1 (edited by heehawes 2008-02-13 22:11:38)

Topic: DB boost

We have a Microtrack 24/96 recorder here at the newspaper. I almost always use the "db boost" feature which greatly enhances the sensitivity of the microphone enabling us to be farther away with the shotgun and it sounds like you have it inches away from the subject's mouth. JUST ADDED THIS  SENTENCE TO ORIGINAL POST: We are looking to buy another recorder and I want to make sure that it has this feature or equivalent.  Does "db boost" go by other names? Is there something to look for in the specs?


We are looking at the Marantz pmd660, the Sony PCM-D50, and the Eridol R-09.

For the record I think the Microtrack is an outstanding recorder but the battery is awful. We get about 1 hour out of it before it dies and it is not replaceable. Its like an i-pod. The new Microtrack II seems to have the same battery as the original. What are they thinking? AAs, look into it M-Audio!

Thanks,

Alan

2

Re: DB boost

Hey Alan.

What mic are you using?  Perhaps someone is using the same mic and can comment on its effectiveness with those recorders.

-joe

3

Re: DB boost

We are using the Audio Technica AT 897 short shotgun - which I really like.

-Alan

4

Re: DB boost

I've personally used the AT897 with the Marantz 660, and it works well. 

No idea about the other two recorders in combination.  The Edirol typically needs a stronger signal than the Marantz.

-joe

5

Re: DB boost

What Microtrack is calling a "db boost" is most likely a way of setting the pre-amplifier. All of these small devices that you mention have relatively limited preamps. And they all refer to it in different ways (they rarely seem to use the actual word "preamp" but may say "gain" or "db boost" or something similar). The problem with not-so-hot preamps is that as you increase their "db boost" they'll also create noticeable additional background noise. Really good preamps won't do this--but then you're paying about $500 and up just for the preamp.

Keep in mind you can always increase the gain later on with software. For example the free Levelator software (mac and win) does a very nice job of this.

From what I've heard the Sony PCM-50 has the best preamps of the models you mention. There are a few good reviews out there regarding how it works. I have the very small Marantz PMD620 for "walking around" spontaneous recordings (I can just put it in my pocket and go). This device has surprisingly good preamps for it's price point. However, looking at the $400 to $600 price range, probably the best option is the Fostex FR2-LE. It's not as small as the other devices you mention, but it is portable--which may fit your needs just fine since the quality is quite good (based on my reading of the reviews).

On another note, the Marantz PMD620, the Sony and several (if not all) of the new portables don't do this silly battery thing that Microtrack does. For example, the PMD620 takes 2 AA batteries. I can go for hours with one set. Of course your battery usage may differ, but you can always bring along a replacement set in case the originals get low.