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Old February 4th, 2014, 10:13 AM   #16
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Re: CD Recorders

As far as I can tell, the ICD-PX333 has no recording level meter and no recording gain control. (There is a "mic sensitivity" adjustment which gives the choice of a few pre-determined gain settings.)

Therefore, it would require some careful tests, and maybe a custom pad, to guarantee that the files would be recorded at the correct level (relative to the VU meters on their PA mixer), without clipping and without being too low relative to the noise floor.

Sony doesn't seem to put much importance on adjustable recording gain or on recording level meters... you have to get up at least to their more expensive "voice recorders," like the ICD-SX series, before you get those features (which I consider absolutely necessary). I don't know why this is so... Sony has been making audio gear -- some of it pretty good -- for over 50 years, so I'd think they'd know better.

Also, the ICD-PX333 doesn't record WAV files, only MP3. So you'd need to be sure your burning software is able to convert MP3 to a CD, without requiring another intermediate step.

Something like the Tascam DR-03 (or bigger members of the DR- family) has adjustable recording gain, recording level meter, and can record directly to 44.1kHz WAV, so would address all those issues.

Last edited by Greg Miller; February 4th, 2014 at 01:44 PM.
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Old February 4th, 2014, 11:01 AM   #17
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Re: CD Recorders

Hi Greg,
You are quite right that the Sony doesn't have an audio level control, but I do have 3 of them that I use for wedding and event work including stage productions. I don't find the lack of a conventional audio input level any problem, as you can monitor the level on headphones and quickly adjust to a suitable setting. I often prefer using them to my Zoom recorders with input adjust, as they are so simple to use and very battery efficient, and difficult to get wrong in a hurry.

I also agree that for more serious recording work I would always choose something with input gains and usually using an audio mixer as well, but Ron really wants something simple and basic, so I thought the Sony could be ideal. Of course there are many other recorders at good prices and if Ron prefers audio input control, there is the Zoom H1 which is probably about as basic as you can get with input level control and WAV. and MP3 recording http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-Portabl.../dp/B003QKBVYK

Roger
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Old February 4th, 2014, 11:21 AM   #18
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Re: CD Recorders

But do the headphones audibly clip at the same point where the recorded file hits 100%FS? Or is that a function of the headphone gain? Personally, I wouldn't take that for granted until I had run some tests.

Also, if these folks are running a PA mixer, they probably want to listen to the PA speakers, which would preclude their wearing headphones plugged into the recorder.

I, too, have a few of the Sony recorders. They are quite simple to use, and the basic ones (ICD-PX312, ICD-PX820, etc.) are great for note taking ... so the internal mono mics are adequate. I'd just want some confirmation about levels before I'd use one to master CDs.

The Zoom H-1 might be an OK choice, although I note the Tascam DR-03 and Pro-10 (which are very nearly twins) cost about half as much as the H-1.

I'm still anxious to hear from the OP about the actual intended use(s) for the recordings, as well as some details about who will be the actual operators. All that info should help us guide him in the best direction.
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Old February 4th, 2014, 12:41 PM   #19
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Re: CD Recorders

Everything you point out is perfectly correct and for serious audio recording I would be taking along a multitrack mixer, and a laptop with logic or protools etc, but we are talking about a guy who wants something very simple to record a service for people to hear in a retirement home.

I also think if the sound is coming via a pa mixer, it would not be at rock concert levels and they could certainly use the Sony headphone out to do a quick levels check. I don't know much about the Tascams, but if they do what the Zoom H1 does for half the price, they have got to be worth looking at.

At the end of the day, it's really ease and convenience of use that Ron is looking for at an affordable price, so probably any of the mp3/wav. recorders discussed will do the job.

