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Advancement in technology has made recording devices smaller, smarter and more user-friendly. Broadcast Video Producer takes a look at the best and most affordable field recorders in the market today with zero compromises on the recording quality.


For high resolution monitoring and professional video recording
Adding professional touch to monitoring and recording to any SDI or HDMI camera is now possible with Blackmagic Video Assist. It comes with a super bright and super large touch screen display- much larger than the one in DSLR camera- with an enormously wide viewing angle of 135°, which makes operation of setting focus and frame shots much easier and accurate. This also eliminates the need to carry extra monitors to on-field locations. It records HD or Ultra HD in incredible 10-bit 4:2:2 quality ProRes or DNxHD files that work with all major editing software so editing can be started without the need to convert the files. It is featured in 2 great models- the 7” Ultra HD and 5” HD- both works effortlessly with any camera.
The 5” all-in-one monitor and HD recorder features a 1920 x 1080 screen, HD recorder, and a down converter for monitoring and recording HD from Ultra HD cameras. The 7” high resolution monitor with Ultra HD recorder features a 7” high resolution screen, two high speed recorders for non-stop Ultra HD recording, XLR mic inputs, a built in speaker and also comes with two extremely low noise professional analog mini XLR connections so you can bypass low quality DSLR audio and connect professional microphones directly. Both feature 6G-SDI and HDMI connections, making it easy to add professional monitoring and recording to any camera. Both the models record HD video using standard SD memory cards while the 7” Video Assist 4K can additionally record to super high performance UHS-II cards which are fast enough to record Ultra HD which means it’s now possible to record Ultra HD using low cost cards that cost less than $2 per GB.
The device performs audio recording better than most of the cameras in extremely high quality. It has two mini XLR inputs with 48V of phantom power for external microphones to record audio with Video Assist, instead of the camera which in turn eliminates the problems with auto gain controls on DSLR camera. It features a spectacular input noise floor of -128dBV which results in high quality, crystal clear audio that sounds dramatically better than camera audio. Moreover, sound is recorded into the same file as the video so AV sync is not required between separate audio and video files.
This portable, rugged and lightweight model is designed to be durable which works effortlessly with any professional software. ProRes and Avid DNxHD files are the most widely accepted post production video formats in the world. Popular editing software such as DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro or Avid Media Composer allows editing and color correcting without having to transcode or convert the files. Even motion graphics and visual effects artists using software like Fusion and After Effects, or sound editors using ProTools can easily work with the files for excellent results.


The long awaited feature of time code in a field recorder is finally introduced in this model. It utilizes a Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) that generates time code at 0.2 ppm accuracy, enabling rock-solid syncing of audio and video. The F8 supports all standard dropframe and non-drop formats, and can jam sync to time code being provided by external devices. An input and output are provided on standard BNC connectors, enabling easy integration into any rig.
The F8 is made for filmmakers and sound designers who take their passion pretty seriously. The recorder can record at 24-bit/192 kHz resolution and is equipped with onboard limiters designed to provide overload protection. Limiting can be applied to all 8 channels simultaneously at full resolution, with 10dB of headroom and controls for setting threshold, attack, and release. Outfitted with finest mic preamps to date, the F8 features an extremely low noise floor (−127 dBu EIN) and high gain (up to 75 dB), with +4 dB line inputs.
This is by far the smallest field recorder with eight XLR combo inputs ever made, weighing just 2.1 pounds (without batteries). Its durability is ensured by its rugged aluminum chassis. Some of its remarkable features that makes this the best for creating professional field recordings are separate on and off options for the phantom power (+24V/+48V) for each input, plug I for any zoom mic capsule, 10 tracks—8 input channels, plus a stereo mix track which allows simultaneously recording of stereo and surrounding sound, an onboard mixer with flexible routing of all inputs and outputs (pre- and post-fader) where each channel has controls for pan, input/output delay, filtering, and limiting.
This feature rich field recorder records on two SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, up to 512 GB each, simultaneously, allowing one to instantly backup or split recordings (for example, save eight tracks onto one card and a stereo mix onto another). A 4-pin Hirose connector allows the use of external 9-16 volt DC battery packs. Internal power is provided by 8 AA batteries. The F8 can switch power sources from a DC battery pack to the AA batteries at a user-defined voltage level for uninterrupted recording. The F8 comes equipped with an integrted 100 mW headphone amplifier which masters monitoring in the noisiest of environments.


