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Re: Cheap recorder, it works

Subject: Re: Cheap recorder, it works
From: "tmerk1997" <>
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 23:11:24 -0000
Hi Dan,

> Welcome and thanks for the field specifics, website work
> and recordings.

Thanks!  Actually, we met briefly at the end of the "Field recording
in the Wild" workshop you et al gave at the 2004 San Francisco AES

> A drummer I assume?

It's just a weekend hobby.  I spend more time futzing with recording
gear and recordings than practicing drumming.

I'm happy to answer your questions, but I also parked a colophon in my
travelog that provides some of the gory details you're asking about.
Also note that I used a Sony MZ-R910 in West Africa, not the iFP-899
(sorry about any confusion on that point).

> I noticed that the souind file "issouf_020_mono"=20
> sounds quite a bit clearer

No clue why.  Likely, your guess about recording closer to the source
is correct.

> I'm looking for any portable recorder a student could
> use with similar PIP stereo electret mics.

I've been keeping my eye out for the last 5 years.  Seems like the
technology has been around for at least that, but manufacturers have
been slow to cater to this niche market, esp. due to content
management issues (stealth concert recording and all that).

I sprang for the iFP when I realized it would have upload ability (vs.
the pre-Hi-MD MiniDisc re-record process).  The iFP doesn't act like a
USB storage -- you have to use the supplied "iRiver Music Manager"
application to do uploads and downloads.  This process eats up the AA
battery inside the iFP. Ex., downloading a 3.5 hour recording from iFP
to IBM notebook via USB 1.0 took over 17 minutes.  In that time, the
AA battery voltage went from 1.32 to 1.19 V.

Final trick:  you don't have to let the iRiver Music Manager go
through its .REC to .MP3 file conversion process -- just cancel and
rename the .REC file on the PC to .MP3!  This saves a little time.

I was hoping that the iFP's 320 kbps recording bit rate would rival
the MiniDisc's quality, but somehow it didn't.  I still like MiniDiscs
because they're easier to play back sans computer.

> I see that the iFP-899's line input is stereo and
> there is no external mic jack, right?

The iFP's line-in jack also serves as mic-in.  Use the UI controls to
switch functionality.

> Did you connect your AT853 to the line input then?

Yes, by way of a homemade Altoids battery box (2 resistors & 2
capacitors & 9V battery) plus lately a homemade 10 dB attenuator cable
(for the loud drum class; today we hit 116 dB...yes, I wear ear plugs).

> The clips are in mono to save host space?


> Do you know if the built-in mic is mono or stereo?


> Were any of the recordings made with the internal mic?

I don't think I've ever tried that!  I just assumed the internal mic
would be too weak or noisy or something.

I'd be happy to send you some iFP samples.

- Tom


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