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Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?

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Jim Froom
Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 6, 2008 at 10:45:15 pm

Any suggestions on a decent audio (flash based) recorder with 0 latency at the headphone jack. Need XLR input and Phantom Power option.

I am looking at the Marantz PDM660, but can't seem to find out anything definite about the latency. It would be nice if they have fixed it as it has everything else I'm looking for. Found 2 reviews from when it was first released and the reviewers mentioned there is a latency issue. Also found one blog where someone was complaining about hiss, but didn't see that in other reviews so am hoping that is a setup issue for that user.

Anyway, I thank you in advance if anyone could suggest something in the $500 range. I must have xlr, phantom and 0 latency at the headphone jack.


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Ty Ford
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 7, 2008 at 1:39:01 am

Hello Jim and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Check this out.

http://www.sounddevices.com/products/

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jim Froom
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 7, 2008 at 4:53:44 am

Most of those look like studio equipment. I'm looking for a small portable unit to connect on or near a camera.

My issue just came up with the delivery of a Canon 5d Mark ii. I currently have 2 camcorders. 1 with xlr inputs and one with 1/8".

On the 1/8" I have been using a Beachtek DXA-6. However on the new camera d5 mkii there is are no settings that gives appropriate audio.

On the Canon, I'm not sure I'm even going to use the camera audio via 1/8" jack. However, I need to experiment. I did get reasonable sound off a Rode NT3 using a 9 volt battery for phantom power. Also, wire lav mics worked.

My Sen 416, needs phantom power. Crap with the beachtek on this camera.

The beachtek didn't work with anything. Canon gives no control or settings on the audio input. The best sound I got was from a Zune playing music with the output about 1/2 way up.

I got to thinking that if I could use a portable recorder with 0 latency, I could take the output from the headphone jack (I know not the best) but it might give me something, then I'd also have the portable audio that would be easy to line up with the video/audio from the Canon in post and use that if I have problems with what the camera audio (which I'm assuming may be frequently.

My other alternative is to buy a power adapter around $50 to supply the Sen 416 with phantom power or drop $350 or more on a entry level boom mic.

I'm mainly looking for something to have on the camera for quick work. When I have time to set up, this camera will be the B cam and I can more often than not use the audio from the first camera, but I'm still going to want some kind of audio for this camera as backup and walk around shooting. Heck, I might even try the Rode Videomic.



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Ty Ford
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 7, 2008 at 4:18:10 pm

Hello Jim,

Please look again.

They are all portable, run on batteries and are designed for location recording.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Rodney Morris
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 11, 2008 at 4:33:40 am

Even if you do find a recorder in the $500 price range that has 0 latency, you will still have a sync issue (at some point). You're recording to two devices, each having their own clock source. If you start recording on the camera and the recorder at the same time, eventually the two will drift apart. How long will that be? Don't know - depends on how far off the clocks are. That's why recorders used for sync have TC inputs.

Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 11, 2008 at 4:44:21 am

Perhaps it was divine grace, but I shot a set of music with an XL2 and double recorded a board feed. I was dumb that night and forgot to switch the 744T to 48 kHz. When I imported the audio in to FCP and did sample rate conversion, the 744t sound locked right up with the Xl2 sound.

Go figure.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Rodney Morris
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 4:43:35 am

Well, you know what they say: "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good."

Of course, they also say: "Luck favors the prepared."

I'll just say: "I'm glad it worked out for you."

Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Rodney Morris
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 12, 2008 at 1:18:05 pm

BTW - the Zoom H4 has 2 XLR inputs, phantom power and 0 latency at the headphone jack. Plus it's only $270. But if you do get one, I would suggest you spend LOTS of time familiarizing yourself with the recorder before you go out on a shoot with it. I find it's interface to be a bit confusing - even something as simple as setting record levels is a multi-step menu dive.

Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Jim Froom
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 14, 2008 at 4:18:39 am


Hypothetical.

Record 30 minute talking head video on camcorder with no external sync.
Record 30 minutes of audio on audio recorder with no external sync.

Drop audio and video into a Vegas Video Pro timeline.

Questions.
If the audio drifts 2 frames after 5 minutes,does this mean that when I get to the 30 minute mark in the time line, the audio will show approximately 12 frames (30/5 * 2) longer at the end, in other words, the audio track will show 12/30's of a second longer?

If this is true, I should be able to adjust the audio by ctrl selecting the end of the audio track and aligning it under the end of the video track (others claim this works in Vegas Video).




Back to the portable recorders.


The Sound Device recorders look a little expensive for my budget.
The Marantz PDM660, is about my price range if it can do the trick. I just haven't found alot of reviews on it.

The Zoom H4 looks like it has a large following and seems to be very price competitive. I also like the size. I'll check into that a little more I found a fair amount of reviews at one supplier, but there seems to be some disagreement as to the sync issues being controllable or not. That being said, it looks like it's being used by many audio professionals and semi professionals and they are getting decent results. I'm not doing feature films or master recordings for CD duplications, so I think the quality of the Zoom H4 would work.

Now it's just a question if the sync drift is consistent so I can adjust it every so often. Also, can I set it up so there aren't alot of "gotch ya's setting up. Sounds like there are lots of settings, or maybe a few extra steps to get to some of the functions.

As I have been writing this and checking some reviews, I think I may have talked myself into trying a Zoom H4. Worse case is I don't like it and sell it on Ebay for a slight loss. I'll think about it the rest of the weekend and may give it a try.

Thanks again for suggestions and opinions.









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Jim Froom
Re: Portable audio recorder w/ xlr, phantom, 0 latency ?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 4:09:20 am

Rodney, thanks for the heads up on the Zoom H4. I bought one and watched a 6-7 minute video on youtube then downloaded and skimmed the manual. Had it up and running pretty fast. Menu's are similar to the Camcorder menu's. The only thing that gives me a little trouble is the size of the type on the lcd.

Any way, the h4 is just what I needed and will be fine for what I need. I will probably buy a 2nd one.

Thanks again.


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