Alternative to MD recorders?

bluesdoc

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I've used an old sony MiniDisc recorder with an electret stereo mic to grab some decent recordings of band rehearsals and shows, just for listening and practicing, nothing really elaborate. What I'd like now is an affordable pocket recorder that will do what a minidisc recorder will do, but use flash cards for memory and store the files in formats that I can simply upload to my computer through a card reader, after which I can open a file in SoundForge or something like that for editing (mostly cut and past operations).

Anyone know of such a beast? Thanks in advance.

btw, I think there's an Edriiol that will do this, but it's 400 bucks. Any others??

jon
 

planetal

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Hi,
I had been looking for quite a while to do something similiar. I just wanted something relatively small and portable that I could use to get quick recordings of gigs and at rehearsals for later analysis. I wanted minimal setup , just wanted a couple of sm57's in front of the band (not tap out of the pa) to get the overal sound . I also prefered the unit have build in mic pramps. I looked at the Edirol and the Marantz units but they were more than i wanted to spend and both seemed to have some issues. I ended up buying a Fostex Mr8 for less than 300. I already had few 1 gig CF cards I could use. It might be a little bit bigger than what you are looking for, but it fits fine on top of our A&H mixer during gigs. I can around 90 minutes on each 1 gig card(2 tracks), so I can just hit record at the beginning of a set and forget about the machine for the length of the set. I have a CF reader, so I just import the two wave files the mr8 produces into Cubase, mix them down to a stereo wav file that can be easily edited and chopped up.

The built in mic is usable enough at rehearsals to get a quick idea on how things sound.. i.e .harmonies, how tight the band is etc.

So far the unit has been very helpful and works and sounds good. Fostex now makes a 40 gig HD version of the unit that can record 4 tracks at a time for 400. Anyway it seemed like an inexpensive and more flexible solution than the Edirol to me.

I don't use the Mr8 for recording demos or anything, just band captures, I know it was designed for making demos and not what I'm using it for. so what?

Al
 

tedm

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7,270
Bluesdoc,
If mp3 at 44.1/192 or 256kbps is OK, an iriver with 256/512 or 1GB of flash will do the job. Built-in mic is mediocre, but works, also has line-in but then you lose some of the portability of the little gadget.

If you need .wavs the old Creative Jukebox 3 works well, but you have to get on ebay, and some have mentioned there is hard disk noise that needs to be edited out w/ sw after the recording.


Originally posted by bluesdoc
I've used an old sony MiniDisc recorder with an electret stereo mic to grab some decent recordings of band rehearsals and shows, just for listening and practicing, nothing really elaborate. What I'd like now is an affordable pocket recorder that will do what a minidisc recorder will do, but use flash cards for memory and store the files in formats that I can simply upload to my computer through a card reader, after which I can open a file in SoundForge or something like that for editing (mostly cut and past operations).

Anyone know of such a beast? Thanks in advance.

btw, I think there's an Edriiol that will do this, but it's 400 bucks. Any others??

jon
 

jzucker

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Reports are that all 3 marantz models have extremely noisy preamps. Do a google search.

The one I'm looking at is the edirol R1. It's way more versatile in terms of bit rates than the marantz but doesn't have XLR inputs.

The problem with the marantz is that is either does 64 kbs, 128kbs or wav format. The 64 and 128 are web quality mp3. The Edirol can do much higher mp3 quality which would allow you to do hours worth of recording and still have great quality.

The iriver does not allow you to set recording levels in real time. This means you have to set the levels, do a test recording, stop it, set the levels again, do another recording, etc.
 

tedm

Senior Member
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7,270
gizmos that allow you to do real-time monitoring on the iriver, but when you add it all up it's probably the same price as an edirol.

Let me know if you want the iriver add-on url links.

Originally posted by jzucker
Reports are that all 3 marantz models have extremely noisy preamps. Do a google search.

The one I'm looking at is the edirol R1. It's way more versatile in terms of bit rates than the marantz but doesn't have XLR inputs.

The problem with the marantz is that is either does 64 kbs, 128kbs or wav format. The 64 and 128 are web quality mp3. The Edirol can do much higher mp3 quality which would allow you to do hours worth of recording and still have great quality.

The iriver does not allow you to set recording levels in real time. This means you have to set the levels, do a test recording, stop it, set the levels again, do another recording, etc.
 

aleclee

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It might be a bit bigger than you're looking for but they seem to be blowing out the Tascam DP01 for 299--unsealed units go for as little as 269. Add a mic or two and you have a pretty nifty unit. With a 40G drive, you should be able to record your band all day long.
 

aortizjr

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I would look into some of the MP3 recorders that have a line-in.

I use an Archos Jukebox Studio 20. Then for the mic I use:

http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/item/SP-PASM-2

Now you are getting pretty expensive. But it is worth it. The trick is the mic and pre-amp for portability. But it doesn't distort and sounds pretty damn good.

For a while I also would drag around a small behringer mixer and measurement mic. That worked pretty well also, but took more space.

With this, I can just hit record, and clip the mic on my shirt and put the recorder in my pocket. I get many many hours of recording time. But now that there are more and smaller MP3 recorders, you can look into those and then just buy the mic/preamp.

