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Topic: Radio interview recorders..

I work as a sports journalist for a local radio station, and i'm looking for advice on the best piece of recording equipment to buy, for after-match interviews which can be played-off a computer via USB...

Last year, I bought a Zoom H4, but it's proved a major disappointment.. Battery life has been terrible, and wind plays havoc with outdoor recording.. upon reflection, it's not a machine really designs for radio-work.. more for musicians..

I'm been looking at the Tascam DR-1, but dont know if it'll do the trick.. It's a reasonable price, and the lithium battery should prove useful, but not sure if the 'wind factor' will be eliminated.. also, I dont want to be having to plug-in an external mic..
I've looked at other options including the HHB Flashmic, but to be honest, they're far too expensive.

For years, I used the Sony Minidisk for interviews.. reliable and great sound, but too slow sending-down interviews on computer...

Maybe there's someone out there who could offer advice..
is the Tascam DR-1, worth taking a chance on, or will I end up regretting it??

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

If there's a lot of wind, that will always be a problem. That said, some recorders seem much more prone to wind and handling noise compared to others. By the way, the HHB Flashmic is fantastic, especially with how it's AGC (automatic gain control) works. I think the best price currently is at BSW for $845.

I don't know about the Tascam DR-1, but I have also used the Marantz PMD620 at $350-$400. It is much better than the Zoom recorders regarding handling noise and wind. And it is much less prone to "plosives" than the Zoom H4 or H2. Battery life has been great. Sound quality is also good.

These smaller recorders work best when recording in WAV format so you're not asking the little machines to record and compress at the same time when the setting is on MP3, often resulting in some extra background noise by almost all under $500 recorders.

However, if you are in really windy situations you'll likely need a wind sock of some sort and to place yourself as much as possible out of the direct wind.

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Jeff Towne over at Transom does a great job reviewing and tracking these recorders.

Also, here's an earlier thread on the DR-1.

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Thanks a million for the advise above. Those sites have some useful information alright, just a matter of opting for the right machine! The HHB Flashmic still seems a touch expensive though, not sure if it's worth that kind of money..Will have another look around before deciding on anything. Thanks again..

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Im very pleases so far with my R-09HR
but it will suffer from wind. I think you can buy a dead cat to go over the mikes but i use an external mic with dead cat. even that is affected by anything much more than a breaze.

http://www.roland.com/products/en/R-09HR/index.html

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Colm,

What's your budget?

Sony's PCM D50 has been doing a good job -- but while I have the deadcat on its internal mics, I haven't really tried using them in windy conditions.  Without the deadcat on the Sony, it's pretty susceptible to wind noise -- even indoors!

Frankly, working in the wind, I use a shotgun mic, shockmount with pistol grip and dead cat.  Add it all up and it's more than the FlashMic.

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Gearscout..

I haven't got a budget as such.. I've been onto the Flashmic suppliers here in Ireland, and the cardioid version retails at around €848 including VAT. The newer version with a Line Input included, is priced at over €1,160. Pretty pricey, not sure yet if I'm prepared to take a gamble. But it seems the way to go for broadcasters who need good quality audio..

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Colm: How weird that the FlashMic is more expensive in Ireland than the U.S. (given that it was made in England)! That's really too bad. It seems you pay 50% more than in the U.S. There's something very wrong with that! The FlashMic really is a wonderful device for several reasons.

One of the practical problems you face with the cheaper recorders is that several of them do a good job recording live music (especially the Sony PCM D50), but that doesn't always translate to a good recorder for spoken voice under live interview conditions when the recording device may be hand held and you are outdoors.

So far the Marantz PMD620 is the best recorder I know of in that $350-$400 range that is decently good with regards to handling noise and wind. For example, my Zoom H2 will pick up a lot of handling noise and wind if I'm walking down the street on a perfectly calm day. The Marantz PMD620 will pick up neither! It doesn't mean it won't pick up wind, just that it's a lot less prone to do this.

Reviews really haven't come out on the Tascam DR-1 yet.  I suppose it's possible that it will be closer to the Marantz than the Sony, or new Olympus, or Zooms, or the others with regards to handling noise and wind. When reviews start coming out pay attention to the issue of handling noise--they'll usually report that issue. If it is prone to handling noise, then wind will definitely be problematic. There will probably be some reviews coming out on the Tascam fairly soon.

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Colm,

The best advice might be to bite the bullet and be prepared for anything:

Sony PCM-D50.....$515 with windscreen
Senn ME66/K6.......410
Rycote Mount etc...230
XLR to mini adptr... 20

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5 … table.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/3 … oftie.html

It's not a "compact" solution, but it's got versatility.  The Rycote shockmount is MUCH more durable than the cheaper "Universal" shockmounts on B&H that use a rubber-band-style system susceptible to frequent breaks.  You get a recorder you can set on a tabletop for press conferences and a shotgun mic and windscreen that will bring the audio to you, even in harsh wind conditions. 

Mitchellm is right, the handheld solution isn't so hot.  External mics are the way to get professional sound.  But I've used the Sony to record audio handheld and it's fine...not as good as when combined with the Sennheiser shotgun, but it works.

The difference in price between the Flashmic w/Line In and the kit above is probably enough to fly to New York and pick it up!  ;-)

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Yeah, the Flashmic with Line-In, works-out at over €1,100 including VAT here in Ireland! Without the Line-in, it's €848 inc VAT.
The only good thing about buying it here in Ireland, will be that if it doesnt do the job (and I'll know pretty quickly), then I can bring it back without too much hassle! But ye're right about the prices.. they're very steep over here, I'd probably save a fortune by jumping on a plane and splashing out on equipment in the States!

Just hope that the battery life on this Flashmic is okay.. that's still my biggest concern, although the fact that it takes rechargables might be an advantage, once I keep them topped-up!

If I proceed, I'll let you know how the Flashmic is performing!

Thanks all again...

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Re: Radio interview recorders..

Ignore all previous advice Colm.  What you need is a good old fasioned Marantz, a roll of celotape and a sharp splicing blade!!!!!

12 (edited by Fudge 2011-11-02 00:32:27)

Re: Radio interview recorders..

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