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Gear / Technical Help => Ask The Tapers => Topic started by: MBHOTAPER on February 06, 2018, 05:53:13 AM

Title: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: MBHOTAPER on February 06, 2018, 05:53:13 AM
I just purchased some mbho wide cards to run for Wanee"s second stage this year. Wondering which 4-channel deck you would recommend for under $700 and why? I prefer xlr in. Thanks
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: voltronic on February 06, 2018, 06:31:08 AM
Tascam DR-70D.  Every time I think I'll upgrade to a SD MixPre-6 I listen to my recordings and realize there's no need.  Info linked in my signature if you're not familiar with it.

You don't have many other choices under $700 with 4 or more phantom-powered XLR inputs.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of the Zoom H6 and the Zoom F4.  I've used the H6 on several occasions and I strongly prefer the 70D.  I've never used an F4, but I have heard very good things about it.

EDIT: I completely forgot about the Tascam DR-680 which has extensive discussion from many users here.  There's also the Tascam DR-701D (if you need HDMI camera sync) and Marantz PMD-706.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: MBHOTAPER on February 06, 2018, 06:49:14 AM
Tascam DR-70D.  Every time I think I'll upgrade to a SD MixPre-6 I listen to my recordings and realize there's no need.  Info linked in my signature if you're not familiar with it.

You don't have many other choices under $700 with 4 or more phantom-powered XLR inputs.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of the Zoom H6 and the Zoom F4.  I've used the H6 on several occasions and I strongly prefer the 70D.  I've never used an F4, but I have heard very good things about it.

EDIT: I completely forgot about the Tascam DR-680 which has extensive discussion from many users here.  There's also the Tascam DR-701D (if you need HDMI camera sync) and Marantz PMD-706.
Do you prefer the dr-70d or the dr-680? I appreciate the insight I was looking at an r44 that lists new around $680 glad there are other good options. I imagine the mixpre6 might go around $700 once the micpre10 starts circulating also.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: nolamule on February 06, 2018, 08:08:11 AM
Another option: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=185250.0
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: mccordo on February 06, 2018, 08:12:31 AM
Do you prefer the dr-70d or the dr-680? I appreciate the insight I was looking at an r44 that lists new around $680 glad there are other good options. I imagine the mixpre6 might go around $700 once the micpre10 starts circulating also.

Not sure if you’re focused on new, eBay and the YS had used R44s selling for around $400 last time I looked around, sometimes even lower if you’re lucky.

I owned a DR680 for a few days (literally) about 4 years ago after I bought one on Amazon when they did a big price cut one day. I felt like it was too complicated (at the time...I may see it differently today, but kinda doubt it) and would have returned it had I not traded it for a V2 in the YS. I can’t speak for the DR70 directly, but I did seriously consider either the DR70 or DR60, and decided against it. I bought a new DR100mkII when I got into taping, and while it was a nice enough deck, I felt like the build quality wasn’t the strongest for what we do (outdoors, in clubs/bars/GA pits, surrounded by drunks and wooks, and other ‘occupational hazards’). I’ve not had any issues with it, but I felt like I needed to graduate beyond Tascam in terms of build quality. I’m sure it’s fine for a lot of people in a lot of situations, but I just didn’t feel like it met my needs.

I know it’s not in your budget now, but the MixPre 6 is absolutely the best deck I’ve owned/used. Being able to leave the V2, extra battery, interconnects, etc. at home almost would have been worth the cost on its own, but it is built super solid, is easy to use, the preamps sound incredible and I’ve recorded for 8 straight hours (granted only 2 channel in this particular case) with the smallish external battery still at ~40% capacity. If you can afford it, I think you’d be happy with a MP6.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: MBHOTAPER on February 06, 2018, 08:48:40 AM
Do you prefer the dr-70d or the dr-680? I appreciate the insight I was looking at an r44 that lists new around $680 glad there are other good options. I imagine the mixpre6 might go around $700 once the micpre10 starts circulating also.

Not sure if you’re focused on new, eBay and the YS had used R44s selling for around $400 last time I looked around, sometimes even lower if you’re lucky.

