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best portable/pocket audio recorders

Discussion in 'Recording' started by newb02, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. newb02

    newb02 Guest

    Been reading reviews but best advice will come from users so.. here's what's up.

    Piano trio - digital ( or rarely acoustic) piano / violin / 'cello

    Music - light classical, cafe music

    We've done recording in pro studios , then set up our own home studio using a Mackie into PC using several software suites but we've decided that putting our attention into software is not where we want to be. In addition, our style of music, the instrumentation, and the arrangements DO NOT work well punching in/out and also overdubbing requires lot's of additional "stuff" we don't want to mess with any more. The main detriment to overdubbing is that the musical energy continuity is very tough to match, especially when spread out over several days. Things work better if you just "get it right" in one take.

    Having said that, we are looking into a small portable digital audio recorder that we can plop down and we can concentrate on the music. We've had a little experience with live and studio recording so we don't want a voice recorder from Best Buy but we don't want to have to mess with too much software and too many features.

    Been looking at Tascam, Edirol, Alesis, etc. Up to now the piano has sent a signal panned slightly one way or the other and then the mics take left and right for the violin and 'cello, but I do have a VERY nice pair of Bose bookshelf speakers that sound great so I could use those.

    Some features we would like:

    -good condenser stereo mics ( or better yet a way to plug in our two AKG condenser XLR low Z mics so we would need some way to get phantom power)
    -SD memory slot
    -remote (optional)
    -ability to add decent reverb
    -naturally we would want all the standard recording and audio out formats
    -ability to toggle access to the device as mass storage ( I know we can just pull the SD card for transfer to PC)
    -Don't want to have to mess with software (yes they all use software but it should have an "idiot" setting)
    -$150 -$300 price range

    If you can think of any other features we might need.
    Any input appreciated.
  2. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Hello, without a hesitation, the Zoom H4N is my recommendation, it matches all your criteria, and has a couple of XLR inputs ( as well as great inbuilt condensers ) so you can add 2 mics and record ( and mix ) 4 tracks of ausio at up to WAV quality ( or down to Mp3 ) easily.
  3. Tegoh

    Tegoh Guest

    There are a few things you could cosidner to accomplish what you are looking for. You could have a contractor or handyman build you the shed and I think it would run you about $15.00 per square foot for materials, not including windows, insulation or drywall. You would also need some type of ventilation system because the inside of shed can really get hot. This can be accomplished by using ridge vent on the roof and some small vents in the overhang if possible. You can even use a good roof ventilator that is powered by the wind or you even get a solar power one. To find out more about venting just click on the following link.To get someone to construct this for you, the cost would depend on the size. Typically, for someone that builds these a lot I would think a crew of 2 men could build an average size shed in 1 day or possibly 2 days. So you would be looking at about $400.00 to $800.00 labor at $25.00 per hour each, depending on the size.You can check with Home Depot or Lowe's for a complete shed kit which includes a wood floor to save some money.Click on the following link to find out more.You will need to run electricity back to it so you could but and window air conditioner, but for as little as $300.00 you can get and stand alone unit that will give you both heat and air conditioning and all you would have to do is vent it outside.The following link will provide you with more about these and other units.You will also need to have an electrician get you hooked up with electric. Usually this means running and underground wire from the electric panel in your house with a possible small sub panel in the shed and then you would need to have it wire for lighting, switches and outlets to code. One of the reasons I would recommend a sub panel in the shed is because if you ever trip a breaker, you won't have to go back inside the house to turn the juice back on again.For a price on doing the electric work, you would need to get estimates from a few electricians.Now as for the soundproofing. Most people will put insulation in the walls and ceiling and then install drywall and hope that the area will be soundproofed. To really be able to soundproof the room so that you won't disturb anyone, think about installing QuietRock wall board instead of standard drywall.Click on the following link to and article on QuiteRock and them click on the link at the bottom of the article to go to their website and you will be able to click on some audio files to hear for yourself what a difference this product makes.I hope this helps. Rick
  4. Mysterious Squirrel

    Mysterious Squirrel Active Member

    Sep 25, 2011
    United Kingdom
    I use the Fostex MR8 MkII, an 8 track digital multitracker. It also has a removable sound card and is loaded with all the usual effects. You can bounce and mix tracks infinitely. It converts to a stereo WAV file and can be exported onto a PC or to most software. So good, I bought two. I use one in the field and the other in my home studio. I can interchange the sound cards and the sound reproduction lossless WAV file give great results.

    Hope this helps

  5. matthewfreedaudio

    matthewfreedaudio Active Member

    May 28, 2012
    Los Angeles
    What are your plans for the recording? Is this just reference for yourself or are you looking to sell the songs?

    If it is for reference yhe Zoom H4N would be fine.

    If you're looking to get a high quality, professional recording you aren't going to get it for $300.

    Production Sound Mixing for TV, Film, and Commercials.

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