For a while now I have been recording audio internally on the Alexa, however, I am starting to think that recording on an external audio recorder might be better. My reasoning is that I can only record 2 channels internally and that there is no option for mic level; only line.
What I want to do is have an audio recorder that will record at least 4 channels, TC synced with the Alexa, and record automatically when the Alexa starts recording. What is my best option? I have a ZOOM H4 (not n) which I was hoping might work but if not, what is my best option?
Like most jack-of-all-media-trades there is always one area that isn't as solid as the rest. For me, this happens to be audio. While I can claim to be competent there are large caps of knowledge due simply to the fact that I have been learning it all on the fly. Thus, please be specific.
While the Zoom H4n will record 4 tracks, two of those tracks can only be fed by the built-in microphones so unless you want to record stereo ambience along with two standard mics, this won't work for you. Plus, the H4n does not have timecode capability or the ability to trigger from the Alexa.
The Sound Devices 744t will record four tracks, has full timecode capability, has two mic/line and two line only inputs and can be triggered to record when it sees rolling timecode on it's TC input. You would have to put the Alexa into RecRun timecode, which isn't always optimal, but it will work.
Also from Sound Devices, the PIX240i will record up to 8 tracks, but only has 2 mic/line inputs (the rest of the tracks can be fed from audio embedded over SDI/HDMI). The PIX240i will trigger from the Alexa's SDI video feed by recognizing the start/stop flags contained in the video stream.
Well, there's the Sound Devices 702T. It records two tracks and has all the timecode capabilities of the 744t.
Prices for anything with timecode (and I mean full-featured, accurate timecode)are not going to be inexpensive.
You can look at things like the Edirol R44Pro or the Tascam HD-P1, but they will be a little larger, made of plastic, and would benefit greatly by being fed the timecode from your Alexa as the master (because the Alexa has a pretty good clock).
There are also products made by Zaxcom, like the Maxx, Nomad or some of their small, pocket-sized recorders with timecode but I don't really know much about them other than the prices will be similar to the Sound Devices products.
From there, it drops off into Zoom territory, and if you show up on a shoot with an H4n strapped to your Alexa, you should feel shame.