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What type of AUDIO RECORDER do you use?

What kind of audio recorder do you use? How do you like it? I’ve go my feelers out for one… I came across a gadget that fits onto an iPod nano and feeds off the nano’s battery.. anyone used this thing or heard of it? My concern would be battery life… Perhaps can anyone suggest recorders with long battery life that are durable, and decent sound quality (and of course don’t cost a fortune)?

by [a former member] at 2007-01-10 04:06:29 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Austin, Texas , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I use a Transcend MP3 player ( TSONIC 610) which has an excellent voice recording feature. I tested it in outdoor. For a 2GB memory it gives a recording time as much as 32 hrs. ( 1 channel mono – 32KHz).The battery life is 13/14 hrs if played continuously. It is USB chargeable and also come with optional charging kit ( USD $4 )too.
I can say it is better than Ipod nano as Ipod gives me only a play back option. This product can be used as MP3 player, FM radio and voice recorder.My two cents.

by sandip debnath | 10 Jan 2007 05:01 | Bangalore, India | | Report spam→
I had the belkin tunetalk recorder that snaps onto the bottom of an iPod, and after only a few times out was pretty dissapointed. The biggest issues for me were that you can’t set levels or listen while you record, and it is next to impossible to shield the mic from even a mild breeze. In a controlled environment it works OK, but I wouldn’t suggest it for field recording. The Marantz recorders (PMD 660 and PMD 670) are really nice, but are fairly expensive. Instead of the Marantz I ended up getting the Zoom H4 (paid USD $265 on amazon.com), and so far I don’t have any major complaints. It uses AA batteries, and records to SD cards. The sound quality is very good with the built-in mics, and it also allows external mics to be connected via XLR and 1/4" jacks. The build quality isn’t fantastic(cheap plastic) and the menus are frustrating, but for the money I think it is a solid choice.

by Matt Gainer | 10 Jan 2007 07:01 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
I was on a Sony mini disc, and that worked fine, but recently upgraded to the Marantz 660. Still early days, but am happy with the new kit. Editing on the unit is a breeze, and it feels quite solid, without being heavy. It is much bigger than a mini disc recorder though.

by Robert Go | 10 Jan 2007 09:01 | Colombo, Sri Lanka | | Report spam→
Edirol R-9 by Roland uses SD card. one word Amazing!

by Camille Seaman | 10 Jan 2007 20:01 | Berkeley, US, United States | | Report spam→
On the recommendation of transom.org, I bought a marantz 660 and love it. It’s very light, runs forever on aa batteries, and has broadcast-quality sound. It does need an external mic, and it a bit pricey. I had a zoom ps-04, but it was difficult to use (recording took navigating through several menus) and flimsy.

by Jonathan Lipkin | 10 Jan 2007 21:01 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
a big THANKS to all so far.. this is all very helpful… anyone else?

by [former member] | 10 Jan 2007 22:01 (ed. Jan 11 2007) | Austin, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
just don’t do the italk on the ipod. problem isn’t battery life, it’s quality. it’s just not up to par and defeats the point of recording audio, as i found out when i used one on a personal project, woops!
i hear there is a recorder by olympus that uses flash memory that’s good.
i’ve also been recommended to use the M-Audio recorder by several people. light and uses CF memory.
i think the marantz is great quality but bulky when combined with photo gear (although that may have been an older model).
here’s a link to an m-audio review. i was impressed by it:

by Jacquelyn Martin | 11 Jan 2007 20:01 (ed. Jan 11 2007) | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
The marantz is indeed bulky. I don’t think there’s a smaller model. Also, mics and cables take up room as well.

by Jonathan Lipkin | 11 Jan 2007 21:01 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Edirol R-09. Plastic but good.

by [former member] | 11 Jan 2007 22:01 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
I’m using a pair of Sony MZ-Rh910 Hi-MD recorders. The quality is excellent, they are tiny and have no startup delay. They also run for 6-8 hours on a single battery charge yet will take AA batteries when you are in the field for days without power. When I’m recording I have a full alotment of photo gear on me so size and speed is critical.

by Jonathan Castner | 11 Jan 2007 23:01 | Denver, United States | | Report spam→
Edirol R-09. Simply the best!!!

by Ricardo Arduengo | 12 Jan 2007 00:01 | San Juan, Puerto Rico | | Report spam→
Edirol R-09. Regular AA batteries don’t last long on it, however. The built-in mics are so good so much so that you have to be aware of recording wind hiss. You even have to watch out how you move it while recording because it will pick up that swish as it moves through the air. To prevent that I aim to make some sort of a foam covering for the built in mic to imitate those buffers found on external mics.

by Max Pasion | 12 Jan 2007 00:01 (ed. Mar 4 2007) | Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States | | Report spam→
Again, at NPR we are still using some minidisks (have for years, though they are gradually going away as the manufacturers phase out ones that use outside mikes) and going to the Marantz digital line (mostly 660s).

