The Lectrosonics MTCR Lets You Record Audio When Transmitting Wireless Isn't An Option

Lectrosonics adds a miniature recorder to its portable line. 

The Miniature Time Code Recorder (a.k.a. MTCR) is a professional-grade portable digital recorder from Lectrosonics, which is small enough to be used on talent or stashed on location to record audio. It joins the SPDR, a stereo version in the series. The MTCR is basically a refreshed version of the now-discontinued Lectrosonics PDR, and the main difference between the two is that the MTCR headphone jack allows users to hear playback, but is automatically muted during recording. 

Key Features 

  • Broadcast Wave Format Recordings
  • Records to microSDHC Memory Cards
  • Timecode is SMPTE 12M - 1999 compliant
  • 6+ hours of operation on a single AAA lithium battery

So what is a portable digital recorder? Basically, it's the size and shape of a wireless transmitter, but it does not transmit wireless audio. Instead, it records audio internally to a memory card. For the MTRC, it's a microSD. A product like this is useful when you cannot transmit wireless audio with confidence. Let's say you're inside a heavily cemented location like a storage facility or are doing car work. It's also an option for longer dialogue takes or when talent tends to roam like in reality television. 

The MTCR is tiny, with its longest measurement being 2.3". It weighs only 2.5 oz (71 grams) with a battery.  It has rounded edges which can be less obtrusive when placing it on talent. It's a mono recorder that records 24-bit 48 kHz industry-standard Broadcast Wave Files (.wav). It can be jammed to external timecode via a 5-pin Lemo connector. Timecode is SMPTE 12M - 1999 compliant. The 3.5mm TRS headphone jack allows you to monitor the signal or listen to recorded files, but you cannot use it to send audio to another device while recording. Why not? 

The input connector is a TA5M that accepts a mic or line level signal. It can power electret lavalier microphones and is also compatible with Lectrosonics microphone transmitters pre-wired with servo bias type inputs. Its frequency response is 20 Hz - 20 kHz and its signal to noise ratio is 105 dB in HD mono mode. There is also a split gain mode. An LCD and familiar Lectrosonics membrane buttons shuffle through the menu. A single AAA lithium battery can power the device for over 6 hours. 

Recommended SD Cards 

  • Lexar 16GB High Performance UHS-I (LSDMI16GBBNL300)
  • SanDisk 16GB Extreme PLUS UHS-I (SDSDQX-016G-GN6MA)
  • Sony 16GB UHS-I (SR16UXA/TQ)
  • PNY Technologies 16GB Elite UHS-1 (P-SDU16U185EL-GE)
  • Samsung 16GB PRO UHS-1 (MB-MG16EA/AM)

Price & Availability 

The MTRC is available for $990 USD and comes with an M152/5P low-noise omni lav microphone, microSD, belt clip, and AAA lithium battery. I know what you're thinking. $990 for a recorder? When comparing it to the $1,200 Lectrosonics SPDR it falls in line. But the price is not what's bothering me. Yes, there are other less expensive options available. The Tascam DR-10L being one of them. 

Let's put pricing aside. Lectrosonics discontinued the PDR and then introduced the SPDR, which is the two-channel version. Now they've reintroduced the PDR under a new name and added an auto-mute headphone feature. Why are we basically getting the same product as the old PDR? That's what bothering me. Why not a smaller two-channel version of the SDPR? Or something that separates itself further from the PDR. It's odd. If you have an answer, let me know in the comments below.      

Your Comment

2 Comments

$990.00? Seriously?

March 11, 2020 at 1:42AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
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I know it sounds like a lot of cash especially since Lectrosonics stuff doesn't necessarily look fancy on paper. But, being a current user of some of their other gear, I will say their stuff is quite reliable, sounds great and has held up better then any of our previous wireless systems. If you are in production professionally, filming day to day, year to year, replacement and repair costs of other systems could easily outpace a $1k investment in something from these guys.

March 11, 2020 at 2:23PM

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Chris Toll
Production Manager / Producer / DP
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