I owned a DR680 for a few days (literally) about 4 years ago after I bought one on Amazon when they did a big price cut one day. I felt like it was too complicated (at the time...I may see it differently today, but kinda doubt it) and would have returned it had I not traded it for a V2 in the YS. I can’t speak for the DR70 directly, but I did seriously consider either the DR70 or DR60, and decided against it. I bought a new DR100mkII when I got into taping, and while it was a nice enough deck, I felt like the build quality wasn’t the strongest for what we do (outdoors, in clubs/bars/GA pits, surrounded by drunks and wooks, and other ‘occupational hazards’). I’ve not had any issues with it, but I felt like I needed to graduate beyond Tascam in terms of build quality. I’m sure it’s fine for a lot of people in a lot of situations, but I just didn’t feel like it met my needs.

I know it’s not in your budget now, but the MixPre 6 is absolutely the best deck I’ve owned/used. Being able to leave the V2, extra battery, interconnects, etc. at home almost would have been worth the cost on its own, but it is built super solid, is easy to use, the preamps sound incredible and I’ve recorded for 8 straight hours (granted only 2 channel in this particular case) with the smallish external battery still at ~40% capacity. If you can afford it, I think you’d be happy with a MP6.
A buddy sold his mixpre3 recently. Said it was hyped up being the new kid on the block with lots of bells and whistles but the pre wasn't much better than an m10.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: heathen on February 06, 2018, 08:59:00 AM
I love(d) the Zoom F4. 
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: rippleish20 on February 06, 2018, 09:36:37 AM
Zoom F4
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: lsd2525 on February 06, 2018, 10:30:33 AM
Tascam DR-70D.  Every time I think I'll upgrade to a SD MixPre-6 I listen to my recordings and realize there's no need.  Info linked in my signature if you're not familiar with it.

You don't have many other choices under $700 with 4 or more phantom-powered XLR inputs.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of the Zoom H6 and the Zoom F4.  I've used the H6 on several occasions and I strongly prefer the 70D.  I've never used an F4, but I have heard very good things about it.

EDIT: I completely forgot about the Tascam DR-680 which has extensive discussion from many users here.  There's also the Tascam DR-701D (if you need HDMI camera sync) and Marantz PMD-706.

I'm with Volt. The DR-70D with an approved card is solid, inexpensive, easy to use, good metering, will run forever with a USB battery, provides 4 channels of P48 if needed.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: goodcooker on February 06, 2018, 10:40:16 AM
[quote author=lsd2525 link=topic=185314.msg2254744#msg2254744 date=1517931033

The DR-70D with an approved card is solid, inexpensive, easy to use, good metering, will run forever with a USB battery, provides 4 channels of P48 if needed.
[/quote]

I agree as well. Sounds decent right out of the box, not complicated, inexpensive.

Also inexpensive is the Marantz 706 which has a few other features I've found useful  - but as an early adopter I'm reluctant to really recommend it until I've had some more use with it in the field. It works and it sounds good. Haven't done a shootout or any side by side but I would say the preamps are comparable to the DR70d - maybe with a slight edge to the DR70d.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: heathen on February 06, 2018, 11:05:11 AM
I'm with Volt. The DR-70D with an approved card is solid, inexpensive, easy to use, good metering, will run forever with a USB battery, provides 4 channels of P48 if needed.
If someone plans to use one of the approved cards, though (and certainly there are many people who found that unnecessary), it would be wise to first look at the list of approved cards and then look into their availability.  Again that's only an issue IF one insists on using one of the approved cards...
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: dallman on February 06, 2018, 11:06:43 AM
I like the DR680MKII. It has a lot of flexibility as well as the option to record up to 8 channels and digi input. It can seem challenging at first because it has a boatload of features that you can take advantage of.

However if you want a simple excellent 4 channel deck under $700.00, you may want to research the Tascam DR701d. While it looks like to DR70d, it has a totally different OS and is metal construction. The sound is excellent. I have both the 70d and 701d. I use the 70d when I am afraid someone is going to trample my rig or douse it in beer. Otherwise I much prefer the DR701d.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: noahbickart on February 06, 2018, 12:23:33 PM
I upgraded from a Busman Modified dr70d to a SD Mixpre6.

While I think that the Mixpre6 sounds slightly better, it's real advantages lie in the metering, behavior of the gain knobs, and, most importantly for me, an extra two channels of line in.

