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Author Topic: Portable digital audio recorders for non-stealth event recording?  (Read 1402 times)

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Offline Hemlock

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[Cross posted at other forums... thought I'd get opinions here too.]

Hi all,

I am planning on taping a series of "life story" interviews with my grandmother for distribution to the family. These do not need to be broadcast quality, but I would like them to be "better than home movie" quality. Given the desired quality, I decided it's time to upgrade my old Hi8 camcorder to something much better. I am also hoping to use my new equipment to record activities (plays, field trips, etc.) from my daughter's second grade class in the upcoming school year and distribute them to the parents.

I haven't figured out a firm budget number yet, but I expect it to be between $2000-3000 for all my hardware. My camera decision has come down to the PDX10 or the GL2. That would leave me $700-1100 left for purchasing all of my audio equipment.

I had originally planned on running audio into the camera's mic plug, but I can easily envision situations where I would want more than two mics and I would not be able to run a mixer while doing camera work. (Nor do I have the skill to correctly do a live mix.) I eventually came around to the idea of using a separate audio recorder to record additional channels and mixing them in post. After hunting around on the web, I found the Marantz CDR300 (~$650) and the Fostex MR-8 (~$300). Price-wise, the Fostex is very appealing, but it includes features that I'm not really interested in. (On board mix downs, effects, etc.) Are there any other solutions that would work within my budget? Portablility and digital recording are very important. Four channels would be nice, as would phantom power. I have even considered purchasing a couple small Minidisc recorders and using them, but...?

Any input is appreciated.


I've noticed the JB3 is popular among users here, but I'm less interested in stealth recording than in being able to use a variety of mics and capturing clean audio.

Offline ChitownTaper

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Re: Portable digital audio recorders for non-stealth event recording?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2004, 12:58:56 PM »
I'll preface this by saying that everyone has their favorites and I know this, I like the sony consumer cameras but think the prosumers lack a bit when compared to others.

With that said... I would go with the canon between those two choices.  I've heard and had problems myself with the focus on the sony's but those  could be isolated instances.  I like the quality on the Canon cameras (i used an XL1 and GL1 for a concert shoot this weekend).  You could save yourself some considerable cash by going with a GL1 instead of the GL2.  You can find them used with low hours for around $1000.  I've used both and haven't found that the GL2 is worth the extra cost (in my opinion).  Especially if you're only using it for this one project (albiet an important project).  And if you go with the GL1 it would allow you to pick up one of the new Panasonic 3ccd cams and you could do 2 camera angles instead of just one, for the same price as the GL2.

As far as the audio goes have you considered picking up two used DAT decks?  You can buy phantom power boxes relatively cheap at local music stores and get DAT decks for $200-$300 used (the Sony D7 and D8).  It'll give you four inputs (2 channels on each deck), plus it has the stability of the DAT medium and you can record 3 hrs without having to switch anything (a big plus when you're trying to focus on getting solid video).

That's my two cents.  Drop me an email if you have more questions (, bc i dont' get back to the forum that often.


Offline whereRu

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Re: Portable digital audio recorders for non-stealth event recording?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2004, 01:22:50 AM »
I have a GL2 and am continually amazed with it's amazing performance.  I have shot with it in Peru, Costa Rica, skate board video, concerts, and this weekend, flying a private (small) plane.  I use a Sennheiser MKe300 mic.  Shortly after I bought it they came out with another MKE-300, maybe MKE-300 D which has extra circuitry specifically for digital camcorders.  It is a mono mic so I fill the right channel in post.  Sound is amazing.  Picture is FLAWLESS.  I agree with previous poster, you would be just as happy with the GL1.  One thing I DON'T like about my GL2 is how easy it is to accidentaly bump exposure and sound level settings without knowing it.


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