Curious Consumer

I’m thinking about portable digital audio recording. Not the “sneak-it-into-a-Stones-concert kind,” nor the voice-memo kind, but the kind suitable for recording a lecture, or an interview, or a chapter of a Creative-Commons-licensed book. I would have thought that such devices were relatively inexpensive and common, but my cursory overview of the market suggests an abysmal gap between utterly casual memo machines (I can’t see one of them without thinking of Michael Keaton in Night Shift) and semi-pro music-recording devices.

The most appealing in-between choice would be a MiniDisc recorder, but it looks as though Sony has made it so difficult to transfer data back and forth that it’s not worth the expense of the MiniDisc technology. Am I missing something here?

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’ve been pondering similar things, and have wondered whether devices such as the Zen Micro (which have a built in voice recorder) can be ‘outputted’ from the device …

  2. Your best bet right now is the Marantz PMD660. It uses a compact flash card, and you can record audio as WAV or MP3. You can pull out the flash card and transfer audio that way or via USB. It’s got some nice, simple editing features. It has 2 built-in condenser mics and 2 XLR mic inputs. It runs on AA batteries. The price tag is a little steep for casual use — $499, but those who have used it, swear by it.

  3. I have used my sister’s 30GB iPod photo (now just iPod) with the Griffin iTalk. Across the room, and trying to not wake the kids, it worked very well. It uses approximately 1MB per 60 seconds of recording. I should have additional experience in the next 2 weeks.

    The iTalk records directly to the iPod via Griffin’s software. It would be interesting to see if it could use a more directional mike for seminars and lectures. BTW, wouldn’t it be interesting to podcast sermons?

  4. I use a Panasonic RR-QR160 (15 hrs of recording) to record and then dump the files (headphone out of recorder to microphone on computer) to my laptop using the freely downloadable Audacity. With an applied patch to Audacity, I save the audio as an MP3. I think I have about $45 wrapped up in the recorder and a cable to transfer the audio. I’ve had great results with lectures, sermons, and conferences.
    – Mark

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