Zoom H1 is the perfect out-of-the-box unit for daily recording and small projects, such as recording live events, office meetings and family occasions
The Zoom H1 is the perfect out-of-the-box unit for daily recording and small projects, such as recording live events, office meetings and family occasions.
While it is the smallest of the Zoom H series, it remains to be a nice little recording device, a great tool for increasing the quality of sound in shooting with small HD cameras or HDSLRs.
The Zoom H1 can do some impressive recording, regardless of being such a small unit, definitely getting the job done.
The Zoom H1, about the size of a Snickers bar, is a power-packed little recording unit that can be taken anywhere, as solid as the Zoom H4N.
Among the main features of the Zoom H1 is its ability to switch from MP3 to WAV formats, giving opposing bit rates and different formats to manipulate and its tripod mount on the back, perfect for attaching to the hot shoe of a HDSLR or onto a tripod, giving more control over the microphone direction and noise reduction.
The Zoom H1 is a great piece of equipment to add to the audio gear bag, given how lightweight and portable it is.
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Zoom H1 Features:
- stereo XY microphone configuration for capturing perfect stereo images
- same frequency and SPL handling as the popular Zoom H2
- records broadcast WAV (BWF) at 96kHz/48kHz/44.1kHz, at 16-bit or 24-bit
- records MP3 from 48kbps-320kbps for maximum recording time
- hi-speed USB 2.0 port
- built-in reference speaker
- includes 2GB microSD memory card and 1 AA battery
- 10 hours operation
- accommodates up to 32GB microSDHC memory cards
- track marker function
- low-cut filter
- built-in mounting joint for tripod mount
- 1/8″ external mic input
- stereo 1/8″ line output
- auto record level
Zoom H1 Pros & Cons:
- lightweight built
- phased X & Y directional microphones
- large recording time
- get your very own Zoom H1 right here and now!
- no XLR inputs
- microSD card
What People Say about the Zoom H1:
“***UPDATED, IMPORTANT EDIT*** September 2013: Zoom has released a new firmware (v. 2.10) at their Japanese website (which acts as a download center for their US consumers). The update adds USB 3.0 support.
Go to zoom.co.jp and click the “downloads” link at the top. Find the link for the H1 under “Recorders.” There’s an updated manual for version 2.0 as well in Acrobat format. Enjoy! On to the (updated) review…
Straight to the point: If you’re considering getting a digital recorder and your needs are simple, seriously consider this one.
The sound is quite phenomenal for a recorder this size and asking price. (Zoom claims the H1 has the same frequency and SPL handing as their popular H2.)
Button/switch placement is intuitive and couldn’t be simpler. Need the lo-cut filter? Slide the switch in the back (and the LCD will tell you it’s on). When you’re ready to record, simply press the big red button on the front. When done recording, press it again. If you want to hear what you’ve just recorded (via the built-in speaker or the line out jack), simply push the play button on the side of the unit.
There are several functions that will prove useful including adjusting the input level manually (from 1 to 100; *really* useful for loud situations like a rock concert) and being able to actually monitor audio during recording via the line out jack.
The unit records in MP3 and Broadcast WAV formats, in many bit-depths and sample rates. (Max for WAV is 24-bit/96 kHz and 320 kbps for MP3.) Broadcast WAV functions just like any other WAV with the addition of having metadata (like time and date) stamped into the file, which is great for identifying WAVs in audio editors that support the format. The H1 allows you to place markers into WAVs during recording for easy transport/identification during playback in audio editors as well. (The H1 will also jump to these markers while in playback mode should you push the “<<” or “>>” buttons during playback.)
I have not tried the newly-added function of being able to use the H1 as a USB audio interface, mostly because I did not get the H1 for that purpose, though it’s very nice to know that such a feature is available to me should I need it. ASIO drivers are available at Zoom’s website.
File transfer to your computer is quite fast. (For comparison’s sake, the H1 uses Hi-speed USB 2.0 versus the H2′s Full-speed USB 2.0. In layman’s terms, the H1 is quicker than the H2 file-transfer wise.) The unit is firmware-upgradable and version 2.00 is available at Zoom’s website. (Mine came with version 1.02 initially and now runs 2.00.) When you connect to the computer using a (Mini-B to Standard-A) USB cable using version 2.00 of the firmware, the H1 will ask if you want to use the H1 as a card reader or an audio interface. It will eventually default as a card reader if you do not do anything. Otherwise, you simply choose what you want the H1 to do with the record button.
I knew that the Zoom H1 was small but I wasn’t exactly prepared for how small. If you were to lay your hand flat, the H1 would fit inside it with room to spare. (I have average-sized hands.)
The Zoom H1 is so light even with one AA battery that it feels delicate. I wouldn’t suggest banging it around. There’s a connector for a wrist strap at the bottom of the unit (near the speaker) so if you’re concerned about dropping the H1, it might be worth your while to connect a strap.
The cover to the microSD card slot can come open with just a nudge which might annoy you while handing the H1. (I should also note the cover is made of a hard plastic but looks like it might come off and break with enough force; just be careful as you open it.) The tripod mounting joint is also made of plastic so you might not want to overtighten when mounting the Zoom H1. Like most recorders, the H1′s sensitive mics are prone to handling noise.
There doesn’t seem to be any way of recording in mono; it would have to be done post-production.
Get the Zoom H1 Accessory Pack as well but also get a RedHead windscreen (or similar) to boot; the included windscreen in the Accessory Pack is great for voice/plosives and all but horrible for wind noise (which is not surprising since it’s a foam windscreen). One needs more to baffle the wind only a “dead cat” type windscreen can provide.
I know I forgot things but I wanted to make this as concise as possible, pros and cons. It’s simply a great recorder and I was not disappointed.
