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Field Recording Equipment

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Sleepy Rosie 11 Feb 09 - 12:56 PM
Big Mick 11 Feb 09 - 01:00 PM
treewind 11 Feb 09 - 01:04 PM
treewind 11 Feb 09 - 01:05 PM
Big Mick 11 Feb 09 - 01:17 PM
Jack Blandiver 11 Feb 09 - 01:26 PM
Jack Blandiver 11 Feb 09 - 01:28 PM
wysiwyg 11 Feb 09 - 01:55 PM
Will Fly 11 Feb 09 - 02:09 PM
Folkiedave 11 Feb 09 - 02:12 PM
Nick 11 Feb 09 - 02:48 PM
Don Firth 11 Feb 09 - 03:17 PM
Sleepy Rosie 11 Feb 09 - 03:19 PM
Bonzo3legs 11 Feb 09 - 03:39 PM
Zen 11 Feb 09 - 04:24 PM
Dave Roberts 11 Feb 09 - 04:54 PM
Tim Leaning 11 Feb 09 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 12 Feb 09 - 03:27 AM
Sleepy Rosie 12 Feb 09 - 03:28 AM
Will Fly 12 Feb 09 - 03:31 AM
Tim Leaning 12 Feb 09 - 04:17 AM
Jack Blandiver 12 Feb 09 - 04:49 AM
EBarnacle 12 Feb 09 - 09:07 AM
Tootler 12 Feb 09 - 09:22 AM
Jack Blandiver 12 Feb 09 - 09:35 AM
Folkiedave 12 Feb 09 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 12 Feb 09 - 10:32 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 09 - 12:53 PM
Jack Blandiver 12 Feb 09 - 01:43 PM
Sleepy Rosie 12 Feb 09 - 02:22 PM
Lowden Jameswright 12 Feb 09 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,BanjoRay 12 Feb 09 - 03:25 PM
Tootler 12 Feb 09 - 03:30 PM
Don Firth 12 Feb 09 - 03:46 PM
Goose Gander 12 Feb 09 - 04:00 PM
treewind 12 Feb 09 - 04:22 PM
Jack Blandiver 12 Feb 09 - 06:27 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 12 Feb 09 - 07:29 PM
Joe Offer 12 Feb 09 - 07:39 PM
EBarnacle 12 Feb 09 - 07:47 PM
EBarnacle 12 Feb 09 - 07:48 PM
Declan 12 Feb 09 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 13 Feb 09 - 01:44 AM
Sleepy Rosie 13 Feb 09 - 03:43 AM
Jack Blandiver 13 Feb 09 - 04:13 AM
Will Fly 13 Feb 09 - 04:44 AM
The Borchester Echo 13 Feb 09 - 05:13 AM
Tim Leaning 13 Feb 09 - 05:20 AM
The Borchester Echo 13 Feb 09 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Cliff 13 Feb 09 - 05:47 AM
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Subject: Field Recording Equipment
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 12:56 PM

I'm tempted to dabble in doing a little field recording of natural soundscapes and the like, to play about with and mix with vocals (akin to an extent to examples I've seen posted here, which have caught my interest.)

I've also got access to a variety of music production software (Reason, Sound Forge, Cake Walk etc.), which as yet I know as much about as something I know absolutely nothing about - but I'd like to explore for the various creative potentials in working with otherwise unaccompanied song. Though most specifically with field recordings.

So that's the theoretical context.

What kind of equipment should I invest in for making the required field recordings, that is a) easy peasy to use, b) cheap as chips, c) will be suitable for doing what I want to do (as described above), and c) not total shit?

Oh, and then once you've given me your educated and informed opinion, can you like, just come over to my house and do all the complicated techy stuff for me... Because that'd be really great.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:00 PM

Even though they are getting a little hard to find, I still love the Sony Minidisc recorder for this best of all.   The sound quality is simply superb. The disc's are a bit expensive, but well worth the money.

It is a bit of a hike to Merry Olde for me from Michigan, but one day.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: treewind
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:04 PM

Edirol R-09 or Zoom H2

The Zoom is cheaper and comes with some neat carry bags and accessories for mounting it on stands etc.

Cheaper than that is dictating machine territory, poor sound quality.
More expensive than that is easy to do but probably unnecessary.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: treewind
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:05 PM

"Sony Minidisc"

And a microphone...


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:17 PM

Oddly enough, responding to this caused me to do a quick search for Minidisks and found them at $1.69 US (1.18 GBP) fairly easily.

