Shiny new portable recorder.

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In article <pan.2005.07.24.23.41.36.702533@localhost.com> philicorda@localhost.com writes:

> I've been considering an Edirol R1 for a while, but this looks rather good.
> It's called a microtrack. Records to Flash/microdrive.

Looks like it might be a reasonable alternative. At least it has
inputs on something other than mini phone jacks. Media is still too
expensive for me, however. Too bad they didn't put a 20 or 40 GB
laptop drive (like a Jukebox 3) in it. Microdrives are expensive,
fairly small capacity, and according to some digital camera folks,
aren't very reliable.

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Hmmm. 1/8 in. stereo or SPDIF Inputs and RCA outputs.... seems like the
line in/out should have been the other way around.
 
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mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in news:znr1122252322k@trad:

> Microdrives are expensive,
> fairly small capacity, and according to some digital camera folks,
> aren't very reliable.

I'd skip the microdrives, buy a just barely big enough Compact Flash card
now, and count on progress to help later.

Kingston Elite Pro CF cards are an example of a fast enough major card
which is widely available in the 2 Gb size for about $100. (two hours
recording time at 24/44.1) The 4GB size can be had easily for $230. By
then you are beyond the stated battery life of this offering with phantom
power, anyway, unless you plan to record for bats.

The RAW crowd with big-mexapixel digital cameras are driving demand for
fast multi-gigabyte CF cards. They should get cheaper fast now that there
is a decent size market.

Peter A. Stoll
 
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On Sun, 24 Jul 2005 22:37:15 GMT, philicorda
<philicorda@localhost.com> wrote:

>I've been considering an Edirol R1 for a while, but this looks rather good.
>It's called a microtrack. Records to Flash/microdrive.
>8 hours battery, 24/96, phantom, SPDIF in, balanced ins... $499.
>I wonder what the converters are like?
>
>http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack-main.html

Yes! -- It seems promising to me. Watchout, Sony. Well, as to
converters I think, if they are 24/96, they must be good enough for
16/44 too {had it a, say, bluetooth or alike, remote control, it would
be just great but have we to wait a while still?}

Edi Zubovic, Crikvenica, Croatia
 
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tymish@hotmail.com wrote in news:1122306963.351439.138770
@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:

> Hmmm. 1/8 in. stereo or SPDIF Inputs and RCA outputs.... seems like the
> line in/out should have been the other way around.
>


The page says "1/8" TRS input with 5V power for use with stereo electret
microphone (microphone included)"
and "professional balanced ¼ TRS inputs with mic/line switch"

also "monitoring via RCA line outputs or 1/8" stereo headphone output"

I'd assume the 1/4" inputs and the 1/8" output are on a side not displayed
in these pictures.

Peter A. Stoll
 
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philicorda wrote:
> I've been considering an Edirol R1 for a while, but this looks rather good.
> It's called a microtrack. Records to Flash/microdrive.
> 8 hours battery, 24/96, phantom, SPDIF in, balanced ins... $499.
> I wonder what the converters are like?
>
> http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack-main.html

I can't find anything out about the size of this thing. You can get a
good idea by looking at the 1/8" jacks on the side, but does anyone know
the actual dimensions? Either way, it looks a lot smaller than the
R1....the only drawback is the lack of high-quality built-in mics. At
first I thought the mics on the R1 would be a poor quality gimmick, but
after hearing the samples, why tote around 2 SDC's or even a single
stereo mic when the built in mics sound great?

But I think for REAL field work, the 48v phantom, 1/4" TRS ins and line
outs on seperate "channels" puts this ahead of the R1, assuming it has
the same high-quality pre's and ADC....but even if it doesn't, it has
SPDIF in which for some stupid reason the R1 doesn't have....just pick
up a mic2496 and you're set.

Anyway, here are some more articles I found about it:

http://createdigitalmusic.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=663&Itemid=44

http://createdigitalmusic.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=481&Itemid=44

From the looks of this, it appears to be significantly smaller than the R1.

"...the Flash Tracker looks from the SonicState report to be half the
size, in an iPod-like, curved shell."

Anyway, according to Doug at OADE, the digital level controls could
really hurt the sound quality of this device. Does anyone know if the R1
has digital level controls or analog?

Quoted:
"Sadly this thing uses a digital level control that probably cannot be
bypassed or improved. Fine for MP3 users or ENG but not so great for
tapers or audiophiles. Think JB3/MD analog input sound quality."

