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Fostex FR-2LE Reviews

4.0 stars based on 1 customer review
  • Alex
    from Knoxville, TN February 28, 2011Music Background:
    Production and audio post for TV and film.

    Great recorder at a great price!

    This was purchased for use as a second-system recorder along a DSLR camera for HD video production.

    If you're in the market for a lower-cost recorder, this is certainly something to consider. Hand-held recorders have their place and time, but are not friendly for those of us who need a recorder that fits in a bag and remains accessible during run-and-gun operation.

    The FR-2LE sounds great. The pre-amps are good, the line-level recording is pristine, and the learning curve isn't too steep. The top-accessible recording controls and LED meter are convenient for bag use, and the recorder is also right at home on a cart or table.

    The file-naming system has a few nifty options, including one that uses a reel/scene/take system. This makes organization for post-production much easier.

    There are a few quirks. The menu system is a little tricky, so study the manual. The headphone amp isn't the best in the world, and may introduce some artifacts during monitoring... but fear not, none of that gets recorded. The battery cage design is also a bit awkward, and can be challenging to get into the machine the first time. The record level control is also a bit loose (I prefer just a little resistance).

    Another notable item: recording file format cannot be changed on the fly. Where other recorders allow resolution, bit-rate, and format to be changed back and forth, the FR-2LE requires a reformat of the card in order to switch. This also destroys any previously recorded data. So in a situation where MP3 may be necessary, keep a CF card on hand that's formatted for MP3 and swap cards when needed.

    Last, the LED meter on the front of the recorder has two options: peak and level. As low-resolution as the meter is (only 6 LED segments), the peak option is all but useless. It's also the default factory setting, so be sure that is changed before use.

    In all, this is probably one of the best mid-range recorders out there under $900 and is certainly more flexible and more robust than the cheap hand-held recorders. The bag-friendly form factor is a major plus, and the ease of operation and quality of recordings make it a worthy investment.

    I'm rating it as a 4 because there are certainly better options out there (more expensive options) that have better I/O connections, time code, etc. But in the world of budget-minded audio gear, this one's a definite winner.

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