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Author Topic: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording  (Read 3841 times)

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Offline tungarbulb

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Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« on: March 09, 2022, 04:11:34 PM »
I've checked out some of the reviews linked to in the README1st section at the beginning to this forum, but most of them seem to be pretty out of date.

For example, the Marantz PMD-620 looked like the perfect thing for me, but - it's discontinued. :banging head:

I'm looking for a replacement for my aging Edirol R-09HR which has given me great concert recordings for years but which is now showing all-too-obvious signs of age (the rubber coating is degrading and the display is barely readable).

The best things about the R-09HR were its concealability and the pretty-decent quality of its built-in mics.

I considered buying its successor, the R-07. But after reading *lots* of reviews critical of everything from its questionable reliability to its inexcusably slow file transfer speeds to its use of those easy-to-lose micro-SD cards (which are mounted in the unit such that it is easy to lose one), I decided that model was not an option.

What in your opinion is the best recorder available today for stealth recording?

Offline seethreepo

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2022, 04:27:46 PM »
Some of the zoom options seem good to me.  the Sony A10 gets the most press but supply chain issues rendered those unavailable. 
I suggest browsing the local music supply stores near you   you might be surprised what they have in stock. 
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Offline udovdh

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2022, 05:28:00 PM »
Sony M10.

Offline unidentified

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2022, 05:35:44 PM »
Sony M10.

Amen.  Keep looking for a used one.   

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2022, 05:37:36 PM »
But the built in mics (mentioned in the original post) of the M10 give a dreadful stereo image...  there is no such thing as coincident omni mic stereo recording!  I could never understand what Sony were thinking of with that.

Offline unidentified

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2022, 06:06:53 PM »
But the built in mics (mentioned in the original post) of the M10 give a dreadful stereo image...  there is no such thing as coincident omni mic stereo recording!  I could never understand what Sony were thinking of with that.

Very true. I missed that in the original post. Need some decent external mics with the M10.

Offline roffels

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2022, 07:46:49 PM »
Sony A10 is great for stealth.

I won't deny the issues you've brought up with the Roland r07, but it's been reliable and haven't been in the habit of losing micro sd cards.

Offline morst

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2022, 04:44:18 AM »
For example, the Marantz PMD-620 looked like the perfect thing for me, but - it's discontinued.
Why not poke around for a used one?

Offline udovdh

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2022, 09:04:00 AM »
But the built in mics (mentioned in the original post) of the M10 give a dreadful stereo image...  there is no such thing as coincident omni mic stereo recording!  I could never understand what Sony were thinking of with that.
I never ever recorded with built-in mics with just one exception.
Why do these recorders come with mics? I think that is kinda stupid. Leave them off.
Give us the smaller package. Perhaps cheaper even.

Offline Melanie

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2022, 12:49:51 PM »
The Tascam D100mkIII has been very good for stealth, but it is a larger package then the sony. Built in mics sound about as good or better then most units I've heard, but I don't use them. The size is a little larger but I haven't had an issue with metal detectors and have gotten the recording every time. bob
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Offline goodcooker

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2022, 10:51:52 PM »

If you want stealthable size and okay built in mics I would recommend looking for a used Marantz PMD620 or a Tascam DR2D.

Both are relatively easy to find on resale sites like ebay or Reverb.
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Offline illconditioned

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2022, 12:21:27 AM »
I've had good luck with Zoom F1.Runs well on two AAA batteries.Has screw-lock 3.5mm stereo plugs with switchable plug in power.
I run either Senn ME104 or similar lav mics or AT822 single point mic powered by a single AA battery.
My favourite deck is Sony M10, that has very low noise inputs, but for acoustic and/or electric live shows of reasonable volume, the Zoom F1 is perfect.
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Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2022, 07:10:46 AM »
Yup, the F1 does a good job, and its controls are tactile so you don't need to take it out of your pocket really.  I use mine mainly with Roland in-ear binaurals. They have the advantage that it beeps into your ears when it starts and stops so you know something is happening.

Offline Niels

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2022, 08:26:32 AM »

I considered buying its successor, the R-07. But after reading *lots* of reviews critical of everything from its questionable reliability to its inexcusably slow file transfer speeds to its use of those easy-to-lose micro-SD cards (which are mounted in the unit such that it is easy to lose one), I decided that model was not an option.

