Subject: Re: IMHO, dat stat...
From: Eric Somers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Jul 30 1999 - 15:49:26 EDT
At 03:09 PM 7/30/1999 -0500, you wrote:
> So is there a mini disc without
>the ATRAC compression?
No. The reason one can get any significant recording time on the minidisc
is that it has built-in data compression. No way to turn it off. If you
are totally opposed to compression no matter how good it is, then I would
go with a DAT recorder. But please understand, if you watch TV via a small
satellite dish you usually see better quality than one can get off the air
or on regular cable TV. Yet all these signals -- audio and video -- have
been compressed in data through the use of a lossy scheme (MPEG II). There
is no question that for maximum audio fidelity DAT is best (or recordable
CD but I was under the impression you wanted a small portable machine).
>The other thing I'm not quite sure about is the unbalanced vs. balanced
>mics. One distributes the sound envenly (thereby changing it) and the other
>doesn't alter it at all?
It has nothing to do with the sound but with the electrical signal.
Without boring you with electrical theory it is safe to say that most
consumer grade electronic gear (even that used in many small studios) tends
to have unbalanced connections (two wires per signal channel) whereas most
professional gear has balanced line inputs and outputs (three wires per
channel, usually using the larger XLR type connector). The main advantage
of balanced line is it is less likely to pick up hum from nearby electrical
equipment or even signals from radio stations. If you are not running long
lines, unbalanced is OK. Most mic inputs for rack gear are balanced (even
if the higher line level inputs/outputs are not) since mics are often
located some distance away from the equipment. But in a hand-held portable
one usually uses a very short mic cable (3'-15') so this is less important.
All the higher end "professional" DAT portables do use balanced inputs.
Most minidisc machines are unbalanced but there is a wonderful mic-pre and
A-D converter, the Zefiro InBox, which allows balanced line mics to be
connected to a minidisc or small consumer DAT machines (like the Sony D7 or
D8 models) via an optical digital connector. The Inbox is about $250 US.
(It was developed for the motion picture industry so small DAT recorders
could be used better on film location shoots to record dialogue with
professional mics designed for balanced line use.) Also, Sony makes as
external adaptor and mic preamp for its consumer portables which allows
balanced line mics to be used. The advantage of the Zefiro product is that
it also improves on the A-D (analog to digital) conversion in these
consumer level machines and is no more expensive than the Sony adaptor.
Let me know if you have any more questions (though I leave for the UK and
Iceland for two weeks starting Aug. 8).
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