomorrow) I prefer being able to adjust their position (the 40).

- dual recording mode (40) sounds like nice redundancy.

- I'd prefer the rechargeable lithium-ion battery in the 100 & how it's hot-swappable with AAs, and 3 (not 2, not 4) AAs in the 40 seems, well, odd ... but I bought a 4-pack of 2550 mAh Eneloops with a charger so I'm pretty confident I'll always have exactly one more long-lived battery than I need ... I'll try those out with phantom power and then decide whether to spring for a battery pack too.

- I decided s/pdif was lower priority, as I'd likely only use it if I were recording from my HT. And not sure I'd ever use the 100's 1/8" TRS input.

- would the XLR/TRS combo connector on the 40 give me more flexibility for a board feed than the 100 with straight XLR? (A couple cables/adapters I wouldn't need to buy/carry?)

- things that didn't matter either way: Greater reliance on menus in the 40 vs buttons in the 100; the omnis as well as cards in the 100; and ability to independently control gain of the XLR inputs in the 40 - initially I was alarmed that that might not be possible, per numerous early reviews, but Tascam fixed that in a firmware upgrade a couple years ago.

If I screwed anything up here, go gentle on me ... and thanks again!


* btw B&H has the Whirlwind iMP2 for $40 vs $50 at Sweetwater




Offline acidjack

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #52 on: December 10, 2014, 11:41:06 AM »
All things considered I wanted to stick to budget of ~$200 for the recorder - I also needed to buy a DI*, batteries and bigger SDHC - so the 70D was out.

After looking up direct comps and individual reviews, reviewing specs, etc I decided I definitely wanted ... a hybrid of the DR-40 and DR-100mkII :-\

I wound up pulling the trigger on the 40. In case this helps anyone else going through the same decision-making process, these were the main pros and cons I weighed for each, given my purposes:

- Biggest negative I came across with the 40 is that with a button instead of the 100's thumbwheel, input gain control changes apparently are audible on the recording when using the internal mics - though not if using externals, which I plan to go to before I pull anything serious, so I think I can live with that.

- lesser pres in the 40, but I'll mostly be recording loud music so I suspect that won't be much of an issue.

- 4-channel/ability to in effect record a matrix on the fly (the 40) was pretty appealing. Also, for any situations where I would be relying on the internal mics (like the night after tomorrow) I prefer being able to adjust their position (the 40).

- dual recording mode (40) sounds like nice redundancy.

- I'd prefer the rechargeable lithium-ion battery in the 100 & how it's hot-swappable with AAs, and 3 (not 2, not 4) AAs in the 40 seems, well, odd ... but I bought a 4-pack of 2550 mAh Eneloops with a charger so I'm pretty confident I'll always have exactly one more long-lived battery than I need ... I'll try those out with phantom power and then decide whether to spring for a battery pack too.

- I decided s/pdif was lower priority, as I'd likely only use it if I were recording from my HT. And not sure I'd ever use the 100's 1/8" TRS input.

- would the XLR/TRS combo connector on the 40 give me more flexibility for a board feed than the 100 with straight XLR? (A couple cables/adapters I wouldn't need to buy/carry?)

- things that didn't matter either way: Greater reliance on menus in the 40 vs buttons in the 100; the omnis as well as cards in the 100; and ability to independently control gain of the XLR inputs in the 40 - initially I was alarmed that that might not be possible, per numerous early reviews, but Tascam fixed that in a firmware upgrade a couple years ago.

If I screwed anything up here, go gentle on me ... and thanks again!


* btw B&H has the Whirlwind iMP2 for $40 vs $50 at Sweetwater

I used the DR-40 for a while and I think it should be fine for your needs. I would NOT rather have the confusing and likely-to-fail battery system of the DR-100-- with Tascam, simpler is always better, despite that the company cannot ever really seem to do anything that way.

The only issue I ran into with the DR-40, besides Tascam's usual confusing menus and "features" that don't do anything, was that it seems to have a pretty high gain on the preamps-- you may well need that dual recording feature, or better yet, just get some inline attenuators to lower the signal going into the deck. music@naiant.com can set you up with a simple attenuator set of cables. 

The XLR/TRS combo inputs on the -40 are irrelevant to its flexibility for a board feed -- the issue is what goes INTO the board, not what comes out. For board feeds, get one pair of XLR cables, then get the following adapters:

RCA M>XLR M
1/4" M>XLR M

That will do you. Then you just carry one set of cables and those two short adapter cables. You can maybe get away with just buying cheap adapters, but I find there isn't much real estate on boards and those adapters can be too large to be inserted side-by-side.

