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Tascam DR-70D ability to provide Phantom Power?

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Jeff Wolfram
Tascam DR-70D ability to provide Phantom Power?
on Mar 16, 2015 at 4:55:36 pm

Looking for opinions on the Tascam DR-70D. Seems like an efficient design to mount to a dslr verses mounting on the hot shoe or using a super clamp.

I've read through it's manual and it states it does put out Phantom Power however reading an online comment claiming it can't power Rodes NTG-3 (shotgun mic). That happens to be the mic I use a lot. Can anyone confirm or deny this claim? Or does anyone have opinions of the Tascam DR-70D?

thanks, jeff

-------
Architectural & Interior Photographer


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Richard Crowley
Re: Tascam DR-70D ability to provide Phantom Power?
on Mar 16, 2015 at 7:55:58 pm

I have heard no credible evidence that the Tascam DR-70D fails to produce proper 24V or 48V (switchable) phantom power sufficient to operate any microphone. I have a DR-60 and have no complaints about it. The DR-70 appears to be a reasonably well-regarded product.

Now, if you are asking whether the DR-70D has enough low-noise GAIN to use with the NTG3 (or any other shotgun mic) that is a DIFFERENT question than any discussion about phantom power. I think it is safe to say that in the hands of most amateur users, those commodity digital recorders are marginal if you are operating at the edge of reasonable performance.

IMHO, most amateurs seem to think that shotgun microphones have magical properties that exempt them from basic laws of physics and what kind of reasonable working distances and signal-to-noise ratios you are shooting/recording in. No shotgun mic is a "zoom lens" for audio.

I must say that many (most?) user comments and "reviews" (and I use that term with great reservation) in mass-market websites like Amazon and even B&H appear to be written by people who have no clue what they are talking about.


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Jeff Wolfram
Re: Tascam DR-70D ability to provide Phantom Power?
on Mar 17, 2015 at 3:10:37 pm

Hi Richard thank you for your response. Yes I am an audio amateur so let me clarify your statement. You are commenting about the distant the mic (shotgun) is in relation to the subject and not using a long (25'+) xlr cable being powered by only 4AA?

I know the Tascam I have now eats through batteries with the NTG-3 whereas a mic such as the NTG-2 (powered by a battery AA) seems to allow for better recorder life.

Again I truly appreciate your response.


thanks,

-------
Architectural & Interior Photographer


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Richard Crowley
Re: Tascam DR-70D ability to provide Phantom Power?
on Mar 17, 2015 at 7:10:14 pm

Yes, the distance between the microphone and the subject is critical. Even a microphone that costs as much as your car isn't going to work worth a diddle over 3ft/1m. And especially in hostile ambient audio locations.

The length of the cable is of almost zero concern unless you have a really terrible cable.

Generating the 24 or 48V required by the phantom power specification understandable eats up a lot of power from a few AA batteries which are also powering your mixer/recorder. Clearly, a microphone that operates from its own internal battery will likely eat up fewer batteries than if you were using phantom power.

OTOH, the better-performing (more "professional") microphones tend to be the ones which only operate on phantom power, and have no provision for internal batteries. So there will always be a tradeoff decision to be made there.

It looks effortless in the movies and on TV. But they go to great cost to achieve that good quality audio. Those "reality" shows may have $30,000 worth of wireless mics on all the participants. And another $20,000 worth of mixing and multi-track portable recording. And then a multi-person audio mixing crew that works for many hours in editing.

And you can be sure that the production audio person went along on the location scouting tours to ensure they weren't trying to capture audio along a busy interstate highway or in a boilerworks, or at the end of the runway at the international airport.

And for feature films, it is still not unusual for the actors to spend hours in the ADR studio, "looping" (replacing) their dialog lines that were too noisy from the original shooting.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Tascam DR-70D ability to provide Phantom Power?
on Mar 30, 2015 at 4:53:02 am

I love the form factor of the Tascam but the way it devours batteries and forgets its settings as it dies makes it all but useless in production. Zoom recorders absolutely are the way to go at this price point.

Noah

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