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Digital Recorders, again


Dan Worrall
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I know this topic has been handled before, but I am looking for an update....maybe there is a new model recorder out there.

 

I'm headed to South Africa in a few months, to record some of the old Boer players there for a new project, and later will head to County Clare in February. I have a handheld TASCAM DR-1 recorder that performs well for music, but has an overly complicated set of buttons and such (at least, for a retro geezer who uses reading glasses, like me). Sometimes I think I am recording, when the right button has not been pushed, and I lose the recording. I don't want to take that chance on this expensive trip.

 

So, I am looking for a digital recorder that hasn't been designed by a twenty year old geekish engineer! One that has a relatively clearly labelled set of simple record and play buttons (almost as easy as on an old cassette recorder). Needs to have a nice stereo mike, of course (i.e., not a voice recorder). Doesn't need to play back in forty different tunings, add electric bass accompaniment, transpose to the key of Gb minor, or whistle Dixie while upside down. :)

 

Has anyone seen one like this?

 

Cheers,

Dan

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In my opinion, its hard to beat the Zoom H4N with its twin condenser mikes and simple to use controls.

 

Its a professional level recorder with its own pre-amp built in so you can plug extra mikes in should you so wish.

 

It uses SD cards and so can have vast recording capacity. Its very robust indeed.

 

I use mine regularly and the sound quality is superb. Look at some reviews and you'll find it hard to find anything other than the highest praise for this versatile recorder.

 

If its too expensive for you, I am told that the H1 is very good also.

 

Tom

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I know this topic has been handled before, but I am looking for an update....maybe there is a new model recorder out there.

 

I'm headed to South Africa in a few months, to record some of the old Boer players there for a new project, and later will head to County Clare in February. I have a handheld TASCAM DR-1 recorder that performs well for music, but has an overly complicated set of buttons and such (at least, for a retro geezer who uses reading glasses, like me). Sometimes I think I am recording, when the right button has not been pushed, and I lose the recording. I don't want to take that chance on this expensive trip.

 

So, I am looking for a digital recorder that hasn't been designed by a twenty year old geekish engineer! One that has a relatively clearly labelled set of simple record and play buttons (almost as easy as on an old cassette recorder). Needs to have a nice stereo mike, of course (i.e., not a voice recorder). Doesn't need to play back in forty different tunings, add electric bass accompaniment, transpose to the key of Gb minor, or whistle Dixie while upside down. :)

 

Has anyone seen one like this?

 

Cheers,

Dan

 

I have an Olympus LS-10. Large record and stop buttons, clear display, runs on 2 AA batteries, remote control, and has speakers to check recordings on SD card. I think there is now a later model.

 

Cheers

 

Graham

I

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In my opinion, its hard to beat the Zoom H4N with its twin condenser mikes and simple to use controls.

 

Its a professional level recorder with its own pre-amp built in so you can plug extra mikes in should you so wish.

 

It uses SD cards and so can have vast recording capacity. Its very robust indeed.

 

I use mine regularly and the sound quality is superb. Look at some reviews and you'll find it hard to find anything other than the highest praise for this versatile recorder.

 

If its too expensive for you, I am told that the H1 is very good also.

 

Tom

 

If it has the same switches and screen as my H2 then I'd argue about the simple controls; On mine I think the switches are too small to be instantly sure which notch they've settled in, the labels on them are microscopic and the screen is hard to read. A great device for the price and does what I want, so it's just carping. But that's what I'd moan about to the makers if they asked.

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The problem with the Zooms is the batteries just don't last. I took extension electric cables with me last trip but they are such a pain I hardly used the Zoom.

It DOES have fiddly buttons which sometimes you cannot see.

 

On fares alone this is going to cost you a whack - all the way round the world.

 

You should have at least two recorders. And use both at each recording so if you cock up with one you still have a backup recording.

 

So, a Zoom if your fingers are good at coping (it is does have good quality, tho you must experiement coz it can underecord when you think it is getting sound)

 

Then buy that Olympus mentioned.

 

Use your existing one as a backup in case your other two break down.

 

Buy several sets of mini earphomes so you can listen to your two machines as they record -- it is a good way to be sure you are getting everything.

 

And if you are serious then you should also be taking video while you record audio.

There may be a Kodak Zi8 still on the market which shoots at 1080p resolution (you must have a mini table tripod as well as a floor tripod to avoid shakes. Seems they have ordinary batteries. You can also put an external mike in which gives you another sound backup.

 

And I am told Zoom are doing sound and video now (but one review complains about the battery life!

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/zoom-q2hd-handy-video-audio-recorder#review

 

Let us know = I am in themarket for a new base machine ///

Edited by Kautilya
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The problem with the Zooms is the batteries just don't last.

