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Buyer’s Brief: Portable Audio Recording & Mixing

Recording and mixing audio in the field requires a range of rugged and reliable equipment. The tools showcased in this month’s Buyer’s Guide can record, ingest, mix, manage and store your sound, whether you’re conducting interviews on the street or setting up your cart by a volcano in Iceland.

Aaton Digital

Cantar-X3 Audio Field Recorder

Aaton Digital’s Cantar-X3 features an onboard mixer and newly designed microphone preamplifiers that improve filtering and reduce noise level. The recorder may be operated from its swiveling front panel, whose ultra bright color display includes a menu control interface. External devices can be simultaneously linked to the Cantar-X3 through numerous audio and computer connectors. Its ergonomics allow either cart or shoulder operation, and the recorder is protected by aluminum machined housing, making it waterproof and dustproof. Extended linear faders, smooth rotary knobs and silent switches reduce operational noise. 

Azden

FMX-42a Portable Mixer

Featuring four balanced XLR line/mic inputs with individual level and pan controls, Azden’s FMX-42a provides switchable 48V phantom power as well as limiting, professional-quality VU meters for accurate level setting. The mixer’s switchable input limiter reduces the possibility of overload distortion. Other features of the FMX-42a include master level control, 1 kHz tone generator, two balanced XLR outputs, stereo mini-jack output for DV cameras, 10-pin camera return, mini-jack camera return, and a headphone monitor with level control. The FMX-42a can be powered with either internal AA batteries or an optional 12V DC external supply. A ballistic nylon carrying case is included. 

Sony

PCM-D100 Recorder

The PCM-D100 audio recorder is capable of recording linear PCM (at 192, 176.4, 96, 88.2, 48 and 44.1 kHz), DSD (2.8224 MHz) and MP3 (320 and 128 Kb/s). Additional playback support is provided for FLAC, WMA and AAC files. The unit’s compatibility with the DSD format enables the recording of source sounds using digital signals, but in a format that closely resembles analog waveforms. Featuring a directional microphone that uses a 15mm unidirectional mic unit, the PCM-D100 recorder has 32 GB of built-in Flash memory and a combination SD card/Memory Stick slot for expandable storage.

TASCAM

DR-60D Recorder

Designed for use with DSLR cameras, TASCAM’s DR-60D is a four-track solid-state recorder whose durable but lightweight form is accentuated by the unit’s high-grade preamps and D/A converters. Able to record up to 96 kHz/24-bit audio to SD/SDHC media, this device will fit under any DSLR camera or into any rig. Features include two 1/4”-XLR locking combo mic/line inputs, 3.5mm stereo mic input, camera in, camera out, line out and headphone out. Both 1/4”-XLR combo inputs supply +48V phantom power, and the 3.5mm input supplies plug-in power for microphones requiring a bias voltage. The DR-60D’s body structure, soft-touch keys and dials are designed to help eliminate handling noise.

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