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There are a couple of questions on here that are similar, and I've looked at several reviews etc but thought it'd still be worthwhile asking for opinions on my situation.

I'm fairly new to the SD field and about to get some kit to start me off with field effects recordings etc. My budget is fairly limited. Initially, for a portable recorder, my eyes were always set on the Zoom H4n as, within my budget, it seemed the most suitable. However, I've recently found a deal on a Sony PCM-D50 which would mean that at a real stretch I could just about afford to get one of them instead.

From what I've read the SNR on the PCM-D50's built-in mics is far better than that on the H4n and the unit itself seems to be much better in general (it is technically in the next price-bracket up really, so this is expected). My only issue is the lack of XLR inputs.

For standard effects recordings using internal mics the PCM-D50 wins hands down it would seem. However I'm going to be working on a project that will require me to do some dialogue recording. I'm probably looking to boom-mic using a Rode NTG-2; as this can be battery-powered or phantom-powered from the unit it would work with either the PCM-D50 or the H4n, and fits in my mic budget of £150-170. So, my question:

Does anyone have experience of using a battery-powered NTG-2 with a PCM-D50 and it's 3.5mm input, what the quality and level is like etc? Would the H4n with the NTG-2 be a better choice? Or would using the money saved from getting an H4n over a PCM-D50 on a better mic (suggestions?) be a good idea?

Thanks in advance!

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2 Answers 2

The problem with H4N + Rode NTG2 is that the zoom's preamps are too quiet, and you'll probably want a mic preamp (e.g. MixPre) to get a hotter signal.

Some people here have supported the NTG2 + PCM-D50 combo -- link

If you can find a D50 for cheap it might be worth it. It's got great preamps and and very solid internal mics. Something like the Denecke PS-2 can give you XLR input. That's not the most portable/cheap solution, though, so if those are your priorities you should look into the Tascam DR-100, DR-40, or some other XLR-capable device.

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Currently I only use an NTG-2 with a H4n that was within my budget, so far I haven't had any problems really only like I'm sure you've heard before the preamps aren't too good when recording quiet sounds, I almost always need to have some noise-reduction during editing but I'm so used to it doesn't bother me anymore. If you can afford the Sony D-50 you can also buy this accessory to connect to XLR (I'm not entirely sure if batteries are needed for phantom power, may be some else can help with that). If you want to hear what a H4n+NTG-2 sound like with NR (from Audacity which isn't even the best) you can listen to them here (I know its not the best recordings, I'm still learning) and judge, look up recordings on soundcloud with the D-50 and compare.

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