When I found myself three states away from home without my field recorder and an interview to shoot, I figured I needed a backup anyway. And I had a hundred dollars burning a hole in my pocket.
So, I did some quick googling and decided to pick up either a Zoom H1 or Tascam DR-05. I ended up picking the Tascam because a) the body felt more solid, and b) the mic heads are fixed pointing opposite each other, which for my little candid two person interview was perfect. It fired up faster and recorded to WAV files instead of the mpg format the Zoom records to. And lastly, it has a little 1/4” screw mount on the back to throw on a tiny tabletop tripod. Perfect for an interview with a one person crew: easy to hide and enough recording time with the 2gb memory card I could let the sucker roll all day.
I was really pleased with the quality for such an inexpensive tool. So when I got back home and found myself needing some sound effects of waves crashing, I picked it up and brought it with me to the beach.
I got pretty good results considering the pitiful state of the tide that day, but discovered a nasty little quirk.
As I got up to the beach I saw some seagulls I decided to chase to try and get some bird noises out of them (yeah, whatever PETA, send me an invoice. I’m pretty sure it was the same bird that poked a hole in my unopened bag of goldfish last year and then didn’t even have the courtesy to finish them off).
When I played that clip back, I noticed sound cut in and out as I ran, presumably as my feet hit the ground and the recorder shook. And those stupid birds didn’t even squak.
Thus, the wiring is clearly not that solid. I predict that when used in static situations it’s perfectly adequate, however I won’t run with it again because I’m not sure if the loose wiring could be worsened to the point of affecting even stationary recording.
So, take it with a grain of salt. It’s a $100 recorder and performs admirably well when not abused. I mean really, I probably shouldn’t be running after birds with equipment anyway. But I had to try.