UPDATED EDIT 2010: Since my initial review, two months have passed by, so I thought I’d give my updated thoughts. There are some reports that the H1 is draining batteries faster than normal even while the Zoom H1 is off. This is obviously not in every unit as I do not have this issue. (I had mine since official release, which was August 20, 2010.) A quick way to find if you have a defective Zoom H1 is to simply check the battery within a day. If it’s quite low or no battery power, contact Samson (in the U.S.) and let them know.
There are users who claim that the Zoom H1 is shoddily built. My challenge to that is, What were you expecting for $99 USD? Gold? As I said in my review, the H1 is so darned light with a battery in it it’s hard to not think of it as delicate. Is it so shoddy that users who are careful with their electronics shouldn’t pick it up? Oh, heck no. It’s not like the Zoom H1′s casing is made of plastic that’s so pliable it’s pathetic. It feels solid enough at least in my hand.
Of course, a note on the sound: The Zoom H1 is quite superb. I’ve done (far) more than a bunch of recordings already and there are times where I have to check to see if what I’m hearing is coming from my monitors or in the real world. (I thought someone was presently mowing their lawn off in the distance when, in fact, they were not.) It’s that good.” – lacobus
Tascam DR-40 is an amazingly rugged, flexible and high quality 4-channel audio recorder at a very affordable price
The Tascam DR-40 is an amazingly rugged, flexible and high quality four channel audio recorder at a very affordable price, that should be in every videographer or audio tech tool box.
Its features blow away all its competition at the same price range, with its high quality audio and flexibility.
The Tascam DR-40 is intended for recording audio for video and radio production.
The new feature that the Tascam DR-40 brings to the table, setting it apart from much of its competition at the same price point, is its 4-track recording, achieved through the use of on-board condenser capsules in conjunction with external microphones or line-level instruments.
It features 2 locking XLR/jack combo sockets for external microphone and other audio source connection and accommodates 3 AA batteries for 24 and 48 volt delivery of phantom power required by condenser microphones.
The Tascam DR-40 is a stand-alone stereo recording device that performs 4-track recording effortlessly when fitted with external mics.
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Tascam DR-40 Additional Features:
- weighs 213 grams without battery
- records WAV/BWF in 44.1, 48 or 96 kHz, 16 or 24 bit and MP3 files in 44.1 or 48 kHz up to 320 kbps
- supports SD cards up to 2 GB and SDHC cards up to 32 GB
- standard mono/stereo, dual, 4-channel and overdub recording modes, each with its own parameters
- headphone/line out
- mono speaker for newly recorded material auditioning
- screw thread for stand mounting
- socket for recorder connection to a computer via USB
- large, feature packed display
- button range on upper surface for menu navigation and commonly used command selection
- playback speed adjustment, with a range of -0.5 to +1.5%
- modified built in reverb processor
- quick menu provision, popping up important setup options when required
- four channel recording
- pro-XLR connectors
- 2-channel redundant recording
- large display
- high quality
- low price
- get your very own Tascam DR-40 right here and now!
- audio sync drifting after 30 minutes
What People Say about the Tascam DR-40:
“I use this for wedding videography and it has done a fantastic job during the ceremony and the reception when I plug it into the DJ’s sound board. It also works very well when plugging in a wired lavalier microphone to place on the officiant. The dual level recording is wonderful because often the direct feed from the sound board will get pretty loud and having the 2nd safety tracks allows me to to use this without having someone monitor the levels. I’ve heard some reviewers talk about interference issues but at weddings where there’s tons of equipment around and hundreds of cell phones I’ve never once had an interference issue. I’d say that this is one of the best, most reliable purchases I’ve made for wedding videography and I’m actually going to purchase another one so that I can place one on the minister and one on the DJ’s sound board during the ceremony at the same time.” – M. Silverman
“I purchased this specifically for the line level recording feature. I routinely have to take a feed from a sound board and the Zoom H4N required an attenuator. This can take true +4dbu line levels from a board, so I don’t have to worry about distorted, unusable audio.
I can also set individual input levels on two tracks, with a third track as a backup. Brilliant. Essentially, if I am under pressure to get the audio connected. I can set a general high level on one track, a middle level on the other and the third back up level can be set to like -6 or lower. Pristine audio every time. I can also come out of an XLR out on the back of a speaker if the sound guy isn’t aware of his own equipment outs. It happens about 4 out of every 5 events I attend. Mind boggling….
My only hesitation in giving it 5 stars is the thing is pure plastic. It feels incredibly cheap. I’m fairly mindful of my gear, but I have had drops before. The H4N is built really well. Lots of hard plastic and rubber, to soften a blow. With that said, the H4N doesn’t have microphone cages like the DR-40. I have also read about slip sync, thought I’ve never experienced it. Sound quality is excellent so far, seems to be very little floor noise, good so far.
One minor gripe. You need to push the record button twice to start recording. Once to get it to a “paused” level to check levels and then again to “record”. In a pinch, this worries me a bit. I just need to push record and go. Small, minor detail. Really small.
For the price, this is a no brainer in terms of a purchase. No more attenuators to fiddle with, decent screen and good size (fits in a bag well).” – rhinman
“The built in condenser mics give really sharp recordings. The lifetime on a set of AA’s is also impressive but I usually use the AC adapter (bought separately) mostly. I wish there were a way to change filenames using the recorder itself (you need to USB into it and your computer to change file names) but you can’t have everything. I use this as a workhorse recorder to record sessions and also to do some overdubbing. It’s a bit complicated so be prepared to spend some time learning how to overdub. In general, the features are immense and theres a lot you can do with this little thing. The built in mic sucks though; but you easily run it through your PA or amp. BTW, if you’re all about overdubbing for practice consider getting a loop station. The latter is better for practicing. This Tascam DR-40 recorder is good for making a pretty good finished product with multiple tracks.” – David Albin “Dave”
Olympus LS-100 is a mobile recording studio, much more than a portable audio recorder, nearly perfect personal recording device
The Olympus LS-100 is a mobile recording studio, much more than a portable audio recording device, nearly perfect personal recording device.