What in your opinion is the best recorder available today for stealth recording?
Most reviews of this unit are with the original firmware which wasn't ready for primetime.
I returned mine for a refund early on because of that, but got one for free last year - and with the most recent firmware most of my reservations were addressed. The bluetooth connectivity is stable and reliable in my experience with an iPhone, but some people with android phones apparently have different experiences.
In normal use, transfer time is not something I notice as slow, but I don't time it. The card slot is not brilliantly designed to say the least and no firmware will improve on that but I don't need to remove the card so it is a non-issue for me.
I did have a A10 for a brief moment, but it was faulty assembled with imprecisely mounted control buttons so I returned it - as well as the second replacement unit I received, that was before I could form an opinion - but definitely tiny device.
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Offline OrionMan

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2022, 02:32:07 PM »

I considered buying its successor, the R-07. But after reading *lots* of reviews critical of everything from its questionable reliability to its inexcusably slow file transfer speeds to its use of those easy-to-lose micro-SD cards (which are mounted in the unit such that it is easy to lose one), I decided that model was not an option.

What in your opinion is the best recorder available today for stealth recording?
Most reviews of this unit are with the original firmware which wasn't ready for primetime.
I returned mine for a refund early on because of that, but got one for free last year - and with the most recent firmware most of my reservations were addressed. The bluetooth connectivity is stable and reliable in my experience with an iPhone, but some people with android phones apparently have different experiences.
In normal use, transfer time is not something I notice as slow, but I don't time it. The card slot is not brilliantly designed to say the least and no firmware will improve on that but I don't need to remove the card so it is a non-issue for me.
I did have a A10 for a brief moment, but it was faulty assembled with imprecisely mounted control buttons so I returned it - as well as the second replacement unit I received, that was before I could form an opinion - but definitely tiny device.

What's wrong with the card slot?

I'm guessing from what you wrote that you are having a hard time removing the card?  If so, it is super easy to do.  When you open the attached door to the card compartment, use the little tab in that door (it's between the 2 plastic door hinges) to press the card even further down.  There is a spring under the card, so after you press the card in, quickly move the door's tab away so the card will eject out.  But be careful, because sometimes it flies out! (I just tried it and it flew at least a foot away)  But you don't have to 'quickly' move it away either - and in that case you can just flip the recorder upside down and let the card slide out.  Not sure why the manual does not clearly show this great feature! (I know there are 2 versions of the manual, so maybe one points it out, but does not explain how to use it).  I've read lots of blogs and reviews about it being hard to remove so it would be good for Roland to update their user guide.

Offline tungarbulb

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2022, 11:53:30 AM »
First and foremost, many thanks all of you who've responded to my original posting and the responses.

I've thought of seeking out used gear on say, Ebay. But either they're overpriced (above the original MSRP), or, well, let's just say that I've had previous experiences with Ebay that were sub-optimal.

Maybe I should give the Roland R-07 another look, if indeed they've fixed the major bugs that I mentioned earlier. Where can I find more recent reviews of it?

I've avoided Zoom products. They look like excellent devices, but they don't look that stealthy to me, especially the ones with interchangeable mics.

Lastly, just a random thought. The smartphone phenomenon has all but obliterated the market for point-and-shoot digital cameras. Might the same thing be happening with digital sound recorders? I wouldn't want to use a smartphone for serious recording. Their battery life isn't that great, and frankly I don't care for devices that rely on touchscreens. Too easy to make something happen by accident.

Offline Niels

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2022, 12:25:07 PM »

Maybe I should give the Roland R-07 another look, if indeed they've fixed the major bugs that I mentioned earlier. Where can I find more recent reviews of it?

That is not how the internet works. There are few incentives to revisit an older product, as reviews are usually done for views/likes and advertiser revenue - there is not much of that to be gained a few years after the release of the product.

Your best bet is to read up on the long thread in this forum - start half way or 2/3 in to see what people has to say - and keep in mind that not all people that complaints have upgraded their unit.

