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Tascam DR-70D, more and better
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  • @brianl - not really, but I'm not a sound guy either. 60D was "good enough" fidelity for me, and the same goes for the 70D.

  • I have been using it now for a week and really enjoy it. One thing I'm not clear on though is the balance/pan functionality. Can anyone confirm if pan only applies to line out and headphone out, and not also the stereo files written to the card? I found that a but I unintuitive. Specifically if I setup 2 mics and then pan to mix them, the stereo file written contains the pure left and right channels even though the headphones are panned.

  • From recordings Im hearing of the different top model tascam portable records, they seem to have noticable hiss/noise both with onboard mics and with external mics. I was surprised to hear this as I thought the preamps were of a level to not hear much noise at all. Some scenarios seem worse than others, so maybe it was the way they were recorded, or the levels they were recorded at? Should I expect to have a very low noise signal coming from one of these guys?

  • I've been using the 70d for the last week and found it outputs a very noisy signal to the camera. The internal recordings are great and noise is not really a problem, however when I output to my GH4 I get a large amount of hiss on the track.

    For settings on the 70d I have the Output Gain set to Cam and on the GH4 the Mic Level Adjust set to -12dB but the noise is still very noticeable. By comparison, when I use a H5 with the same setup (same mic, cables, gh4 settings etc) I get camera audio that is much cleaner and closer to the internal recording on the H5. Other mics that plug in directly don't have this problem either.

    The hiss is a constant level too - whether I have the Output Level from the 70d at -100dB or +12dB the hiss is the same level, which makes me think the camera out signal must just be poor quality in general.

    Has anyone else had this problem or know a workaround? Syncing audio in post isn't exactly hard but it would be nice to have the option of fairly clean camera audio to start with.

  • I believe people have been using a -25db attenuator cable and setting it to line out. I have had similar issues, mucked with the cables, and while I saw some improvement I can't say it was anywhere close to the internal recordings.some people with GHs though sware by the sescom cable. My primary concern though is to have audio just decent enough to use for syncing, not actually heard.

  • Thanks @stauffec, I hadn't thought about attenuating the signal with the cable itself, I'll give that a go if I can find sescom cables in the UK.

    Seems odd to have to do this, though. Surely the whole point of having line/cam and output level settings is to solve this problem out of the box.

    Also, I just tried sending the headphone output to the GH4 - it actually gives a much cleaner signal. You'll lose the ability to monitor but may be a workaround for some.

  • Your GH4 should be set to accept a line-level signal if it's plugged into the DR-70's line output. If not you'll have impedance mismatch. You do NOT plug a line level signal into a device expecting a MIC level signal if your aim is to preserve its fidelity.

  • I see what you're saying, but the DR70d is supposed to be capable of outputting both line level and camera level out.

  • http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=904990&gclid=CJ2bpIGAkMYCFUs6gQodbX0AsA&Q=&is=REG&A=details

    I've been thinking of getting a DR-70 to go along with my DR-40. I've used this Sescom cable with my DR-40 to my GH4 & GH2 without any problems, I'm guessing this would work with the line-out of the DR-70?

  • @jmc But why amplify something that's already been amplified? Just take the line level signal output from the tascam and record it as is (i.e. unity gain) with the GH4.

  • @spacewig I'm not sure I follow you.. I'm trying to attenuate the signal, not amplify it. And if I output from the 70d as line it is way to powerful for the GH4 as it's not capable of accepting line level signals, therefore nowhere near unity gain.

    @smoke23 yes it seems this is the way to do it - I found this post where more people were having this problem and seems like people are having success with the Sescom cables as stauffec suggested above.

  • @joethepro

    In the case of good modern preamps/recorders (i.e. not h4n, rather tascam & up), the inherent noisefloor is quite low - on the order of several times lower than the average mic. And thats the case here; unless you've got a uniquely quiet mic (like the large diaphragm BP4025), its probably the microphone's self-noise. To isolate the noise floor of said recorder (haven't used the 70D), use a bent paperclip to close the loop between pins 2 & 3 on the XLR in (don't touch exposed metal while running phantom power). This is what a mic with no noise floor would sound like on the recorder.

  • @jmc The GH4 can't accept a line-level input??? What??? I thought that was part of all the hooplah regarding this camera, its proaudio features. Anyhow, I apologise, I was not aware not that.

  • https://www.gearslutz.com/board/10842631-post31.html

    You can swap the op amps for the famous LME49720, which I use in my sound card (they are awesome)

    Jim Williams is a well known techie there

  • With regards to the earlier discussion of recorder self noise, I found this little gem about the 70D:

    "3. Limiter adds 12dB noise due to poor implementation and should be avoided."