I don't recall the DR-40 being "four channel" but maybe you can run internals + the analog inputs? 

Anyway, especially if you are using phantom-powered mics, the DR-40 is a low cost solution that should work.
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline monkfish

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #53 on: December 11, 2014, 01:31:10 AM »
Very helpful but now of course I have more questions, some of which I'm not even going to ask now as I really should be getting to bed ...

The only issue I ran into with the DR-40, besides Tascam's usual confusing menus and "features" that don't do anything, was that it seems to have a pretty high gain on the preamps-- you may well need that dual recording feature, or better yet, just get some inline attenuators to lower the signal going into the deck. music@naiant.com can set you up with a simple attenuator set of cables. 
I see those on his website. I'd think there'd be no way to attenuate the signal from the internal mics, right? (aside from falling back to dual record)

Quote
For board feeds, get one pair of XLR cables, then get the following adapters:

(snip)

Belatedly I've found and am wrapping my brain around this old thread with detail on sbd patches: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=14253.0 ... Seems attenuators would be prudent for a board feed, no? And Chris Church's point about polarity has me thinking about potential further implications for my matrix idea.

Quote
I don't recall the DR-40 being "four channel" but maybe you can run internals + the analog inputs?
Yep, that's my understanding.
 
Two other quick questions to which I'm not quickly finding answers in searching these forums:

As I've started assessing mic options I see setups like at http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=170879.0 that use phantom adapters. Since the DR-40 has phantom power built in, are those adapters necessary, or maybe at worst redundant; or would a mic system wired with phantom adapters not work with the DR-40's internal phantom power?

And now I'm finding a bunch of mini-mic setups that are 1/8" terminated (so much for my determination yesterday that I'd probably never have use for a 1/8" input ...). I see adapters like http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/item/SP-XLRM-MINI-2, 1/8 F > 2 XLR M. Any reason this would not work with the DR-40? In looking at darktrain's photo in the link in the previous paragraph am I correct that that 1/8" termination is TRS and thus a balanced output?

I appreciate everyone's patience with my noob questions ...

Offline acidjack

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #54 on: December 12, 2014, 08:36:32 AM »
^ nope, can't attenuate internal mics. And they may well overload -- internals aren't that useful for a lot of situations, hence the many recordings with internals on DIME that are badly overloaded. But I have recorded with them onstage once, and they did a fine job.

Are the mics you're buying plug-in power (9V) or phantom power?  If you need 9V then either:

1. Turn off the 48V phantom power from the deck and go mics>battery box>deck with a mini plug (F)>dual XLR (M) adapter.
2. Get a PFA that is mini plug (F)>dual XLR (M) and turn on the deck's 48V phantom power. I'd probably do this as it's one less box. PFAs can be obtained from music@naiant.com or others on here.

If your mics are 48V phantom power, then just plug them into the DR-40...

SBD attenuators - yeah, can't hurt. Generally if you're running SBD into line-level inputs (i.e., the inputs on your DR-40) it shouldn't be an issue.
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline monkfish

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #55 on: December 12, 2014, 09:29:52 AM »
All right, got it now - thanks again.

The DR-40 arrived yesterday and I used it last night to record performances by my son and classmates at their h.s. Good practice using the menus, setting levels etc. and recording a pretty wide dynamic range (though nothing remotely approaching arena rock SPLs). I'll get external mics but the internals did great for this, particularly when I was sitting at the edge of an ensemble of 17 or 18 doing "Linus and Lucy" in a small new room designed for great acoustics ... Really looking forward to getting into this.

Offline acidjack

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #56 on: December 12, 2014, 04:22:41 PM »
Those internal mics are not totally horrible when aimed properly. The bigger issue is with them overloading.

For example, here are two recordings of the same dude. One with Schoeps + Soundboard, one with Tascam DR-40 internals in front of him.  The DR-40 does OK.

http://www.nyctaper.com/2012/09/william-tyler-september-6-and-7-2012-hopscotch-festival-2-performances-flac-mp3-streaming/
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: New Guy, Some Broad Sweeping Questions...
« Reply #57 on: December 12, 2014, 04:25:09 PM »
^ Nice it worked out.  It's all about what you record, where it's played and where you are recording from.  Starting out something very versatile is the best approach unless you know you're always going to be in a specific situation that requires a more exotic approach.  Internal mics have a lot of limitations but some will do well in the circumstances they are best for. 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

 

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