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advice on which zoom recorders and the pro and cons!

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Laurence Loz
advice on which zoom recorders and the pro and cons!
on Feb 22, 2017 at 2:54:53 pm
Last Edited By Laurence Loz on Feb 22, 2017 at 3:06:32 pm

Soon I will be travelling the world as a photographer/videographer, Im really being strict on what I take as I wont to keep kit down to a minimum, as far as audio is concerned I only plan on taking my rode videomic pro and a portable recorder, the question is what are the recommendations? h5? or will that be overkill for my needs? im not concerned to much with cost i just want quality and portability.

Thanks in advance.


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Richard Crowley
Re: advice on which zoom recorders and the pro and cons!
on Feb 22, 2017 at 4:53:03 pm

It depends of what you are shooting/recording. Are you doing interviews? Concerts? Ambience?

And it depends on what camera(s?) you are using. Why do you think you need double-system sound (separate recorder)? Is whatever you are recording on not adequate for what you plan on recording? Too many unknowns to answer your question properly.

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Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.


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Laurence Loz
Re: advice on which zoom recorders and the pro and cons!
on Feb 23, 2017 at 12:37:50 am

I will mostly be recording ambient and environmental sounds, for ambient sounds the rode videomic pro doesn't cut it, plus its not stereo. I need I double system so I can be flexible and not have to leave my camera running to capture background noise. Cameras used are nikon d7200, Sony a6500 and the new a9 when its released.


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Richard Crowley
Re: advice on which zoom recorders and the pro and cons!
on Feb 23, 2017 at 1:21:55 am

Likely none of the little plastic "shaver" Zoom recorders are really notable for recording "ambient" sound. Because that requires quite above-average noise floor/dynamic range performance, and none of those little recorders are noted for having very quiet mic preamps. Perhaps the Zoom F4 (4 channel) or F8 (8 channel) recorders have better than average mic preamp performance. But then you also need an exceptionally quiet microphone(s).

You are correct that in general, DSLR cameras have quite marginal audio performance. Perhaps good enough only for a "scratch track" or a "sync track".

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Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.


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Chris Wright
Re: advice on which zoom recorders and the pro and cons!
on Feb 23, 2017 at 6:31:51 am

the portable field recorders from foztex are cinema quality sound.
a cheaper alternative is tascam.
the cheaper zoom models have horrible floor noise. better is h5/h6 or Sony XLR-K2M Audio Adapter
whatever you decide, make sure that it has low db noise level, uncompressed wave PCM
the less unbalanced cables you use, the better.
get used to pluraleyes for syncing if you want professional DSLR sound.


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John McClary
Re: advice on which zoom recorders and the pro and cons!
on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:27:44 pm

If you set your input levels right (never use the "high" setting), then the modern Tascam DR-60 mkii, Dr-70D mkii, or DR-701 noise levels are very usable (unlike the older models). However, the Zoom F4/F8 have really good preamps. Your other option is to use a separate preamp like a Sound Designs DigiPre or the Juicedlink Riggy or BMC388 and then use your line inputs instead.

John McClary


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