There is no doubt that the 70d is a great piece of gear for "what we do," and, as long as your budget can't be increased, should suit your needs perfectly.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: gewwang on February 06, 2018, 12:28:27 PM
A buddy sold his mixpre3 recently. Said it was hyped up being the new kid on the block with lots of bells and whistles but the pre wasn't much better than an m10.

What mics was he using for his comparison?

The pre on the micpre3 and mixpre6 is not hype.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: jbell on February 06, 2018, 05:03:48 PM
I agree with George!!  In the past I've run an R44, DR680, DR70d, and even DR-2d for 4 channel recordings.  The Mixpre-6 is a better recorder no contest IMO.  Better build, sounding preamps, features, metering, and customer support.  I'd spend the extra cash and get a mixpre 6

A buddy sold his mixpre3 recently. Said it was hyped up being the new kid on the block with lots of bells and whistles but the pre wasn't much better than an m10.

What mics was he using for his comparison?

The pre on the micpre3 and mixpre6 is not hype.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: Gutbucket on February 06, 2018, 05:43:50 PM
Hey Murf.  I can't find any justification to move away from the DR-680MK2 and remain totally content with it except when I wish for more than 6 analog inputs.  Menu system of the MK2 is much improved making it easier and faster to navigate than the older MK1 version.  Can pretty much use any decent SD card.  Not as small as some of the more recent options, but a strong value point. I really like my old OCM R44 but rarely use it much any more because I pretty much always use the DR-680MK2.

The 680's primary feature for which I can't find an equivalent in any other deck is the super-easy channel linking, which lets one adjust the gain of all recorded channels simultaneously using a single knob.  That feature alone makes it worthwhile.  Yes SD can link 4 channels on a few of their machines, but AFAIK cannot do so rapidly and easily with just two button presses.  So if you need to un-link to tweak just one channel then re-link them all for single-knob level adjustment, doing so is easy and straight forward.

It also has digital in/out if that's important to you.

It's weakest feature is the metering, which is not detailed but is sufficient to get the job done with good recorded levels, so it doesn't bother me much.  I imagine it would bug others though.

Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: heathen on February 06, 2018, 05:53:30 PM
The 680's primary feature for which I can't find an equivalent in any other deck is the super-easy channel linking, which lets one adjust the gain of all recorded channels simultaneously using a single knob. 

This is really easy to do on both the Zoom F4 and F8.  With the latest firmware it even happens automatically when set to ambisonic mode (not that that's relevant to many people on here).
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: Chomps on February 06, 2018, 06:12:27 PM
For what you can get an R44 these days nothing matches for the price. Plus they are built rock solid and never have any issue.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: heathen on February 06, 2018, 06:41:14 PM
Bottom line is you're basically spoiled for choice.  Also with the slow pace things are selling in the YS you can probably get a good deal.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: rippleish20 on February 06, 2018, 06:58:24 PM
A buddy sold his mixpre3 recently. Said it was hyped up being the new kid on the block with lots of bells and whistles but the pre wasn't much better than an m10.

What mics was he using for his comparison?

The pre on the micpre3 and mixpre6 is not hype.

This is  comparing apples and oranges. A setup using an M10 would most likely be using an external PRE or battery box and an unbalanced connection. To get the advanatges of a Mixpre's PREs you would really need to be using microphone in using a balanced connection. I don't see that a 788 would "live up the hype" either under this scenario...
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: Gutbucket on February 06, 2018, 07:17:59 PM
Agreed that R44 is probably the simplest of all these to operate, and a super reliable recorder.  For 4 channels, simple, easy, and reliable its hard to beat.

The 680's primary feature for which I can't find an equivalent in any other deck is the super-easy channel linking, which lets one adjust the gain of all recorded channels simultaneously using a single knob. 

This is really easy to do on both the Zoom F4 and F8.  With the latest firmware it even happens automatically when set to ambisonic mode (not that that's relevant to many people on here).

I may ask you about this elsewhere, don't want to muddy this thread.  Does it provide- Easy and immediate control over which channels are linked and which aren't with visual feedback indicating that, the ability to link multiple stereo pairs separately from each other, and the ability to link all recording channels?   I don't really want it to happen automatically, only when I choose to turn it on and off while recording.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: rigpimp on February 06, 2018, 07:38:41 PM
I'll third with the R-44.  I ran one for years and years and it was absolutely rock solid.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: heathen on February 06, 2018, 10:30:52 PM
The 680's primary feature for which I can't find an equivalent in any other deck is the super-easy channel linking, which lets one adjust the gain of all recorded channels simultaneously using a single knob. 