Jonny Durango
 
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On Mon, 25 Jul 2005 08:56:03 -0700, tymish wrote:

> Hmmm. 1/8 in. stereo or SPDIF Inputs and RCA outputs.... seems like the
> line in/out should have been the other way around.

The inputs are balanced 1/4" TRS with 48v phantom. There is also a 1/8"
mic input with 5v for electrets. I hope the mic pre/line gain adjustment
is done on the analog side, before the A/Ds.
 
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In article <Xns969E547DA8513Haifa10Kulim07Michel@216.196.97.138> Lyn1Stoll_spamdel@comcast.net writes:

> I'd skip the microdrives, buy a just barely big enough Compact Flash card
> now, and count on progress to help later.

For me, a just barely big enough flash card would be enough to record
over a whole weekend, perhaps 20 to 30 hours.

> Kingston Elite Pro CF cards are an example of a fast enough major card
> which is widely available in the 2 Gb size for about $100. (two hours
> recording time at 24/44.1)

I haven't used $1,000-$1,500 worth of media on a weekend recording gig
since the 2" tape days. Sure, you can re-use it, but it would take a
week on-and-off to transfer all those cards to another medium.


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mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in news:znr1122310342k@trad:

>
> For me, a just barely big enough flash card would be enough to record
> over a whole weekend, perhaps 20 to 30 hours.

For that, I agree, nothing less that a notebook class hard drive will do
(as, for example, in the Sound Devices 722). As you and I can buy them for
$60 retail, you'd think they could be put in a reasonable machine, but
these low-volume machines sell at ferocious hardware markups to amortize
development, marketing, and handholding, so I'm afraid ones with such
drives will remain expensive. Microdrives in that capacity are not
current, and in CF envelope I'm not convinced magnetic disk has the
permanent advantage over semiconductor memory that seems so clear in the
larger forms.

> I haven't used $1,000-$1,500 worth of media on a weekend recording gig
> since the 2" tape days. Sure, you can re-use it, but it would take a
> week on-and-off to transfer all those cards to another medium.

The upload speed from a decent card in a decent reader may rival the upload
speed from an HD, but I imagine you are thinking about swap time. At the
moment, on the 722, uploading from the card is actually faster (about 6
Mbytes/second vs. 3, in round numbers), the HD being limited by a 1394
implementation that wants tuning.

But, nit-picking aside, I can see CF is not yet the answer for someone with
your recording duration need. In maybe three years, quite possibly yes.

I wonder whether the firmware in these CF machines actually is set up to
handle cards bigger than 2 or 4 Gb. There are some implementation seams at
those two points which may trip up a machine or two. I can vouch the 722
handles a 4Gb card from personal use.
 
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In article <R7CdnXNJ_vsr0XjfRVn-2w@comcast.com> jonnydurango1BUSH_FROM_OFFICE@comcast.net writes:

> > http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack-main.html
>
> I can't find anything out about the size of this thing. You can get a
> good idea by looking at the 1/8" jacks on the side, but does anyone know
> the actual dimensions?

Nobody knows anything. It's a pre-pre-release teaser announcement.
Wasn't anyone at the NAMM show? They probably had one there.

What size would you like it to be? Generally the size of a portable
audio device is mostly a function of the connectors and controls. I'd
like it to be big enough to have XLRs in and at least 1/4" jacks out,
but I'd settle for 1/4" jacks in if the controls are big enough so you
can hit the right button easily. I'd guess it's about 1 x 3 x 5
inches.

> Anyway, according to Doug at OADE, the digital level controls could
> really hurt the sound quality of this device. Does anyone know if the R1
> has digital level controls or analog?

I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the possible
exception of the buttons on the side. That means the gain is digitally
controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled analog
attenuator. That probably means that when you turn it up, you amplify
the front end noise and when you turn it down, you can get the meters
to read below full scale and still have clipping. Better bring a
pocket full of attenuators.


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However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
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Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:

> For me, a just barely big enough flash card would be enough to record
> over a whole weekend, perhaps 20 to 30 hours.
>
> I haven't used $1,000-$1,500 worth of media on a weekend recording gig
> since the 2" tape days. Sure, you can re-use it, but it would take a
> week on-and-off to transfer all those cards to another medium.


I imagine you'd do fine with 2 or 3 of these 4G cards (maybe 8-12 hrs
at 44.1/24), and do an upload to your laptop back at the hotel each
night. You don't have to sit there and watch the upload take place.
Then you burn CDR or DVD-R backups of thes files, and delete them from
the CF cards.

