Jump to content

Looking to purchase my first recorder


Recommended Posts

Howdy Folks!

 

I am looking at purchasing my first recorder for recording sound effects and small jobs. Anyone use any of the Tascam models like the DR-60D or DR-70D? They look to be a pretty good entry point for what I am needing at the moment. But would love some input!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I started with a Tascam DR60Dmk1 I purchased during film school, and even used a borrowed DR70D on the first ever feature I did. But that was a different era, it was the "Pre F8 Era", as ever since the Zoom F8 got released I feel the market for "budget field recorders" has been turned totally upside down. With hindsight, I wish I'd got the original Zoom F8 on the day it was announced! But I had just a few months before got a Sound Devices 552 / Tascam DR680 combo (again, great bang for your buck for the "Pre F8 Era") so I wasn't going to be changing it up again any time soon. Plus like most people, I had a lot of skeptism about the Zoom brand, and didn't quite fully realize the impact of the F8 at first. (although, once I'd been reading the countless reviews from users of the F8, and realized Zoom had produced a smash hit, it meant I jumped on the F4 as soon as that got released a year or so later)

Anyway, in short:
Buy the Zoom F8. (or rather, the newer F8n)

There are also the Sound Devices MixPre series, and the F6/F4 underneath the F8n/F8. But in my personally opinion, if someone is starting out (with plans to stick with this and progress further) then there is no better first recorder to get (which is sub US$1K) as their main one than the Zoom F8n. 

Only if you are very very budget constrained (and have no future aspirations in this department, otherwise you'll be quickly upgrading) would I recommend the Tascam DR60D. (however, at that particular price point I do think there is no better field recorder for student short films than the Tascam DR60Dmk2! But why get it when so much more can be offered if only you spend a little more on a Zoom F4 or better?) 

Otherwise, I'd say avoid the Tascam DR60D or DR70D. The competition is too fierce in 2020, we're spoiled for choice now with some amazing low budget field recorders. Tascam has lagged way way beyond, and are very overdue in bringing out a fresh new competitive offering. 

One final point to finish up on:
Previous generation recorders are now show up at very very affordable secondhand prices. (although you'd still need to spend double, or more, what a new Zoom F8n costs) Thus considering keeping an eye out for a 633/664/788T/Nomad/etc

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Trey said:

Yeah I wondered if they were "fiddly" or not. I will keep my eye out for one of the other brands!

The Tascam DR60D/DR70D is not "fiddly" as such, rather it is that their audio quality, I/O, feature set, design, etc don't come anywhere close to the competition. 

In the "Pre F8 Era" you had to spend thousands of dollars to get all of that, so I reckon the DR60D/DR70D for instance made more sense back then.

 

As it was such a big gulf between those and the professional gear. And there wasn't much in the mid range. If you wanted something in the middle ground budget between "almost no budget" and "professional budget" you could for instance do what I did: which was pairing a secondhand Sound Devices 552 mixer with a Tascam DR680mk1 recorder, which is a big leap forward over a DR60D in many ways (& I felt, the 552/DR680 combo gave me the best bang for my buck possible). However the 552/DR680 combo still falls far short of the likes of a 633/Nomad/etc in a number of ways. 

But now in the "Post F8 Era" you're lucky with a really appealing option in between the "almost no budget" and "professional budget" categories with the Zoom F8/F8n (and the F4/F6, and all the MixPre Series too) that gives you 95% of what is "the next step up" that costs thousands of dollars more. (the F8 is also I bet more than partially to blame for why we now see secondhand prices for the 633/664/788T/Nomad being so very affordable)

Thus why I said before, I find the DR60D/DR70D impossible to recommend because there is a massively more appealing option just around the corner for only "a little" more: a Zoom F8.

