Location Sound Audio Recorders   

Recording audio on location.

In documentary or low budget situations also indicates that equipment is battery powered and designed to easily moved.

Audio recorders designed for location sound use generally have the following characteristics:
robust, reliable 

battery powered 


output with adjustable level 

balanced microphone  

accurate recording speed (analogue) 

ability to monitor playback during recording 

time code functions (various) 

Filming on location is a very expensive and complex operation. The design of location recorders, in particular the Nagra series by Kudelski, reflect this. Robust, reliable, with circuit boards designed for easy access, rugged chassis, no-nonsense user interface, Pilot tone speed control, the various models of the Nagra recorder have been the standard for location recording since the mid fifties. Originally a mono analog recorder using 1/4Ó audio tape, one may find stereo versions with or without time code, the tiny pocket sized SN (using 0.15Ó tape) and the recent 4 channel digital model. The current standard is a stereo Nagra (Nagra IV-S) using time code. 
Portable DAT recorders are also used for location work. They may be equipped with time code but because of their digital accuracy in record/playback timing, they can be used without it. Essentially a tiny video recorder transport with a moving record/play head, there are concerns about DAT recorders in terms of reliability and robustness. Also DAT technology makes listening to tape playback while recording, crucial for insuring a good recording, a complex, expensive option. Finally, unlike analogue tape, errors in digital tape recordings are usually unrecoverable. 
For low budget productions, there are two options which are generally used: low end portable DAT recorders and Walkman professional cassette recorders. 
Both of these usually have mini plugs (3.5 mm) as mic connectors which (a) makes it difficult to use directional microphones and (b) are notorious for bad connections. The Walkman Pro is not accurate enough for sync except for very short takes but is very lightweight and fairly sturdy. 
  location recording microphones
level check