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Field Recorder Recommendations

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i used to own a marantz pmd 221 cassette recorder. it made really great recordings with the internal mic, and was really handy for picking up tunes by ear since you could slow it to half speed. does anyone know of any portable digital devices with similar capabilities? i'm looking for something that can


* transpose keys


* change tempo


* let you fast-forward and rewind in small increments like a cassette deck (to more easily pick out phrases and ornaments)


* does not have any drm restrictions on live recorded material


one option, of course, is to just take a laptop with me everywhere and use software for all the features i want, but this isn't really ideal. there must be something like an ipod for musicians, but i can't seem to find it.


sorry if this topic has already been covered, if so, someone please point me to the right place.

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Check out Minidisco.com for details on Sony and other minidisc recorders. Sony makes a couple of models that you can speed up or slow down -- but they are among their more expensive units. Before you buy, make sure that the unit allows a separate mic input. Some don't and those with built-in mics will not provide the best recording quality. Get the mic away from the unit so you don't pick up mechanical noise from the recorder itself.


You will be amazed at the sound quality if you get a good mic (Sony makes one for about $100). These recordings can, with the proper software, be transferred to CD with excellent sound.


Good luck,



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I've been making very good use of my minidisc recorder with external mike and 'the amazing slowdowner software". You will need particular software to put your minidisc recordings ONTO your computer, I use "win nmd". It's all very easy and helps me so much.


Afer recording a class of tune demonstrations I listen back and put in track marks and put them into my computer.Then I label each track such as " Mountain Top reel, full verstion" and "Mountain Top reel, ornaments A part", etc. I can burn them onto Cd to listen in my car (and backup).


No need to fast forward, search for particular parts, slow down the minidisc itself.....and so on.



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I've been using an Edirol R1 to record tunes (I had it at NESI this year and I also use it to record things I want to try to learn at the local Irish session-- I'm slow picking things up by ear). It records to compact flash with very high quality sound using the internal stereo mics. There are settings to make the mics mimic various standard recording equipment (which I don't know how to use, so I haven't made much use of this feature).


The Edirol will record in several WAV and MP3 formats, giving a range of 45 min to over 5 hours on a 512 meg card. One advantage to CF over a mechanical device is that there is no noise generated by the recorder itself. There is a setting for playback at half speed.


After I got back from NESI I downloaded my files and did some editing with the (free) Mac program Audacity to normalize the recordings and edit out several hours of talk, squawk, and applause so that what I was left with was music and instruction from the workshops.


Even though I had managed to record much of what I wanted with the input level set too low I got high quality results.


The main drawback I see is that the Edirol is expensive and, at least when I spotted it, somewhat hard to find in stock.



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thanks larry,


the edirol looks pretty cool. i think i'll probably get one if they upgrade the firmware with more pitch and time shifting options.


has anyone tried the superscope ps340?




too bad they don't make a flash card based version.

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