firstly, there are some better choices than the recorders you mention - or at
least 'as good' in terms of performance, features, pre-amps & build quality:
those are worth looking at too. The Fostex is ok, a bit plastic-y for the price
& the pre-amps don't have a lot of umpff.
The Sound Devices is in a different class & they are much better. I use them
now & i've tried most recorders around, or had access to them for periods of
time. The Sound Devices recorders are very, very good indeed.
The specs in terms of pre-amps only tell you some of the story. If you're
recording ambiences (I assume you mean in the field recording definition of the
term) then you want the quietest pre-amps you can get as you'll be recording
low level sounds or environments that have detail across the spectrum.
If you can find folks who have the recorders you're thinking of & have a go
Also, be careful what you read on some of the gear forums. Often posters defend
the equipment they have & knock the stuff they don't or do the same thing that
shop assistants in guitar shops do (we all know what we're talking about there
- right ?).
If you can afford the SD go for it, if not then the other recorders will do a
lot & you'll learn a lot by working in ways to get past any limitations you do
--- In "Avocet" <> wrote:
> > I understand that the major difference between models lies in their
> > pre-amps. I ask myself how the quality of the pre-amps is measured?
> I'm always going on about the way quoted figures do not always
> correspond to what you hear, which is all that matters. The bit in
> recorders which digitises the incoming sound is as good as you need in
> almost any reasonable recorder, so the money buys something else, like
> ease of use, facilities, reliability and of course low input noise.
> Everyone hss their own opinions and favourites, but in general money
> does buy quality.
> It depends on where you are going to record, but with quiet locations,
> the mic output level is also very important. With a higher level mic
> output, you can get away with a higher input noise. Look for the mv/Pa
> figure for the mic and over 10mv/Pa is better. For instance 24mv/Pa
> will give you 8dB less noise from the same preamp because you turn the
> volume down. Ideally the mic noise should be higher than the preamp
> noise, so with a high output mic you can get away with a higher input
> noise level. Everything is interactive.
> As an example, I sometimes use Sennheiser MKH mics with a 24nv/Pa
> output into a "toy" Tascam DR-100. In a location with a bit of wind in
> trees, it masks the high preamp noise. For regular use, I still use
> the DR-100 but through an SQN mixer, and the only system noise I hear
> in a flat calm comes from the mics - in a fog or with snow.
> David Brinicombe
> North Devon, UK
> Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - Ambrose Bierce