Its impressiveness lies in the manner in which it captures audio, the quality at which it captures it and the level of control and manipulation that can be exacted on recordings.
The Olympus LS-100 is not only a specially handy device for musicians but for Foley artists, film makers, bird watchers and samplers, as it records all sorts of sounds in a natural and lifelike manner.
The Olympus LS-100 can capture audio up to 96 kHz/24 bit, with the option of dropping quality of WAV files down as low as 44.1 kHz/16 bit; store about 5 hours of audio at 44.1 kHz/16 bit; about an hour and a half at 96 kHz/24 bit; more recording capacity with MP3 file recording; accommodate up to 64 GB SD XC card through its SD card slot, in addition to its 4GB built-in memory.
It is outfitted with 2 built-in well working microphones, one for each stereo channel, with the option of using outboard microphones and musical instruments; XLR microphone cables, ¼ inch TRS plugs or Speakon connectors through its 2 XLR/1/4 inch inputs and small lapel microphones through its 1/8 inch input jacks.
The Olympus LS-100 can store up to 999 tracks when in 44.1 kHz/16 bit mode, allows editing up to 8 tracks at a time.
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Olympus LS-100 Features:
- well-built, easy to use and thoughtfully designed
- rock solid chassis
- can be placed on a tripod using a built-in threaded insert or on a table with built-in rubber pads
- voice prompt feature, that can be turned on/off, with adjustable speed, acting like a GPS navigator
- better than CD quality
- multiple inputs
- multi-track recording
- 48v/24v phantom power
- adjustable microphone gain
- auto/manual input level adjustment
- headphone output
- built-in tuner and metronome
- Lissajou, i.e., take readings from 2 microphones for polar pattern adjustment
- 12 hour lithium ion battery
Olympus LS-100 Pros & Cons:
- outstanding sound quality
- loaded with extra features
- solid built quality
- easy to use
- long battery life
- get your very own Olympus LS-100 here and now!
- screen could stand a little enlargement
What People Say about the Olympus LS-100:
“Great multi-track recorder that supports up to 8 tracks overdub on a single project file. Perfect for musicians as a pocket recording studio. Allows you to lay down guitars, keys, drums, vocals, backups/harmonies as separate tracks within a project and overdub each while monitoring. Once the project is finished, you can mix down to a single file or export the project folder with individual instrument tracks to your computer for mixing. The built-in microphones are very high quality and rival most professional condenser microphones. Everything is very simple to use and will have you creating multi-track songs in no time. All the issues mentioned in other reviews btw can be resolved by updating the firmware to the newest version (download the update). Once you update, the recorder monitors without any latency and the pause feature functions as it should. For someone without a PC to record, this is a one-stop solution for a complete studio experience in the palm of your hand. Really recommend this one over other multi-tracks.” – Brandon
“This little device has some astoundingly clean preamps, playing well with a wide variety of external microphones (thanks to its XLR inputs with phantom power). Its signal:noise ratio is very high overall, and the internal microphones are not to be overlooked either, as they also produce very clear, realistic sounding recordings. On-top of this, it’s able to record in Mp3 at 64, 128, 256 or 320kbps, all the way up to 96kHz/24bit in WAV format, and you can convert between formats using only the device itself. The LS-100 is also highly configurable through its on-screen menus, allowing one to fine-tune the device’s behaviour for a variety of applications, but important functions are still accessible through manual switches on the unit’s body as well. I haven’t had the chance to dive into the multi-tracking features, but if you’re in the market for a portable audio recorder with XLR inputs, phantom power and built-in preamps so clean, you’ll not be left wanting for an external one, this is the device for you. It’s well-constructed, pretty intuitive and most importantly, produces beautiful sounding recordings, whether using the built-in mics, or external ones.
P.S. A little tip for those planning to use this device with external microphones: When using them with the XLR jacks, set the Mic Gain for both XLR channels to LO (unless you’re recording very delicate sounds from a distance). This will ensure that you achieve the cleanest sound possible on your recording.” – Robongo Malomar
“Hey, everybody: I wanna tell you how much of a no-risk purchase this is. Whether you record things for fun or record things for your profession, this beast slays all other animals. The battery life is superb; the instructions are clear; you have the ability to pause and resume while recording; and, this product does not misrepresent what it actually does. I compose music and lyrics and have formal training for classical, jazz, fusion, alternative and country; I do dictations that are crystal clear for use in my medical practice and jive nicely with dictation software; and, I play several instruments: Soprano, baritone and alto saxes; electronic violin; guitar; piano and keys; and, I also sing. To be honest, I don’t notice any delay on monitoring that wouldn’t be experienced in a live setting; and, the CD burner works well, so long as you don’t use one that has no external power source. I had an old HP drive that came with a netbook I bought years ago; and that was a fail; but, if you get a CD burner with its own external power source, this is a one-person recording studio. BUY IT- and be really pleased with what you have, because firmware updates are on the way, and I know it’ll make this product even better than what it is. And hey: This is the Internet Age- research your purchases before you buy them so that there are no surprises or disappointments. I had expectations for this Olympus LS-100 as a stand-alone device for the majority of what I would do in a studio without being tethered to my computer for most tasks and this thing DOES. THEM. WELL.” – DDMDO
Zoom H6 is the first 6 track portable recorder and one of the most flexible handheld recorders, featuring a revolutionary system of interchangeable microphone system and impressive track count
The Zoom H6 is the first 6 track portable recorder and one of the most flexible handheld recorders, featuring a revolutionary system of interchangeable microphone system and impressive track count.
The Zoom H6 is capable of tracking 6 channels simultaneously, with the I/0 to do so, boasting of 4 XLR/TRS inputs for microphone integration.
The Zoom H6 is unique in its modular built-in microphones, with interchangeable input capsules that attach right to the top of the unit for swapping the built-in mic as easily as changing camera lenses.
The Zoom H6 is impressive in how easily it can be used in a variety of applications, e.g., ENG type scenarios, live band recordings, signal receipts from a mixing board, audio interfaces and live performance writing and recording.
