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    Recommendation for field recorder and mixer
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    I have a budget of about $3500 for a good quality field mixer and recorder and am looking for recommendations. They will be used exclusively for talking head interviews with one or two people on location at their homes or workplace throughout the country, so travel is involved and weight and size are important. I use a Panasonic AF100 and since I am only recording dialogue under reasonably controlled circumstances, I was thinking of a Sound Devices 552 and Denecke SB-3 time code generator but would be interested in other options members of the forum might suggest.


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    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    That setup should work just fine.

    Thoughts...?
    A: Do you need 5 channels of inputs.
    B: Is 2 Track recording enough.
    C: Do you need the SB-3 since the 552 can jamsync with the AF100 as the master.
    David W. Jones
    www.joneshdfilms.com


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    As a general rule, I don't need all 5 channels, thought we have done one interview where we did have to mike 5 people. Most of the time, we are dealing with just one or two people at a time.
    2 track recording is enough.
    I was under the impression -- which may be wrong -- that the AF100 loses synch when paused and the SB-3 avoids the problem.
    Jon


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    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    The SB-3 would be handy, but without a time code slate you have no way to check your time code. Something like Jumpstart LTC would be handy for setting up your time code.

    My thought was running the AF100 in TOD master and doing a quick jamsync with the 552. You should then be able to disconnect the cable and stay in sync.
    Last edited by David W. Jones; 05-09-2012 at 04:20 PM.
    David W. Jones
    www.joneshdfilms.com


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    A basic question I have is that I've read comments describing the 552's recorder as suitable for backup but not ok as the primary recorder. I've also read comments saying the audio is excellent. I'd prefer carrying just the 552 rather than both a field recorder and a field mixer but I'm concerned by the comments that's its only good enough for backup recording.


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    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    Jon, I would not be troubled by the comments. Are there better primary recording devices, sure there are. But that does not mean that the quality of the recordings the 552 makes are of poor quality. 103 db dynamic range vs 114 db on their higher end 788T.
    If you ever needed multi-channel recording or more than the 552 provides, it has direct outs as well as additional balanced, tape, and link outs.

    A standard breakaway cable with headphone return to the AF100 would provide your audio backup & make monitoring during the interviews helpful.
    Although a wireless hop can sure come in handy if you can swing the cash.

    Good Luck!

    Dave
    David W. Jones
    www.joneshdfilms.com


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    Thank you Dave. You've been really helpful and I appreciate the insights. Jon


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    Is there a reason you're not considering the Zaxcom Nomad 4 other than the $400 over budget? As a 552 user since launch (and a happy one at that) I'd be hard pressed to overlook the Nomad if I was buying today. I'm not saying it's a shoe-in, but it's a strong contender.

    We also run an AF100 and find the 552/AF100 combination meets almost all of our needs. I do often use the direct outs to track wireless lav ISOs, and simply send a mono mix to camera for sync in post, without timecode.

    But with the "base model" Nomad you essentially get a 6 channel mixer, 4 channel recorder and timecode all rolled into one and, if you ever want high-end wireless it's Zaxnet capable out of the box. It's also upgradeable to the 6, 8 and 12 channel model so you don't need to spend money on a whole new unit if you do ever need more.

    My favourite advantage of the 552 though? The shockingly awesome battery life on the internal AAs.
    There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. -Bruce Ediger

    SLR'd WRDS


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    Petros: I wasn't familiar with the Zaxcom Nomad prior to your email. It is certainly impressive. But it may be overkill for what I do. I will be looking at it more. Thanks so much for the lead. Jon


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    Senior Member Rick R's Avatar
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    The recorder in the 552 was 'intended' to be for back-up, transcriptions and such, but that doesn't mean it's sub-grade, I'm sure it sounds as good or better than a properly gain-staged budget portable with a 302 or MixPre line level frontend.
    I'd give the Nomad some serious consideration. Sure, it has some pros and cons, but so does just about every set-up.


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