Finally, I'd like to point out that it is a perfectly fine deck - and if you buy it and don't like it, then it is not like the end of the world, just sell it and move on to something else.
Roland R-07 -> FEL Communications Clippy EM172 or Roland CS-10EM
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2022, 01:21:04 PM »
Lastly, just a random thought. The smartphone phenomenon has all but obliterated the market for point-and-shoot digital cameras. Might the same thing be happening with digital sound recorders? I wouldn't want to use a smartphone for serious recording. Their battery life isn't that great, and frankly I don't care for devices that rely on touchscreens. Too easy to make something happen by accident.

Smartphone manufacturers have made their cameras way better, because they discovered it was a function that buyers really wanted.

I suppose it's possible that someday they'll also upgrade the battery life/preamps/input options/etc. of phones for the massive consumer base of live music recorders, but probably only in a far happier corner of the multiverse than this one.

Offline yltfan

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2022, 01:49:39 PM »

If you want stealthable size and okay built in mics I would recommend looking for a used Marantz PMD620 or a Tascam DR2D.

Both are relatively easy to find on resale sites like ebay or Reverb.

DR2D has good built-in mics? I had no idea. I'll give them a spin next time!
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Offline WiFiJeff

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2022, 02:57:02 PM »
Lastly, just a random thought. The smartphone phenomenon has all but obliterated the market for point-and-shoot digital cameras. Might the same thing be happening with digital sound recorders? I wouldn't want to use a smartphone for serious recording. Their battery life isn't that great, and frankly I don't care for devices that rely on touchscreens. Too easy to make something happen by accident.

Smartphone manufacturers have made their cameras way better, because they discovered it was a function that buyers really wanted.

I suppose it's possible that someday they'll also upgrade the battery life/preamps/input options/etc. of phones for the massive consumer base of live music recorders, but probably only in a far happier corner of the multiverse than this one.

Not sure I really understand this request.  I have an older iPhone XR, totally dedicated to recording.  It will record 24/96 for about 11 hours straight powering a DPA MMA-A and DPA mics.  With a wireless battery pack like the Pixy Go it will likely run 5 hours more (haven't had to use that yet). The phone, running Metarecorder, is basically a bit-bucket, but there are teeny mics and pre-amp/A/D sets like the MMA-A and the Saramonic Smart V2M that give a small package running longer than any small recorder I have used.

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2022, 04:26:03 PM »
If you have an iPhone, the Rose AI Micro and MetaRecorder app are an expensive way to get into phone recording.

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2022, 04:33:16 PM »
Lastly, just a random thought. The smartphone phenomenon has all but obliterated the market for point-and-shoot digital cameras. Might the same thing be happening with digital sound recorders? I wouldn't want to use a smartphone for serious recording. Their battery life isn't that great, and frankly I don't care for devices that rely on touchscreens. Too easy to make something happen by accident.

Smartphone manufacturers have made their cameras way better, because they discovered it was a function that buyers really wanted.

I suppose it's possible that someday they'll also upgrade the battery life/preamps/input options/etc. of phones for the massive consumer base of live music recorders, but probably only in a far happier corner of the multiverse than this one.

Not sure I really understand this request.  I have an older iPhone XR, totally dedicated to recording.  It will record 24/96 for about 11 hours straight powering a DPA MMA-A and DPA mics.  With a wireless battery pack like the Pixy Go it will likely run 5 hours more (haven't had to use that yet). The phone, running Metarecorder, is basically a bit-bucket, but there are teeny mics and pre-amp/A/D sets like the MMA-A and the Saramonic Smart V2M that give a small package running longer than any small recorder I have used.

Me? I wasn't requesting anything. Just saying that I don't expect smartphones to completely displace small recorders like they have small cameras.

Offline guitard

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2022, 02:12:24 PM »
Just saying that I don't expect smartphones to completely displace small recorders like they have small cameras.

For the average consumer, phones definitely have replaced point-and-shoot cameras.  One exception in my experience, is shooting concert videos.  With just a few exceptions (one being front row or right next to the stage), a phone camera can't match a dialed in point-and-shoot.  This is true even for something like an iPhone 13 Pro Max (which I own).  Having said that ... the relatively small group of people who shoot concert videos with a point-and-shoot are just a drop in the bucket of an already dwindling consumer base; so I don't have many hopes for the future of point-and-shoot cameras.  Sigh ...
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Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2022, 07:47:39 AM »
Personally I use cameras like the DJI Pocket 2 or DJI Action 2 for concert recording (typically jazz club stuff) as the stabilisation is so good coupled with horizon levelling, and the Pocket 2 can be locked onto the stage direction allowing you to move your tired hand around as you wish without screwing the picture.  And you can use them on a pole without major problems for the people behind you.  And the 4-mic surround sound is pretty good too.  For me, phones are just not the right tool for the job.  YMMV!