For rehearsals they are great and I can just drag them, edit, and burn a CD or post the MP3's to the rest of the members. I would post some here, but my band gets all huffy about not putting out "quality" recordings. But honestly they sound pretty decent, you can definitely hear all the instruments clearly and there is no distortion. And we run 2 half stacks with a full bass stack and do damn near death metal. Our neighbors hate us.
 

e-z

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1,689
Announced at NAMM:

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack-main.html

It doesn't have effects like the Edirol R-1 but I just want something to replace my portable DAT. This one will record on micro drives in addition to CF cards. It doesn't have a built-in mic but you can get a small stereo electret mic from Sony and you're good to go. I'm going to wait for the early adopters to weigh in with their comments but that will give me time to sell the DAT.
 

bluesdoc

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Pricier than I'd intended, but that look like exactly what I've wanted. Essackly!!

jon
 

KLB

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I'm also in the market for such a portable, high-quality recording device with easy upload to a PC.

It doesn't use flashcards, however, Sony's latest Hi-MD recorder, the MZ-M100, was announced at NAMM. It retails for $439.95 and is due in August.

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/BroadcastandBusiness/DisplayModel?id=80959

Press Release:
http://news.sel.sony.com/pressrelease/6012

The recently announced MZ-RH10 is similar in most functional ways, and retails for $300. Minidisco.com has it for $270.

The M-Audio MicroTrack 2496 mentioned above looks cool, too.

What are the pros/cons of each approach?

Cheers,
Ken
 

bluesdoc

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I'm not positive, Ken, but I don't think MD recorders will record in non-proprietary formats (mp3 and wav) and allow you to just move the file to your computer. My technique with my old MD recorder is to just play the tracks in real time, record on Sonic Forge, edit and save in whatever format I want. The M-Audio allows file saving and transfer in standard formats. Very slick. Esp with large capacity storage chips.

jon
 

KLB

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3,044
Originally posted by bluesdoc
I'm not positive, Ken, but I don't think MD recorders will record in non-proprietary formats (mp3 and wav) and allow you to just move the file to your computer. My technique with my old MD recorder is to just play the tracks in real time, record on Sonic Forge, edit and save in whatever format I want. The M-Audio allows file saving and transfer in standard formats. Very slick. Esp with large capacity storage chips.

jon
Jon,
The M-Audio MicroTrack 2496 is compelling. I like the less expensive media and compact size/weight of the latest Sony units.

You are correct that Hi-MD does not record directly in MP3 or WAV. Sony's SonicStage software will convert the 16-bit/44.1khz linear PCM (best quality) or compressed Hi-MD ATRAC3plus 64 or 256mps (near CD quality) formats to WAV files for the PC. Upload speed is said to be very fast.

Here is a useful FAQ:
http://minidisc.org/hi-md_faq.html#_q100

I expect to buy either the MicroTrack or a Sony unit within the next 2-3 months.

- Ken
 

e-z

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The Sony is limited to 44.1kHz/16 bit but if you are already invested in MiniDisc then maybe that's the way to go. On paper, I prefer the M-Audio for the higher sampling rate and greater bit depth.
 

KLB

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3,044
Originally posted by e-z
The Sony is limited to 44.1kHz/16 bit but if you are already invested in MiniDisc then maybe that's the way to go. On paper, I prefer the M-Audio for the higher sampling rate and greater bit depth.
From an audio quality point of view, I agree the MicroTrack 2496 is the superior unit, with it's balanced inputs and likely superior mic preamps, as well as higher bit/sample rates.

Has anyone seen a chart for the MT2496 that shows the maximum record times on 1gb media at bit rates above 16/44? I am guessing it is probably not much, especially at 24/96. It will record about 100 minutes at the 16/44 bit rate.

Also, can the MT2496 accept larger than 1gb microdrives/flashcards? What is the transfer-to-PC speed?

On the other hand, that new Sony MZ-M100 will be a slick unit! The included ECM-DS70P stereo microphone ($75, 100-15,000Hz range) and MDR-EO931 earbud headphones are good quality.

It is approximately 3 1/4" x 3/4" x 3 3/8" and weighs 5.2 oz (including rechargeable battery.) It will fit comfortably in a pants or shirt pocket. The electro luminescent display is easy to read in the dark and has dedicated VU level meters. Sony Hi-MD 1gb discs cost about $6 each. That's a lot cheaper than 1gb flash cards. After you upload to the PC, you have a backup.

If I go the Sony route, I'll probably get the MZ-RH10 ($270). It is almost identical to the MZ-M100. It doesn't include a mic, so I'd get a top-quality miniature microphone set with full frequency response (about $125+). According to the user manual (http://www.docs.sony.com/release/MZRH10.pdf) the high capacity NH-14WM battery used in the MZ-M100 is standard with the MZ-RH10.

http://www.minidisco.com/mz-rh10.html

http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/category.cgi?category=0

http://www.sonicstudios.com/index.htm

- Ken
 

jzucker

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20,962
Originally posted by KLB

Also, can the MT2496 accept larger than 1gb microdrives/flashcards? What is the transfer-to-PC speed?

On the other hand, that new Sony MZ-M100 will be a slick unit! The included ECM-DS70P stereo microphone ($75, 100-15,000Hz range) and MDR-EO931 earbud headphones are good quality.
The maudio can take type II compact flash cards (up to 4GB) and microdrives (up 12GB). The capacities are likely to increase in the future.

Transfer to PC is 480kbs using USB2 or 400kbs using firewire.

Incidentally, with the sony you are talking about an inherently less reliable spinning platter and it's accompanying power hungry motor. I haven't priced the MD discs but I have to believe that CF cards give you more bang for the buck. Plus you can reuse them in your camera and other devices.
 

flicker180

Member
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778
Originally posted by aleclee
It might be a bit bigger than you're looking for but they seem to be blowing out the Tascam DP01 for 299--unsealed units go for as little as 269. Add a mic or two and you have a pretty nifty unit. With a 40G drive, you should be able to record your band all day long.
i grabbed one of these for 299.00 + 14.30 shipping.

good unit.

dave
 




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