Damn right but I didn't mention that because I assumed that was normal for the genre.

 

Mine are flat as we speak; it does stop me using it. I don't do battle with Sal's filing system for things like new batteries when I should and in next to no time it's 'Oh blast, forgot the batteries were flat. Well I'll record it next time then...'

 

I'll go and change them now.

 

Well I'll just check my emails first.

 

And get a jumper; the temperature's dropping.

 

Oh, the new turf needs watering...

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The problem with the Zooms is the batteries just don't last.

Damn right but I didn't mention that because I assumed that was normal for the genre.

 

Mine are flat as we speak; it does stop me using it. I don't do battle with Sal's filing system for things like new batteries when I should and in next to no time it's 'Oh blast, forgot the batteries were flat. Well I'll record it next time then...'

 

I'll go and change them now.

 

Well I'll just check my emails first.

 

And get a jumper; the temperature's dropping.

 

Oh, the new turf needs watering...

QED irge - the recorder really must be ready for a number of hours at least. My long in the tooth (cost 175 quid new a decade ago)Sony ICD 515, (takes about 20 secs to put in two little AAA batteries) lasts about 20 hours and its 128 MB memory stick (quite expensive and small storage compared with modern SD cards -- costs 25 to 40 quid) gives 17 hours top quality recording time.

Edited by Kautilya
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My Zoom H4N easily gets over 4 hours on two Duracell AA. I tend to use Superdrugs own brand of alkalines to keep the cost down and don't find a lot of difference.

 

I don't think 4 hours is bad for a recorder of this quality. Best to Google around and see whether you need some of the advanced features of the H4N. There are definitely running-cost recorders. I don't think 2 AAs lasting 4 hours is bad anyway - for twin stereo mikes with a pre-amp.

 

I've just found a great audio comparison test including sound samples of several recorders here. Includes cello, wind instruments, piano etc.

 

Tom

Edited by Tom Cunliffe
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My Zoom H4N easily gets over 4 hours on two Duracell AA. I tend to use Superdrugs own brand of alkalines to keep the cost down and don't find a lot of difference.

 

I don't think 4 hours is bad for a recorder of this quality. Best to Google around and see whether you need some of the advanced features of the H4N. There are definitely running-cost recorders. I don't think 2 AAs lasting 4 hours is bad anyway - for twin stereo mikes with a pre-amp.

 

I've just found a great audio comparison test including sound samples of several recorders here. Includes cello, wind instruments, piano etc.

 

Tom

true... but looking back, for example, a Swaledale evening/night session regularly lasts five hours or more, Whitby average three hours to 3.5 hours ... so you are often pushing at the limit.

On three occasions at Whitby this summer, Zoom users borrowed new batteris from me (I carry a stash) cause their machines had died and they had not brought mains' adapters and cable... and no spare batteries as they were cutting the grass and could not get to the drycleaners for their sweaters before the expensive Duracell-selling New Zealand corner convenience store had closed.

 

Sod's law says it will just run out when you are doing your virtuoso piece of the decade.

 

once it is put on the table,I tend to forget and do not look at the recorder until the fat Tina has sung..... :) In fact I left the 515 behind in The George this month (we were last out) and when I (luckily) was able to pick it up the next morning the battery was still alive - it had been running since about 2030 on the shelf behind where were playing. :)

 

I am not saying he should not go for Zoom, but you really must gear up for it and be ever vigilant, and for this South Africa Ireland trip always run two machines at once. Once played it will never be repeated the same - by definition.

It is like digital photos. Always shoot at the maximum quality resolution and in RAW - you can always reduce the size of a big photo and keep the quality - if you shoot small you can never increase the quality. And the space costs you nothing.

 

The files we are getting a pain because the size means you need more mobile hard drive storage (I am on several 1TB HDs at 70 quid per (no mains power) shirt pocket size, HD drives. I need this coz I get one RAW and a viewable JPG adding up to about from 25MB to 28MB per shot. :(

 

ps

Love your "The Distant Shores of Love" - with that harp-rich ukulele :) :)

 

pps v useful sound comparison site - will have a good listen to that.tks

Edited by Kautilya
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Many thanks all, for all the very helpful suggestions. I've checked them all out online. Following leads for them, I also found this one, a newer version Sony:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-PCMM10-B-PCM-M10-Black/dp/B002R56C4O/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

 

For me, the main strength is the large, simple to use buttons....no wheels like on ipods, no tiny buttons that depend upon a video screen. Reviews are uniformly great for it; one of them was by an Anglican vicar who appreciated its utter foolproof simplicity. Sounds like my machine.

 

An additional cool feature is a five second recording buffer. If the machine is on, and the music or speech starts before you can get the button pressed, no sweat - - it automatically adds in 5 seconds before the button is pushed!

