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Old May 23rd, 2011, 10:53 AM   #1
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Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

I am looking for a recorder about the size of the Olympus WS-700
Olympus WS-700M Digital Voice Recorder (Grey) 140152 B&H Photo
but with manual level control. The AGC only function on the WS-700 seriously limits its usefulness. It gains up during silence causing audible noise and it also does a pump surge when sound begins again. A friend of mine has a perfect description for this; he says "it makes his teeth itch." Does anyone make a good small recorder with manual level control?
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:14 AM   #2
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Zoom H1

Tascam DRO7
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Those are both great recorders but they are about the size of a bus compared to the Olympus WS-700. The nice thing about the WS-700 is that it is easy to place on someone because it is so small.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:29 AM   #4
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Maybe Tascam PR-10? It's a similar form factor to the Olympus and fairly new.
Or the TEAC VR-10?
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Thanks Jay, The PR-10 looks like it meets 'spec'. I will check it out.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 03:07 PM   #6
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Tascam DR-03

Sony ICD-SX700
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 03:11 PM   #7
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Olympus ls-11
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Old May 24th, 2011, 11:34 AM   #8
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Hi,

If avalible, I would suggest a minidisc recorder with high quality shotgun (or whatever you need) mic or optical in as although MD is old it is reliable and produces very high quality sound and with a 1GB disc it records for hours! Also, yes it does have manual control.

:)

Last edited by Eric Sawyer; May 24th, 2011 at 11:36 AM. Reason: Added manual comment
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Old May 24th, 2011, 01:34 PM   #9
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Zaxcom ZFR200
Nagra SD
Sonosax MiniR82

just a thought or three
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Old May 24th, 2011, 02:24 PM   #10
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Another vote for the Tascam DR-03. Small and inexpensive.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #11
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Jim,

And Eric, with all due respect,

I'm going to offer a dissenting opinion here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Sawyer View Post
MD is old it is reliable and produces very high quality sound and with a 1GB disc it records for hours! Also, yes it does have manual control.
I can't tell you how many recording failures I had with minidisc... first machine was a major brand, although I don't recall which one; second machine was a Sony. Failures on both of them, with two different brands of discs. I returned the first machine and traded up (I thought) to the Sony. Eventually "repaired" the sony using a three-pound sledge hammer... that cured me of the temptation to use it again and possibly get burned again. By comparison, I have never had a failure with a RAM-based recorder.

Many of the Sony machines did not allow you to change recording gain once you were actually recording. So if you saw that you were starting to clip, there was absolutely nothing you could do about it. (I seem to recall that Sony may have corrected this terrible design, toward the end of the minidisc craze. But I know many Sony machines had this issue, which caused many people not to buy Sony.)

Also, AFAIK, all minidisc uses data compression... pretty good for its time, but compression nevertheless. Many RAM-based recorders allow recording in uncompressed WAV format, some of them with sampling rates up to 96kbps and bit depths of 24 bits per channel. That is audio quality better than the CD standard, and certainly better than any lossy compressed format (such as minidisc uses).

Finally, if size matters, any minidisc will, of course, be much bigger than the WS-700 and much bigger than any of the RAM-based recorders that many of us have suggested.

Just my opinion... but nevertheless an opinion based on facts.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 09:46 AM   #12
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Zaxcom ZFR200
Nagra SD
Sonosax MiniR82

just a thought or three
I agree about the second two (will probably get a Nagra SD myself), but I'm not so sure about the first.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #13
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
Also, AFAIK, all minidisc uses data compression... pretty good for its time, but compression nevertheless.
The Sony MZ-RH1 and MZ-M200 both could record in LinearPCM. Isn't that an uncompressed format?
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Old May 25th, 2011, 05:16 PM   #14
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Sholle View Post
The Sony MZ-RH1 and MZ-M200 both could record in LinearPCM. Isn't that an uncompressed format?
Yes, you're absolutely correct, it is indeed uncompressed. Sony's website says the MZ-RH1 can record PCM at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, which is the same as audio CDs (but less than the 96 kHz that can be achieved with some flash-based recorders). It does not specify bit depth, but an article in Wikipedia states that it's 16 bits/channel, the same as audio CDs (but less than the 24 bits/channel available with some flash-based machines).

Sony's website clearly states tha the MZ-M200 can record PCM at 44.1 kHz, 16 bits/channel, equivalent to audio CDs

Frankly, I quit following the minidisc format after losing a few irreplaceable master recordings. Apparently Sony, while behind the curve, did eventually upgrade the recording capabilities by adding several new audio formats.

At any rate, my original conclusion still stands. Both of these machines are bigger than a small flash-based recorder, and both of them are limited to 44.1kHz/16bit data rate. For that matter, both of them are discontinued; in fact I honestly don't know whether there are any minidisc machines currently in production.

There was a time when I really wanted to use MD... it was relatively portable for its time, and it seemed like such an elegant solution. But time marches on and I fear MD is no longer SOTA.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 02:38 AM   #15
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Re: Looking for a very small recorder - with the right specs.

I use the Sony PCM D50, a great recorder but with a couple of faults. No XLR input and the built in microphones are so sensitive that makes it almost unusable in most recording situations, unless it is on a stand in a wind free zone.

I have an adaptor cable that converts my XLR cable to mini plug so I can use the Rode NTG2 mike without any problem, however, I guess any mike that requires 48 Phantom power would be no go unless it had its own power supply.
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