And you don't "use $1000 worth of media on a weekend." The media is
reusable, so consider it equipment, not media. The media is the DVD-R
which costs $0.30 apiece and you use three of them for the weekend.

Even if this recorder sells "street" for the $500 MSRP, and you need
four $250 4G CF cards, you've still got yourself a high-resolution
digital recorder that fits in your shirt pocket for $1500. That's
amazingly cheap.

Is there a good AD converter that'll fit in the other pocket?

ulysses
 
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"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1122330509k@trad

> I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the
possible
> exception of the buttons on the side. That means the gain
is digitally
> controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled
analog
> attenuator.

I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.

I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that part
to start showing up all over the place.

Yup, here it is:

http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/pga2500.html
 
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"Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:RbidndjT1u4JKHjfRVn-iw@comcast.com...
> "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
> news:znr1122330509k@trad
>
>> I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the
> possible
>> exception of the buttons on the side. That means the gain
> is digitally
>> controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled
> analog
>> attenuator.
>
> I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.
>
> I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
> new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
> preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
> attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that part
> to start showing up all over the place.
>
> Yup, here it is:
>
> http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/pga2500.html

Seems like wishful thinking to imagine that small portable
unit uses a mic preamp chip like the 2500. Would that it
were so.

Doug Oade in his "tapers" online forum....

"Sadly this thing uses a digital level control that probably cannot be
bypassed or improved. Fine for MP3 users or ENG but not so great for
tapers
or audiophiles. Think JB3/MD analog input sound quality. Still, the
promise
of this thing is as a non resampling 24 bit storage device for the Grace
V3,
Apogee MiniMe or MOD UA5. Until we see Microphone Preamps with A/D
converters that include CF slots, something like this unit is our best
hope
for low cost storage.
Let us all hope they managed to include a good quality 24 bit S/PDIF
input..Doug"

http://www.oade.com/Tapers_Section/Forum/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=100&topic_id=3057&mesg_id=3088&page=
 
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"Richard Crowley" <rcrowley@xpr7t.net> wrote in message
news:11ebea8atce7t87@corp.supernews.com
> "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
> news:RbidndjT1u4JKHjfRVn-iw@comcast.com...
>> "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
>> news:znr1122330509k@trad
>>
>>> I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the
>> possible
>>> exception of the buttons on the side. That means the
>>> gain
>> is digitally
>>> controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled
>> analog
>>> attenuator.
>>
>> I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.
>>
>> I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
>> new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
>> preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
>> attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that
>> part to start showing up all over the place.
>>
>> Yup, here it is:
>>
>> http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/pga2500.html
>
> Seems like wishful thinking to imagine that small portable
> unit uses a mic preamp chip like the 2500. Would that it
> were so.

Time will tell.

> Doug Oade in his "tapers" online forum....

> "Sadly this thing uses a digital level control that
> probably cannot be bypassed or improved. Fine for MP3
> users or ENG but not so great for tapers
> or audiophiles. Think JB3/MD analog input sound quality.
> Still, the promise
> of this thing is as a non resampling 24 bit storage
> device for the Grace V3,
> Apogee MiniMe or MOD UA5. Until we see Microphone Preamps
> with A/D converters that include CF slots, something like
> this unit is our best hope
> for low cost storage.
> Let us all hope they managed to include a good quality 24
> bit S/PDIF input..Doug"
>
>
http://www.oade.com/Tapers_Section/Forum/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=100&topic_id=3057&mesg_id=3088&page=


I think that Doug knows as much factual information about
the Microtrack as anybody else who has read the M-Audio
press release. ;-)
 
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In article <Xns969EAC1EA3673Haifa10Kulim07Michel@216.196.97.138> Lyn1Stoll_spamdel@comcast.net writes:

> > I haven't used $1,000-$1,500 worth of media on a weekend recording gig
> > since the 2" tape days. Sure, you can re-use it, but it would take a
> > week on-and-off to transfer all those cards to another medium.
>
> The upload speed from a decent card in a decent reader may rival the upload
> speed from an HD, but I imagine you are thinking about swap time.

I'm figuring that I could set up something to transfer, get it going,
then do something else for a while. Assuming I was transferring to
media that was larger than the flash card (like a DVD, which I ain't
got any of now) I could let it run unattended. Even if it only took 15
minutes, I might not get back to it for an hour or two. And I
certainly wouldn't want to sit there watching the disk drive lights
blink. Hence the "week."


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However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
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In article <RbidndjT1u4JKHjfRVn-iw@comcast.com> arnyk@hotpop.com writes:

> > I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled analog attenuator.

