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Author Topic: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4  (Read 7077 times)

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Offline BayTaynt3d

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Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« on: September 29, 2006, 03:50:06 PM »

I've got a question for anyone in the TS community that has experience using or listening to R4-based sources...

I've been averaging 1-2 recording per week since I got heavily into taping (audio) about a year ago. I've been through a bunch of different gear in that time period (immediate gear slut, which I guess comes with the territory, in fact just bought a pair of 481's a couple of days ago, whoo hoo!), and last night I was critically listening to the original sources of many of my AUD's (excluding the many, many matrixes I've made, excluding anything that was stealthed, and listening only to the ORIGINAL source, not the "produced" final versions). I found myself in awe of a couple of recordings that I made with my original C4 > BM2+ UA5 when compared to some of the others.

Now I know that the C4 are pretty low-end (but I know own 481s!!!), nor was the UA5 a V3 or something, so take this as all relative of course. I also know that these two recordings were made close-in on acoustic sets in somewhat ideal rooms, so that is obviously playing a role. I also know that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my R4, the two extra channels have made such a difference in so many recordings I have made (mostly small acoustic with no PA, so being able to spot mic a piano that was low in the mix has worked wonders on many occasion) and the ease of matrixing at the venue and ability to mix the matrix in post has been just AWESOME. But that said, I just got the feeling that when I used the same C4 mics, the R4 sources, before being "touched up," sounded a little flat when compared to the BM2+ UA5 sources.

This is something I guess I never really noticed until now. I'm wondering if it had more to do with the different situations (ideal recording setups) than the preamps, but I'm not so sure. So, I guess I'm asking what other people think about the R4 in this regard. There can be no mistaking how nice it is to have 4 channels, and the matrixing potential, and for those two reasons, I don't see myself giving it up anytime soon, but I'm a little more concerned about the quality now than I was before -- but maybe that is misguided? It always seems to work out great after a little post work, but it got me wondering...

Thoughts?
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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2006, 04:03:04 PM »
I know precisely what you're talking about.  I feel like I've lost a bit of the sonic characteristics I like in moving from the Oade Transparent-PLUS UA5 to the Oade Transparent R-4, namely transient detail.  Tough to say because I don't have the T+ UA5 for direct comps, but overall I found the T+ UA5 had better transient detail, i.e. was "faster" sounding.  That said, I'm loving the ability to run 4-ch.  Given the fact that I'm not in a position to move to my ideal 4-ch setup (V3 > MT2496 + 722), it's a compromise with which I'm happy, so far.

Based on what I've heard of the Busman UA5 mods (not a lot, but a few), and if you're running a stock R-4 (or even a Busman mod), then I'm not at all surprised you're feeling the way you do, as it mirrors my experience.

Have you had a chance to use the R-4 in ideal circumstances similar to those in which you made the C4 > BM2+ UA5 recordings?  Perhaps the R-4 will shine in similar circumstances, as well.
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Offline poorlyconditioned

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2006, 04:05:28 PM »

I've got a question for anyone in the TS community that has experience using or listening to R4-based sources...

I've been averaging 1-2 recording per week since I got heavily into taping (audio) about a year ago. I've been through a bunch of different gear in that time period (immediate gear slut, which I guess comes with the territory, in fact just bought a pair of 481's a couple of days ago, whoo hoo!), and last night I was critically listening to the original sources of many of my AUD's (excluding the many, many matrixes I've made, excluding anything that was stealthed, and listening only to the ORIGINAL source, not the "produced" final versions). I found myself in awe of a couple of recordings that I made with my original C4 > BM2+ UA5 when compared to some of the others.

Now I know that the C4 are pretty low-end (but I know own 481s!!!), nor was the UA5 a V3 or something, so take this as all relative of course. I also know that these two recordings were made close-in on acoustic sets in somewhat ideal rooms, so that is obviously playing a role. I also know that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my R4, the two extra channels have made such a difference in so many recordings I have made (mostly small acoustic with no PA, so being able to spot mic a piano that was low in the mix has worked wonders on many occasion) and the ease of matrixing at the venue and ability to mix the matrix in post has been just AWESOME. But that said, I just got the feeling that when I used the same C4 mics, the R4 sources, before being "touched up," sounded a little flat when compared to the BM2+ UA5 sources.

