Fostex FR2 LE + Rode NTG2 quiet input



I recently bought an Fostex FR2 LE and a RODE NTG2 in order to create a starter kit for sound recording in the field. I have performed numerous test recordings over the past few days but the the recorded result is always far too quiet when I import the audio into my DAW. When recording I have the recording level knob set to full and the mic trim at roughly half, with a good level around -3 to -5dB on the monitor yet the result is extremely quiet and barely tickles the monitor in my DAW. I am using phantom power on the NTG2, with the FR2 LE powered by a 7.2v 3000mah Tamiya battery. If anyone could help me with this problem I would be extremely grateful. It has been very stressful for me, having spent a good deal on the gear and with an important assignment on the way I'm beginning to feel anxious.

Thanks and kind regards, Ty


Posted 2012-12-20T23:02:38.473

Reputation: 23



I took own(ed) an FR-2LE and an NTG2. Despite where the pots were, I was always able to get a decent S:N ratio with that combo, specifically using phantom power and not a battery in the NTG (which you are also doing), also with a Tamiya style battery. I'm afraid that I don't recall where the gain pot was, but it was pretty high.

I found the headphone amp on the FR2-LE to be horrific and not to be trusted: Far noisier than what you actually capture. In addition, the levels on the top edge of the device are woefully inaccurate. I only used the LCD meters, and those aren't great either, but more accurate for sure (and more visible in daylight). At the end of the day, the question is if you're getting the S:N ratio you want without clipping, pot positions be damned. Sounds like your level is probably a lot lower than mine, but our definitions of "a lot of noise" might be different. I was probably over the 2 o'clock position on the gain, but not cranked over towards 5 o'clock. I'd need to do some testing to validate this, however.

I'd also suggest switching audio cables to make sure, AND testing with AA's in the battery sled to eliminate the Tamiya battery as a variable.


Posted 2012-12-20T23:02:38.473

Reputation: 11 088

Out of curiosity, why were you specifically not using a battery in the NTG? Is there improved S/N using only P48? – Brendan Rehill – 2012-12-21T10:29:05.657

When I say only P48, I of course mean using P48 instead of batteries. I haven't been trying to use both in an attempt to supercharge my mic! – Brendan Rehill – 2012-12-21T10:52:23.857

Thanks for the response, I have since opened the ntg2 and removed the battery inside, as I was unsure whether this would bypass the use of the FR2 le's phantom power or create another problem of some kind. I also changed the format of the card to mono and performed some test readings, as I currently away for the night and don't whave the where with all to move recorded material onto my computer at the moment. – user5573 – 2012-12-21T16:34:09.433

Continued: The meter still reads relatively low, but probably not as low as before. With the input level dial set to 3 o clock and the mic trim half way to 3 o clock, clicking my fingers in front of the mic the meter will read around -12. I'm new to field recording, if you could tell me what level is best to aim for for both effects and ambiences it would help me understand whether the input I'm achieving is usable. I've had some confusion with the mic trim dial. As I understand it, the further clockwise the dial, the lower the input attenuation. How do you typically set your mic trim dial? – user5573 – 2012-12-21T16:39:12.690

Sorry if my post seemed a little impolite, I had to condense what I wanted to say to comply with the word count. Thanks for all the help so far, it's very much apreciated :) – user5573 – 2012-12-21T17:32:13.220



You say you have 'a good level around -3 to -5dB on the monitor' but that looks pretty loud to me. I never monitor at such levels. The FR2 LE has a level meter, right? That should, at the loudest peaks be reaching -6 dB (or lower if you do 24bits recording). Test the level while speaking into your microphone or snapping your finger in front of it. If you can hear the peaks on a good level on your headphones and it reaches between -20dB and -12dB dB on the level meter it should sound good back in the studio.

Oh and -12 is louder than -20... just to be sure :)

btw: what is your monitoring level in the studio? have you listened to the recordings in a simple mediaplayer like itunes/vlc or winamp?

Good luck

Arnoud Traa

Posted 2012-12-20T23:02:38.473

Reputation: 2 886

Thanks for the quick answer :)

Yes, the monitor on the FR2 LE is reading near the top, (having checked again) around -12 on the FR2 LE's monitor display (3 quarters of the bar) however when I import the audio into my DAW (Logic pro 9) the monitor reads far lower and is extremely quiet (around -24dB). Playback in itunes is also very low in loudness. I have tested by recording my clicking fingers and must set the mic trim to almost fully clockwise in order to get a good amplitude in the recorded result, however this introduces noise. – user5573 – 2012-12-20T23:40:26.903

With some more experimentation I am now able to get higher levels in the recorded result, however I must have the recording level knob set to full with the mic trim over half way to get anything acceptable when recording my fingers clicking at a distance of about 1 foot away (0.3048 metres). Perhaps this is normal, but it seems rather excessive compared to the gain staging I've performed in the past. – user5573 – 2012-12-21T00:28:26.810

Strange.. I'm not sure were your problem lies, but maybe logic has some known issues concerning this? I work in protools, so can't help you there. – Arnoud Traa – 2012-12-21T11:24:04.533