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lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2678
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 10:56 am:   Edit Post

For years I recorded rehearsals & gigs (& the occasional bootleg) with my old trusty Sony Pro-Walkman. When it died a few years ago, I got a Sony Mini-disc. I've never been very happy with it. The recordings seem o.k., but it's just too much of a pain-in-the-ass to use. My biggest complaint is that I can't tell if it's working or not. With my old Pro-Walkman, all you had to do was look at it and see the tape going around and the LED meter lighting in conjunction with the music volume. With the mini-disc. I'm never sure if it's recording. No reels spinning and the readout is so tiny and monochrome that I feel I need to stop playing and put it under a microscope to see if it's really on. I've lost many songs when I thought it was recording and it wasn't. And forget asking anyone else to use it to record the band at a gig while I'm playing. Too complicated. So what I'm looking for is a portable recorder that is VERY easy to use at rehearsal. I don't need internal effects, DSP, a host of editing, midi capability, cup holder, back-up lights, run-flat tires, camera, or any of the the other unnecessary bells and whistles they seem to attach to everything electronic these days. I want a simple, easy to use on-the-fly small recorder to take to rehearsal and the occasional gig. Function is more important that price at this point. Which units should I be looking at? Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.

Bill, tgo
keavin
Senior Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 1290
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 11:11 am:   Edit Post


http://www.transom.org/tools/recording_interviewing/200707_tascam_hdp2/

(Message edited by davehouck on October 28, 2007)
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2679
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 11:19 am:   Edit Post

Thanks, Keavin, but I think I'm looking for something a little more portable. Ideally small enough to fit in a big pocket or in my guitar case. I know me - if it's too big or too much of a hassle to use, I won't bring it/use it.

Bill, tgo
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1812
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post

Jeez, Bill, I can't imagine you finding anything of better-than-walkman quality in a smaller package.

I know there was at least one iPod competitor that had line-in capability, so I would look at the various offerings in that realm if you want something that compact. You may also have to spring for a powered microphone setup to get it done.
dnburgess
Senior Member
Username: dnburgess

Post Number: 529
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 1:07 pm:   Edit Post

I bought an M-Audio Microtrack 24/96 in July after having researched the space. I chose the M-Audio based on positive reviews, price and ease of use.

I used it to record a Basscast show when my Pro Tools rig was down. It hung when I stopped it at the end of the show. Totally locked up. Rebooted. Lost show. Not happy.

I tried to update the firmware. The system locked up permanently. M-Audio's response: "Send it back with proof of purchase, etc and we'll take a look at it."

YMMV

David
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2680
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 1:49 pm:   Edit Post

Bob:

Are you suggesting that an old Pro-Walkman cassette recorder matches up quality-wise to all this new hi-falutin digital stuff? I guess I'm just assuming that dinosaurs like me and the Walkman just can't compare to modern technology. Like Humphrey Bogart explaining why he came to Casablanca ("for the waters" "but there are no waters in Casablanca"), am I mis-informed?
The units I've been looking at include the M-Audio Microtrack II, Zoom H4, Korg MR1, Sony PCMD50, and Edirol R09.

I can't seem to find a good comparison and contrast of these units.

Bill, tgo
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1814
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 5:39 pm:   Edit Post

Hell no, only that there are some 4-track digital recorders with hard disk that aren't much larger than a dinner plate. I expect better quality and versatility from one of those than from an iPod sized player that also records stereo in the modern stylistic equivalent to the old Walkman. Clearly, those little digital recorders will be better than the cassette tape of years gone by.

I'll do a little research and see if I can come up with anything that might add to what you've already found out.
jbybj
Intermediate Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 104
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 6:15 pm:   Edit Post

Bill, I have been using the Zoom H4 since last February to record my casual jams. I have been very happy with the quality, and I have only ever used the onboard mics. The nesting of menus is not the easiest, but the important functions are right there on the unit. I have been applying a fairly subtle Apple multiband compression pass, and the results are impressive. I chose it over M-Audio and Edirol because at the time it was $100 less, and a buddy had issues with lack of mic pads on his M-Audio unit. I have no regrets. If you'd like I can email you a cut from last Saturdays jam, as long as you can play an AAC file........ James
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1815
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 6:16 pm:   Edit Post

I'm sure you've been looking around the web. One of my favorite sites for this kind of info is Sound-on-Sound, a UK-based audio magazine. They have reviews and info about all but the Sony there.

From what I have read, there seems to be little to differentiate them. The Sony looks good with built-in memory and USB connectivity, but the highest price. I might have to get one of these things as it would let me make reasonable recordings where I would otherwise leave my eight track home. You might also find it very useful in your business for recording and archiving legal proceedings. I know I would find it useful for doing interviews and such.