This is something I guess I never really noticed until now. I'm wondering if it had more to do with the different situations (ideal recording setups) than the preamps, but I'm not so sure. So, I guess I'm asking what other people think about the R4 in this regard. There can be no mistaking how nice it is to have 4 channels, and the matrixing potential, and for those two reasons, I don't see myself giving it up anytime soon, but I'm a little more concerned about the quality now than I was before -- but maybe that is misguided? It always seems to work out great after a little post work, but it got me wondering...

Thoughts?

I have not tried the BM UA5, but I do notice that different pres/mics have different "flavors".  I would describe the stock R4 as "warm" and some other stuff, like my Presonus Firebox as more "transparent".  So, depending on what mods BM does to the UA5, you could be hearing that difference.  There are also certain combinations that work best.  For example, most people think that AKG mics go best with a "warmer" pre.  But I think this is a matter of personal test more than anything else.

My view, however, is that 90% of the sound flavor comes from the mic placement, the room, and the sound tech.  The only way to start comparing mics/pres is to either run them side-by-side, or be *very* familiar with the venue.  So, I would just keep experimenting for now.  For example, try running a second set of mics, like the C4, side by side with the AKG and see how different they sound.

Have fun...

  Richard
Mics: Sennheiser MKE2002 (dummy head), Studio Projects C4, AT825 (unmodded), AT822 franken mic (x2), AT853(hc,c,sc,o), Senn. MKE2, Senn MKE40, Shure MX183/5, CA Cards, homebrew Panasonic and Transsound capsules.
Pre/ADC: Presonus Firepod & Firebox, DMIC20(x2), UA5(poorly-modded, AD8620+AD8512opamps), VX440
Recorders: Edirol R4, R09, IBM X24 laptop, NJB3(x2), HiMD(x2), MD(1).
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Offline BayTaynt3d

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2006, 04:20:03 PM »
I know precisely what you're talking about.  I feel like I've lost a bit of the sonic characteristics I like in moving from the Oade Transparent-PLUS UA5 to the Oade Transparent R-4, namely transient detail.  Tough to say because I don't have the T+ UA5 for direct comps, but overall I found the T+ UA5 had better transient detail, i.e. was "faster" sounding.  That said, I'm loving the ability to run 4-ch.  Given the fact that I'm not in a position to move to my ideal 4-ch setup (V3 > MT2496 + 722), it's a compromise with which I'm happy, so far.

Based on what I've heard of the Busman UA5 mods (not a lot, but a few), and if you're running a stock R-4 (or even a Busman mod), then I'm not at all surprised you're feeling the way you do, as it mirrors my experience.

Have you had a chance to use the R-4 in ideal circumstances similar to those in which you made the C4 > BM2+ UA5 recordings?  Perhaps the R-4 will shine in similar circumstances, as well.

I think you nailed my perceptions EXACTLY: "faster and more detailed."

Thing is, <ducking>after mastering my recordings with a little EQ, compression, and the likes,</ducking> I usually end up with something I really enjoy and so do the musicians. So, it's not something I'm too worried about. And like I said the pros associated with two more channels have often made a HUGE difference for me. But I was a little shocked when I listened to all of the original, untouched sources again -- in fact, I was wishing I still owned that UA5 as it wasn't THAT expensive. But, I do realize that conditions in those two particular recordings were absolutety perfect. I might be able to go back to the one place and tape the same set of guys with the C4 (although it'll be tempting to use the 481s) > R4 sometime, so maybe I'll do that for comparison.

Poorly, you selling that firepod anytime soon? (that's the 8-channel right?)

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Offline BayTaynt3d

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2006, 04:22:53 PM »
One more thing for Brian...