This Portable High-Definition Stereo Audio Recorder is a boon for remote recording engineers who seeks professional solutions for challenging live and on-location applications. The HD-P2 is a successful combination of high-end features, SMPTE timecode input being one of them used for synchronization to external devices while in record or playback. It records in stereo from 44.1kHz to 192kHz, at 16- or 24-bit to Compact Flash media, and its audio files are instantly available to DAWs through the built-in high-speed FireWire computer connection. The smart user interface is surprisingly intuitive in one-take-only situations. It’s Retake button allows the user to delete the last recording and set up to re-record with a single button press. As audio is recorded, the file headers are simultaneously re-saved to prevent accidental data loss.
On the input side, the unit has a pair of XLR mic inputs with phantom power and analog peak limiting to minimize distortion during live events. The input level control allows the user to change the level without taking their eyes off the action. The HD-P2 also features unbalanced RCA ins and outs as well as S/PDIF digital I/O. Monitoring is also available through a headphone out - again, with its own ergonomic level control - using a built-in speaker.
The model comes standard with a full-featured timecode input. Incoming LTC is connected to the locking XLR input for timestamping the Broascast WAVE files from a central clock. The recorder timestamp the recorded audio with sample accuracy and also chases incoming timecode during playback for review or loading into an editor. A video clock input allows frame edge resolve to a central blackburst source or use as a lock-and-release timecode slave. There's also a freewheel setting for use with unpredictable timecode sources.
This exceptionally ergonomic and user-friendly recorder has a shoulder-slung design with an included locking strap making it the default preference for film production recording. It weighs less than two pounds with batteries installed and has a battery life of 5.5 hours (AA alkaline batteries). The recordings, at the end of the day, can be instantly and effortlessly transferred to an editor through the FireWire jack or a CF reader for use in a non-linear editor to sync dailies or to conform dialog during post.
Versatility being one of its biggest advantages, this model can be used commercially on a large scale basis during film shoots and live concerts as well as niche and small scale environments like home studios and school concerts thus making it one of the most affordable field recorders.


All-in-one multipurposes Mixer/Recorder
It is a portable 6 channels high quality Analogue Mixing console with a true stereo mix bus and an advanced Monitoring & Communication system combined with an integrated 8 Tracks Digital Recorder on SSD Drive and CompactFlash card. The SONOSAX SX62R is compact, lightweight and based on a new ergonomic concept in which standard functions are readily accessible on the front panel and all other features and configurations are easily accessible through an intuitive menu simply by touching the large color screen. The model is powered by 4 D-cell batteries or external 6 to 18 VDC on Hirose 4 pins connector.
The SONOSAX SX62R incorporates most of the features found in large mixer such as the SONOSAX SX-ES64 or the SONOSAX SX-ST while the integated digital recorder offers all functionalities required for today's productions workflow, providing a full implementation of BWF and iXLM metadatas and many user friendly features.
Since the main connections are located on the recessed rear panel, the connectors and cables are well protected and their weight is evenly distributed in the center instead of being unevenly spread sidewise.
It is a many-in-one device. Its mixer aspect features transformer-less balanced Mic/Line input with High Quality, Low Noise microphone preamplifier using semi-discrete technology. The pre LF-Cut protects the microphone pre-amplifier from wind noise and sweep LF Cut at 12dB/octave aids for a precise control, M/S decoder available either for mixing or for monitoring purposes.
The recording aspect features recording capabilities of up to 8 tracks on SSD Drive and either 2 tracks or full mirroring on CF Card at all sampling frequencies from 44,1 to 192kHz at 24bits. The recorded file is in the format of ucompressed PCM WAV with full implementation of BWF and iXML metadata (either mono, stereo or ployphonic files). The Time Code input and output supports all formats with pull up/pull down.
Its versatility has led to wide range of application in Field Productions, Feature Film, documentaries, sports events, TV series and many more.