-bob
jbybj
Intermediate Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 105
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 6:18 pm:   Edit Post

BTW, you know it's in record because there is a big red glowing button telling you so :-)
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 1432
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, October 29, 2007 - 5:38 am:   Edit Post

Bill.
I've been looking at the Zoom H2. Not as complicated as the H4 and around 2/3rds the price. If I ever get the money to buy one I'll let you know how it does.

Graeme
terryc
Advanced Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 313
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 1:33 am:   Edit Post

The dinosaur in me uses and old but in incredibly good working order Akai DS4000MkII reel to reel recorder, big, heavy and bulky but listen to that tape saturation!!!
1/4 inch tape running at 7.5 ips..you can't beat it!!!
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 1435
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 1:36 am:   Edit Post

Ha! i used to carry my Sony TC630 everywhere - as big as my current 6 slot rack and just as heavy. Used make superb stereo recordings till everything seized up. Now you've set me thinking though. it's still in the loft so could probably be fixed but it's maybe economically unviable compared to 150 for the zoom H2.

Graeme
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 1436
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 3:19 am:   Edit Post

Terry's post sent me googling. Amazingly, someone has a site which lists movies in which reel- reel recorders can be seen how sad is that?

Mine appears in a clockwork orange ;-)

Now I'll have a serious look for repair shops.

Graeme
terryc
Advanced Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 314
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 8:36 am:   Edit Post

jacko..siezed..maybe the drive belt OR the drive wheel to the capstans need lubricant..obviously if it is over 20 years old the oil will dry out unless the motor has gone completely.
It wouldn't hurt having a look yourself, sometimes a spray with WD40 or Servisol switch cleaner can get it going again
terryc
Advanced Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 315
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 8:42 am:   Edit Post

just looked at that site..so 'money' was looped on the same machine I have..they look real funky and retro, ideal for film scenes..it just wouldn't cut it with a digital recorder..no revolving reels to create the atmosphere...
kmh364
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 2216
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - 9:50 am:   Edit Post

Bill,

How about this? It sounds like it's right up your alley:

http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.aspx?ObjectId=757&ParentId=114

I have this:

http://www.bossus.com/index.asp?pg=1&tmp=157

It makes a decent live recording. I bought it to record my jazz guitar lessons to get a chord melody down and then improvise over the top. It record on cheapo memory cards (SD?).

Both are made by Roland in Japan so the quality is high.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2689
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 01, 2007 - 11:18 am:   Edit Post

With all of the info you folks have graciously provided, and a little poking around on the net, I believe I've narrowed my choice to two units: the Edirol R 09 and the Zoom H2. Anyone have any experience, insight, opinion, etc. about either or both of these units?

Bill, tgo
phylo
Member
Username: phylo

Post Number: 75
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Thursday, November 01, 2007 - 12:13 pm:   Edit Post

i have experience with neither, but I believe the Edirol allows for external mics, which would be a selling point for me.

A good friend/recording engineer uses a regular PDA for his portable rig - along with some seriously expensive mics - with great results.
jbybj
Intermediate Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 106
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, November 01, 2007 - 3:07 pm:   Edit Post

FWIW, the H4 has 48volt phantom power and XLR mic inputs. Besides, I like saying "zoom" better than "edirol". I mean, what the heck is an edirol anyway!
alembic_doctor
Advanced Member
Username: alembic_doctor

Post Number: 358
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Thursday, November 01, 2007 - 3:13 pm:   Edit Post

Edirol was the European Division of ROLand. It has more recently become known as the 2-track digital side of Roland. I have the Edirol. I like the Zoom too.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2691
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 01, 2007 - 3:28 pm:   Edit Post

So Doc, how do you like your Edirol? My basic requirement is easy to use to record rehearsals and the occasional gig. Easy to export file to computer. From what you know of the Zoom H2 (NOT the H4 - too many geegaws for my taste) and the edirol, how might you compare and contrast?

Bill, tgo
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2692
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 03, 2007 - 11:50 am:   Edit Post

Well, I made a decision and bought the Zoom H2 today. So far I'm VERY impressed, but I haven't actually used it yet. lol I'll be messing around with it at reheasal next Wednesday and Thursday, then I'll report back.

Bill, tgo
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1823
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 03, 2007 - 11:53 am:   Edit Post

Let us know once you've spun it around the block a few times. Good luck with it!
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 5628
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, November 03, 2007 - 5:21 pm:   Edit Post

Yes, I'm looking forward to your review!
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 812
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 9:02 am:   Edit Post

I know that small and portable were two of the guidelines, and Bill looks to have found a workable device in the Zoom, but I thought others might be interested in a new device from Alesis called the iMultiMix 8 USB.