The Zoom H6 is designed to be extremely versatile for budget filmmakers, musicians, bands and interviewers trying to capture multiple sound sources on location.
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Zoom H6 Features:
- stereo X/Y and mid/side capsules
- shotgun capsule and XLR/TRS input providing 2 more combo inputs
- rubberized plastic
- 10 ounce weight
- backlit color LCD screen angled slightly downward
- gain control and pad selector for 4 combo XLR/TRS inputs located above transport
- transport features all usual suspects including record enable buttons for 6 inputs, stop, play/pause, record, rewind and forward
- a very detailed feature set for complete menu level navigation
- each channel features selectable low cut filter with 8 positions between 80 and 237Hz
- channel independent compressor/limiter assignable to tracks as needed
- 3 compression and 3 limiting options
- 2 main controls for menu system, including a 2 position joystick and selector, a menu button
- Record files as WAVs from 44.1kHz/16 bit to 96kHz/24 bit and MP3s from 48 to 320 kb/s
- records to SD, SDHC and SDXC cards up to 128GB
- integrated mid/side matrix
- swappable capsule system
Zoom H6 Pros & Cons:
- solid without being too heavy in the hand
- sits comfortable in the hand for use in a handheld application
- provides a clear screen view when angled to capture sound during recording
- incredibly handy for mounting on top of DSLR
- all important controls right at fingertips
- controls can be set up as needed
- fairly simple navigation
- exhaustive menu system
- get your very own Zoom H6 right here and now!
- fragile M/S capsule
- some important adjustments buried in menu system
- pad buttons too close to level dials
- screen angle does not suit self-recording performers
- no high-impedance input setting for guitar and bass
What People Say about the Zoom H6:
“This product is an exceptional recorder for musicians, news gatherers, and those desiring a high level of control, quality, and professionalism in their recordings and want a very portable recorder. Multitrack recordings are easy to do, and a number of effects can be used on the recordings. The mic and inputs are high quality and the entire unit is very well built and durable.
This product would be overkill for most recording tasks. If you are new to recording, start with a simpler unit and work your way up. If you only want to record an interview, there are much less costly options, and you wouldn’t be able to discern the quality difference for simple recording tasks, due to the many high quality recorders available. This Zoom H6 recorder gives amazing control and flexibility in recording if you take the time to learn to use it and have some knowledge of how to make recordings.” – Jerry S.
“This is a must have piece of equipment for me. I use it for doing separate audio recordings for video reviews I do, and I also use this beauty of a device to record a podcast. The noise floor is much better than the Zoom R16 I was previously using for doing the podcast recording and the microphone pre-amps are very clean, especially in a device that does as much as this! The clean sound, ability to hook up to 4 XLR’s out of the box or 6 total with an add on adapter, build in compressor, the separate volume controls for each channel, ability to power with a USB cable, etc. This device is a complete joy to use. If you’d like to hear what it sounds like (with dirt cheap Behringer ULTRAVOICE XM1800S dynamic cardioid microphones), check out the “Coding Blocks” podcast in iTunes, Stitcher, Player.FM or just about any podcast search engine. Listen to the most recent episodes and you’ll be listening to the combo of the Zoom H6 with the microphones listed above. The very first episodes was using the same microphones with the Zoom R16.
I’ve been insanely pleased with this Zoom H6 device. If you’ve been on the fence and you care about your audio quality, get this thing. I LOVE IT.” – Allen
“I had seen the Zoom H4n a number of times and was interested in the fact that I could use the built in mics and still have two channels available for my own. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy one – this is when I saw that the H6 was available. With the H6, not only did I have the mics plus 4 extra channels, I could remove the microphone module and add two more channels of mic preamp – I was sold!
I have now had this unit for a few weeks. The included XY mic module sounds good and has low self-noise – as good as many pencil condenser mics. The included mid/side mic module is a little noisier, but produces a wonderful stereo sound stage – just don’t try to use it in a very quiet environment to record a very low level sound – it’s too noisy for that, but in the field, it’s very effective.
I have recorded some live local bands using the included XY mic module and a spaced pair of omni mics. That particular combination results in a very nice sound. As the XY module uses cardioid mics, the low frequency is a little thin when distance mic’ing, but the omnis pick up nice low end to fill the sound out nicely.
I have since also purchased the extra jack/XLR module to give me six preamps and am looking forward to making some multi-track location recordings. All in all, I am extremely happy with this Zoom H6 unit. One thing that could have been better is that the USB interface could have been USB3. Copying long recordings to your PC does take quite some time.” – Bill Ruys
Tascam DR-100MKII is an upgrade to the Tascam DR-100 and a powerful tool with more inputs capable of recording cleaner and richer-sounding audio, loaded with a number of upgrades and additions
The Tascam DR-100MKII is an upgrade to the Tascam DR-100 and a powerful tool with more inputs capable of recording cleaner and richer-sounding audio, loaded with a number of upgrades and additions.
It is a great 2 channel portable digital recorder, offering great sound recording quality, considered to be the best on the market today.
The Tascam DR-100MKII has 4 built in microphones that offer great quality recordings that capture anything needed on the field with awesome clarity.
The 4 built in cardiod and omni-directional mics of the Tascam DR-100MKII give an excellent diversity as far as recording, regardless of where the recording is done.
It has a pair of XLR mic inputs with phantom power, allowing for plugging in a professional condenser mic for the highest quality recordings.
The improved inputs, preamps and microphones of the Tascam DR-100MKII, producing excellent sound quality, will benefit any user of any discipline, whether recording music, sound bites, podcasts, sound effects and journalistic interviews.
