Hello fellow designers/recordists.

I am covering some old ground, but I'm looking to 'upgrade' from the H4n to something a little more semi-professional, without a sound devices pricetag.

For the under $1000 mark, I'm debating getting the H6, for its dual recording/ducking feature and multipleinputs, however rather than getting another handheld device, I'm wanting a slightly larger unit, which is where the Tascam DR-680 and Fostex FR-2LE become options, however t he main reason I have for upgrading is (unsurprisingly) improved pre's with further inputs, and I've heard everything from pre's are fine to terrible on the Tascam and Fostex. And when you have no retailers in town, you can't ask for a demonstration.

FFor the purposes of short film and live event location recording, if you have had experience with any or all of the devices, please let me know your opinion.

To add to the dilemma, the device with better pre's, ducking/back up recording/seperate camera out feed/timecode equipped or connection in that order of preferance (though understandibly not including all) is preferable.

On a final note, I am leaning toward the Tascam, hunowever have heard rumours of recording errors, no back-up recording and in practice, is the level meter difficult to read (with its 1 -12db mark)?

Thoughts, comments, or is there a 'holy budget grail' I have missed?

Thanks in advance...the debate is open...

4 Answers 4


I moved from the H4 to the edirol R-44 (4 channel SSD mixer). It's been great for the price and worth considering alongside the other options in your price range.

  • I use the R-44 as well and find it to be a stable and useful recorder.
    – user80
    Aug 3, 2013 at 7:54
  • Forgot about this unit, thanks for the reminder! Did I hear right from somewhere each of the four inputs can be recorded to its own separate track? And also bussed to a stereo mix?
    – Beaks
    Aug 5, 2013 at 13:29

I always think Michael Raphael's blog about his location recorder trajectory is a useful read when thinking about what recorder you want to buy. I'm not suggesting you copy him exactly, but his notes on why the Fostex wasn't necessarily the best for him are interesting.


  • Thanks Joe, certainly an interesting read. Some good, practical advice!
    – Beaks
    Aug 5, 2013 at 13:27

I think the Fostex FR2-LE IS the budget (depending on budget) holy grail. Yes it's plastic and it's headphone output is noisy, but the recordings will be crystal. While it may be awkward to potentially have to invest into a separate headphone amplifier to get a clean headphone output, the recordings are still crystal.

Yes, the DR-680 is better, but it's double the price, i.e. non-comparable.


My advice is the Marantz PMD 661 MK II. He has 2 XLR inputs and the sound is clear and nearly objective. Preamps nearly without noise.

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