Offline DATBoy

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2022, 03:45:56 PM »

Maybe I should give the Roland R-07 another look, if indeed they've fixed the major bugs that I mentioned earlier. Where can I find more recent reviews of it?

That is not how the internet works. There are few incentives to revisit an older product, as reviews are usually done for views/likes and advertiser revenue - there is not much of that to be gained a few years after the release of the product.

Your best bet is to read up on the long thread in this forum - start half way or 2/3 in to see what people has to say - and keep in mind that not all people that complaints have upgraded their unit.

Finally, I'd like to point out that it is a perfectly fine deck - and if you buy it and don't like it, then it is not like the end of the world, just sell it and move on to something else.

He just wanted to know where he could find more good information about it. That is unequivocally one of the major purposes of the internet - seeking and getting information.

I hear the "don't like it, then sell it" saying a lot. I read his full post you replied to. That wasn't the question he even asked regarding if he didn't like this and what to do next.

PS. for tungarbulb https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=189715.0
« Last Edit: April 18, 2022, 03:52:41 PM by DATBoy »

Offline daspyknows

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2022, 09:54:22 PM »

If you want stealthable size and okay built in mics I would recommend looking for a used Marantz PMD620 or a Tascam DR2D.

Both are relatively easy to find on resale sites like ebay or Reverb.

DR2D has good built-in mics? I had no idea. I'll give them a spin next time!

good is relative.  Bring mics.

Offline Niels

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2022, 03:30:37 AM »
He just wanted to know where he could find more good information about it. That is unequivocally one of the major purposes of the internet - seeking and getting information.

I hear the "don't like it, then sell it" saying a lot. I read his full post you replied to. That wasn't the question he even asked regarding if he didn't like this and what to do next.

PS. for tungarbulb https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=189715.0
LOL
Instead of criticising an answer you don't like (and truth be told - I think you didn't read), you could just give the answer as you thought it should have been - OP would have more input to form an opinion, and who knows, maybe I would learn a thing or two?
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Offline DATBoy

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2022, 04:28:23 PM »
He just wanted to know where he could find more good information about it. That is unequivocally one of the major purposes of the internet - seeking and getting information.

I hear the "don't like it, then sell it" saying a lot. I read his full post you replied to. That wasn't the question he even asked regarding if he didn't like this and what to do next.

PS. for tungarbulb https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=189715.0
LOL
Instead of criticising an answer you don't like (and truth be told - I think you didn't read), you could just give the answer as you thought it should have been - OP would have more input to form an opinion, and who knows, maybe I would learn a thing or two?

You're just mad at me because I helped him more with his question and you didn't.

While I don't like what you said, I understand jealousy is a very common thing in cases like yours.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2022, 09:40:30 PM »
Er.. we don't get into that kind of negative exchange here.  Truce please...

Offline DATBoy

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2022, 11:43:33 PM »
Er.. we don't get into that kind of negative exchange here.  Truce please...

he started it. He owes some apologies.

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2022, 03:47:28 AM »
Recorders are bit boxes, storing 1s and 0s.  That is all they do.  So, the notion that a new recorder is somehow better than the digital ones being produced ten years ago is flawed.  DR2d and Sony M10 rule the stealthy world with long battery life, replaceable batteries and solid proven performance. 

New is not necessarily better. 
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mk4 > N Box > Sony M-10

Offline voltronic

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2022, 06:07:38 AM »
Recorders are bit boxes, storing 1s and 0s.  That is all they do.  So, the notion that a new recorder is somehow better than the digital ones being produced ten years ago is flawed.  DR2d and Sony M10 rule the stealthy world with long battery life, replaceable batteries and solid proven performance. 

New is not necessarily better.