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Tascam DR-100MKII Features:
- 4 built-in microphones and preamps
o both forward facing dual cardioids condensers and pair of front panel omni-directional microphones capture better sounding recordings
o preamps have more gain and lower noise floor
- multiple 3.5mm outputs, i.e., dedicated headphone output and separate line-level output
o makes it possible to connect headphones directly to the recorder for monitoring and to connect the line-level output separately to a camera’s 3.5mm mic input, using an attenuated DSLR line to mic cable
o enables active adjustment of headphone volume while feeding the camera a constant audio level to record
o useful for recording sound on an HDSLR video shoot
- records high resolution 96 kHz 24-bit stereo WAV files, compressed MP3 files, from 32 to 320kb/s
- balanced XLR inputs provide condenser microphones with +48V of phantom power and achieves premium, low noise recordings
o locking mechanism prevents cables from accidentally losing contact with recorder
o switch to the bottom enables changer XLR input sensitivity from mic to professional line level
- digital S/PDIF input connects external digital signals, giving the option of using a higher-quality piece of equipment as the front end of recording chain
- built-in speaker for monitoring
- integrated tripod thread on the base for mounting
- rugged aluminum housing
- 2 battery compartments, i.e., one for included rechargeable Li-ion battery and another for AA batteries
- Li-ion battery rechargeable through built-in high speed USB 2.0 port
Tascam DR-100MKII Pros & Cons:
- one rechargeable dual battery
- metal construction
- switchable line/mic level input
- better level control
- better quality switches and UI control
- USB charging
- digital S/PDIF input
- separate line out and headphone ports
- omni and uni directional built in mics
- much faster user interface across the board, including power on and rec stop/start
- get your very own Tascam DR-100MKII right here and now!
- low resolution display
- full memory card format option liable to take several hours
- average sound quality from omni-directional microphones
- fairly low line input levels on XLR
- no one-touch record option
- cheap feeling jog wheel
- omni mic placement gives significant handling noise
What People Say about the Tascam DR-100MKII:
“The best field recorder. Easy to learn and operate. I once used it to record an hour long Change of Command event for my command and the audio was crisp and clear. I synced it with a mutli-cam edited video and it was perfect. I got a lot of good comments on how clear the audio was.” – ivan
“To begin this review, I’d like to share my needs that sent me looking for one of these.
- Clear, better than CD quality audio for archiving, mixing, & mastering – Yes!
- Portablility- It doesn’t fit in your pocket, but it does have a nice carry pouch, and it is very lightweight
- Good dynamic range- the range is phenomenal!
- XLR inputs- Having this input in a portable device is what sold me on this model in the first place!
- GOOD onboard microphones with the option of using externals- The directional mics are fantastic, and the omni’s are really great too, but I havent used those other than playing with them. I mostly use the XLR inputs from the church mixing board.
- Memory Card solution- I use 32 gig cards (max). I get more than 13 hours of the highest quality it is capable of.
- Needed to be able to see what I’m doing in the darkened sound room- back-light is super and stays on as long as I need it to.
- Needed to be able to record my audio separate from the video camera but be able to sync it with relative ease- Again, this fit the bill perfectly.
My scenario- I record and master our church’s services and special music, and I do voiceover for missionary/pastor presentations. I wasn’t sure I’d find a tool that could cover all of my bases, and I was getting a bit disappointed as I read reviews on other brands, until I stumbled across this recorder that someone mentioned in passing.
This instrument absolutely WOWed me from the very beginning. The audio quality blew me away! I’m not going to list the features, that’s done for you in the item description (or head to TASCAM’s website). I will, however, share how each of my needs above were met.
The only thing I’d suggest you purchase is the AC adapter. The recharge time is significantly reduced (less than 3 hours from empty to full).
My only regret is that I didn’t find this guy sooner. I read somewhere, that someone was griping that the case is plastic… I’m not sure where they got that. The case is black lightweight, textured aluminum. One of my favorite features (besides the XLR input) is the ability to put the device into record standby. One press of the record button causes it to flash, waiting for the final go-ahead to record. Second press begins recording. I really also like the fact that it has a backup battery system and will seamlessly transition from the rechargeable battery to my alkalines without losing any audio or record time.
If you are serious about your audio recording, THIS Tascam DR-100MKII is your best choice. Don’t even bother looking at the Sony version. It doesn’t even begin to match up. I’m convinced that if you were to close your eyes, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a live person speaking and the machine playing him back.
Final Advice- purchase this, BUT, take the time to learn how to use it. Ensure your settings are right. You’ll not regret it.” – Tamriel
“It is everything and more. I love my little Tascam DR-100MKII. It arrived on time and at a great price. Guitar Center was wanting almost a $100 more for the same thing and theirs was a floor model…with a dead battery and a few things inexplicably missing. So, I was overjoyed when this wonderfully priced beauty showed up on my doorstep.” – Robert Branch
Livescribe Echo Smartpen is an amazing pen effortlessly bridging the gap between ink and pixel, available in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB
Livescribe Echo Smartpen
The Livescribe Echo Smartpen is an amazing pen, available in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB, consisting of 3 main elements, i.e., a ballpoint pen, an infrared camera concealed inside its tip and a integrated microphone in its pen barrel.
It simultaneously digitally records sound and handwriting, with the recordings directly saved into the pen’s internal memory and replayed through the pen’s built-in speaker or transferred to a Mac/PC using the free Livescribe desktop software.
The Livescribe Echo Smartpen 2GB does what all great technology should do, i.e., make life easier for students and professionals ritually taking, reviewing and sharing handwritten notes or journalists and recruiters regularly recording interviews and taking notes simultaneously.
The Livescribe Echo Smartpen 4GB is a follow-up to the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen, with indistinguishable core components but several important refinements including a rubber grip and tapered, asymmetric design for better hand balance and staying in place when put on a table.
It embedded an integrated Micro-USB connector on top, upgraded its headphone output to standard 3.5mm connection and provided a binaural headset accessory for stereo recording, available as a separate purchase.
Existing applications, e.g. dictionaries, translators, can be launched on the Livescribe Echo Smartpen using written Launch Line prompts while stored contents can be encrypted with a 4-digit password, for peace of mind should the pen get lost.