This is really easy to do on both the Zoom F4 and F8.  With the latest firmware it even happens automatically when set to ambisonic mode (not that that's relevant to many people on here).

I may ask you about this elsewhere, don't want to muddy this thread.  Does it provide- Easy and immediate control over which channels are linked and which aren't with visual feedback indicating that, the ability to link multiple stereo pairs separately from each other, and the ability to link all recording channels?   I don't really want it to happen automatically, only when I choose to turn it on and off while recording.

With the latest firmware, when you set it to ambisonic mode it automatically links the gain of channels 1-4 and records to the ambisonic format of your choice (this applies to the F8...I haven't used the F4 in ambisonic mode).  Channels 5-8 can be used as normal, with the ability to trim link any combination of those channels.  In non-ambisonic mode, you can link the gain of any combination of channels, in multiple groups.  It's all really easy...to get to ambisonic mode you press the menu button, select input, then ambisonic mode...to get to trim link you press the menu button, select input, then go to trim link.  Check out page 94 here https://www.zoom-na.com/sites/default/files/products/downloads/pdfs/E_F8_v3_0.pdf and page 2 here https://www.zoom-na.com/sites/default/files/products/downloads/pdfs/E_F8v4.1.pdf

I'm happy to discuss this in more detail elsewhere if you'd like.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: Gutbucket on February 07, 2018, 09:31:19 AM
^
Looks like it can do it after all.  Very good to know, thanks.. as that's been one sticking point for me in trying out the F8.  Requires a bit more navigation but not too bad.  Thanks for those links!  If had the ability to output all channels individually, which is my only remaining problem with it, I'd certainly move to the F8.  But that won't affect most users here at TS.

In the channel linking section (p.94) it has the following note-

"• The input levels of tracks that have a mic capsule connected will
not be linked even if those tracks are put into groups."


Can you clarify that for me? Is that talking about the Zoom mics which plug into the special port?
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: rippleish20 on February 07, 2018, 09:42:53 AM

 If had the ability to output all channels individually, which is my only remaining problem with it, I'd certainly move to the F8.   



Explain what you mean by this
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: Gutbucket on February 07, 2018, 10:17:29 AM
You can not output each channel individually.  It provides a 2-ch main bus output and 2-ch sub bus out (4 channels) plus the headphone out.   I require all 8 channels (doesn't need to be balanced, RCAs or a single sub-D connector would be fine).
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: heathen on February 07, 2018, 10:47:14 AM
^
Looks like it can do it after all.  Very good to know, thanks.. as that's been one sticking point for me in trying out the F8.  Requires a bit more navigation but not too bad.  Thanks for those links!  If had the ability to output all channels individually, which is my only remaining problem with it, I'd certainly move to the F8.  But that won't affect most users here at TS.

Can any of the recorders used in these parts do that?

Quote
In the channel linking section (p.94) it has the following note-

"• The input levels of tracks that have a mic capsule connected will
not be linked even if those tracks are put into groups."


Can you clarify that for me? Is that talking about the Zoom mics which plug into the special port?

I think that is talking about the spot on the back for connecting one of the Zoom mic modules, because it doesn't seem to be an issue for me when putting any of the other channels into groups.  I haven't used (and likely never will use) one of the Zoom mic modules.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: rippleish20 on February 07, 2018, 10:58:20 AM
You can not output each channel individually.  It provides a 2-ch main bus output and 2-ch sub bus out (4 channels) plus the headphone out.   I require all 8 channels (doesn't need to be balanced, RCAs or a single sub-D connector would be fine).

You can output each channel individually one at a time but, no, you can't get all eight channels individually at once. I think even the USB audio interface is only four out.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: Gutbucket on February 07, 2018, 11:21:44 AM
Surprised at the USB interface restriction to only 4 channels out, wasn't aware of that.

If it had the ability to output all channels individually, which is my only remaining problem with it, I'd certainly move to the F8.  But that won't affect most users here at TS.

