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Gear / Technical Help => Recording Gear => Topic started by: 1Cylinder on September 08, 2011, 01:56:40 PM

Title: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: 1Cylinder on September 08, 2011, 01:56:40 PM
Hi,

I'm in the market for a 2-channel portable recorder and having difficulty navigating the myriad of available gear. I used to tape shows w/ my DA-P1 DAT deck & I'm good w/ mics, pre & a/d --- just need assistance w/ the digital recorder. I was hoping a few of youse guys could point me in the right direction if I provided some of the features I'm looking for? Budget for the recorder peaks around $1K & hoping to find a unit w/ these features:

1. s/pdif  input.
2. compatible w/ after market (outboard) battery pack(s)
3. compatible w/ after market memory cards, sticks (or whatever they're called) for extended recording time.not
3. able to record at 24/96 for at least 120 minutes - prolly determined by #2 & #3?
4. reliable & user-friendly.  i want to capture shows, not take on an IT project  :-)

Again, just need a 2-channel unit that can accept an s/pdif feed. Not concerned w/ the unit's a/d section, or phantom power for mics.

Thanks!


Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: jlykos on September 09, 2011, 03:30:45 AM
Sony PCM-D50.  Has an optical S/PDIF input, which is something that most small handheld recorders don't have.  A/D sounds really good in it as well if you don't feel like using an outboard box.  You need to use the Sony memory cards, but they are only like $15 more than SD cards.  Throw a 16GB card in there and you have 16 hours of continuous recording at 24/96.  Also runs for like 12 hours on 4 AA batteries so you don't even need an external battery pack.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: John Willett on September 09, 2011, 04:34:27 AM
The original Fostex FR-2 is also a good unit - though the digital input is AES3 rather than S-PDIF - but you can plug an S-PDIF signal into AES3 OK.

Though, with a $1k budget, I would seriously consider extending it and going for the Sound Devices 702 - especially if you are in the USA where they are much cheaper.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: SmokinJoe on September 09, 2011, 07:58:35 AM
We frequently refer to your requirement as a "bit bucket".  All the processing is done upstream, you just need something to catch the bits.  Below are some models all under $1k.

These are models with a good reputation for reliability.   If you are buying new, 661 is probably the one to go with.  The others are fine if you can get a good deal on a used one, but I probably wouldn't buy one new.
- Marantz PMD661 (newer, compact), takes SD cards.
- Marantz PMD671 (larger model, a few years old), takes CF cards
- Tascam HD-P2, takes CF cards

The Edirol R44 will do 4 tracks, and the Tascam 680 will do 8.  You may not care about that now, but many people like the ability to do AUD + SBD mixes at home afterward, and you would be ready if you want to do that later.

There are some M-Audio Multitrack and MT2 models.  Attractively priced, but some people have had reliability issues, I'll leave it at that.

2 hours of 24/96 won't quite fit on a 4gb card.  You need an 8gb card, and those are readily available.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: H₂O on September 09, 2011, 09:17:19 AM
Tascam HD-P2's show up on ebay about 1 every 2 weeks and sell at anywhere from $350-450 used depending on what's included and condition.

There are one out there right now.

One just sold for $378 in Mint with bag, box, and all original accessories except the strap.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: twatts (that "Pants" thing is so lame...) on September 09, 2011, 09:44:04 AM
I have a P2...  I love it...

Terry
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: H₂O on September 09, 2011, 01:09:24 PM
IMO you should buy a used D50 or P2. 

D50's go from anywhere between $300 and 400 used
P2's go from anywhere between about $350 and $450 used

D50 has optical in, unbalanced input on 1/8" jack, very small, 44.1,48,96 Sample Rates
P2 has COAX in/out, wordclock, balanced input on XLR for analog, supports 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 Khz Sample Rates, same size as a DA-P1
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: F.O.Bean on September 09, 2011, 11:39:57 PM
I would get a Sony D-50 and be done with it. It can handle an OPTICAL INPUT, and is small and compact. Also, gets better battery times than most handheld bit buckets :)

If you dont mind about size, I would save up an extra $200 or so and get a Sound Devices 702 ;) I owned a 722 and LOVED IT, but I have gotten small handheld recorders in the past year, and HAVE NOT looked back about my old 722. I LOVE having such a small and compact, yet POWERFUL setup I now have :) So its really up to you. Do you want a full-sized deck like the 702, or do you want something compact and easy to use ??? :)
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: 1Cylinder on September 10, 2011, 12:25:33 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I'd go with the D50 in a second, but I'm not too keen on its digi-input being optical. I anticipate using an outboard a/d for all my taping and most of the high end units don't have an optical output. In addition, the connectors on optical cables seem so fragile. I fear the cable would come loose or one of the ends would break if I was running my gear in a tight space - FOB, stealth, etc.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: DigiGal on September 10, 2011, 01:18:42 PM
For a little over half your budget the Marantz PMD661 is a solid unit which has coaxial digital input, it's compact and also has p48 mic/line inputs with durable xlr connectors.  It will run on external battery takes SDHC cards.  The unit is about the same physical size/price as a D50 but with better features imho.

If you want to spend more on a 2 track there is Marantz PMD671 or a Sound Devices 702 both could be found within your budget.  Also within budget is the Tascam HD-P2.  These units are all larger with similar form factors.