It allows giving a name to it for display it its 0.75” wide OLED screen when powered on, telling it apart from any other Livescribe Echo Smartpens laying around.
A unique feature of the Livescribe Echo Smartpen 8GB is its ability to be used as a USB-connected input device.
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Livescribe Echo Smartpen Features:
- Paper Replay
- automatic uploading to Evernote, FB and Google Docs via the Livescribe Desktop software
- designation of particular pages to be automatically e-mailed or sent to mobile devices, using Launch Line prompts directly from within a notebook, once the pen is connected to a computer
- preservation of a pencast’s unique interactive animation and audio playback through exported PDF files eradicating the necessity of special software download for a complete pencast experience using Adobe Reader
Livescribe Echo Smartpen Pros & Cons:
- effortlessly bridges the gap between ink and pixel
- ballpoint pen and voice recorder combination
- preserves digital copies of notes and recordings, for replay, computer storage and sharing
- get your very own Livescribe Echo Smartpen 8GB here and now!
- tendency for pens and caps to get lost
- special paper required for note digitizing
- smaller ink cartridges than standard
What People Say About the Livescribe Echo Smartpen:
“I am very pleased with my Livescribe! It took me a minute but I’ve got the hang of it now. This has become a great teaching tool, studying tool and learning tool for me and I really can’t see how I would go any further without it at this point it. This type of technology has become a staple for both students and teachers. I am very happy to own a Livescribe pen!” – Lisa M
“I am a professor and need to keep multiple areas of my professional life straight – various courses (often taught once a year only), research projects, committees, etc. I LOVE that I get to take all my notes continuously in one handy dandy notebook – and then get home and easily transfer everything into individual “virtual” notebooks at home, one for each course/meeting/committee/research project, etc. I also love that I don’t need to have my computer everywhere, and still get to have my notes transferred easily into my virtual files. You can purchase separately a software (inexpensive – about $20) called MyScript – it translates what you write into typed text. I’m not sure it would work for those with really poor handwriting… mine is fairly clear, so MyScript works beautifully. The pen itself is a little bulkier than what I was used to, but it’s not too bad – I’m comfortable with it already. I’m in love with this pen. The only negative comment I have is the darn little tip, which I’m sure I’ll lose pretty soon (it’s small and doesn’t attach anywhere) – I wish the manufacturers would create a click version. Other than that, I’m really happy with my purchase.” – Cristina Wildermuth
“This Livescribe Echo Smartpen set is awesome! I think law enforcement, lawyers, any anyone recording an interview will like this pen. Has the appearance of a regular pen, but all the time you rerecording the conversation. Recordings sounds, and voices are clear and crisp.” – Linda Cooper-smith “cooper girl”
Olympus WS710M is a middle end digital voice recorder designed for recording and storage of large audio file volume
The Olympus WS710M is a middle end digital voice recorder designed for recording and storing large volumes of audio files, with the additional provision for fast transfer to a PC/Mac.
It features 8GB of internal flash memory, giving 2,100 hours of recording time, enough to hold just about everything a user requires, with a microSD slot for adding up to 16GB more.
The Olympus WS710M has a built-in FM tuner for tuning into any FM radio station in range and listening to music or radio shows.
The Scene Select function of the Olympus WS710M allows the user to pick a recording mode depending on the surroundings, making the microphones automatically adjust for capturing the highest quality sound possible.
It records in and plays back in MP3, WMA and PCM file formats and provides a USB 2.0 slot for directly linking to a PC/Mac.
Other features of the Olympus WS710M include built-in stereo microphones, multiple language display in 4 languages, i.e., English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Voice Activation function, for automatic recording starting and stopping.
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Olympus WS710M Features:
- 8GB internal memory
- extra memory available through 16GB microSD card
- captures notes, lectures, et al, with room for document storage
- multi-format stereo recording
- USB Direct design for easy charging and PC/Mac file transfer
- built in FM tuner
- 4 language display
- 25 hours of battery life
- Scene Select function
- Voice Activation function
- Easy file management for organization of up to 200 files into 5 folders for quick storage and retrieval
Olympus WS710M Pros & Cons:
- display provides detailed information without need for scrolling
- adequate onboard memory for most purposes
- expandable memory through a memory card
- easily picks up voices, even from across the room
- Pause function during recording is easy to execute and resume
- 25 hour battery lasts a long time between charges
- get your very own Olympus WS710M here and now!
- lesser volume level compared to older models
- documentation comes in PDF format
What People Say about the Olympus WS710M:
“This little record works well and is compatible with linux (which is one of the main reasons I bought it). I’ve used it in one-on-one conversations, seminars, meetings with several people, and in all cases, it has performed very well.
Being able to listen to recordings at various speeds is a big plus.
Also being able to download recordings onto it and listen to them through it (basically using it like an MP3 player) is another plus.” – m
“I use this recorder for class and it works wonders. The recordings are pretty clear and the device is small enough to put in my pen case. The batteries last for a long time and the usb at the bottom is convenient for when I want to share my recordings with others. This is a lot more convenient than trying to make space on my phone for lectures.” – Kayla
“I read lots of reviews before purchasing this Olympus WS710M, and it is wonderful! I am a speech therapist, so I often need to record my client’s speech and language. This is so easy to use, and the best part is that I can upload it onto my computer quickly, so I can begin transcribing the conversation. I would highly recommend this to anyone.” – Sarah O’Neil
Sony ICD UX523 BLK
The Sony ICD UX523 BLK Digital Flash Voice Recorder is a 3-in-1 recorder, music player and USB flash memory.
It features 4 GB of built in store for ensuring every word is committed to memory, ready for sculpture into a loose, charming and life affirming narrative.
The Sony ICD UX523 BLK offers 1,100 hours of built in recording time in a slim enough package to fit in the pocket, efficient enough to run for days and featuring MP3 playback.
The Sony ICD UX523 BLK makes finding an exact spot in a recording easier than ever, by the placement of up to 98 track marks in each recorder file, which can be jumped to fro playback.