Roger
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Old February 4th, 2014, 01:21 PM   #20
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Re: CD Recorders

My concern would be that some mixers have "professional" voltage levels at the output, and a lot of these little "voice recorders" want a much lower "consumer" voltage level at the input. Maybe a difference of as much as 20dB (i.e. 1.0 volt vs. 0.1 volt RMS). So it might be quite easy to drive the recorder into clipping. (Of course I could determine that by running a few tests, and could solve it with a custom built pad, but they probably can't do so.)

Given that the OP has expressed some reservations about the technical "chops" of the users, I'm trying to come up with a solution that's as foolproof as possible. I would hate for them to just push the button and assume everything's OK, only to end up with a badly clipped recording. And I don't know whether their PA mixer has a separate "Record output" level adjustment.

I really cannot understand Sony's ignoring the importance of correct recording level. What's with that??? I think they may have finally got it right with the SX-712. Of course the bigger pro line of recorders are admirable.

I like the smaller Tascams in a lot of ways. The one drawback is their poor battery life, compared to similar Sony and Olympus "voice recorders". Maybe constantly updating the display for the metering function is part of the problem with current consumption.

I agree with you that a small RAM-based recorder would be one possible solution. However, I think the OP is going to be intimidated by this approach. He doesn't even want to use a PC, and after all he could record directly onto the PC in the first place. I am anxious to hear exactly what his goal(s) is (are).
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Old February 4th, 2014, 01:56 PM   #21
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Re: CD Recorders

I've had quite a few of these over the years, and reliability has been an issue on all of them - and worse, they got finicky about the CDs they'd accept. My stand-alone DVD recorders can't record audio, and they have no useful features like level controls or meters - which are essential on any audio recorder. The most reliable one I had was made by HHB. I still have two here, and I can usually get one of them to accept a CD!
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Old February 4th, 2014, 02:49 PM   #22
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Re: CD Recorders

I can't tell you how many CD-RW drives I've had over the past 15 or so years. Some of them seemed to have a very short reliable lifetime. The present Sony has been running for longer than I can remember, though, so maybe I've finally gotten one with a lucky laser diode.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 12:06 AM   #23
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Re: CD Recorders

Same as Greg, I had an relatively expensive Plextor drive crap-out one month after the warranty expired (sorry we can't help you, they said) I got a $50 LG drive that's still going after five years.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 09:18 AM   #24
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Re: CD Recorders

If the cost of a new Tascam CD recorder in Australia is too much to spend, and it's too difficult to find a reliable used model, then I would agree with the others to use a small RAM-based recorder and a computer to burn the disc from the file.

I still have the 4 CD recorders that I used extensively from 1998 to 2007. Only one of them ever gave a problem (a full pro model with almost no use at all had the power supply board go bad).

The other 3 still worked just fine the last time I checked and I had recorded several hundred hours of material with them during that time span. Too bad they weigh too much to ship easily and who knows how much life they have left now.

If the existing sound system has a -10db tape out, it's easy to connect a recorder like the Tascam DR-05 for $80 if you catch a sale, using a common adapter cable.

You can power the DR-05 long term by using a USB power adapter.

It's easy to transfer the wav file to a computer and burn to an audio CD. The DR-05 has 2 seconds of pre-record, so you don't even have to start rolling too early as a safety precaution. This even eliminates having to trim the head and tail of the file if the operator was paying attention during the recording.

What audio mixer is installed at the church?
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Old February 7th, 2014, 05:37 AM   #25
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Re: CD Recorders

Thanks very much guys for all your responses. I am quite tech savvy and know what I would do, (not a CD either), but I am not directly associated with this church but trying to suggest a way for a couple, (usually one), of the members to do it and he prefers a CD as he knows they can take these anywhere, - a nursing, or a private home and there will be something to play it on. As far as I know they are left for the person to play it and then he collects it the next day to give to someone else. I think now that he probably only needs one copy.

Also, he is very busy and doesn't really want to fuss over doing it after the service but simply to record one or two on-the-fly and then drop it off for someone to listen to. I have suggested a laptop PC but as he runs the PA, he doesn't really want the extra fuss this would entail compared with simply pressing a button on a CD recorder. As I know they are pressed for money, I simply thought that a DVD recorder just might do the trick as they are a lot cheaper these days.

