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pocket digital recorders?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:01 pm
by david
I've had a four track cassette recorder since the first Big Road recording project. I'm now hearing about a new generation of pocket sized digital recorders that are somewhat affordable.

Anybody know anything about them? Are there any that can have an external mic connected? Instrument pickup?

I'm not so much worried about the multi-tracking as being able to place a mic in the right place in a way that it might not be feasible to place even a small recorder.

The extreme portability and not having to mix and/or convert to digital appeals to me.

EDIT: I've seen ads for some that claim they can convert to different digital formats in the recorder. That seems like a real plus, as well.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:33 am
by jellyroll baker
I'm shopping about for the same thing. There are a few things out there that are tempting me.

The Korg D4 has just been removed from the regular product line so you can get it cheap. It has two inputs so you can record two tracks at once, some built in effects (that look kind of confusing) and a USB port so you can mix down in the machine and transer the ffinished product to your computer. Only problem is that the sound quality isn't up to CD standards although I figure only audiophiles can tell the difference.

The Boss Micro BR is cheap and cheerful and packs a swag of effects into a small unit. USB out, near-CD quality recording but it can only record one track at a time.

The Boss BR-600 is a more expensive cousin with two inputs, better effects (including Mastering!) and built-in stereo mics for live recording.

There's also some cheap and cheerful recorders from Zoom (like the MRS-4 and MRS-8) that seem pretty nice but getting the sound out of the recorder seems like a bit of a chore.

That's my shopping list so far. If you spot anything else worth checking out let me know.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:01 am
by david
The Edirol has been recommended to me, but its a bit steep for my budget.

The Micro BR is on sale at Janet Davis Music:

It doesn't look bad for the price. I'd still like to know more before I spend that kind of money. Most importantly, is it something that a feller like me can figure out how to use?

If it doesn't have gears or belts I'm pretty much lost.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:27 pm
by houserocker
I've been looking for one also so any suggestions would be great! I would like one that has a decent mic or two built in for recording live gigs.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:57 pm
by david
I've seen several that had built in stereo mics. I don't know how much stereo effect you can get with mics two inches apart.

What I'm finding is that all the ones I've looked at have too many features. All I really want is something that I can record practice sessions and jam ideas with. It doesn't have to be studio quality sound, but I don't want tinny or buzzy either.

I guess they all have headphone jacks, but a jack to allow you plug a mic or guitar stright into it would be nice (some of them have this). I would also like to be able to plug straight into a computer and just send the file without all the mixing and converting.

I don't need the ability to slow down the recording without altering the pitch. I don't really need multitrack recording and internal mixing. Just eliminating those features ought to lower the price by a bunch.

Anybody know if any of the "voice recorders" have high enough quality sound to make a reasonably faithful copy of one, maybe two, instruments playing? Some of those are really cheap.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:01 pm
by david
I looked on EBay just to get an idea of what is available and what the price range is.

My favorite was the "normally" $350 pocked recorder/mixer "project." It doesn't work for an unknown reason. The only "function" is that a bluish square appears on the display screen. Nothing else works. The seller notes that it "may or may not" be fixable and that he is going out of town and is not available to answer questions.

When I checked the high bid was $10.

Anybody need a fixer-upper?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:12 am
by david
OK, I've read through a bunch of reviews from completely unknown sources (I figure many of them were compensated).

Thus far this is looking like the best deal: ... 11-4683843

A couple of the reviews said there is a glitch in the software that distorts MP3s but that a corrected version is downloadable from the manufacturer.

Anybody seen anything better?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:01 pm
by Rythameen
Actually the MRS-8 is a pretty nice little machine, I used mine for a couple of years before upgrading to a Korg D3200. Its actually pretty easy to get the raw or finished tracks into your computer, since the unit uses a memory card instead of an HD, you just pop out the card, stick it in your computer, and using a program called MRS-8 card reader, you can export any and all tracks as WAVs. The thing I really liked about it is that it also runs on batteries, so it is very portable. Has XLR inputs, but no phantom power, and it has a built in mic, and drum and bass machine. I have been thinking about putting mine up on ebay, since I got the Korg, it just sits in my closet in its box. If anyone is interested, just message me here.

[quote="jellyroll baker"]
There's also some cheap and cheerful recorders from Zoom (like the MRS-4 and MRS-8) that seem pretty nice but getting the sound out of the recorder seems like a bit of a chore.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 9:49 am
by jellyroll baker
Grabbed myself a Boss BR-600 today. I'll give an honest assessment once the "new toy" buzz waers off.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:19 pm
by herb_ransburg
Picked up the Boss Micro BR and worked with it some. It was okay, but I returned it for a 600 and then returned that one for the 900CD. The 900CD is pricier, but I like the options. It is small enough to be taken out to jams. I am still learing more about it. Only had it for about a month and really love the thing. Recorded about a gig of music, mainly just myself practicing.

Micro had a much better 'live' recording sound than the 600 or the 900 unless you a really good mic. The Boss stuff is really good, but I have not been exposed to any other stuff except in some friend garages/studios. If anyone has done work with the 900CD let me know. I am always in learing mode!


PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:12 am
by heckergt
I have a MICRO BR. I really like it for what I do. I use it to record myself just sitting around the fire, drinking and playing. Ive taken it out a few times to the local club and recorded some small live performances. It works well for that too. There are a lot of buttons and functions that I dont even care to learn about. Its my only experience with a recording unit but Im very happy and satisfied. I am very happy with the sound quality from recording. Im just not as happy with what Im playing thats being recorded!!

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:46 pm
by maxx england
[quote="heckergt.......I am very happy with the sound quality from recording. Im just not as happy with what Im playing thats being recorded!![/quote]

I think that's a standard state of being for most of us, but have you listened to what you played like a couple of years ago? You will have moved on, I know I have. Still don't like it much, but that's just the way it goes.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:31 am
by jaybee
the Zoom H4 might be just what you're looking for

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:08 pm
by Ā§treetslim
I used to have a zen micro mp3 player. It had a decent microphone to record stuff on and you can even record from the built in radio. Unfortunately some asshole stole it along with all my live recordings I had on it of me playing on the Santa Monica Pier.