I am confused by your statement. The two recorders you cite do not have digital inputs, so they do not qualify as "bit boxes". They have analog line / mic inputs and preamps, and the quality of those vary greatly across different devices. There have been significant upgrades over the last 10 years in ADC chips as well. I still have my M10, but I don't use it for any serious concert recording anymore even though I still think it is a great device. The new recorders are clearly far better than the older ones, unless you are looking at the cheapest tier (Zoom H1, etc.).

Case in point: Using the same mics, the quality of recording you get from an old Zoom H series recorder is not anywhere even close to what you get from the new F series. The H6 in particular had very noisy preamps, and the F series ones are dead silent, besides much more advanced ADC. Same goes for old and new Tascam: Dr100 mkIII preamps and ADC are much audibly (and measurably) superior to the DR-70D, which I used heavily.

If you use high-quality external preamps, the playing field becomes a bit more level between the old and new recorders. But if you are running mics straight into one box that does it all, the differences between the old and new recorders becomes pretty clear.

EDIT: I should add that I do not have any firsthand experience with "stealth" recording, and I acknowledge I am including much larger devices in my statements.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2022, 06:09:27 AM by voltronic »
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2022, 11:40:20 AM »
Recorders are bit boxes, storing 1s and 0s.  That is all they do.  So, the notion that a new recorder is somehow better than the digital ones being produced ten years ago is flawed.  DR2d and Sony M10 rule the stealthy world with long battery life, replaceable batteries and solid proven performance. 

Skirting the whole issue of preamps, small recorders also differ in size, bluetooth capability, internal mics, etc.

Different people will have different preferences, depending on what they're recording and how and with what additional gear. I've been very happy with both the Sony M10 and A10, I've heard plenty of great recordings with Tascams, and there are plenty of good phone options now. It's definitely worth reading through all (well most) of the discussions here about the pros and cons of various different recorders, but ultimately just pick something that you think will work for you, and it probably will.

Offline DATBoy

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2022, 01:38:00 PM »
Recorders are bit boxes, storing 1s and 0s.  That is all they do.  So, the notion that a new recorder is somehow better than the digital ones being produced ten years ago is flawed.  DR2d and Sony M10 rule the stealthy world with long battery life, replaceable batteries and solid proven performance. 

Skirting the whole issue of preamps, small recorders also differ in size, bluetooth capability, internal mics, etc.

Different people will have different preferences, depending on what they're recording and how and with what additional gear. I've been very happy with both the Sony M10 and A10, I've heard plenty of great recordings with Tascams, and there are plenty of good phone options now. It's definitely worth reading through all (well most) of the discussions here about the pros and cons of various different recorders, but ultimately just pick something that you think will work for you, and it probably will.

I love the M10. I am very disappointed that Sony has not made something that seems to be a competitive enough update in terms of a new interface, size, other recording settings, and all the other stuff we see in Zooms and TASCAMs now. Even that idea of having a "backup" copy in lower level would be cool. I never got an A10, but I assume it was almost close to the stuff I mentioned I wish the M10's successor was. Too bad that seemed to have had a very short production life because I would have considered it over this TASCAM DR-05X I recently got.

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2022, 07:47:03 PM »
Too bad that seemed to have had a very short production life because I would have considered it over this TASCAM DR-05X I recently got.

My understanding is that Sony didn't discontinue the A10, it's just way backordered because of COVID-related chip shortages.

Offline DATBoy

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Re: Looking for a new recorder for stealth recording
« Reply #35 on: April 23, 2022, 02:30:30 PM »
Too bad that seemed to have had a very short production life because I would have considered it over this TASCAM DR-05X I recently got.

My understanding is that Sony didn't discontinue the A10, it's just way backordered because of COVID-related chip shortages.

Thanks for the information. I seem to remember that Sony said on their website that it wasn't available. I now checked B+H and said back ordered. I would like to get one, so this is a good choice. Sony makes some of the best ones. I must say, however, there's something to be said about that single mic/line input there and I'm a little concerned about that because the TASCAM DR-05X is the same way and it feels like a learning curve since it's not like what I am used to on the PCM-M10 with a dedicated port to each. I mentioned all that on my own thread about my issue with the TASCAM just recently here.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2022, 02:33:17 PM by DATBoy »

 

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