I bought a 660 for myself from a fellow LS member and used it over the holidays to record some Junkanoo drummers on Eleuthera. I thought it was better and easier to use than the minidisk. To put the sound in the computer you just pull out the Compactflash card and put it in the card reader just like with photos. My sister-in-law, who used to do sound work in films, used it and definitely approved of it.

by [former member] | 12 Jan 2007 03:01 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Third or fourth the marantz recomendation. also M-Audio Microtrack 2496. really small, and the audio I’ve heard from it is as good as the marantz. expensive, though.

by Matthew Mills | 12 Jan 2007 03:01 | Santa Fe, NM, United States | | Report spam→
Edirol R-09. The sound quality is excellent, but I hate the plasticky feeling.


by Carsten Bockermann | 12 Jan 2007 07:01 | Cologne, Germany | | Report spam→
M-Audio Microtrack 2496, expensive but great recording quality, built in battery, usb or wall charge, comes with external mic, 1 touch record, level adjust uses CF cards also. Expensive but well worth the price of admission.

by Nayan Sthankiya | 12 Jan 2007 12:01 | Ooty, India | | Report spam→
I have been using a minidisc recorder by Aiwa for several years (AM-F70), but the main problem has been uploading the recording to the computer. During my stay in Tokyo, I learned that there is a new Sony Minidisc Walkman, MZ-RH1. Its main new feature is its easy uploadability. The recharging of the battery is done through the computer uploading time as well. The price seems to be reasonable on the $300 level. Since you can upload the previous MD disc content through this device, I am seriously considering the purchase.
I would be interested in knowing anyone who has used it.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 13 Jan 2007 18:01 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
by far the best (and smallest) flash recorder out there is the edirol r-09 made my roland. basically put…just get it. For added insight — the m-audio is nice and really the only true competitor in regards to size and recording quality in the world of mini-flash recorders when compared to the edirol (actually one level higher in audio quality then the edirol), but it’s mics are an external addition you have to carry and makes the recorder far larger then the edirol (the m-audio is already nearly 1 inch taller then the edirol without the included mic plugged in). and the built in mics of the edirol are astonishingly good given the recorders size — very spacial is their recording presents, however do consider the slew of available external mics on the market if you really want fine recordings for any of these recorders that come with mics. also, there is also an electric noise issue well written about on audiophile websites with the m-audio…because key electronic bits are so close to the pre-amp within all of these smaller flash recorders, for some reason the m-audio is more sensitive to picking up this hiss then other mini flash recorder — really only heard with excellent headphones or when compared to larger flash recorders such as units made by fostex or sound devices (i also use a fostex fr-2 http://www.fostex.com/index.php?file=products/pfr/fr2 ). also, the battery with the m-audio doesn’t last very long and because it’s built in you either have to carry an usb charger unit (heavy) or other items which make the street photographer kit far more to carry then one would want. The only negative to the edirol (and it’s minor) is that the bottom compartment where the batteries and flash card goes needs to be handled with care because it’s plastic design can break if handled too quickly or harshly. but it’s really a minor issue once you learn how to handle the recorder. and one final comparison with the lesser recording issue to the edirol….the edirol quality of recording is already two levels in quality higher then a cd recording, so if you listen to your cd’s and like the sound then imagine what two more levels more of audio quality means. by the way, recorders like the fostex fr-2 go so much higher in audio quality (call them the leica lenses of audio) that your ears can no longer discern the difference. but if you’re a audio junky, then such recordings are indeed astonishing. the investment is vastly more and the size of the unit is like carrying an extra camera bag — i only bring the fostex if there is an an assistant/fixer traveling with me or if i know for certain there are events i want to record that will have astonishing levels of brilliant music. After hundreds of hours of field recordings i’ve made over the last 10-years (previously i used a sony dat till these various decent flash recorders came on the market a few years back), we can definitely say that the tools are available now to help ethnomusicologist and field recordist junkies like myself — especially those who are photographers and want to be photographers, not gear toting sherpas — to go out onto the streets or even in a studio and record the other communication dimension with a brilliant piece of minimalist gear. all these recorders mentioned on this audio forum are excellent in their own ways and I do not mean to usurp or demising the power of the m-audio, but by far the edirol allows us to be a photographer while filling that yearn to hear the world and expand what are eyes are witnessing. hope this long letter helps.

by [former member] | 13 Jan 2007 19:01 | Bali, Indonesia | | Report spam→
I’ve been using the Edirol R-1 for a couple of years now. The sound files are great, real clean and crisp. I also have two mics, an audio technica mono shot gun and wide-angle stereo mic. Recording is one push. The buttons are convenient. The menus all run from most to least in interest/ of the operator. Its also small.

I have two issues with it. First, the battery life is short, it runs around 3.5 hours if you’re recording 24-bit WAV files. Second, the mic input is mini-jack so its easy to accidentally pull the mic out. I solved that by taping the mic to the unit.

I like the unit so much I might buy another despite its age.

by Bill Putnam | 14 Jan 2007 02:01 | Washington, D.C., United States | | Report spam→
Does anybody use the Nagra Ares M?

by [former member] | 14 Jan 2007 09:01 | Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
Edirol R-09 is a good unit.

The mics are good, it’s compact, it runs on AA’s, and SD card.