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Many thanks all, for all the very helpful suggestions. I've checked them all out online. Following leads for them, I also found this one, a newer version Sony:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-PCMM10-B-PCM-M10-Black/dp/B002R56C4O/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

 

For me, the main strength is the large, simple to use buttons....no wheels like on ipods, no tiny buttons that depend upon a video screen. Reviews are uniformly great for it; one of them was by an Anglican vicar who appreciated its utter foolproof simplicity. Sounds like my machine.

 

An additional cool feature is a five second recording buffer. If the machine is on, and the music or speech starts before you can get the button pressed, no sweat - - it automatically adds in 5 seconds before the button is pushed!

 

You may want to check out the Tascam DR-07 mkII. Its batteries last truly forever, and it also has the recordahead feature. Now I understand that you had the predecessor from Tascam, so you may be weary of the name, but when I researched recoders I found a lot of reviews which said that the usability and rebustness of the 07-mkII have been a major improvement over its predecessors. it is also much more affordable than the Sony.

 

I've had the Tascam for about a year now and I'm very satisfied with it.

Edited by Ruediger R. Asche
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Many thanks all, for all the very helpful suggestions. I've checked them all out online. Following leads for them, I also found this one, a newer version Sony:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-PCMM10-B-PCM-M10-Black/dp/B002R56C4O/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

 

For me, the main strength is the large, simple to use buttons....no wheels like on ipods, no tiny buttons that depend upon a video screen. Reviews are uniformly great for it; one of them was by an Anglican vicar who appreciated its utter foolproof simplicity. Sounds like my machine.

 

An additional cool feature is a five second recording buffer. If the machine is on, and the music or speech starts before you can get the button pressed, no sweat - - it automatically adds in 5 seconds before the button is pushed!

 

Wow - not cheap. You really want to check out daily useability before buying that.

I bought three Sony minidisk recorders duty freee at airport before a trip and then discovered next day Sony had added a software digital rights manager blocker to their earlier machine: so you could not record/plAYBACK your own material -- only approved toons!! Fortunately Dixons Heathrow took em back and refunded the money a week later.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Nov 19 2012 Olympus recorder special amazon uk offer starting at 1700londontime.

Amazon Black Friday (which in the UK actually runs for a week and seems to start on a Monday, and will end on Nov 25 inUK is allegedly offereing Olympus LS20m video and sound recorder at a knock down pprice.

 

Dont know how goo dit is but also watch out as the ordinary US price is:

$251.51 (158.250 GBP)

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-LS-20M-Video-Audio-Recorder/dp/B004ZKIZWQ?tag=duckduckgo-d-20

 

but the same undiscounted item is selling on UK Amazon at

225.20gbp (!!!) - 75 QUID more expensive than the USp[rice.

and also on the same page at 191GBP

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Olympus-LS-20-Digital-Recorder-Movie/dp/B004Y4ZFZI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1353339333&sr=8-2

 

to see Black Friday specials this weeek you go to UK home page or that Olympus link I jsut gave and hit the black friday specials top right.

 

At time of this post it is London time 15.33 - the deal on the Olympus will start at around 1700 hours

 

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004Y4ZFZI/ref=gb1h_img_c-1_0267_A1YQEDLSOTPKJM?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=180ZSEW4F3GTF2VZJ5Q1&pf_rd_i=350613011&pf_rd_p=344320267

Edited by Kautilya
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Nov 19 2012 Olympus recorder special amazon uk offer starting at 1700londontime.

Amazon Black Friday (which in the UK actually runs for a week and seems to start on a Monday, and will end on Nov 25 inUK is allegedly offereing Olympus LS20m video and sound recorder at a knock down pprice.

 

Dont know how goo dit is but also watch out as the ordinary US price is:

$251.51 (158.250 GBP)

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-LS-20M-Video-Audio-Recorder/dp/B004ZKIZWQ?tag=duckduckgo-d-20

 

but the same undiscounted item is selling on UK Amazon at

225.20gbp (!!!) - 75 QUID more expensive than the USp[rice.

and also on the same page at 191GBP

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Olympus-LS-20-Digital-Recorder-Movie/dp/B004Y4ZFZI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1353339333&sr=8-2

 

to see Black Friday specials this weeek you go to UK home page or that Olympus link I jsut gave and hit the black friday specials top right.

 

At time of this post it is London time 15.33 - the deal on the Olympus will start at around 1700 hours

 

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004Y4ZFZI/ref=gb1h_img_c-1_0267_A1YQEDLSOTPKJM?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=180ZSEW4F3GTF2VZJ5Q1&pf_rd_i=350613011&pf_rd_p=344320267

Thanks for the heads up! I'll have a word with Santa.

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