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Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?

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Lovette Hamilton
Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 3:28:26 am

Hi everyone! I searched around the forums and found a few portable recorders mentioned often that are in my price range (Edirol R09, Zoom H line, Tascam), but I'm not sure which or if another one will best fit my uses.

I'm looking to get a portable recorder under $300 and a mic. Not sure what the budget is for the mic yet, but I know they want it to be as cheap as possible without making things sound as terrible as a crappy camera's built-in mic recording in a tornado LOL.

I need it mostly to record interviews for a show we do. Someone is shooting the interviews and we want a mic for the interviewer to hold and pass back and forth. We'll also sometimes need it to be able to take a lavalier as well if we ever need something more hidden.

It'll be nice if it has directional mics built-in as well because sometimes we have weird performances where we want to hide mics in strange places and it'd be so much easier if we could just hide a recorder there instead.

So far as the recording format, we'd love it to be uncompressed and record to SD cards. The overall quality should just be as good as possible for the price. Lastly, it'd be great if it had a usb port.

Anyway, that's what we need and we're not sure what recorders of the ones I mentioned or what mics would be good for us because we've never recorded with portable recorders before. Do they have multiple inputs for mics? It'd be perfect if we could have two mics in at once, but let me know if that means we'd have to go higher in budget.

We don't have an opportunity to test the quality of any of these before we buy so it'll be great to hear from people who have used some or all of them.

Any help would be appreciated!!!


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Anthony Marzilli
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 1:55:04 pm

I have used this in the past http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/432017-REG/Fostex_FR2_LE_FR_2_LE_2_Ch...

two inputs... usb... flash card... all that you've mentioned. No built in mic but a simple recorder for work in the field.


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Lovette Hamilton
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 10:17:44 pm

Hey Anthony, thanks for the link, I'll take a look!


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Bob Kessler
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 3:46:35 pm

A few more details would be helpful. Do you want a hand-held mic? What kind of camera are you using? Is this run & gun or sit-down interviews? Both? These and many other factors will determine your equipment needs.


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Lovette Hamilton
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 9:36:15 pm

Hey, thanks for the response!

Yes, we want a hand-held mic for the interviewed to hold and just tip back and forth between her and the guest. It's for interviews usually on location at events. For example, the last one we did, we were interviewing a designer outside of the building she was about to have her first fashion show. All of the interviews are like this.

We sometimes will want a lavalier pinned to the guest instead, but that's not really priority, though any suggestions on great lapel mics would be nice.

The audio recorder is our main focus. It can be handheld or the kind that does have a stand it can be fitted to, it doesn't matter.

We're not hooking these up to the camera and we use whatever cameras we have available on the day besides. All of that is separate equipment we've already got going.

The portable audio recorder is just something we need to record audio independent of whatever else we're recording to as well so we have that as a backup or sometimes a primary or sometimes the only thing we're using like when we're doing interviews with no footage.

Basically, this is something we just need to add to our arsenal to give us more options than we currently have, including options that don't require a camera to be used as an audio recording device on site when we don't actually need a camera.


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 10:21:23 pm

Well, in addition to the recorders already mentioned, you could look at this one. There are a few different versions (omnidirectional vs. cardioid, line-level input or no).

Wolf
<><


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Lovette Hamilton
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 10:36:44 pm

Hey Jordan, thanks for the link! We've seen the flash mics do have great features, but we're looking for something more basic and not so specific to being best suited for interviews even though that's what we're using this for now. We want to carry our recorder over into our other projects eventually if it performs well with just our interviews.


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 31, 2009 at 7:07:00 am

Ah, I see. I'm glad you decided on the Zoom H4n - I love that little thing. I may get one myself, someday. I recorded a number of sound effects using those while at my university.

Enjoy it and have exploring its many features!

Wolf
<><


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 9:32:10 pm

Maybe im reading between the lines but are you also wanting to then sync those recordings up to the video captured on the camera?


The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom is... Knowledge is the knowing of facts.... Wisdom is the sensible application of good quality knowledge...


