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Why does the recorder matter?

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Steve Topper
Why does the recorder matter?
on Apr 13, 2011 at 5:02:39 pm

Hey all, this is just a general theoretical question, but something I'm a bit confused about.

If you are using a high quality mixer like the 302 with good preamps, then why does it matter what recorder is behind it, whether it's a 702 or an h4n?

I know a couple of reason might be timecode or the number of tracks it records to, but beyond that, wtf?

Wouldn't any difference in audio quality honestly be negligable?


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Noah Kadner
Re: Why does the recorder matter?
on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:07:21 pm

Which recorders are you thinking about? A 702 has far better internal processing and circuitry than say a Xoom. Result is better quality sound with less noise. Is it night and day- probably not. If you notice the difference however you'll be willing to pay. that said a good mixer is in my opinion a better investment than a good recorder if you have to pick one.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Canon 7D.


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Frank Nolan
Re: Why does the recorder matter?
on Apr 14, 2011 at 7:36:52 am

Besides any functionality differences, when using a digital recorder, the biggest concern would be the A to D converters. When the signal passes from the mixer into the recorder it has to be converted from analog to digital. The converters on a 702 would be far superior to those of a H4n.



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Steve Topper
Re: Why does the recorder matter?
on Apr 14, 2011 at 2:17:32 pm

Ahh, thank you. That makes sense.


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Ty Ford
Re: Why does the recorder matter?
on Apr 14, 2011 at 2:23:34 pm

Hello Steve and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

In addition to what's already been mentioned,

Test the A/D. Try recording with peaks at -30 (yes, -30) , importing and normalizing. Play the file. Is it usable?

How many useful features does it have?

The build of the gear. How long will the switches and buttons work? Will it work after being dropped?

When it does fail, who do you call? What's the likely response time?

The less expensive gear may not prevail. So you expect to buy X number of replacements. How many? When will it fail? Will it cost you a job? What's the hassle factor of replacing the broken one.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Bill Davis
Re: Why does the recorder matter?
on Apr 14, 2011 at 10:22:45 pm

Just to bootstrap onto the smart things others have said- it's worth noting that when someone is beginning in sound, it's really, REALLY easy to think things are OK when they sound OK. And often, that's exactly right. But later conditions might change and you'll notice that something that you have become accustomed to monitoring in one space (like listening to your mix on computer speakers or in a noisy fan-filled edit suite) where it sounds fine - suddenly gets a chance for playback on a better sound system - and that new reproduction system reveals SIGNIFICANT flaws that were not previously apparent.

I just watched a demo at NAB where a VERY highly skilled image maker showed work from the field- but the nat sound recordings that accompanied the images were often HARSH and PIERCING. They probably sounded very clear and perfectly fine on a 100 watt system. But on a 1000 watt system, turned up for a crowd of 500 - the flaws in the audio (lack of full range, mid-tone over emphasis, and some over-processing) that were likely obscured to all but those ears trained to listen for them - got pretty harsh and nasty when it got turned up on a bigger system.

Not the end of the world, but a good example of why time recording the best quality you can for BOTH image and sound is always time well spent.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Steve Topper
Re: Why does the recorder matter?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 2:55:44 am

That's some great advice. Thanks for it. I had a similar experience once with someone else's film I helped out on. Everything sounded fine gathered around the desktop speakers, but on a good pair of headphones or a sound system, it was another story.

That is exactly what I want to avoid in my work.


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Ty Ford
Re: Why does the recorder matter?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:01:55 am

Steve,

The book I'm working on now is about audio in post. Good monitoring is absolutely crucial. You need the right monitors (a small and large set). They need to be placed properly. It needs to be QUIET so you can "hear what's going on deep down in the noise floor. (as you have found.)

Without an accurate reference listening environment, there's no way to tell what's right.

I use an old pair of JBL L100 at one workstation and a pair of Event Opals at the other. I also have Radio Shack Minimus sevens at each workstation for the small speakers.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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