So your "ideal" is V3 > 744. Forgive my ignorance, but let me make sure I understand that. So if running 4 mics, you go 2 straight into the 744 which provides phantom and pres, then run the other 2 into the V3 and then into the extra two line-ins on the 744? Is that how that would work?
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Offline poorlyconditioned

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2006, 04:32:38 PM »
I know precisely what you're talking about.  I feel like I've lost a bit of the sonic characteristics I like in moving from the Oade Transparent-PLUS UA5 to the Oade Transparent R-4, namely transient detail.  Tough to say because I don't have the T+ UA5 for direct comps, but overall I found the T+ UA5 had better transient detail, i.e. was "faster" sounding.  That said, I'm loving the ability to run 4-ch.  Given the fact that I'm not in a position to move to my ideal 4-ch setup (V3 > MT2496 + 722), it's a compromise with which I'm happy, so far.

Based on what I've heard of the Busman UA5 mods (not a lot, but a few), and if you're running a stock R-4 (or even a Busman mod), then I'm not at all surprised you're feeling the way you do, as it mirrors my experience.

Have you had a chance to use the R-4 in ideal circumstances similar to those in which you made the C4 > BM2+ UA5 recordings?  Perhaps the R-4 will shine in similar circumstances, as well.

I think you nailed my perceptions EXACTLY: "faster and more detailed."

Thing is, <ducking>after mastering my recordings with a little EQ, compression, and the likes,</ducking> I usually end up with something I really enjoy and so do the musicians. So, it's not something I'm too worried about. And like I said the pros associated with two more channels have often made a HUGE difference for me. But I was a little shocked when I listened to all of the original, untouched sources again -- in fact, I was wishing I still owned that UA5 as it wasn't THAT expensive. But, I do realize that conditions in those two particular recordings were absolutety perfect. I might be able to go back to the one place and tape the same set of guys with the C4 (although it'll be tempting to use the 481s) > R4 sometime, so maybe I'll do that for comparison.

Poorly, you selling that firepod anytime soon? (that's the 8-channel right?)



Hey, I *rarely* sell stuff, just add it to my harem!  Well, now I've got a Firepod (8ch), a Firebox (4 ch, 2 mic, 2 line), a UA5, two (!!!) DMIC20's, oh yeah and an VX440 (laptop interface) on the way.  Nooooooooooo, I don't have a gear problem!

  Richard
Mics: Sennheiser MKE2002 (dummy head), Studio Projects C4, AT825 (unmodded), AT822 franken mic (x2), AT853(hc,c,sc,o), Senn. MKE2, Senn MKE40, Shure MX183/5, CA Cards, homebrew Panasonic and Transsound capsules.
Pre/ADC: Presonus Firepod & Firebox, DMIC20(x2), UA5(poorly-modded, AD8620+AD8512opamps), VX440
Recorders: Edirol R4, R09, IBM X24 laptop, NJB3(x2), HiMD(x2), MD(1).
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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2006, 04:37:41 PM »
One more thing for Brian...

So your "ideal" is V3 > 744. Forgive my ignorance, but let me make sure I understand that. So if running 4 mics, you go 2 straight into the 744 which provides phantom and pres, then run the other 2 into the V3 and then into the extra two line-ins on the 744? Is that how that would work?

Well, not so much ideal as my next fiendish wanting.  But really, only a 7x2, because it's a lot less expensive than the 7x4.

For 2-ch, I'd run:

mics > V3 analog out > 722
or
mics > V3 digi-out > MT2496 / 722
or
mics > 722

For 4-ch, I'd run:

mics1 > V3 digi-out > MT2496
and
mics2 > 722 (synced to the V3 via WC)

Edit to add:  Tascam HD-P2's a less expensive option to the 722, so I may go down that road, first, depending on what P2 mods become available and how they sound.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2006, 04:44:30 PM by Brian Skalinder »
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Offline Chanher

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2006, 04:41:31 PM »
Richard makes a good point about the room and the sound tech.

5 min. into a show, I will have a good idea whether or not to be excited about the recording. If it sounds like shit at the venue, then the recording will reflect that to some level. Different polar patterns and mic configs will help, but I don't think they make or break a recording. That's why I have a hard time listening to samples of gear and making a decision to buy it. What if it sounded like shit? You can't blame the gear...

