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Stereo handheld recorders internal mics / Rode Stereo Videomic Pro


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Hi,

I understand there have been a few topics on these, but I think mostly they've been about using them for recording dialogue etc through mixers and external mics. So here's one regarding the sound quality of built-in mics.

This coming February I'm taking a three week trip to Vietnam, Thailand and probably Cambodia in between. Now, obviously I'd love to record all these cool exotic sounds and atmos you find in locations like that, but since it's a holiday, I probably won't want to risk bringing my pro equipment (like a 302), which would attract attention, be a bit heavy and unpractical to carry around etc etc.

So it'll probably be handheld recorders. I own a Zoom H4 (not H4n) and a Zoom H2n. What I would like to know is if you know about a recorder you know has substantially better sound quality with the internal mics (signal to noise ratio, stereo imaging etc).

Also, does someone have any experience with the Rode Stereo Videomic Pro? I'm also wondering if that might up the quality when recording into the H2n, instead of using the internal mics?

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The zoom h2n would be adequate for most ambiences. I once got a job to gather swedish ambiences and fx for an interactive movie in England. I used the H4n for it, and they thanked me for the awesome quality. Never told them what I was using. Of course the H4n mics are useless for quiet ambiences, but for a tad louder things, it's really handy.

The top of the line in these types of recorders is the Sony PCM D50, but they don't make them anymore I think. The Olympus line of recorders are also "better".

Www.wingfieldaudio.com have excellent tests and reviews of different recorders.

Have a nice trip!

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All these handhelds with internal mics are a bit noisy, so not very good for the quiet stuff, but otherwise very useful. As Olle says the best is probably the D50, but it's a bit more expensive than the rest.

I own an Olympus LS-5 (same as LS-11) and have compared it to my previous Zoom H2 (I think the new H2n uses the same mics and preamps, so it should sound similar). The LS-5 has a pretty clear sound compared to the H2 which is a bit dark in comparison, but both are capable of getting decent ambiences on the go. The noise floor on the H2 is actually among the quieter ones, several dB lower than the LS-5, and it's nice to be able to choose from 90, 120 or surround.

I don't think you would experience a big sonic upgrade from the H2n in another handheld. If you don't think it's up for it, you might want to get some external mics to use.

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I brought a h4n to those same places.

Wish I had a nice handheld shock mount because rarely did I want to leave it on the ground, or put it on a stand. The one that comes with the h4n is defiantly a step up from holding the unit itself though. 2c

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The top of the line in these types of recorders is the Sony PCM D50, but they don't make them anymore I think.

Www.wingfieldaudio.com have excellent tests and reviews of different recorders.

Have a nice trip!

Olle and Karri ...still in stock at B&H so I guess one of the ''usual suspects'' might be able to get you one if they order it (they probably just ditched it from their inventory when the M10 went out) ?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/524130-REG/Sony_PCM_D50_PCM_D50_Professional_Portable.html

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I believe the TASCAM and Marantz models are quieter.

Waaay OT but I ran into that free app for iPhone by Tascam 2 days ago: Tascam PCM Recorder.

More options than the stock Apple one; basic EQ, Limiter, L0-Cut...and that gold/yellow ''LCD meter'' Tascam owners will recognize for sure ..!

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I just bought a Sony PCM D50 for the film I'm currently working on in Vietnam. I bought it from ebay from people called Studio AMG. I bought the whole package recorder, carrycase, remote, AC adaptor and most importantly the rycote style fluffy that fits over the mics. This is the difference between this unit and others that I saw, that you can use it in normal exterior conditions.

The only problem is that the D50 is a bit old and does not support the latest Mac operating system, 10.5.8 works ok.

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Thanks for the input, all. Thomann seems to have the PCM-D50 in stock, even one B-stock, so it would be a tad cheaper. I'll have to think about this, though. It is of course a bit expensive for something that on safer (close to home or professional/insured) trips I would simply do with the gear I already own such as 302+H2n or Nomad. Maybe I'll try and shop around for a used one. :)

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+1 for the D-50. I have used it to capture sound fx all around the world. The mics are sensitive and have quite a bit of reach. I love that you can switch between ORTF, XY or spaced pair. Mics are pretty bright too.

Now, if you really want to splurge go for the Sony PCM D1. I've seen them on sale for a cool grand. That way next time someone pulls out their zoom recorder, u can give them the old crocodile Dundee saying...U call that a hand held recorder?? Now this is a hand held recorder!

Happy travels!

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