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Author Topic: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment  (Read 1166 times)

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Offline heathen

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I'm pretty fascinated with the idea of a soundfield mic, and have been eyeballing the Core Sound TetraMic.  In the information on the Core Sound page they really emphasize having the levels consistent across all channels.  They mention that the Tascam DR-680mk2 and the Zoom F4/F8 can gang the channels to be adjusted by one knob.  I've seen Gutbucket's post about "modding" his recorder (can't remember the make/model off the top of my head) so that he can keep the levels consistent manually, but for purposes of this post I'm focusing just on the recorders that can do it internally.  Are there any others that can do this, besides the DR-680mk2 and the two Zoom recorders?
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Offline dogmusic

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2017, 06:03:08 PM »
I'm pretty fascinated with the idea of a soundfield mic, and have been eyeballing the Core Sound TetraMic.  In the information on the Core Sound page they really emphasize having the levels consistent across all channels.  They mention that the Tascam DR-680mk2 and the Zoom F4/F8 can gang the channels to be adjusted by one knob.  I've seen Gutbucket's post about "modding" his recorder (can't remember the make/model off the top of my head) so that he can keep the levels consistent manually, but for purposes of this post I'm focusing just on the recorders that can do it internally.  Are there any others that can do this, besides the DR-680mk2 and the two Zoom recorders?

I think the first DR-680mk1 got the ability to gang levels (as well as TRIM and PAN) in Firmware Update 1.20.
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Offline heathen

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2017, 06:14:20 PM »
I think the first DR-680mk1 got the ability to gang levels (as well as TRIM and PAN) in Firmware Update 1.20.

Good call: http://tascam.com/content/downloads/products/43/e_dr-680_add_va.pdf
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2017, 06:23:23 PM »
That was using the TetraMic into an R-44 (OCM), which was my only 4-channel recorder at the time.  The mod simply prevented accidental mis-adjustment, it did not gang the channels together.  They had to be set beforehand using a test tone and a meter, and if I had to change gain from that one setting I had to remember to re-do the process afterwards, measure the level difference between the test tones, and make inverse level adjustments to the files in an audio editor.   My recommendation is to not use an R44 or any other recorder in which you cannot match and link the gain controls!  It works and makes great recordings but is a major PITA.

Definitely use a recorder in which you can exactly match gains across all channels and gang them together to keep them that way as you make necessary level adjustments.  Tascam DR-680 (either version mk1 or 2) and Zoom F8 can do that.  Zoom F4 probably can too, I've not followed that one closely enough to confirm.  Their may be others.  Otherwise you'd need a audio interface that provides digital gain control and record to a laptop or other computer host.

I waited to buy a 680 mk1 until after the 1.20 firmware update specifically for this reason, and never again ran the TetraMic into the R44 after that.  I love that recorder, just not for recording ambisonic A-format (native mic output) in a live music situation.
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Offline heathen

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 10:53:12 PM »
Just for the sake of posterity, and in case anyone else comes along wondering about this, according to the Tascam site the DR-701D can gang multiple channels.

With how similar the 701D and 70D seem to be, it's frustrating that they haven't given the 70D this ability.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 09:20:13 AM »
I think some of the SoundDevices machines can do it as well.  I've not used them and don't know the details without looking.
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Offline Life In Rewind

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 09:30:59 AM »
Just for the sake of posterity, and in case anyone else comes along wondering about this, according to the Tascam site the DR-701D can gang multiple channels.

With how similar the 701D and 70D seem to be, it's frustrating that they haven't given the 70D this ability.

On the DR-70D - I was wondering if some "primitive ganging" could be achieved with small rubber band stretched across the two knobs that you want to "gang" - probably not the most accurate - but given the way levels increment - it might be close enough!

I just can't lay my hands on the right rubber band at the moment!
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Offline heathen

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 09:42:11 AM »
For the DR-70D, one would probably need to do the method Gutbucket talked about above with his R44.
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Offline dallman

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 12:05:02 PM »
FWIW, the Tascam DR 701d does allow for the ganging of the channels. It is similar in profile to the DR 70d, but I like the OS much better and having both decks I think (if affordable) the DR 701 d is worth the extra $.
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Offline heathen

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 12:25:16 PM »
The problem I see with the 701D is that for the same money one can get the 680mkII and the 680mkII looks to be a better unit (on paper, at least).
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Offline voltronic

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 03:13:36 PM »
Just for the sake of posterity, and in case anyone else comes along wondering about this, according to the Tascam site the DR-701D can gang multiple channels.

With how similar the 701D and 70D seem to be, it's frustrating that they haven't given the 70D this ability.

On the DR-70D - I was wondering if some "primitive ganging" could be achieved with small rubber band stretched across the two knobs that you want to "gang" - probably not the most accurate - but given the way levels increment - it might be close enough!

I just can't lay my hands on the right rubber band at the moment!

Lately I set to LOW gain range and then turn all of the pots all the way up.  Of course, I'm probably recording quieter music than lots of other people here, but that's one way to do it.  You just can't adjust the volume then... :facepalm:
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Offline dallman

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2017, 03:33:13 PM »
The problem I see with the 701D is that for the same money one can get the 680mkII and the 680mkII looks to be a better unit (on paper, at least).
I totally agree, as I have both units, but the DR701D is much smaller, so that if and when that is a factor, the 701d is a better choice. They do have similar sound and similar operating systems. If I am running 2 pairs of mics, I'll grab the DR701d, but if I am running 3 pairs of mics which is often my choice (one Cardioid, one Hypercardioid and one Omni) then the DR680mkii is my choice although that could be supplanted by the MixPre 6. Of course these are good problems to have...
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Offline heathen

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2017, 03:37:49 PM »
that could be supplanted by the MixPre 6.

I cannot understand why the MixPre6 allows ganging of pairs of channels, but not four channels together. 
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2017, 03:41:27 PM »
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Lately I set to LOW gain range and then turn all of the pots all the way up.  Of course, I'm probably recording quieter music than lots of other people here, but that's one way to do it.  You just can't adjust the volume then... :facepalm:

^That's basically the R-44 issue.  Works without problems after doing the pre-gig calibration until you need to re-adjust input gain.

A secondary work around I used with the R-44 but never analyzed fully was to only re-adjust input gain using the detented gain knobs, leaving the non-detented trims untouched.  This was one of the primary purposes of the mod - to make it more difficult to accidentally touch a trim knob while still leaving the detented level knobs adjutable.  Unfortunately I never got around to measuring to explore that fully.  The unanswered question was how closely the detent values track each other from channel to channel.  If the level change from each detent position to the next is exactly the same across all four channels, readjusting the detented level controls only after the trims had been calibrated and locked-down would be no problem.  However, if they vary significantly from channel to channel a second set of calibration tones would need to be recorded afterwards with the gains at whatever position was used, before the gain is readjusted again.
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Offline morst

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Re: Recorders with 4 or more channels that can "gang" level adjustment
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2017, 05:46:28 AM »
Lately I set to LOW gain range and then turn all of the pots all the way up.  Of course, I'm probably recording quieter music than lots of other people here, but that's one way to do it.  You just can't adjust the volume then... :facepalm:

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If I run my -20dB mic pads, this works great on typical medium-loud rock.

Should work fine with any ambisonic rig which has either low levels, mic pads, or in quiet situations.

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