And treewind is right on. Get a good mic.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:26 PM

Minidisks are shite; too much compression for a start. The H2 /H4 is about standard - recording as uncompressed WAVs onto cards with no moving parts, so easy to drag & drop files onto the computer etc. Beautiful sound too.

Software - for linear editing there's all sorts; I use Sound Forge but it doesn't come cheap - Cubasis VST does come cheap, basically a lite version of Cubase it features multitrack, sequencing & editing software & a plethora of plug-ins (including a singing monk the last time I looked - VST 4 - which is a riot). And do check out Ableton Live - you can get Lite & Demo versions which will beguile you from the outset. I do a lot of my Ha-Ha & Sundog stuff in real time by inputting field-recordings & loops into Ableton. It's so good that if I was a health professional, I would offer it to my patients in lieu of prayer.

Also check the magazines - Computer Music / Future Music which come with all sorts of software & sample disks. Not sure if CM still do the free virtual studio each month but it's a great place to start & used to feature the Ohmygod Filter which is still a key piece of software on my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, which on other days is my Word Processor!).

Everyone you ask will tell you something different!

Happy wandering.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:28 PM

PS - H2 / H4 have integral condenser microphones of the highest spec, so no bother there!


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:55 PM

Samsung YP-T8's for me. I have a dozen that no longer have good EAR jacks to PLAY MP3s but they will record hours of easily-transferred MP3. I left one running that had been recording me, Dick, and Susan singing, while we stepped out for supper. It picked up passing cars in the alley. :~) Internal mic....

PM if you want to buy one off me. They're piling up!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 02:09 PM

Many of my studio-engineering friends use minidisc and say that they're fine. I use one myself - with a fairly expensive stereo Sony mic - and it's great. I've recorded my guitar with it and it stands up to close listening. The Zoom is also excellent and has less clutter.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 02:12 PM

I record for broadcasting - mainly interviews but occasionally music.

One artist in an acoustically good venue was wondering what he sounded like without the mike so I recorded him and played it back. He was astonished with the quality.

So for me there is there is Edirol R-O9 and there is everything else. About £240.00 from a store named after an South American river.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Nick
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 02:48 PM

For my budget the Zoom H2 has been great. I use Reaper (which is uncrippled shareware but I paid the £25 for it)


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 03:17 PM

I have a Zoom H2 and I love it! Four internal mics that can be used in various combinations, and on the menu, you can select a variety of recording qualities, from a couple of resolutions of mp3 up to WAV files with high sampling rates (higher than CD quality). Amazon has them for about $160.00.

It comes with some neat accessories. Records on solid-state SD cards (get a bigger card than it comes with--8 GB for about $13.00). You can download what you record to your computer through a USB cord, and you can also use it as a USB interface and record directly to your computer if you wish. Comes with AC adapter, and you can get about four hours' recording time with two AA batteries.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 03:19 PM

Cheers for suggestions thus far. I've got quite a lot of 'getting my head around techy stuff' to do now.

Followed IB's Ha-Ha link above. What a fantastic word. Like a green mezzanine equivalent to that thorny liminal space which psychic transgressors known as 'hedgeriders' - in certain Shamanic parlance - use as access routes via which to cross over into Otherwhere. And it also sounds like Da Da..


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 03:39 PM

Sony RH1 HiMD is superb, upload to your PC and save to wav.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Zen
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:24 PM

I use a Zoom H2 as well and am very pleased with it.

Zen


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:54 PM

I use an Edirol R-09 with an external stereo mic (Audio Technica ATR25)which gives superb results, even in bog standard 'MP3' quality. The SD card just slips into a card reader connected to my pc.
Occasionally, just for old times sake, I record with a Marantz CP430 cassette machine using the same microphone, but then there's the hassle of dubbing the recordings onto a pc for editing.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 05:22 PM

I was recorded with the gadgett Nick uses and it sounds pretty good I reckon.
I used to record bird song by hanging a mic out of me bedroom wondow and hitting record on an old reel to reel thingy.
Sunday morning dawn chorus and church bells in the distance.
Thats a good memory of Grimsby
A rare thing nowadays.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 03:27 AM

Well I've got the Zoom H4...Jolly nice (and came with Cubase lite software too. Free gratis and for nothing!).
Mind you, if it's birdsong you're after, and you have a DAB radio. there is a 24 hour channel dedicated to such atmospheric sounds!
(Not sure how copyright works in respect to Robins Sparrows and Tits though. Maybe a bag of bird seed would do!)


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 03:28 AM

Thanks for such a lovely sound 'image' Tim Leaning. I too get Sunday Church bells, though they are pretty much inaudable through winters double glazing...

Think I'm going to have a lot of fun.

