Audio Options For The Panasonic GH4


Q I’ve been using a Zoom H4n audio recorder with my DSLRs for the past few years. While the sound has been adequate for most of our projects, I wish there was a method for better integrating an outboard recorder with my Zacuto shoulder-mount rig. I shoot a lot of solo documentaries, and not being able to easily affix the Zoom to my shoulder rig so I can view the LED display has made using it inconvenient. Are there any smaller, easier-to-use recorders that might fit my rig?
Tyler N.
Via email

A Many DSLR users run into the same issues. I recently acquired a new Tascam DR-60D. If you’re at all familiar with the Tascam DR-40 recorder (a competitor of the Zoom H4n), the DR-60D is a version of the DR-40 that Tascam redesigned to better integrate with the DSLR workflow. While the Zoom H4n and Tascam DR-40 both feature internal microphones, the DR-60D doesn’t. Shaped like a box, the DR-60D was designed for you to actually mount to the bottom of your camera. The unit has its own ¼"-20 mounting hole so you can screw your tripod mounting plate to the bottom of the unit, allowing the DR-60D to reside between your camera and your tripod head. The DR-60D display reads out on the front of the unit, allowing for better visibility and access to the transport buttons.

I own and have used the Tascam DR-40 and the Zoom H4n, and while I still find use for both, the DR-60D has been seeing a lot more usage from me than the other two units because it’s set up to make it easier to use in a DSLR production workflow. The unit features a tone generator button so you can simultaneously record a small portion of test tone at the head of each take to the Tascam’s internal SD card recorder, as well as to your camera’s scratch/backup track. This allows almost effortless manual syncing in your audio program since both audio sources will show a nice rectangular waveform that’s easy to match up on your timeline. The DR-60D also has a nice feature that allows you to run the output of the DR-60D into your camera and then run the headphone output of your camera back into the DR-60D, allowing you confident recording.

If you’re working with DSLRs and outboard recorders, I’m confident that you’ll find the feature set of the Tascam DR-60D to be uniquely suited to your needs. The suggested retail of the DR-60D is $599, but is available from all popular online retailers for considerably less; under $200 is what I paid for mine. It’s well worth checking out.

16 CFR Part 255 Disclosure: Neither Røde nor Tascam compensated me to write this article. Neither company sent me a review unit to try out the Røde Lavalier or Tascam DR-60D; I purchased the Røde Lavalier and the Tascam DR-60D from an online retailer at normal retail price. No material connection exists between the manufacturers mentioned in the article and myself.

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