    Here - http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=172795.0

  • Im really torn between the 100mkii and the 70d, especially after reading about some of the issues with the 70d. Does the 100dmkii have any big issues?

  • with the latest firmware, the 70D has vastly improved. I will try to post some tests soon, though I find it so much quieter than any Zoom recorder. The noise people are hearing from the GH4 recording that is not present in the 70D recording is (based on my own tests) from the slightly noisy noise floor on the GH4. Solution, bring GH4 levels to -12dB and make sure limiter is off on GH4 and Tascam.

  • I just never see the point of upgrading audio gear with new components, it's just not for the average user to be messing around sending off gear that should have been made better in original design. So Tascam like the rest of the pro-sumer manufacturers build to a price not a quality. I guess that's why Sound Devices always gets a top rating.

  • @joethepro 100dmkii has digital in. I use SD USBPre 2 with it. It's audio interface with supreme preamps, but works also in standalone mode. Excellent limiter also, my audio never clips. The best budget combo for truly professional quality. I'm surprised how no-one is talking about this combo. Instead they try all the cheaper alternatives one by one.

  • @sam_rides_a_mtb Has the limiter noise issue been solved, or is that just a hardware problem? I know its generally a very decent and versatile recorder.

    @tonalt Ive only heard good things about the 100 mkii, well except for the omni mic noise and the handling noise, but those are not really mic issues. Were you talking about the 100mkii limiter, or the USBPre 2 limiter, being great?

  • @joethepro Speaking with Busman Audio, a popular modder, I learned that apparently all limiters introduce some noise. He advised avoiding the limiter and simply keeping peaking around -12 to -16 (because of 24 bit precision, it is not necessary to push levels, as the noise floor is not lifted relative to the signal). Also, I believe the 70D is capable of recording the same input at two different levels.

    Tonalt is referring to digital in, which takes the 100's analog processing out of the question - its just storing bits. Of course that combo goes a good bit of the way to the cost of a used SD702, which would be much more preferable. I am looking into a modded 70d specifically so I don't have to rely on the SD preamp + recorder tangle of wires/batteries/coordination that I have been doing.

    Busman will do a cap and op amp mod on the 70d for $150 - http://www.busmanaudio.com/contact.html

  • I used mine properly for the first time last night (I'm not pro at this, guy on mixer desk was tho ;-) ), the new firmware is a must I had hiss over the camera line out with the original firmware (glad I checked first) seems fine with the new firmware. I left limiters off and just split the xlr cable from the mixer desk and recorded a backup at a lower level just in case and set the inputs to line level for 1 & 2 with low gain. I think you can do that internally as well but didn't want to risk it for the first time. Setting the line out to cam and left at 0db and my gh4 to -12db it was fine, I left the limiter off the gh4 as well, it got close but was ok, I think i'll change the output to -6db to be on safe side next time, just used a shielded cable no attenuation at all. [edit] Also I need to see if you are recoding 4 tracks if you can pick which tracks got to the camera i just noticed my camera has all 4 tracks mixed which is fine i just wanted it for reference audio and you can still sync it with pluraeyes I just tried but that might be problematic in some situations, need to read manual!

    Had internal mics for ambient noise they seemed ok as well for internal mics and managed fine when my zoom was clipping even with the levels down to 0.

    Worked well, much easier to use than my zoom and sounds better to me but that could just be the guy doing the mixing really knew what he was doing I thought I knew a little about audio I now realise I know nothing after watching him :).

    Had 4 new Duracell batteries recorded 2 x 1 hours sets no problem with room probably another hour left but I wouldn't risk it over, there's were nothing special battery wise tho and you can run it off usb anyway.

  • So Im gathering that at this point, both the 70d and 100 mkii are both comparable excellent units with similar quality. It just comes down to form factor, inputs, and extra features?

  • Here's a couple of clips from last night I've not done anything with them level wise or anything recorded at 48,000 Hz 24 Bit Good enough for me for what I do and really like the form factor as well with the cam they thought that out well.

    Off the mixer mono https://www.dropbox.com/s/g8i7zil8umbvk1u/mixer.wav?dl=0

    Internal Mics https://www.dropbox.com/s/k04ehg36qiqdrfx/internalmics.wav?dl=0

    No point sharing the cam on as it mixed all 4 tracks i.e. the internal mics, the high mixer and low mixer but it still synced ok, I need to see if there's an option to select, I might have missed something.

  • You don't need to mod these, although you can if you want, and you would not be able to tell them apart from any other recorder in a blind test.