It optimizes settings based on the environment through its Scene Select option.
The Sony ICD UX523 BLK has 6 recording modes ranging from uncompressed stereo to compressed mono for handy data storage in 5 customizable organizational folders.
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Sony ICD UX523 BLK Features:
- enhanced MP3 and linear PCM recording
- MP3/WMA/AAC music playback
- 4GB internal memory
- expandable micro-SD memory card slot for additional capacity
- direct connect USB for easy file transfer & rechargeable battery charging
- intelligent noise cut mode for ambient background noise reduction during recording
- low cut filter mode for wind noise reduction during recording
- noise cut mode for external noise reduction during playback
- simple and easy to switch 5 categorization folders
- hi/lo mic switch for lecture or dictation recording settings
- A-B repeat mode marks beginning and ending of particular recorded passages for repeated playback
Sony ICD UX523 BLK Pros & Cons:
- easy to use with a built-in program that makes it easy to recordings into tracks
- perfect for capturing music and meeting notes as well as expressing thoughts out loud
- amazing high quality sound recording
- car speaker AUX input connectability for car listening purposes
- remembers where play left off when switching between folders
- get your very own Sony ICD UX523 BLK right here and now!
- no automatic sound adjustment
What People Say about the Sony ICD UX523 BLK:
“Excellent audio quality recording. Transferring audio files and charging battery could not be easier thanks to it’s built in male-USB there are no cords required. Audio playback is excellent as well with the ability to change speeds and loop audio segments within one file in addition to make temp. chapters. I have also used the Olympus DM series recorders and the sansa clip mp3 players: this is superior to both of them. The recordings sound better on this even though the recording is capped at 192k compared it’s Olympus counterpart.
You can also transfer files from this to a tablet or phone if you buy a micro-sd card which I highly recommend. I accidentally dropped my first one in the atlantic ocean and quickly took it out of the water before it could sink too far. Because I was using a micro-sd card, while the device was completely broken all of my recordings remained intact.” – Jacob
“This is the first digital recorder I purchased so others may have better comparison reviews. Excellent product for clear recordings, sensitive microphone. I bought it to record conversations (another reviewer noted they used it to interview relatives about family history–great idea). Like the “voice only recording” that eliminates wasting recording time when there is no noise. Speaker was fairly clear (I normally use headphones anyway). Very easy to transfer files to and from my laptop. Many Features I don’t really use, but others may. Easy to charge with “slide-out” USB.” – J Verdone
“There are SO many digital recording products out there, it boggles the mind! I’m not a ding dong, but I’m not a master of technology either. I needed a product that was simple and straight-forward to use, was a quality product, and one that was on the cutting edge of technology without having loads of features I didn’t need. This Sony ICD UX523 BLK fit the bill perfectly, and I have always trusted Sony products! I did good! – L. Armstrong
The Zoom H4N is a mobile recording dynamo with features outperforming competitors costing twice as much, offering outstanding value for musicians and podcasters demanding professional sounding results.
The Zoom H4N is a mobile recording jack-of-all-trades including built-in multipattern stereo microphones, 2 full sized professional XLR and ¼ inch microphone jacks, multitude of recording formats and intuitive, tough design.
Measuring 6.5” x 2.75” x 1.5”, the Zoom H4N has the smallest design sparing no features in packing every conceivable option wanted in a portable recorder, with extras including a foam windscreen, mic stand mount, 1 GB SD card, Cubase recording software and power adapter.
While microphones encased in solid aluminum and a spacious 2” screen are the first details to catch the eye, the Zoom H4N offers lovable little details including an offset record button, felt out easily in the dark and built-in back speaker for recording playback without headphone plug in.
The Zoom H4N offers the easiest menu navigation on a portable recorder, using a simple menu button and scroll wheel off the right side of the recorder.
The everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach of the Zoom H4N feels refreshingly generous, offering hundreds of settings and configurations, which a user valuing simplicity over flexibility may find overwhelming.
Distinguishing the Zoom H4N from its competitors is its 4 channel recording mode, allowing for recording from built-in mics and external mic inputs simultaneously as 2 separate stereo files.
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Zoom H4N Features:
- 3 main recording modes, i.e., stereo, 4 channel and multitrack recording, with dedicated LED indicators for each mode
- recording resolution ranges from a max of 24 bit/96 kHz to a low 48 kbps MP3
- clearly labeled rocker switch for mic gain adjustments
- recording level overloading prevention available via auto level adjustment, multiple compressor and limiter setting features
- more professional sound recording with 4 channel recording
- responsive and easy to operate controls
- crisp and easy to read display info provided by bright, 2-inch screen display
- quick recording and headphone level adjustment
- mic mount attachment eliminates rumbling noises and back soft rubber pads help isolate noise
Zoom H4N Pros & Cons:
- sturdy & intuitive design
- quality stereo microphones
- phantom powered mic inputs
- records 4 channels simultaneously
- SDHC-compatible memory card slot
- low cut filter with frequency selections from 80 Hz to 237 Hz
- runs off 2 AA batteries with internal settings for performance maximization
- default mode offers around 6 hours of WAV recording while stamina mode offers up to 11 hours of WAV recording
- get your very own Zoom H4N right here and now!
- bulky design
- non intuitive mixer settings
- awkwardly placed minijack microphone input
- absence of a dedicated track-divide button
What People Say about the Zoom H4N:
“I wanted a small recorder to fool around with laying down guitar rhythms, leads and some bass parts all in one recording. The Zoom H4N is perfect for this.
MTR (Multi-Track Recording) mode is a blast! It allows you to record 4 separate tracks independently, and keeps them as one recording. AND, with the “Always New” setting on recording mode, you can record as many TAKES of each track as you want until you get the best one (can do this for each of the 4 tracks).
