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Danny Grizzle
Handheld Portable Recorders
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:02:56 pm

I admit, I'm a portable recorder junkie. So far, I've bought: Zoom H4, Zoom H2, Edirol R-09, Tascam DR-07. Tomorrow, my new Tascam DR-100 will be delivered. I expect this to be my go-to Swiss Army knife for audio, grabbing wild sound, occasional interviews, and as a backup to camera recorder when doing wireless work. (I've just bought some Sennheiser G3 wireless systems with wired diversity receivers, which would be good insurance to non-diversity receivers on camera.)

It would be interesting to hear how others are using these cheap modern marvels in production work.


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Danny Grizzle
Re: Handheld Portable Recorders
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:24:41 pm

I should also mention iProRecorder by BIAS - an iPhone App. For only $2.99, this is an amazing value. It has already saved my bacon in a couple of extemporaneous occasions!

http://www.iprorecorder.com/



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Jordan Wolf
Re: Handheld Portable Recorders
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:26:13 pm

Have you looked at anything from Sound Devices?

Wolf
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Danny Grizzle
Re: Handheld Portable Recorders
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:53:16 pm

Sound Devices is the holy grail of location audio. Really a different class altogether. I got interested in handheld portable recorders for documentary production in situations where a full professional rig would call too much attention or intimidate non-professional talent.

So far, the Edirol R-09 is the most inconspicuous dedicated recorder I have used.

The Zoom H4 sounds nice, but the controls and build quality are terrible. I like the XLR inputs.

The Zoom H4n is supposed to correct most problems with the original. It is featured on the Zacuto website as part of their DSLR video product offering.

The iPhone with iProRecorder is actually the most inconspicuous of all.

I've never seen a Tascam DR-100, but I've been told it is built like a tank. Plus the reviews say the control layout is simple, and the display is large. It can be operated without constantly going into software menus. It has XLR inputs. Basically, this sounds like perfection of the Zoom H4 concept. I bought one on a one day special for $299 through Sound Professionals. B&H now lists them for $329.

The Tascam DR-07 is an attractive, well built recorder that would be of interest to podcasters. It is small, but still a bit large. Recently, Sound Professionals offered a one day special on the DR-07 for $99 -- a stunning low price.

Yamaha makes some interesting recorders in their Pocketrak line. I live in the outback of Texas, so I have to buy this stuff to see it. Due to size, the Yamaha might be ideal for ultimate stealth.





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Danny Grizzle
Tascam DR-100 Mini Review
on Oct 20, 2009 at 5:17:56 pm

My Tascam DR-100 was delivered Friday. I immediately rigged it with a Rode NT-4 stereo mic w/Rycote Mini Windjammer, mounted on a Rode Mini Boompole, and setoff for the high school football game, where my son is a senior in the marching band.

Although a bit larger than most portables, this is a great little field recorder. It can easily be held in a single hand. Build quality far surpasses the Zoom H4, as well as design. I don't have a Zoom H4n for comparison.

The Tascam DR-100 has large input level adjustment dial with concentric left and right channels. This is very easy to use, and a very welcome design that sets this unit apart from all other portable field recorders.

Dynamics at a high school football game are completely unpredictable, especially spontaneous drum cadences the band may do in response to action on the field. I found the Tascam's limiters to be highly effective at controlling digital overs. Further, I welcome the peak LED instead of more conventional peak hold metering. In live recording, it is very difficult to meter successfully given the tiny size and poor illumination of screens on most portable recorders.

Recorder controls were large and easy to use. Dedicated buttons and a smart design placing important secondary switches on the back of the recorder, make this portable recorder a joy to use.

Football game audio is not my intended application, but the results obtained were incredibly realistic. I have not yet tried the built-in microphones or done any interview recording, my primary application. But so far I am very pleased with the Tascam DR-100 recorder, so much so I gave away my old Zoom H4 the next day.



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John Pucci
Re: Tascam DR-100 Mini Review
on Jan 18, 2010 at 10:15:49 pm

Danny,

Have you had a chance to use any of these for serious music recording? Enough to recommend one over the other?

John


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