I love using my non-audiophile friends to critique recordings, they are innocent and honest. they generally love outdoor recordings and typically turn away from a lot of the indoor stuff (no matter what the gear).

I also like to keep playback in mind. When someone is describing how their gear performed, maybe they listened on their tweaked and tuned audiophile system, or maybe they transferred straight to ipod and the stock ear buds. who knows...
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Offline OFOTD

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2006, 04:55:32 PM »
I think the audible differences of different combinations of gear is something that too few people speak up about.   I'd say that there are a good number of preconceived ideas of the quality of a tape relative to the $$$ spent on a taping rig.   We have alot of gear sluts here and I always wonder if they are in it for the sound or if they are in it for the variety of gear. 

Comparing different pieces of gear let alone different modded pieces of gear is so subjectional.  The 480>V3 sound is great to my ears and what I like out of a tape.  For you it may be lacking or too full or slow or fast or <insert adjective here>.   Personally I am not a big fan of the Busman mod sound compared to the Oade mod sound in recordings I have heard but YMMV obviously.

Conditions and luck go a long way though.  There have been shows i've taped from horrible spots that came out like magic as well as times i've been in a more ideal spots and have been disappointed with the results.   

I for one am excited to hear how the 481's sound through the R4.   




I love using my non-audiophile friends to critique recordings, they are innocent and honest. they generally love outdoor recordings and typically turn away from a lot of the indoor stuff (no matter what the gear).

So true. 

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2006, 05:01:35 PM »
I for one am excited to hear how the 481's sound through the R4.   

Here is 483->R4
http://www.archive.org/details/SCI2006-06-29.akg483.flac16
(#1) AKG C480b CK61,CK62,CK63,CK69 -> Silverpath XLRs -> BMod R-4
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Offline OFOTD

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2006, 05:22:36 PM »
I for one am excited to hear how the 481's sound through the R4.   

Here is 483->R4
http://www.archive.org/details/SCI2006-06-29.akg483.flac16

Cool!  +T   Downloading a couple of songs now.

Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2006, 03:53:07 PM »
why not get the r4 busman modded?
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Offline china_rider

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2006, 06:21:17 PM »
why not get the r4 busman modded?

Actually mine has the busman Hybrid mod...  Got it modded after SCI.  I've just not had any good open oppertunities to tape since SCI.  All the decent shows here have been at the loft which sucks for taping.  However, after Roger Waters next week we have Lotus then Galactic then I'll be at Vegoose.  Will probably tape during the fest but not the latenights.  I'm hoping to get some splitters before hand to be able to create a comp at vegoose, but even without splitters I have it set up with 2 different sets of TLs we could set up right next to each other.
(#1) AKG C480b CK61,CK62,CK63,CK69 -> Silverpath XLRs -> BMod R-4
(#2) BMod ADK A51TL -> Silverpath XLRs -> BMod R-4
(#3) Sonic Studios DSM6SM -> Sonic Studios PA-3SX -> R-09

Offline Chanher

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2006, 06:32:32 PM »
busman hybrid? please explain...
"chonner"

SP C4 (c,o) / AT853rx (c,h) > Hi-Ho Silver Canare > Busman UA-5 > Iriver

Offline china_rider

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Re: Honest Critiques of the Edirol R4
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2006, 06:44:53 PM »
Get in touch with busman for more info... It's 2 chan of a w type mod that he is not officially offering and 2 chan of his 'normal' mod.  You would need to talk to him to get the exact details and if he would be willing to do it for you.  As of now I've run my 483s twice through the 2 side (sounds nice) and SBD once through the normal side.
(#1) AKG C480b CK61,CK62,CK63,CK69 -> Silverpath XLRs -> BMod R-4
(#2) BMod ADK A51TL -> Silverpath XLRs -> BMod R-4
(#3) Sonic Studios DSM6SM -> Sonic Studios PA-3SX -> R-09

 

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