If you were to do a lot of recording the size limit of the SD card might be an issue, but with a 2Gb card you can get 1 and a half hours of 16 bit sound, which is more than enough for me at this time. Battery life hasn’t been much of an issue, they last about 4 or 5 hours.

The microtrack looks great, and I must admit I’d prefer to use CF cards to SD, but the inbuilt battery is a hassle. The convenience of being able to poach my flash batteries for the Edirol has already proved to be a good feature.

by Tyler Freeman Smith | 15 Jan 2007 00:01 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
I use m-audio. Agree with battery issues. Don’t get it unless you can access a power source a couple of times during day. Pros-easy to use, good sound files (mp3 or wav), uses CF cards.

Since on topic – any suggestions for shot-gun mics? Right now using Sennheiser MKE 300. Good sound when it works but connection to m-audio is inconsistent (from day one). Lots of static moments even when taped on. Definitely looking for cardioid not omnidirectional. Like the attached windscreen on 300.

Or any tips to a better connection beyond cleaning, tape.


by [former member] | 15 Jan 2007 01:01 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Sevans, I’ve heard good things about the Sennheiser ME64.

I’m not sure about the connection, sounds a bit suss to me. Have you had it looked at by a tech?

by Tyler Freeman Smith | 15 Jan 2007 02:01 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Sevans -

I’ve been using a sennheiser me6 something (forget the exact model number). The sound is quite good – a little tinnier than the other mic I have, an Audio-Technica AT825. There is some handling noise, which I reduced by wrapping the handle in foam rubber and gaffer’s tape. The nice thing about the mic is that it’s modular, so you can screw off the top which is the shotgun part, and attach a condenser, lavalier, etc.

by Jonathan Lipkin | 15 Jan 2007 03:01 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→

I use the belkil omni directional mic… Its great… I used it to capture the sound for our presentations that night… Talk soon man…

by mike berube | 15 Jan 2007 03:01 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
The most unbiased and systematic test information out there on audio recorders, mics, etc. is at http://www.transom.org/tools/. With due respect to the above posters (including me), the people who put the Transom info together are pros and really know their shit.

by [former member] | 15 Jan 2007 14:01 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Neal is right…i bought my audio recorder (M-audio) after reading its review on Transom, and i’m quite happy with it so far (about a year of working with it).

here’s the link:


by [former member] | 15 Jan 2007 14:01 | New York, United States | | Report spam→

by [former member] | 15 Jan 2007 15:01 | Pelissanne, France | | Report spam→
Anybody out ther using a Zoom H4 in the field. Did read some test, but exclusevly from people who use it to record church choirs or band practice. The H4 looks quite good from the specs, build in microphones and XLR connectors for other mics.

And I would like some microphone recommendations. Something good and cheap or rather on the value size. I want to record interviews, but location sound as well.

Thanks in advance.

by Heinrich Voelkel | 15 Jan 2007 20:01 | Barcelona, Spain | | Report spam→
I’ve just started using the Zoom H4. I’m quite happy so far. It’s the first recorder i’ve used so I don’t have much to compare it to but the quality seems good. You have a lot of control over input levels and quality and overall it was pretty easy to learn to navigate and use. The price is more than 100 (US) less than the edirol as well. Also you can use AA bateries which is sweet and you can record to SD cards, which isn’t as nice as a compact flash card but it’s better than some of the options. Cheers- Jon O.

by Jon Orlando | 16 Jan 2007 21:01 | Boulder, United States | | Report spam→

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sandip debnath, sandip debnath
Phoenix , United States
Matt Gainer, photographer Matt Gainer
Los Angeles , United States
Robert Go, Photographer | Writer Robert Go
Photographer | Writer
Melbourne , Australia
Camille Seaman, Explorer Camille Seaman
Berkeley, Ca , United States
Jonathan Lipkin, Professor, Photographer Jonathan Lipkin
Professor, Photographer
Brooklyn , United States
Jacquelyn Martin, Photojournalist Jacquelyn Martin
Washington, Dc , United States ( DCA )
Jonathan Castner, Photojournalist Jonathan Castner
Denver , United States
Ricardo Arduengo, Fotografo Ricardo Arduengo
Port Au Prince , Haiti ( PAP )
Max Pasion, Street Photographer Max Pasion
Street Photographer
Bayonne, Nj , United States ( EWR )
Matthew Mills, Photographer Matthew Mills
Oklahoma City , United States
Carsten Bockermann, Photographer Carsten Bockermann
Cologne , Germany ( CGN )
Nayan Sthankiya, Visual Journalist Nayan Sthankiya
Visual Journalist
Saskatoon , Canada
Tomoko Yamamoto, Multimedia Artist Tomoko Yamamoto
Multimedia Artist
Vienna , Austria
Bill Putnam, Producer. Bill Putnam
Washington, D.C. , United States
Tyler Freeman Smith, free range storyteller Tyler Freeman Smith
free range storyteller
Sydney , Australia
mike berube, photographer mike berube
Toronto , Canada ( YYZ )
Heinrich Voelkel, Heinrich Voelkel
Berlin , Germany ( TXL )
Jon Orlando, Photographer Jon Orlando
Denver , United States


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