Can any of the recorders used in these parts do that?

Sure, R44, R88, DR-680 all provide individual outputs for each analog input.  R44 and DR-680 unbalanced via RCAs, R88 balanced via 8 XLRs. 
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: rigpimp on February 07, 2018, 01:19:09 PM
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=184412.0
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: rippleish20 on February 07, 2018, 01:51:16 PM
Surprised at the USB interface restriction to only 4 channels out, wasn't aware of that.

If it had the ability to output all channels individually, which is my only remaining problem with it, I'd certainly move to the F8.  But that won't affect most users here at TS.

Can any of the recorders used in these parts do that?

Sure, R44, R88, DR-680 all provide individual outputs for each analog input.  R44 and DR-680 unbalanced via RCAs, R88 balanced via 8 XLRs.

The manual says:

"This is an 8-in/4-out connection mode for Mac/Windows and sends tracks 1–8 as separate signals"

Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: Gutbucket on February 07, 2018, 05:43:08 PM
Okay, so not a USB restriction in and of itself, but analog input and output (via a USB computer connection or otherwise) remains dependant on the available hardware inputs (8 ) and outputs available (4) on the recorder.
 It can send all eight out to a computer over USB, but cannot output them as analog signals.

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=184412.0
^
Back on topic, I'd jump on that!
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: heathen on February 07, 2018, 06:21:35 PM
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=184412.0
^
Back on topic, I'd jump on that!
If it's got DSatz's endorsement it's probably a damn good choice!
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: noahbickart on February 07, 2018, 07:21:20 PM
A buddy sold his mixpre3 recently. Said it was hyped up being the new kid on the block with lots of bells and whistles but the pre wasn't much better than an m10.

What mics was he using for his comparison?

The pre on the micpre3 and mixpre6 is not hype.

the m10 doesn't have p48 xlr preamps. So, as my Talmud teacher would say, "you're comparing noodles to potatoes." (as a polish Holocaust survivor, he saw both oranges and apples for the first time only after coming to America in the late 40's)

Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: CorFit Chris on February 08, 2018, 12:07:56 AM
I absolutely loved my Tascam DR-680mkii!   I only sold it because I got strapped for cash.  I then bought the Tascam DR-70D and it is about perfect (for all the reasons others have already mentioned).  Plus, I could set it and leave it without worry, and when that festival dust started blowing, I knew is would be easy to replace if anything happened to it.  BUT, I certainly began missing those channels 5/6 and 7/8 that the DR-680mkii provided.  2 mixed stereo pairs plus a soundboard is about perfect.  I received a MixPre6 as a christmas gift, so I haven't used my DR-70 while I get to know the mixpre6.  But, I can't seem to allow myself to sell the DR-70.  It's the perfect 2nd recorder, or primary under sketchy conditions.

All that said, you may be able to find a used Zoom F8 for around $700.
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: CorFit Chris on February 08, 2018, 12:11:21 AM
Yet another option:  F8

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=185185.0
Title: Re: Favorite 4 channel deck under $700
Post by: adrianf74 on February 08, 2018, 08:21:09 AM
I absolutely loved my Tascam DR-680mkii!   I only sold it because I got strapped for cash.  I then bought the Tascam DR-70D and it is about perfect (for all the reasons others have already mentioned).  Plus, I could set it and leave it without worry, and when that festival dust started blowing, I knew is would be easy to replace if anything happened to it.  BUT, I certainly began missing those channels 5/6 and 7/8 that the DR-680mkii provided.  2 mixed stereo pairs plus a soundboard is about perfect.  I received a MixPre6 as a christmas gift, so I haven't used my DR-70 while I get to know the mixpre6.  But, I can't seem to allow myself to sell the DR-70.  It's the perfect 2nd recorder, or primary under sketchy conditions.

All that said, you may be able to find a used Zoom F8 for around $700.

I'm waiting to see if Marantz improves the loss of USB power and ZERO data written to a card issue with the PMD-706 but that's a 6-channel recorder in a box the size of the 70D.  If they can get that one issue resolved, that'd be the deck I'd point to and it sells for the same price as the 70D.  Apparently it's pres are quieter than the 70D as well.

I'm rebuilding and I'll either go with the 70D or the 706 depending on the one issue of concern.  To have six inputs is very helpful.