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Choosing a multi-channel recorder

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Tom Galli
Choosing a multi-channel recorder
on Sep 27, 2017 at 12:26:38 am

Aloha all!

I've got an older Tascam DR-680. Nothing wrong with it; works fine, and I know how to use it pretty well. But it's...awkward. The single-knob interface, the form factor, the ergonomics... it's good at being compact, and it's good at recording, but if I'm at a shoot where I have the luxury of a table and a little space to spread out, it would be nice to have something... easier.

Zoom has got three products I'm eyeballing:
Zoom R-16 ($400)
Zoom Livetrak L-12 ($600)
Zoom F-8 with F-Control ($1300)

I have a friend with a Zoom R-24, which is more-or-less the same as the R-16, so I've played with that. The workflow is clearly oriented around musical layering as opposed to location recording, but it will record 8 channels at a time, has 8 XLR inputs, and has 8 dedicated faders.

The Livetrak is a little pricier, but has a nicer form factor. I've not worked with it, so I don't know what the flow is like. Again, 8 XLR inputs, 8 faders, and will record 12 channels at a time.

The F-8 looks more like what I am accustomed to with the Tascam, except it has 8 control knobs, one per channel. Adding the F-Control gives the 8 fader feel of a real mixer. I would expect that the workflow on this is more in line with location recording, but again, I've not touched one.

What are your thoughts? And, what could I do with a single F-8 that I couldn't do with two Livetraks or three R-16s for the same money?

Mahalo!
Tom G

The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.


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Robert Withers
Re: Choosing a multi-channel recorder
on Sep 27, 2017 at 2:02:49 am

Curtis Judd does the most thorough, practical, and thoughtful sound equip evaluations.
Eg,





Robert Withers

Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City


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Eric Toline
Re: Choosing a multi-channel recorder
on Sep 28, 2017 at 12:50:19 am

First I should say that I own Production Sound Solutions in Ft. Lauderdale where we sell, service and rent audio equipment for motion picture & TV productions. In our testing of the F8 when it came out 2 years ago we found that the preamps in the F8 are equal to Sound Devices mixers which are some of the best sounding professional portable units. The F8 records to two cards, one for the 2 mix and the other for your ISO tracks. 48v phantom is individually selectable for each input channel as are the limiters and high pass filters. The F8 also has it's own SMPTE time code generator if that's a must have in your work. The F8 has 3 powering options, internal AA batteries, external ac/dc wall wart and external 12v battery power. Like all digital recorders there is a learning curve. Think of the $1300 for the F8 setup as an investment not an expense.

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Ty Ford
Re: Choosing a multi-channel recorder
on Sep 28, 2017 at 1:32:54 pm

Great info, Eric. Thanks so much for being a part of the Cow.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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