It is a multi-channel mixer, with inputs from guitar or line in sources, a USB out to your computer (I'm assuming it shows up like a soundcard, and you can record from it), and an iPod dock.

It can both play back from and record to the iPod, so this might be a good device for the soloists out there.

http://www.alesis.com/product.php?id=113

$299 at Guitard Center.

Bradley
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2694
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 9:23 am:   Edit Post

Well, I've messed around a little more with the Zoom. So far WOW! This thing is REALLY small, only about 1/3 again bigger than a pack of cigarettes! It kind of looks like an electric razor! It has 4 mics, one pair points towards the front of the unit at a 90 degree angle. The second pair points out the back of the unit at a 120 degree angle. You can choose either set, or both. If choosing both sets simultaneously, you can choose to record in stereo or 4 channel. This feature seems especially useful in a rehearsal where everyone sets up in a circle. Just put the Zoom in the middle. The controls seem VERY easy and intuitive. It comes with a 512 mg SD card, but accepts up to a 4 gig card. (The Edirol only accepts up to a 2 gig card). In addition, you can hook this up to a computer by USB and record directly to the computer's hard drive. You can record in wav or mp3. convert to mp3, and set the recording quality at 16 or 24 bit, and from 44 to 96 khz (can someone please explain this to me?) I tried a few recordings of me on acoustic guitar (the Zoom also has a tuner in it!) and it sounded very good. I'm really looking forward to testing this thing out with the full band. Overall, for only $199, I am extemely impressed. It comes with everything, you don't need to buy any accessories, other than a larger capacity SD card, if you want. (I got my 4 gig card at Radio Shack for $45). More reports to follow.

Bill, tgo
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1825
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 12:33 pm:   Edit Post

Bradley-

Took a look at the Alesis and I see two issues that aren't obvious up front. First, you have to have the latest 5th generation iPod to record. Second, it looks like it only records stereo in spite of the four mic preamps, though I am not positive about this. Not sure if it lets you pass the individual channels to a computer via USB. I would love it for easy gig recording if it did four individual tracks for later mixing.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1826
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 12:57 pm:   Edit Post

Bill, that four mic feature sounds really cool!
jbybj
Intermediate Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 107
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 3:53 pm:   Edit Post

recording quality at 16 or 24 bit, and from 44 to 96 khz (can someone please explain this to me?)

Wordlength, 16bit or 24bit primarily affects the dynamic range of your recording. (the difference in volume between the quietest and the loudest signal that can be captured). 16bit will give you about 95db of dynamic range, and 24bit will give you about 106db.
Sample frequency, 44.1Khz, 48K, or 96K primarily affects the frequency response of your recording. The frequency response being half the sample rate. i.e. 48K will record audio up to 24Khz.

The higher the rates, the bigger the resulting files for any given minute of audio. If you are recording live amplified music, you will find 44.1K at 16bit, (the CD standard BTW) to be quite sufficient. It also simplifies any post production you might do. No conversions required when you burn cd's for your bandmates. Have Fun!
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1827
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 4:08 pm:   Edit Post

I would also add that, if you're planning on doing any post-production work on the recording, the more accurate the initial recording, the better.
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 813
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 5:01 pm:   Edit Post

Bill,

They may have listed 4GB as the largest SD (HC) card, but they may support larger sizes.

Here's the technical details:

SDHC allows larger SD cards (4-32GB). So the device controller supports larger cards.

The previous spec (SD) used a filesystem called FAT16, while SDHC devices should have support for FAT32. FAT16 is mostly limited to 2GB (but can be run up to 4GB, with the potential to break compatibility, and Microsoft recommends against it), and FAT32 can support up to 127GB.

So, it is possible that the device would support everything up to 32GB in terms of hardware, but the software would support only 4GB. This would be shortsighted and bad, but I've seen worse.

Bradley
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2695
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 6:58 am:   Edit Post

Again, thanks for the info. The documentation states the Zoom will take up to a 2gb SD card, and up to a 4gb SDHC card. At 44.1khz @ 16 bit (as recommended by James, above), the unit provides almost 6 1/2 hours of recording time. This should be more than enough for me.