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Lovette Hamilton
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 10:15:45 pm

All of the scenarios we ideally want to be able to use this portable recorder for will be the following:

1) We're just using it by itself. Just the interviewer/guest talking into the mic hooked up to the recorder. We'll then prep the audio to be listened to by our staff and members. These are the ones we usually do in house.

2) We're using it to record the audio while we shoot either because we don't want to use the camera's line in or onboard mic or we simply want to have a second audio source to compare with or transcribe from on top of the mics we've jacked into our cameras.

All of our on location interviews are like this except up until this point, we don't use any portable recorders. We just use all of our cameras and mics or the equipment of the ones commissioning the interviews. It varies depending on how far we're traveling and the location.

For the different equipment we own, we like everything to have its own set of mics and accessories so that no one has to wait for someone else to finish using something if they have another project to go off on, so we'd like to get a mic that will always be kept with the audio recorder.

So the recorder is the priority. If we have to just get a recorder and use the best mics for the job that we already have, fine. It's just a preference that we buy a mic with the recorder.

Syncing everything is a non-issue. Using a small portable recorder is just new to us because we're used to using our cams with mics lined in, our mobile studio, or being in-studio. We haven't really had something you can just pop out of your pocket and plug a mic into.

All of the pre and post work is covered. We just need a portable device to give us more options and lighten the load when we don't really need all of that other stuff for what we're trying to accomplish.

3) We're using it by itself with its built-in directional mics to record sounds from a static position for review, not to be synced up with any footage, just to have the audio used with b-roll or fun funny sound bytes or whatever. We only need it for this purpose for some of the weird performances (not music) and things we do.

That'll be the only three things we're using it for, numbers 1 and 2 being priority. I have a friend who owned a Zoom, but he moved so I never got a chance to play around with it.

Now we're in a situation where we need to be able to order something to test out for another interview we're doing and we have to just have it mailed there. It's just going to be backup at this point and we'll see how well it works sound quality wise, but we want to be sure that the hardware itself suits our needs in terms of formats and inputs before worrying about the quality of the recordings.

Hope that's sort of explained everything!


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Lovette Hamilton
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 10:27:26 pm

Hehe sound bytes = sound bites! Ignore me. My typing will get worse and worse by the end of this LOL


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Lovette Hamilton
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 30, 2009 at 10:39:49 pm

Hmm. Maybe I'll just tell them to pick one and go with it and we'll just test it out when it gets there. If it's not quite right, we'll just send it back and keep looking. It's their budget so they'll know what quality they can be happy with at the price point they're asking and settle on something eventually. I just wanted to help them make a good guess at what to try first LOL


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Lovette Hamilton
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Oct 31, 2009 at 12:26:46 am

Ok, they decided to go with the Zoom H4n. It's in their budget, not overkill, just decent equipment we can play with for now. I'll update you guys in once we've tested it out to let you know the results!


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Aume Daye
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Sep 12, 2011 at 9:27:26 pm

:)


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Spencer Sternberg
Re: Portable Audio Recorder for Interviews?
on Nov 2, 2009 at 4:46:57 am

How about have a close look at the M-Audio Microtrack II? I have been using it solidly for the last couple of months and it is really nice. I am not sure if its too much for your budget, but when I saw some of your requirements of a portable recorder I thought I should share.

The Microtrack II records to Compact Flash and does also have a USB interface. I know Compact Flash isn't SD but the price of the media seems to be fairly similar and the slight size difference (bigger) doesn't bother me at all. I have an 8gig CF card and it can record so much more than I need in one session.

The recording options are great, you can choose between 16bit and 24bit, and from 44.1kHz, to 48kHz, to 96kHz. I noticed you said you may sometimes use a lapel microphone. The Microtrack II has a stereo minijack input, as well as two balanced 1/4inch inputs (which is great when you're using higher quality microphones) and also 48V phantom power for powering quality condensor microphones.

Another thing is, you can always start with a cheaper microphone, and then get a better one later, but the Microtrack as a portable recorder is really worth the price.


Spencer Sternberg
Audio for Games
http://www.spencersternberg.com


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