I can certainly see me getting into recording noises when I go camping (no, not human mating habits... badgers and fox calls, owls and such.)

PS Mods, I just realised that I probably should've put a 'Tech' prefix on this thread - though I think it's pretty self evident from the title.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 03:31 AM

I can certainly see me getting into recording noises when I go camping (no, not human mating habits... badgers and fox calls, owls and such.)

Hmm... so you say...


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:17 AM

Well Mr Fly as long as you arent weaaring the same outfit while camping that you say you may for U Tube Vids.......


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:49 AM

One thing about the H4 (and H2 presumably) is that the little black-nose wind-screen is next to useless for outdoor recording. However, the device is small enough to fit within the windscreen of a large diaphragm condenser microphone which does the job beautifully.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: EBarnacle
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 09:07 AM

Consider the Tascam units. They have just come out with a new model for $200 American.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 09:22 AM

For editing, don't forget Audacity. Totally free to download.

I have an Edirol R09, brilliant. I have seen someone using one with a case with a tripod attachment, but I do not know where you can get one or how much they are. The case had cutouts for access to the controls.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 09:35 AM

Further H4 cons - fiddly card access & badly designed tripod attachment (a rather naff cradle with velcro straps!). Also, the phantom facility isn't too reliable either - first time I tried it, it crashed the device entirely! Too many bells & whistles / less is more - I certainly wouldn't recommend it or buy another one.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 09:50 AM

Audacity is usually enough for me.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 10:32 AM

Yes Mr Beard...Re the H4.Couldn't agree more. The horrible plastic thingy went straight into the skip!
Not really bothered with the phantom side of things, as I nearly exclusively use it fed from a mixing desk. And the display is pants!!
So I just set it going and do the editing on the pooter later.
But, the quality is excellent.
And for the price. It's brill!


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 12:53 PM

Feb Sound on Sound magazine [UK] is reviewing the Yamaha 2G & CX Pocketrak recorders.

here's the first part of the review online

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb09/articles/yamahapocketrack.htm


but you'll need to sneak a crafty read in your nearest WH smiths
if you want to read the full review


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 01:43 PM

But, the quality is excellent.
And for the price. It's brill!


This is of course true.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 02:22 PM

Told my Dad not to worry about getting me an Xmas pressy this year, 'cos I couldn't think of anything I particularly wanted.

Saw him today and mentioned what I want to do with the natural recordings, and he's getting me the Zoom H2 as a belated Xmas pressy!
How good's that? Topper!

Does anyone recommend purchasing electrickery gadgets from US, as I've seen it sold there for less than it costs in the UK. Not sure what the shipping is likely to come to though. Thoughts??


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 03:24 PM

You will just love the Zoom H2 - it's brilliant.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 03:25 PM

Well I bought my Zoom H2 last August in West Virginia - the plug that comes with it is a 2 pin USA plag that doesn't fit in our sockets. That's the only disadvantage I can see. I never use the plug anyway, as it takes AA batteries.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 03:30 PM

You'll also get caught for customs duty and our kind PO will charge you £8 for the privilege of getting it through customs. You get no choice over this handling charge (except for sending the item back) and it is likely to be a significant proportion of the customs duty.

Add to that, the dollar exchange rate is not particularly favorable at the moment - to put it mildly.

From one who has had experience of this.

No. I would say buy in the UK on the whole. When you add up shipping customs and PO handling charges and take into account the poor dollar exchange rate, you are likely to end up not saving very much at all, if anything.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 03:46 PM

Good goin', Rosie!

I was seriously considering getting the H4, mainly because of the professional XLR mic inputs, but I read a bunch of reviews that didn't sound all that great, so I decided to go a whole different route. I got a couple of professional studio mics and an analog-to-digital interface for my computer. Then, after what I spent on that, I decided that the Zoom H2 would be a neat little addition for general goofin' around and for recording song sessions and such. But it's turned out to be quite a neat little working tool. Among other things, I use it as a sort of "sketch pad" for CDs I might want to do, and to record practice session and play them back. The sound quality is surprisingly good.

I wish I could find some specifications on the in-built mics. Whenever I google about them, all I turn up is stuff on the versatility of the various pattern settings you can set up. What I want is specifications:    frequency response, that sort of thing. The mics seem to be pretty good, but I would like to see the numbers.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:00 PM

A friend of mine uses the Zoom H2, she has no complaints. I'm thinking of picking one up (when I'm slightly less broke).


