Audio / Hands-on Review

Hands On with the Fostex DC-R302 Mixer/Recorder for HDSLR Video


A clever new piece of equipment is available that corrects all of the shortcomings of HDSLR audio, in a single compact, camera-mountable box. The Fostex DC-R302 is a three-channel field mixer, with a two-channel high-resolution audio recorder built in. It’s outfitted with staple features that are required for field audio production, and it does a few custom tricks that integrate it directly into your HDSLR video workflow. Most notably, the DC-R302 eliminates the need to have three separate devices for mixing, recording and plugging multiple XLR audio signals directly into a camera. If you’re a solo run-and-gun HDSLR shooter, this is the missing link that will both simplify and lighten the weight of the audio end of your camera rig.

One other interesting feature is the Remote Start function that allows the DSLR camera’s video recording to start and stop in sync with the Record button, via infrared triggering or a wired connection. For now, the infrared function only works with the Canon 5D Mark II, but Fostex is working on expanding this functionality with other camera manufacturers. The device is an intriguing advancement for HDSLR video production. For more information and to hear it in action, check out this hands-on review video.

Inputs 3x XLR, Reference Input Level Hi: -60, Mid: -55, Low -50 dBu (Mic), -10 dBu (Line),  Maximum Input Level Hi: -32, Mid: -27, Low -22 dBu (Mic), +10 dBu (Line), Input Impedance: More than 10k ohm
Outputs 2x 1/8" (3.5mm) TRS stereo mini (headphones and mic level for camera), 2x RCA Main Out
Phantom Power P48V +/- 4V (10 mA/CH) (Mic), on/off switch on all three channels
Return In Connector: 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mini (unbalanced), Refernece Input Level: -10 dBV, Max Input Level: +2 dBV, Input Impedance: more than 10k ohm
Main Out Connector: 2 x RCA unbalanced, Reference Output Level: -10 dBV (at reference level input and -12 dBFS signal), Max Output Level: +2 dBV (at 0 dBFS), Load Impedance: more than 10k ohm
Remote Port 1 x 2.5mm sub mini
Connectivity 1 x USB
Card Slot 1 x SD Card slot
Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz (+/-1 dB at reference level, Line in - Main out), 40 Hz to 20 kHz (+/-3 dB at reference level, Mic In - Main Out)
S/N Ratio (A-weighted) Line: more than 95 dB (input gain -10 dBV), Mic: more than 55 dB (input gain max/150 ohm loaded)
THD Line: less than 0.01% at 1 kHz (input gain: Line), Mic: less than 0.1% at 1 kHz (input gain: Hi) 
Power 4x AA batteries, external power supply: AC adapter or equivalent / rated range 9 - 24VDC
Dimensions (w/o camera mount)  6 x 1.8 x 4.2" (152 x 45 x 107mm)
Weight (w/o batteries) 1.5 lb (690 g) 

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Can you please give product names/links for the Shotgun and lav mics? I would like to buy the entire setup.

Please don't compare Fostex DC-R302 with Zoom H4n! Can you compare Sound Devices mixer with toy Karaoke machine? I am totally amazed by DC-R302 and I use many the high end recorders starting from Marantz, Tascam and Sony (also a Zoom H4n) and DC-R302 beats them all.

What's the sound quality like compared to Sound Devices 302? I've been looking at upgrading from my Zoom H4n so just want to know if the DC-R302 is great on it's own or would I get much better sound quality with the SD 302 and connect to it H4n to record the audio from it? Thanks.

"What's the sound quality like compared to Sound Devices 302?"

This device is so new that there hasn't been enough testing in the market yet (as of April, 2012.) That said, this test (below) shows that the Fostex FR-2 LE is very, very good. If we assume that the DC-R302 is as quiet as the FR-2 LE (which is sort of an equivalent price point) then I hope the Fostex is going to be quite competitive.

Hello -

 The Sound Devices 302 is a world class product with a superb track record and a legendary reputation among industryu professionals. The Fostex looks great and may be ideal for those looking to carry less equipment - like the DSLR shooter. Without doing a side by side comparison it would be unfair to compare them technically from a performance perspective.  I suspect that the Sound Devices will be the best choice for film and ENG professionals while the Fostex will appeal most to the advanced DSLR film maker.