Bill, tgo
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 5633
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 8:15 pm:   Edit Post

I just went to the Zoom website and the H2 certainly looks like a nice tool to have.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2706
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, November 09, 2007 - 11:47 am:   Edit Post

I used the Zoom (it does sound better than "Edirol"!) for an acoustic band rehearsal two nights ago, and for my Grateful Dead band's rehearsal last night. In both cases I set it up in the middle as we set up in a sort of circle, all facing each other. I used the front and back mic pairs both on, recording in stereo. YOU'VE GOT TO GET ONE OF THESE! It works GREAT! The meter levels were easily set and worked (it does have Auto Gain Control, Compression, and limiting. I didn't use these as I set the levels myself using the 3 position slide switch (hi/med/lo gain) in conjunction with the level set meters). Works like a charm. The Zoom couldn't be easier to use. On the way home, I plugged it into my car stereo (the Zoom has a mini-phone headphone, etc. out) and listened to us on the drive home. I've been through one set of batteries. It takes two regular AA or rechargeable AA. It also plugs in (AC wall wart included). If hooked up to a computer, it powers off the USB connection. I LOVE this thing, exactly what I was looking for. Joe Bob sez: two big thumbs up!

Bill, tgo
foth
Intermediate Member
Username: foth

Post Number: 162
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, November 09, 2007 - 1:00 pm:   Edit Post

Bill, do you know about how much recording time you got from one set of batteries?
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2707
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, November 09, 2007 - 4:59 pm:   Edit Post

The documentation says 4 hours. That seems fairly accurate, but my experience is, so far, limited.

Bill, tgo
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1833
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, November 09, 2007 - 5:57 pm:   Edit Post

Sounds awesome, especially for the price. Congrats on a well researched and executed purchase.
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 5652
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, November 10, 2007 - 7:06 am:   Edit Post

Great review; thanks!!
laytonco
Member
Username: laytonco

Post Number: 75
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 8:15 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Bill,
I am looking to replace my Sony HD. It is a great piece of equipment, but very difficult to use, and very fragile. Plus, it records only in 16mhz which I understand is not very good. Shame is I paid $560 for it two years ago. You've sold me on the Zoom H2 (but will you get your commission??). Anyhow, where does one obtain one of these? I checked Guitar Center's website and they haveth none!

Peace,

Gil
jagerphan84
Advanced Member
Username: jagerphan84

Post Number: 244
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 9:55 pm:   Edit Post

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/H2/
0vid
Intermediate Member
Username: 0vid

Post Number: 105
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 10:23 am:   Edit Post

FWIW, I tried to bring a cumbersome old VHS recorder into the rehearsal studio to capture rambling audio over 4 hours. It works. Mine has an audio stripe to the tape and is actually digital audio.

Recently though I have been lazy and have taken my dictaphone. Roll your memory back to Twin Peaks' Agent Cooper. When I get home I transfer the audio to 'diane' - i.e. Protools. Sounds like a bad AM radio, but it gives a fair representation of song endings, song structures, etc. Good enough to critque performance etc.
jbybj
Intermediate Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 110
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 10:54 am:   Edit Post

oops, glitch, double post......

(Message edited by jbybj on November 13, 2007)
jbybj
Intermediate Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 111
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 10:55 am:   Edit Post

I got my Zoom at a Sam Ash brick and mortar store. I actually spent an hour walking around the store, recording young Shredders and percussiods with the unit before I bought it. Good luck, JBY
laytonco
Member
Username: laytonco

Post Number: 76
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 11:07 am:   Edit Post

One Zoom H2 Recorder coming right up!....that is to Parker, CO. Should be here tomorrow! I couldn't wait and paid like a gazillion dollars for shipping.

Peace,

Gil
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2720
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 3:52 pm:   Edit Post

Gil:

You're gonna like it. I've used mine at a few rehearsals now. I've been hooking it up to the P.A. and playing back what we just recorded while I'm packing up my gear. Every one I play with is absolutely blown away by the big sound that comes out of that little plastic box. Then I listen to it on the ride home through my car's stereo.

Bill, tgo
bassman10096
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 1026
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 4:55 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for all the great info. I've recorded using Garageband on my son's Mac notebook and my own desktop Mac. I highly recomend it for incredible ease of use (compared to Cubase), and for having a lot of production feaures that others wishing to get more involved could benefit from. That's been useful, but I'm looking for something more portable but still capable of producing good sound (I'm definitely not all that picky) and downloading to a Mac fairly easily.
I've been reading with rapt attention here and think a Zoom H2 or 4 may give me what I'm looking for. Anybody have any experience downloading from a Zoom to a Mac?
Bill
laytonco
Member
Username: laytonco

Post Number: 77
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 7:18 pm:   Edit Post

It's here! Very easy to use out of the box. No PHd required. The Pranksters have our next show Wed night and I will be recording with the H2. When done, I'll have to figure out how to make CDs. I actually was surprised this didn't come with software. I have some burning software on the PC, namely Sonic Stage and Nero but I think those are proprietary softwares that only work with devices that record in their format?

Peace,

Gil
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 5705
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 8:09 pm:   Edit Post

Nero should work fine.
laytonco
Member
Username: laytonco

Post Number: 78
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 12:13 pm:   Edit Post

Many thanks Dave!

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