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: treewind
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:22 PM

The mics on the Edirol R-09 have been confirmed by some pro audio people (with good ears used to expensive studio mics) as being pretty good for what they are, and I've also read that Edirol put quite a lot of engineering effort into their design. I believe a similar effort was made for the Zoom H2 and H4. Frequency response figures don't tell you much - the mics are a good as you'll get given the constraints of being built in to the recorder. Very few mic manufacturers give you useful or truthful specs anyway - maybe Neumann and Schoeps... If you want better you need to spend at least the price of the recorder again and then your pocket gadget becomes a suitcase full of mics, cables and possibly a preamplifier and it's all not as portable as it was.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 06:27 PM

mainly because of the professional XLR mic inputs

Me too, but when I finally got round to using them the phantom crashed the unit. Out of warranty too! Chiz. H2 is a better bet. Wish I'd gone that route myself. Still - we live & learn!

Have fun, Rosie - which I'm sure you will. Looking forward to hearing the results.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 07:29 PM

Anyone remember the Sony professional walkman cassette? I'm still using mine, and it's still stunning. A Sony engineer told me never to get rid of it...only problem is, you look like a dinosaur.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 07:39 PM

I just got a Zoom Handy 2 yesterday. I was very impressed with the quality of the two recordings I made today (and my singing sounded pretty good, too).
It appears, as Ralphie says, that the Handy 4 comes with Cubase Lite OEM software. Is there a way to get Cubase Lite with the Handy 2?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: EBarnacle
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 07:47 PM

My walkman pro is sitting next to me as I speak. It crashed immediately after the Portland Chantey fest and I wish it hadn't. The drive system makes unfortunate noises. It was my third one. The first two got lifted at festivals. I happen to agree with the Boatman--Totally flexible and great quality.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: EBarnacle
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 07:48 PM

PS, I'm still learning to use the Tascam DR1


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Declan
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 07:57 PM

Lots of good advice about external mics, and you'll definitely need one if you go down the minidisc route.   Minidisc is great but some will tell you ite obsolete technology. I can't see Sony investing any more money in it. The good news fronm this is that some Minidisc recorders are available at much lower prices than they were a few years ago, and for sound quality it is excellent, especially with a good external Mic.

On the other hand I've has an Edirol R09 for a few years now. The built in mics on these are really quite good. No doubt even better quality can be had from using a good external mic, but it depends how high quality you need the recording to be, I'd recommend doing some recording with the built in mics and then deciding whether the additional expense of an external mic is jusitified.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 01:44 AM

Well done SR for your Dads offer of an H2.
What a nice man!.
Next time you see him can you ask for a Very large MAC, a digidesign A/D interface (preferably with flying faders) A full version of ProTools.......erm......I'll get back to you about the mics, probably Schoeps, half a dozen should do the trick!!!
Nice bloke, your Dad. Have always thought so!
Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 03:43 AM

Sorry Ralphie, my Da is usually poor as a church mouse. Bloody artisans!*

Anyway you can be assured that he'll have borrowed it to play with himself, and got mud or baked bean juice in it, before the packings even off...


* That's code for 'awld hippy' by the way ;-)


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 04:13 AM

Anyone remember the Sony professional walkman cassette?

They were, in truth, the bollocks. Mine died the death long ago but the archive survives. A beautiful machine, and just as handy as the H4.

And what about DAT? Never actually owned one, but I've used one from time to time with impressive results.

*

Back to the H4 / H2 - on a practical note, I've taken to using high capacity rechargeable batteries which last a good deal longer than Duracells. When are they going to do a wind-up one I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 04:44 AM

Ah - the Sony Walkman recorder - that was truly a superb machine! I had one for years. One day, the dual speed mechanism went haywire and I sent it off to Sony for repair. Lost in the post. It was an excellent field recorder, together with the Sony stereo mic (which I still have).


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 05:13 AM

The minidisc was a really silly idea. I have two dead Sony MD recorders which, in common with Applemac studio displays, are programmed to expire approximately three days after going out of warranty. I had to get a MD player off Freecycle to be able to replay a stack of recorded MDs as I still can't work out how to get them into iTunes. For recording, the Zoom is a vast improvement, the only drawback being the lack of a meter to show how much power is left.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 05:20 AM

Just record the mini disc into your software.
Downside is most of them you need to do in real time.
But as you took the trouble to record stuff just look at it as a pleasure to listen as you do it?


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 05:28 AM


Just record the mini disc into your software


Sure, but that would involve parting with vast quantities of dosh at Maplins to get the right sort of connectors, after which the setting aside of several weeks to potwatch.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording Equipment
From: GUEST,Cliff
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 05:47 AM

Nmini-jack to mini-jack lead £1.98.
@ £4 for a higher quality gold plated one.
Both from Maplins.


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