If you've been keeping up with No Film School, you might have noticed that we've been talking more about manufacturers who make professional level audio products (and different sound techniques, in general). Lectrosonics is one of those companies to consider when you're looking to step up your game.
The SPDR is a portable digital recorder that shares a lot of similarities with its PDR micro digital recorder sibling, with the added benefit of two channel stereo recording. The PDR has one input channel.
Both the SPDR and PDR do not transmit a wireless signal but instead function as a stand alone recorder. It's ideal in situations where a wireless system is not practical shooting, while on documentaries, narrative, extreme sports, or weddings, it can be used with a camera to capture audio or as a backup. Plant micing is another consideration for driving sequences or when moving from room to room.
SPDR records Broadcast Wave Format (BWF / .WAV) files with iXML support at 24-bit 48 kHZ or 96 kHZ sample rates to internal microSDHC cards up to 32GB. Each 32GB card provides around 30 hours of record time at 48 kHz and about half that at 96 kHz. Quick tip on 48 kHz and 96 kHz: recording at 48 kHz is the industry standard for film and television production sound recording, but at 96 kHz, there's more headroom near 20 kHz with a little less phase distortion.
There are two recording modes dubbed Split Gain and HD Mono. Split Gain records two tracks, one at a normal level and a second -18db lower as a safety track, while HD Mono records a single audio track. A good use for Split Gain is when sound situations are uncontrollable like when someone may scream. In either mode, recordings larger than 4GB are separated into multiple tracks. It's also worth noting Split Gain only records in 48 kHz while HD mono handles both 96 kHz and 48 kHz.
Stereo recordings can have linked or independent limiters. Linked keeps the balance of both channels while independent provides separate limiters to each input. A 5-pin TA5 pin connector accepts mic or line level and has a servo bias preamp for 2V or 4V lav mics. You're also getting a wide frequency response of 20 Hz - 20 kHz and a formidable dynamic range of 110 dB before limiting (105 db with the PDR). There's also an AES3 option where you can connect a Lectrosonics MCAES3 (TA5F to XLR) cable from the SPDR to a mixer or recorder.
Both the SPDR and PDR supply time code jam/sync to make syncing audio in post a breeze. Lectrosonics says its time code oscillator has a 1 ppm accuracy rate. For the uninitiated, on long recordings, time code can drift. A 1 ppm drift is outstanding, and the lower the ppm, the better. There are timecode options to link camera and audio that can provide a 0.0 ppm, like the Ambient Lock-It Sync Box. It's used a ton on productions. DP Ben Richardson and production mixer Thomas Curley looked to it on the Paramount series Yellowstone to sync four roaming cameras.
The SPDR has an aluminum construction with an illuminated LED to navigate its familiar Lectrosonics menu tree. However, the unit is slightly larger than the PDR but is still light and compact enough to be easily concealed on your talent.
- SPDR: 3.9 x 2.38 x .82" (99.06 x 60.45 x 20.83mm), 5.7 oz. (162g)
- PDR: 2.3 x 2.1 x 0.7" (60 x 54 x 17mm), 2.5 oz (71g)
The unit has dual power options—internal battery and 12VDC. If 12VDC is lost, it will automatically switch over to the internal batteries. 2x AA lithium or alkaline batteries provide roughly 20 and 13 hours of runtime. In comparison, the PDR provides six hours but only takes 1x AA battery.
SPDR Tech Specs:
- Broadcast Wave Format (iXML metadata)
- 2 Input Channels
- Stereo Recording
- MicroSDHC Memory Card
- AES Input
- Time Code Jam/Sync
- TA5M Input Jack
- Aluminum Design
- Dual Power