Only if a person is pinching every last penny and has no further aspirations in sound would I recommend the Tascam DR60Dmk2. For instance a student director at a crappy local community college with no audio equipment in their gear locker, and they're looking for the cheapest "decent" (-ish!) field recorder that they can buy for their own personal projects, then I'd totally happily recommend the Tascam DR60Dmk2 to them! As I think the DR60Dmk2 is easily "the best" sub US$200 field recorder they could buy. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

The Tascam DR60D/DR70D is not "fiddly" as such, rather it is that their audio quality, I/O, feature set, design, etc don't come anywhere close to the competition. 

In the "Pre F8 Era" you had to spend thousands of dollars to get all of that, so I reckon the DR60D/DR70D for instance made more sense back then.

 

As it was such a big gulf between those and the professional gear. And there wasn't much in the mid range. If you wanted something in the middle ground budget between "almost no budget" and "professional budget" you could for instance do what I did: which was pairing a secondhand Sound Devices 552 mixer with a Tascam DR680mk1 recorder, which is a big leap forward over a DR60D in a number of ways (& I felt, the 552/DR680 combo gave me the best bang for my buck possible). However the 552/DR680 combo still falls far short of the likes of a 633/Nomad/etc in a number of ways. 

But now in the "Post F8 Era" you're lucky with a really appealing option in between the "almost no budget" and "professional budget" categories with the Zoom F8/F8n (and the F4/F6, and all the MixPre Series too) that gives you 95% of what is "the next step up" that costs thousands of dollars more. (the F8 is also I bet more than partially to blame for why we now see secondhand prices for the 633/664/788T/Nomad being so very affordable)

Thus why I said before, I find the DR60D/DR70D impossible to recommend because there is a massively more appealing option just around the corner for only "a little" more: a Zoom F8.

Only if a person is pinching every last penny and has no further aspirations in sound would I recommend the Tascam DR60Dmk2. For instance a student director at a crappy local community college with no audio equipment in their gear locker, and they're looking for the cheapest "decent" (-ish!) field recorder that they can buy for their own personal projects, then I'd totally happily recommend the Tascam DR60Dmk2 to them! As I think the DR60Dmk2 is easily "the best" sub US$200 field recorder they could buy. 

 

Well when you explain it like that, I definitely will not be even looking at a Tascam. I don't want to be in the "Pre F8" days as you say! So at very least an F4, used Sound Devices will be in my future! I don't plan on doing Features, or anything real big. But I think having good gear is always the way to go! I really appreciate the information!

Link to post
Share on other sites

All reports are that the DR701D sounded massively better than the 70.  I owned the 701 for a year, then moved to a F8n.   Wouldn't kick the 701 to the curb, but wouldn't go back either.  Options and operation seem antiquated in comparison.  If you only have $200 to spend, and can wait for a deal, a used 701D isn't a bad option, but there are probably also better ones in that range too.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Trey said:

Howdy Folks!

 

 

Hello. Look at the Zoom F6.

 

 

3 hours ago, Trey said:

Yeah I wondered if they were "fiddly" or not.

 

 

If you read the manual, it isn't "fiddly",  it's just the way it operates.

 

(Driving a car with a manual transmission could be considered "fiddly".)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Rick Reineke said:

I would look into the Sound Devices Mixpre-3-II or the Zoom F6. Both offer floating point 32 bit recording with almost unlimited headroom, which can be important when recording unpredictable SPLs,

And both good recorders to have in the back up bag after upgrading to something more high end.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Trey said:

Well when you explain it like that, I definitely will not be even looking at a Tascam. I don't want to be in the "Pre F8" days as you say! So at very least an F4, used Sound Devices will be in my future! I don't plan on doing Features, or anything real big. But I think having good gear is always the way to go! I really appreciate the information!


What are you planning on doing with it right now? (well, once "normality" has resumed and COVID19 has passed)
What are your goals with this in the near future over the next couple of years or so?
What do you already have?

 

40 minutes ago, EmRR said:

All reports are that the DR701D sounded massively better than the 70.  I owned the 701 for a year, then moved to a F8n.   Wouldn't kick the 701 to the curb, but wouldn't go back either.  Options and operation seem antiquated in comparison.  If you only have $200 to spend, and can wait for a deal, a used 701D isn't a bad option, but there are probably also better ones in that range too.  


