Yamaha PR7 audio recorder (with XLR connector)
Thread DetailsLast Edited by sfoo April 17, 2014 at 11:57 PM
TL;DR: While competent as a basic recorder, it's overpriced for what it is and you should probably buy a Tascam DR40 if you need XLR, or the Zoom H1/tascam DR05 if you don't.
I've had this for a day and played with it for about an hour and a half. The unit itself is a pleasantly small affair, housed in a lightweight plastic that would not feel cumbersome to carry around all day, but sometimes imparts a feeling of fragility. The carrying case that comes with is a durable enough looking affair, which holds the pr7 snuggly--sometimes too snug. I ended up turning it on inadvertently a couple times. Using the "hold" switch can fix that but would rather see the case a smidge more spacious. Getting the flap to close over the microphones if you don't have it firmly pressed into the case is a silly chore, for instance.
This appears to be more musician oriented than some recorders, it includes a tuning and metronome function. If they included a 1000hz tone for tuning levels as well, this might have been pretty cool (not that any other cheap digital recorders do...).
Menus are a bit condensed. There's small LCD abbreviations for most entries on the left (Menu) or right (Rec Set) sides of the main screen. Most everything is up/down, play to select/change, menu to exit. From there it's a matter of remembering where the item you want to adjust is. Once set, they seem to stay put so you won't be digging around much unless you swap from internal mics to external. The exception to this is if you try to use the pre-set environmental settings (Near/Far/Off/etc). These will reset things like the high pass filter.
Sound settings don't include a levels function that corresponds to any db setting I can see. A limiter and an auto-levels hi/lo function are also available. No explanation of what the settings for them are. A high pass filter is available, again, no mention of what the cutoff is.
The onboard mics don't have as much foam for wind/breath noise compared to some other recorders i've used. They're in xy cross pattern. They do not adjust. If you overload them, a "PEAK" note appears on the time counter display temporarily. Handling noise is moderately apparent when touched while recording. Sound quality seems good.
The XLR connector box doesn't provide phantom power. It appears to just be an xlr to 1/4 or 1/8 stereo jacks. The XLR box is bigger than the PR7 itself. No battery compartments, just two XLR plugs, 1/8th and 1/4 plugs for output, and a "Stereo/Mono" switch that the small insert of documentation indicates that the 1/8th out is used when on stereo. The connectors are neutrik, with ejection buttons on them, ala the DR40. To connect the PR-XLR, you have to provide your own 1/8th to 1/8th or 1/4 audio cable. I connected a sennheiser E835 to test with initially, and got no response. As it's unpowered, I then attempted to use the unit with my powered shotgun mic instead, which worked. So use self-powered mics if you want this to work.
One AAA battery to power it. Manual claims up to 40 hours of mp3 record time on it (20ish for PCM). Has 2gb of onboard memory, and a micro sd slot. From power on to ready to record takes about six seconds. If the unit is turned on when connected to USB, it immediately stops and goes into USB mass storage mode. When unplugging from USB, it turns off. There's no USB audio functionality.
Edit: When recording from xlr, make sure to set the stereo/mono switch as appropriate. If you only have one mic and are on stereo, it will 'leak' a bit of hum. With it in mono and the mic off, record levels turned up over 55/60, it starts to add noise.
ETA2: Amusing thought: Magic Lantern + the PR-XLR and you could possibly connect a pair of xlr mics to your video SLRcamera on the cheap.