However, I'll second the forward thinking logic of a 4 track like Roland R44 though since it is within your budget.  You'll be able to make SBD/Mic matrix recordings or run 2 sets of mics.  It also has 4 p48 mic/line inputs with xlr connectors. Has coaxial digital input and will run on a reverse polarity external battery.

Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: Fried Chicken Boy on September 10, 2011, 09:24:55 PM
^^ I'm with DigiGal on this.  For 2-track recording, the Marantz PMD661 fits your requirements pretty much to a "T". 
For 4-track, the Edirol R-44 has you covered.  I've had one for nearly three years and haven't had a hiccup with it; rock solid.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: ArchivalAudio on September 12, 2011, 12:04:53 PM
If you are looking for  a multi track the Tascam DR-680 is the way to go.

When consulting with Busman, about the R-44 vs DR680 he confirmed that the stock out of the box pres in the 680 are very nice (cleaner than the R44's). Though he does mod them to make them cleaner, he advised me to wait until I had the cash for the 680. also mentioned that there can often be some B-Stock units available for less.

--Ian
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: Fried Chicken Boy on September 12, 2011, 05:45:35 PM
The Tascam DR-680 is a solid multi-track recorder that is capable of excellent pulls.  However, the primary thing that has me push the R-44 over the DR-680 is the number of people that have had issues with getting the 680's S/PDIF input to work correctly.  As the OP's first listed criteria for the deck is the reliable digi input, I think it's something to take into consideration.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: acidjack on September 12, 2011, 06:18:10 PM
The Tascam DR-680 is a solid multi-track recorder that is capable of excellent pulls.  However, the primary thing that has me push the R-44 over the DR-680 is the number of people that have had issues with getting the 680's S/PDIF input to work correctly.  As the OP's first listed criteria for the deck is the reliable digi input, I think it's something to take into consideration.

FTFY  ;)  The 680 is a nice tool, but if my first criterion was "reliable", I would describe a deck that has as many published reports on here of problems as this thing has as pretty much being the opposite of that.  :P  Not to mention that I don't find it terribly "user friendly" to use compared to the simpler Edirol and Marantz designs.  It's the best choice if you need up to 8 channels (assuming the S/PDIF works, which on ours, it finally does).  If you only want stereo, as the OP suggests, it makes no sense.

For stereo with coax digi-in I don't know why you wouldn't go with the 661.  And yes, if I were going to spend more dough after that, I'd get the Sound Devices 702 in a heartbeat.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: F.O.Bean on September 12, 2011, 06:49:21 PM
^^ I'm with DigiGal on this.  For 2-track recording, the Marantz PMD661 fits your requirements pretty much to a "T". 
For 4-track, the Edirol R-44 has you covered.  I've had one for nearly three years and haven't had a hiccup with it; rock solid.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: sunjan on September 13, 2011, 07:11:23 AM
... the number of people that have had issues with getting the 680's S/PDIF input to work correctly.

The issue that affects both 680 and D50 is that legacy gear like the UA-5 doesn't output a compatible signal. This means you need to do your homework first, to see whether your A/D is compatible or not. Let us know what gear you intend to feed the recorder with, and we can tell you what's a good match.

The 702 sells for $1,875 new, I don't think I've ever seen if for $1k used.
If you want to save some cash, you can get one of the older models used cheaper (671, HD-P2, FR-2), but if you have $1k to spend, the 661 is smaller and lighter while still being solid and reliable. I'd say get a 661 and be done with it.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: jbell on September 13, 2011, 06:32:22 PM
The D50 has an optical in/out also!!  I don't think alot of folks realize that.  I used to feed a buddy the out for his H120.  The D50 would pair nicely with a opti V3 or SD USBpre2 and you can find them used for around $350.   You could do a Sound devices USBpre2>D50 for around $1k

IMO you should buy a used D50 or P2. 

D50's go from anywhere between $300 and 400 used
P2's go from anywhere between about $350 and $450 used

D50 has optical in, unbalanced input on 1/8" jack, very small, 44.1,48,96 Sample Rates
P2 has COAX in/out, wordclock, balanced input on XLR for analog, supports 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 Khz Sample Rates, same size as a DA-P1
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: adrianf74 on September 13, 2011, 09:02:06 PM
FTFY  ;)  The 680 is a nice tool, but if my first criterion was "reliable", I would describe a deck that has as many published reports on here of problems as this thing has as pretty much being the opposite of that.  :P  Not to mention that I don't find it terribly "user friendly" to use compared to the simpler Edirol and Marantz designs.  It's the best choice if you need up to 8 channels (assuming the S/PDIF works, which on ours, it finally does).  If you only want stereo, as the OP suggests, it makes no sense.

It's funny but a good friend of mine uses the 680 and has had ZERO problems with it so I don't get the bashing.  It's quite useful if you need to pull an audience and board capture at the same time.  Makes for easy matrix work as well since the samples used in both files will be identical (just a matter of finding the first "beat" and then you're done).

If the OP doesn't care about multi-channel/track, then the D50 would be a good starting point. 
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: 1Cylinder on September 14, 2011, 01:41:04 PM

Looks like the Marantz PMD661 is just what the doctor ordered.  Thanks to all for their suggestions!!!   :)
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: Gutbucket on September 14, 2011, 02:55:55 PM
Wise choice.
Title: Re: Former taper seeks advice on hi-rez recorders
Post by: F.O.Bean on September 14, 2011, 06:21:32 PM
Wise choice.