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Author Topic: Handheld (stealthy) 4&6 track recorders with 'safety' tracks to avoid distortion  (Read 1314 times)

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Offline EricM

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Hi Members,

I just have a quick question.  I have read that the Tascam DR-40 is able to record 2 stereo pairs simultaneously (a four track recorder).  It's able to record a pair at the levels you set and a 2nd 'safety track'.  The 2nd safety track records at -6dB to -12dB your chosen levels.  It's a safety guard in case you have your levels wrong.

I notice that the Roland R-26 is a 6 track recorder and can record 3 simultaneous stereo pairs.  I'm unsure as whether the R-26 has this safety track feature.

Can any members please tell me other stealthy handheld recorders with these sorts of clipping safety features?


Thanks in advance.

Offline fandelive

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I think the Tascam DR-40 backup track will be recorded using the internal mics. That means you won't be able to use 2 pairs of external mics.
Might be the same with the Roland R-26 as it has two pair of internal mics (omnis + cards caps).

User manuals can be easily found online, so that's a point you want to check.

If you want to record loud music, I won't trust built-in mics in general because I don't think they are able to handle high SPLs so you'll get distortion anyway.
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Offline daspyknows

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The DR2D can run the safety tracks with external mics I believe.  Only time I've used the extra tracks is to run an iem feed with the mics running in line level.  Running a second track with internals as a backup is not really a backup imho.  I generally don't bother using the safety track since with my DR2D and NBox if I set levels at 100 I am generally running -4db to -6db.

Online rhinowing

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The DR2D can run the safety tracks with external mics I believe

correct -- send one pair to mic in and the other to line and turn on "DUAL" mode. the recorder will show levels for one input in the left channel meter and the other in the right
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Offline EricM

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Awesome info. Thanks guys. I was looking for something to give me a safety margin with my levels. Preferably with external mics and the DR2D fits the bill.

Offline daspyknows

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Offline EricM

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^ Thanks for the link. It seems pretty good to me for that price.

Offline jagraham

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The DR2D can run the safety tracks with external mics I believe.  Only time I've used the extra tracks is to run an iem feed with the mics running in line level.  Running a second track with internals as a backup is not really a backup imho.  I generally don't bother using the safety track since with my DR2D and NBox if I set levels at 100 I am generally running -4db to -6db.

It can run the safety tracks for sure, I've never tried it though. I've contemplated running them and using CA-14s > STC-9200(+30db) instead of CA-14s > STC-9200(+15db) which is my go to gain level. My concern about that is that the extra gain might be an overload to the recorder, even if it doesn't peak. I would like to achieve -4 to -6db, but I'm usually a little lower. I've heard Church and others on here say +30db is ideal with a line in, but I've seen it brickwall at that gain.

Regarding your Nbox > DR-2d(with LineIn and MicIn = 100), which mics are you using and how much gain with the box?

Also, a backup recording with the internals usually won't have good sound. I've tried it a few times. However, a couple times I was very close to the stage and ran the internals as backup and it didn't come out bad at all. Back in the crowd, in a packed room larger than a few hundred, it won't turn out good.
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Offline Gutbucket

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The DUAL modes available on the DR2d are:

DUAL_MIX, records a mix of the line and mic inputs (or line-in and internal mics) to a single file.
DUAL_LINE, records line and mic inputs (or line-in and internal mics) to separate files.
DUAL_LEVEL, records a single input (line-in, mic-in, or internal mics) to two files, with the second recorded at a lower level (you specify how much lower in the DUAL menu)

DUAL_LEVEL is the one you are interested in.

I typically only use the DR2d in DUAL_LINE mode, and have never used the DUAL MIX or LEVEL modes.
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Offline EricM

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Thanks for your detailed explanation Gutbucket. It is very helpful to me.

Offline Gutbucket

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The DR-40 has a peak reduction feature which the DR-2d does not, which might actually be more appropriate for you than dual level recording.  It automatically reduces input level when an overload occurs, then maintains that level until manually adjusted or until a subsequent overload occurs.  Doing same as what a taper would do manually if they had started out with the levels set a bit too high.  It should allow you to set your levels where you think they should be, without worrying about them.

Here's what the Tascam DR-40 web page states about it:

Peak reduction function that detects peaks and automatically sets the optimal level-
The peak reduction function automatically lowers the level when a peak sound is detected and continues recording. The level can be set automatically according to the sound source, so it is easy for anyone to set the optimal level. The "DR-40" has a total of three different input signal level adjustment functions including a peak reduction function.


The other input signal level adjustment functions are auto level (don't use that one!, it will constantly adjust input level), and a limiter.  It's unclear how the limiter and peak reduction work in combination.  Assuming peak reduction does what it says, I'd probably just use that and not engage the limiter.

DR-40 can also do the same DUAL_LEVEL thing as the DR-2d when recording from either the internal mics or the XLR inputs.  Unlike the DR2d It does not have a mic-in jack which overrides the internal microphones, so it cannot record 4 channels of external input (can't do the DUAL_LINE thing).  So you can also record a safety track with the DR-40 if you like, but don't really need to if using the peak reduction feature.

I've never used a DR-40 so I can't say how well this actually works.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 09:26:59 AM by Gutbucket »
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