The Zoom H4N accepts 1/4″ jacks into the 2 bottom inputs, so I have been plugging in the guitars and bass directly into the unit and using some of the 50 preset effect patches (distortion, delay, chorus, vibe, etc). You can modify the effects (e.g. different delay timings) and even create your own custom effects. Addicting!
When recording in MTR mode, you really need to have a pair of headphones to monitor the recordings as you go. Example: set a click track and lay down a rhythm guitar track on track 1. Arm track 2, plug in the bass and lay down the bass track while listening to track 1 at the same time in the headphones. Repeat for solo on track 3, listening to all previous tracks.
When you’ve filled up 4 tracks, use the Bounce function to combine all 4 tracks into 1, and start again with the next 3.
The Zoom H4n manual is for reference only, it does not explain well the capabilities of the H4n. For this, go to you toob and search for videos on the H4n. I went one step further and purchased a tutorial video from proaudiodvds.com, well worth it!” – Robert
“I have always wanted a dedicated voice recorder since I was a wee lad (I just wanted to say wee I promise I won’t do it again). As a comedian, I like to record my sets for later listening and the phone option wasn’t always a good one. I decided to pick this up and it is a great thing I did. Not only is it a voice recorder, but an audio interface. That means if I want to record into my computer with some nicer mics than what is built into my macbook pro I can.
The build quality is pretty nice. It feels nice and sturdy in the hands and the buttons feel like they can withstand a good pressing. I like that you can connect different types of mics into it with the xlrs on the button, you can put a 1/4 inch in there as well, although I haven’t had the need to do that yet.
Sound quality was awesome. And isn’t that the most important part!” – Harry R.
“The quality of the microphones is very crisp. More more low frequency, attach a shotgun mic in one of the other two inputs. There are power saving options with this recorder, including stamina mode, and you can also have it plugged in if you don’t need it to be portable. Record up to four channels at once, and edit each file individually (stereo file, input 1 file, input 2 file). Record in the multi-track mode if you wish, though it is difficult navigating around. It may be more useful to use the H4N as a USB mic, and use Garageband or other software for the multi-track recorder. This product is a MUST HAVE for videographers of all types. It is worth the investment.
I have used this product for over two years now. There was an issue where the battery pack broke in the few months, and it took their customer service over a year to send me a replacement. I would recommend being persistent with their customer service if they do not immediately satisfy your needs. We use the Zoom H4N in all of our videos: http://www.youtube.com/youhippieschannel” – YouHippies
The Philips DVT5500/00 is the lightest and ranks among the most compact of digital voice recorders. It is great for anyone wanting high quality recording and playback, both for personal or professional use, with limitless practical applications.
Its internal and expanded storage capacity combine for 12GB and 1,140 hours of recording time, more than anyone would ever need.
The Philips DVT5500/00 battery lasts for an impressive 48 hours and can be recharged anywhere, using its provided USB cable.
The voice-activated recording feature of the Philips DVT5500/00 saves battery power while its tracks marking and variable-speed payback saves time for better recording editing and transcription allowance.
It is neither the fanciest nor even the most innovative voice tracer digital recorder, however, its rich feature package, extensive accessories and stellar customer support make the Philips DVT5500/00 the complete digital voice recorder package.
The Philips DVT5500/00 carries the standard feature among the best rated of digital voice and middle-tier recorders, which is the USB port. In addition to this, it also provides a USB cable.
Taking things a step further, it connects via USB to any PC or Mac for recording download, enabling podcast creation, audio note storage, recording transcription, playback, music and voice recording editing, etcetera.
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Philips DVT5500/00 Features:
- one touch recording for one handed operation
- keypad lock
- backlit and easy to read 1.4 inch LCD screen
- fits just right in the hand and into any shirt or pants pocket
- user friendly features, e.g., external microphone and earphone jacks, built in 1-inch speaker
- 3 mic recording technology, i.e., omni-directional center mic, capturing sounds front, left and right and 2 side microphones, pulling sounds from right and left, front and back
- variable speed playback for simple audio recording review
- track marking feature highlights recording portions making for easy finding and returning to
- voice-activated recording putting it to sleep and reactivating via human voice
- records in MP3, MPEG and WAV audio formats
Philips DVT5500/00 Pros & Cons:
- strong recording quality
- ample built in, expandable storage
- lightweight design
- ease of use
- included accessories are USB cable, earbud headphones with cord pause button, remote control, rechargeable batteries, pouch and quick start guide
- 48 hour battery life
- 24/7 online chat support
- get your very own Philips DVT5500/00 right here and now!
- minimalistic all picture quick start guide, should include text with brief explanation of how things work
What People Say about the Philips DVT5500/00:
“I usually do a lot of research before I make a purchase, but when I bought my last recorder it was a quick purchase in a store out of necessity. It was a Sony and isn’t syncable to a computer. This time I spent a little more time on the research and got this Philips which has proven to be an awesome recorder. I am using it for recording lectures in large lecture halls, and have found the many different microphone settings are excellent for different settings (I like the zoom mic for lectures). I like the index feature that allows you to place a skip forward point in the recording, it allows me to note when different Power Point slides have been advanced. It is also great for syncing with Dragon for dictation of notes. highly recommend this recorder” – Irontomkid
“I have used this for a month now recording lectures as a student in college and it works great. Easy to use, transfer files to computer and quality recordings. Microphone has various settings depending on what your using it for. I use ‘Lecture” mode and the recorder is able to pick up the instructors voice very easy from from 20 feet away. Highly recommend product for similar use. Only draw back, it is hard to see if the device is charged or not. Device came with a remote control, ear phones, soft case, USB cable. I ordered this Philips DVT5500/00 at 4:00PM on a Thursday, paid the extra $2 for the 1 day prime shipping, and received it the following day at 3:00PM.” – RNKG
“Upgraded from my Olympus
used it to record meetings
you would be surprised at how many people back down when you say I don’t remember it that way
and then pull out your recorder
use it now to record lectures and transfer them to text
saves on typing and note taking” – James Batson