Yes, you're the first to mention the DR701D! I only didn't mention the DR701D because I had already mentioned so many other recorders as it was in my own reply! But I do agree with you @EmRR that the DR701D is worth a look. 

The DR701D was unlucky with its timing for Tascam, it came right at the end of the "Pre F8 Era", if not for the F8 then just perhaps Tascam would have had a smash hit on its hands? Because instead it would have been the DR701D holding the crown of "Best Sub $1K Field Recorder". But alas for Tascam, the F8 slayer was unleashed on the world!

Because the DR701D doesn't get talked about much, there are not too many buyers chasing it on eBay, and you could get lucky and find one for sub $300. But I wouldn't go beyond that, as then you start to get too close in pricing to a secondhand Zoom F4 or MixPre3mk1 instead. (and of course, if you've got the spare cash/ambition, skip right over the DR701D and don't even bother hunting for a bargain DR701D)

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, IronFilm said:


What are you planning on doing with it right now? (well, once "normality" has resumed and COVID19 has passed)
What are your goals with this in the near future over the next couple of years or so?
What do you already have?

Currently since things are kinda just up in the air, I would be recording sounds for my personal sound design library. And would be open to interviews, anything that I know that I wouldn't have to much problem with. 

 

As far as after this stuff has passed and we can move about safely. I would hopefully be versed enough with whatever platform I get, to do bigger things. (I.e. Independent film, commercial, industrial, ect.)

I have a Deity D3 Pro Location Kit, cables, ect. Just need the rest! 😂

 

We do however own a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera that is fully rigged and ready for work. Along with the necessary gear to go along. (Lenses, power, monitor, ect.)

 

And we lastly have a post workstation running Davinci Resolve 16. And we are slowly adding a upgrading into a full production house.

 

But to be honest, I have been a musician since I was 12, so sound has always been a calling you could say. So it is my focus! 

1 hour ago, IronFilm said:


Yes, you're the first to mention the DR701D! I only didn't mention the DR701D because I had already mentioned so many other recorders as it was in my own reply! But I do agree with you @EmRR that the DR701D is worth a look. 

The DR701D was unlucky with its timing for Tascam, it came right at the end of the "Pre F8 Era", if not for the F8 then just perhaps Tascam would have had a smash hit on its hands? Because instead it would have been the DR701D holding the crown of "Best Sub $1K Field Recorder". But alas for Tascam, the F8 slayer was unleashed on the world!

Because the DR701D doesn't get talked about much, there are not too many buyers chasing it on eBay, and you could get lucky and find one for sub $300. But I wouldn't go beyond that, as then you start to get too close in pricing to a secondhand Zoom F4 or MixPre3mk1 instead. (and of course, if you've got the spare cash/ambition, skip right over the DR701D and don't even bother hunting for a bargain DR701D)

Yes, it does seem to be a decent recorder just going on specs. But it wouldn't really be much more for a better recorder. I will just have to save more pennies! 😂

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yes, another DR701D note:  NOT designed to monitoring during playback!  Just record!  If you set it up to print a mix to tracks 5-6, you can monitor that in playback, otherwise it's an undefined mono mix of the raw tracks.  It's really just a capture device.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that you should consider what you need, do a little research, and see if you can get a used premium machine vs a new budget machine. A lot of SD 7 series are going for pennies on the dollar on eBay, and they are by far some of the best machines out there for what you described you need. My biased opinion. 

 

Do be aware that there are a lot of people who will blindly advocate their own preferences, regardless of circumstance. By getting into audio, you need to be able to do a lot of research on your own, in order to get an informed opinion. Plus, you’ll learn something in the process. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Get an SD 788 or Nomad! You can get a fantastic deal on them right now. Don’t cheap out on a recorder you don’t love or that you will outgrow. Even if the Zoom F series checks all the boxes you’re probably going to get annoyed with some of it’s “quirks” as you get better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...