Hence, I thought a post here would inform me, as I have not had much to do with these devices for quite a while. However, now I think it would be simpler if he reverted back to a cassette recorder and simply leave a small "ghetto blaster" with each person to play it back on.

As a side issue. I used to copy & burn CD's on my PC using "Easy CD creator" and it was simply a matter of selecting "copy audio CD" from drive x to drive y, press the button & go. Now I have Roxio pro which is grossly over complicated, as even with two drives it still makes a copy to the hard drive first and then does not offer a way to save it for making other copies later if I need to.

Does anyone know of a program for doing this simply like it used to be ?

Thanks again for all your responses.

RonC.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 09:13 AM   #26
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Re: CD Recorders

Ron,

Sadly, I think if simplicity and low cost are the driving factors here, cassette might win the day. The only catch, of course, is that he'll have to flip over the cassette at some point during the service. Probably use a 90 minute tape, and find a place about 35-40 minutes into the service where there's a long enough pause in the action that he can flip the tape.

This does raise an interesting question: is there a program for a PC that will record an audio CD in real time? I don't recall ever seeing one, but it might be a useful application for situations like this one. If I find one in the near future, I'll post it here. (Of course the person would still need a PC, but only to use as a real-time recorder, without any editing or extra work. And used XP machines can be had for $10.00)

I remember Easy CD Creator. If you liked that software, why did you change? What made you switch to Roxio?

If you want to make multiple copies of a given CD, I recommend EAC (Exact Audio Copy) to first make a copy to your hard drive. It can copy each track separately, or copy the entire audio stream as one continuous .wav file, and then give you a separate .cue file with the in-points of each "track" on the CD. If you have a big enough HD, you can keep all the CDs on there in case you want another copy at some future date. I think EAC is very popular, and I like it myself.

There are some freeware burning packages out there that you might look at, although I don't know all the features of all of them. Ashampoo Burning Studio is a sort of free, full-featured demo, which some people seem to like.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 10:13 AM   #27
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Re: CD Recorders

There are also auto-reverse cassette recorders that sense the end of the oxide portion of the tape (rather than having to wait until the entire leader runs out before reversing), so they don't lose more than a split second of audio.

On my PC at work I'm using a copy of Prassi Zulu2 disc software that came with my multi-drive duplicator.
It's full featured and easy to use and has been very reliable.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 04:27 AM   #28
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Re: CD Recorders

Greg, re the Roxio program, - I changed because it was supplied with the CD burner I bought to install on a new PC after one that had crashed. Also, I think that the old software would not run on the new PC.
Thanks for your comments.

RonC.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 11:58 AM   #29
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Re: CD Recorders

Ron,

After some Googling I found a program called EZ Track CD recorder EZTrackerCD which seems to be written specifically for use in churches. It seems to have a free 30-day trial, and a $30 purchase price thereafter. It has a lot of rather peculiar features (which, I think, can be ignored).

Apparently the author's goal was to have software that would record a church service on hard drive, and then quickly burn a CD from the HD files, for distribution quickly after the service. Even this program does not record the CD in real time.

My understanding of the CD "redbook" specs is that a TOC or track list needs to be burned at the beginning of the data groove, so I'd think one needs to know where all the track start points are before burning the CD. (But to counter that idea, how does a realtime CD recorder work, if it lets you create new tracks on the fly, as you're going along?)

Frankly, if you absolutely must produce a CD, and if a standalone CD recorder is too expensive, there is an easier way to do this as opposed to this program. Use Audacity (freeware), record the entire service, trim off the junk at the head before the service actually begins, trim off the junk at the end. Save the WAV file, open some freeware burning program, and burn your single-track CD in 4 minutes or less.

Good luck with whatever route you decide to take.
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