Sound Devices 702 and Alternatives


Hi there sound design people!

I’ve been saving bucks for a while to get a good portable recorder. I thought that new Zoom H6 would have been my choice, but now that I can buy it I’m not sure anymore.

I’m reading that main internal stereo mics are good but xlr preamps are quite noisy for quiet sounds.

What I’m going to do with my recorder? I’m planning to record a lot of things, from super quiet sources to loud stuff, using many mics like shotguns, omni and contact.

I was considering the option: cheap portable recorder + good portable preamp. But this way I would have to give up with the full practicality of a single unit.

So I had the idea to save for the ultimate choice: the Sound Devices 702.

Did you work with this piece of gold?

Do you have other suggestions for recorders with low hiss?

I know that there are many recorders between 500 - 1000 dolla (Fostex, Tascam, Marantz) but I have no chance to test them before buy, so it’s difficult to have an opinion just reading video-guys’ reviews. And I don’t like the idea of saving money and buying a 600 dollars recorder and discover that I can’t use it for every sound source. So every real user opinions are welcome! :slight_smile:


It’s very good gear, but I can’t afford this… I do not know is it worth these money to making sfx. For pro film jobs it’s OK, but in real life? One box with it, second with recorder and mike with boom. It needs many things to carry and just go out only for catching sounds. Have you got time for this?

Comparable with self noise but cheaper are Sony recorders (Pcm D1, Pcm D50). I have PCM D50 and it’s very quiet and goes into the pocket. Everywhere I am - I am ready for recording.

Of course it will be hard to record a single tweeting bird without a shotgun, but it’s on FWDW list so no worries :slight_smile:


I have in mind to build some kontakt libraries and I was thinking about having a good equipment for the job :slight_smile: The D50 is on my wishlist since forever but I hate the fact that it doesn’t have XLR :frowning:


The truth about D50 is that it works far better with internal mikes than external ones (more hisses). I rarely use it wit external gear, even shotgun covers with dust. Remember also that it records only stereo - for mono samples just turn one capsule to the source and delete second channel.


Hey Luca,

I have the Zoom H4N and i am very happy with it. Also a very similar one and a cheaper choice is the Tascam DR 40. But i never tried this one so i have no idea about the quality. Hope this helps!


Amethist, don’t you find it a bit noisy for quiet sounds? I’ve heard a lot of tests and it looks like it has a lot of hiss.

I’m looking at Fostex FR2-LE now and the tech specs seem very good (like the price). Searching for some in-the-field tests to hear.

Btw saving for SD 702 would mean buying it next year… and I’m not sure I want to wait some more time (I’m planning to start my recording project since 2010 I guess :D)


Hey, Luca

I am using Fostex FR2-LE, works well for me, I recorded also quiet sounds with this recorder, using dynamic mic. I think noise will be in every recorder , specially when you use phantom power. I also tried Zoom H4, H6, but Fostex is the one I would record quiet and more “small” sounds. But I like Zooms because of their size and “fast” use :slight_smile: Hope it helps you to make decision.


You are absolutely right about the hiss. It’s my first recorder though so i don’t have any other references to compare it to. Like soundroll mention it’s very fast to use. While it’s off you take it out of your pocket and in a few seconds you are already recording .

Back to the hiss…since the microphones on it are not shotgun, i always get external noises in my recording. So at the end of the day i always end up using a denoiser for most recordings. If you want check out the recordings in my portfolio. Everything was recorded with the zoom.

Finally…supposedly the position of the microphones on the recorder help capture the sound wave at the exact same time without delay. Like i said it’s my first recorder so maybe the rest of the recorders capture the sound wave at the same time with no problem.


I’ve been using the Roland R26 for a year or so now for location stuff, great flexibility with various recording options and inputs / onboard mics. You do get a lot of handling noise if you are using the onboard mics and try to operate the machine, but thats the only negative I’ve found…

Happy shopping!


Thanks all for your thoughts :slight_smile: FR2-LE is on first place of my chart now :slight_smile:


Fostex makes great product. Get it!


I have used the Zoom H6 for some VO recordings and field work with shotgun microphones… It works quite well, and the multi-track functions are very nice. The battery life is great also!

The preamps are a lot better than the H4, in terms of noise floor (used one of those too)… It’s hard to beat the H6 at that price point. the SD stuff is definitely better, but you can always add one of their small mixers to get cleaner sounds… I think you can bypass the preamps by using a TRS 1/4” cable into the H6 from the XLR or mini XLR output on an external recorder.