> I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.
>
> I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
> new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
> preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
> attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that part
> to start showing up all over the place.

That's the one that Mackie is using in their mic/line I/O card for
their dxb console. I don't know if it's cheap enough to use in a
recorder like the M-Audio yet though. I guess we'll wait and see.

Still, the cost of recording media is what will keep me away. I'd be
happy to put up with an extra 1/4" thickness in exchange for an
internal disk drive, but I suspect that the market dictates
pocket-sized as a design criteria.



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However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
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In article <1122352738.0d1d4016a81af2dddf505e9f9f317dbe@teranews> ulyssesnospam@rollmusic.com writes:

> I imagine you'd do fine with 2 or 3 of these 4G cards (maybe 8-12 hrs
> at 44.1/24), and do an upload to your laptop back at the hotel each
> night.

That's the obviousl solution, but after a day of working at a
festival, fiddling with my recording equipment is about the last thing
I want to do (or even want to have to remember to do). And I distrust
computers enough so that, while I could let it run unattended while
I'm soaking in the hot tub, I would definitely want to check the copy
before erasing the flash card. I suppose that a "file compare" utility
might work OK for that, but I'd rather play it and listen.

> And you don't "use $1000 worth of media on a weekend." The media is
> reusable, so consider it equipment, not media. The media is the DVD-R
> which costs $0.30 apiece and you use three of them for the weekend.

OK, so the recorder costs $1000 more than the apparent cost. That's
still too much. Plus it requires carrying a computer as well as the
recorder. And seeing as how my laptop computer doesn't have a DVD-R
drive, I'd have to either get a new computer or get an external DVD
burner, which is another box to carry with me. When I get "paid" $200
for a weekend (if that much) I can't justify the investment.

My Jukebox 3 (I bought it when it was brand new) cost $300, stores
more than 20 hours of stereo recording, and is small enough so that I
can toss it into my festival tool kit. If I choose to do someone a
favor and make them a CD of their set to give them the next day, I can
let the file transfer run while I'm taking a shower, and burn the CD
(on my present laptop computer, which, I'll admit, I'll probably have
with me) while I'm getting dressed. It will be a rough CD with no
track markers, but it will be quick. And I won't have to erase the
"master" and use the media again the next day.

> Even if this recorder sells "street" for the $500 MSRP, and you need
> four $250 4G CF cards, you've still got yourself a high-resolution
> digital recorder that fits in your shirt pocket for $1500. That's
> amazingly cheap.

I can buy a Sound Devices for that, with an internal hard drive and
real XLR mic inputs. If I was going to spend $1500, I'd go that route,
or possibly the Edirol R-4 which gives me 4 channels if recording that
way makes sense. I would actually prefer something larger and heavier
than shirt pocket size so it's not as likely to slide off the table if
a cable gets pulled.

> Is there a good AD converter that'll fit in the other pocket?

I've often considered accessorizing my Jukebox that way, but I haven't
found the right one at the right price yet. The Jukebox's digital
input is S/PDIF optical, and it uses even a sleazier connector than
TOSLink. It's one of those kludges with an optical sensor at the end
of the line input (mini phone) jack. It works, but I don't trust it
any more than I trust analog audio plugged into that jack.



--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
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Mike Rivers wrote:
> In article <1122352738.0d1d4016a81af2dddf505e9f9f317dbe@teranews> ulyssesnospam@rollmusic.com writes:
>
>> Is there a good AD converter that'll fit in the other pocket?
>
> I've often considered accessorizing my Jukebox that way, but I haven't
> found the right one at the right price yet. The Jukebox's digital
> input is S/PDIF optical, and it uses even a sleazier connector than
> TOSLink. It's one of those kludges with an optical sensor at the end
> of the line input (mini phone) jack.

It is TOSlink, just using a different connector.



> It works, but I don't trust it
> any more than I trust analog audio plugged into that jack.

Agreed.
 
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"Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:RbidndjT1u4JKHjfRVn-iw@comcast.com...
> "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
> news:znr1122330509k@trad
>
>> I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the
> possible
>> exception of the buttons on the side. That means the gain
> is digitally
>> controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled
> analog
>> attenuator.
>
> I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.
>
> I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
> new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
> preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
> attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that part
> to start showing up all over the place.
>
> Yup, here it is:
>
> http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/pga2500.html

It has a serious problem as a component for small portable applications: It
draws 300mW per channel. A stereo recorder, using a pair of these preamps,
will draw over half a watt---and that's without even considering the rest of
the recorder.

Norm Strong
 
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