Kevin Augello (left) and Phil Coates use Sound Devices equipment for the recent Going North project for Dutch Channel Avro
Location and reporters’ recorders have undergone dramatic technological changes over the past 15 years. Kevin Hilton looks at whether this has brought them closer together and where they might go in the future
ON THE FACE of it, radio reporters and location sound recordists have the same basic audio need – to record voices. After that specific requirements dictate different features and operational techniques, which led to the production of dedicated recorders. Digital
technology has played a major part in providing specialised devices in both markets. At first it reinforced the divide between film/TV drama work and reporting but in the past few years digits have closed the gap between the two, with lower cost models familiar in both camps.
Roland Systems Group is well
known in the music and reporting markets. The R-4 four-channel recorder was a workhorse for many years but the new six-track (three stereo) R-26 looks set to further break down barriers. Recordist and producer Jerry Ibbotson runs York-based audio
production company Media Mill with his wife Louise, a radio journalist. Ibbotson himself also started out as a radio reporter but has since moved more into recording sound effects for video games. Recently he has been working on a speech-based project, recording interviews for a CD project using the R-26 and a RØDE NTG-3 shotgun mic. Among other recorders he has been using are the also newly introduced Olympus LS100 and
the Tascam HS-P82. Ibbotson says it is the better mic preamps on lower cost recorders that has been behind them “stepping up” and closing the gap on higher end units. Ibbotson says higher end machines like the Sound Devices 7-Series deliver low noise but now lower cost recorders are coming close to that performance: “When nearly the same sound is coming out of a £350 machine, that’s been the step up. Both the Roland R-26