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Looking for a good mp3/wav sound recorder


Pale

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Hey guys, I need a recommendation. I am looking to buy a decent mp3/wav sound recorder, the kind that has 2 directional mics for stereo recording. I will mostly use it to record my practice sessions at home, sometimes to record my bands practice sessions, or gigs.

 

I want it to be able to record in various formats (uncompressed, compressed), to be able to playback different formats, and (this is important) to be able to playback with variable speed (to slow things down when you are picking a solo from a track), without decrease in pitch. USB connectivity, XLR connections etc are more than welcome. Small size and long battery life is a must.

 

I am willing to spend up to 300, less is better. Could you give me a few recommendations to look into, I am pretty confident some of you already have gadgets like this.

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I love my Zoom H2 and would recommend it, but I'm pretty sure it won't do the varispeed bit. In order to do that part, I use a program called Capo on my Mac.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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"to be able to playback with variable speed (to slow things down when you are picking a solo from a track).."

 

If you have a PC, use the Amazing Slowdowner, a shareware program.

 

Can't recommend one of these recorders to you. Last I looked, they all pretty much had one or more shortcomings that annoyed me. I expect the next generation to be better, but that does not help you now.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

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Zoom H4N.

 

Amazing quality, great balance w/o editing, and Sam Ash just dropped the price by half a yard......

 

I have this and their Q3 video cam, and the audio is the same in both, but the Q3's video needs help. I use the H4N constantly for gigs and rehearsals, and it's never let me down.

 

Grab the wired remote.....it's worth it.

 

Jake

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"It needs a Hammond"

 

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If you have a PC, use the Amazing Slowdowner, a shareware program.

 

I am reading and writing on this forum from somewhere right? :) Actually, I have 3 PCs in my home, but I don't like a) getting up to start/stop/rewind etc b)I don't want to carry a PC/laptop to gigs, rehearsals to do recording

 

I don't know about other people, but as soon as I start fiddling with laptops, mouses, keyboards, programs, playlists, ff/rew. buttons... I become less occupied with music and more with technology. I am trying to minimize the tech fiddling aspect as much as I can, so I can focus on music making. I have been distracted way too many times.

 

 

 

 

Zoom H4N.

 

Amazing quality, great balance w/o editing, and Sam Ash just dropped the price by half a yard......

 

I have this and their Q3 video cam, and the audio is the same in both, but the Q3's video needs help. I use the H4N constantly for gigs and rehearsals, and it's never let me down.

 

Grab the wired remote.....it's worth it.

 

Jake

 

 

Tx for the recommendation, I was kinda looking into H4. I will try to find a good price.

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+1 for the Zoom H2; it works pretty well (even does 24 96!) although it does not do the varispeed you are looking for. I agree with BIll that the Amazing Slowdowner is a really good product, it is well worth it at $50 and runs on Windows as well as Mac, hmm just checked also runs on iPhone/iPod Touch.
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I use the Olympus LS-10.

 

It's an excellent device, very well designed, and extremely intuitive (I never even glanced at the manual)!

 

The capture quality and stereo imaging are very satisfying. I put it on, and use it to record, my grand piano when I noodle and improvise, and often times (with a little EQ and Compression help from my UAD-2 card) I can send the sketch recording as is to collaborators.

 

It's got small size and battery life as you request (shirt pocket no problem). Vari-speed is going to be hard to come by in that size though.

 

I highly recommend it.

 

Edit: it does all the formats you can think of, up to PCM WAV 96kHz/24bit, and down to mp3 320-256-128 (and even WMA 160-128-64kbs).

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I have the original Zoom H4. AFAIK it does not do varispeed but the newer H4n may very well. I haven't checked. Mine has never let me down either and makes great recordings. If the H4n does do varispeed, then it sounds like you would have everything you asked for in one portable device.

 

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I'm really enjoying my Sony PCM-M10. Easy to operate -- has a fairly good stereo mic (though not directional) -- easy to change speed but keep the pitch the same -- or the reverse (converse -- you know, keeping the speed the same while changing the pitch) -- really easy A>B looping. And it's (dark) red.

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  • 1 month later...

Update:

 

I pulled the trigger and bought a new Zoom H4n 2 weeks ago. It's the best practice tool I had in a long time, and I am already feeling the benefits of it in terms of better articulation.

 

I load a few mp3s in it, and I use loop and slowdown functions a lot, it really helps me practice some tricky passages. Recordings are great, I even recorded my last gig this Saturday (combined stereo mics and mixer outputs), and the result is good. Finally I can hear in what amount my playing sucks :D

 

I don't like the pause you get in loop function, it's not a continuous loop. You get a short, maybe 200ms pause, when the loops skips from the end to the beggining. It's not a big deal if you just want to hear the same phrase over and over again, but it is a problem if you want to jam over a loop. This is the only thing so far that I don't like.

 

Anyway, thank you for recommendations, I really like my new toy, and it seems that the purchase was the right thing to do. I am practicing more, and recordings give me the option to hear what is wrong with my playing and correct it without the hassle of connecting everything to PC (to record).

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That exactly what I am talking about! I always had the means to record and playback, everyone today has a few PCs, or at least one. I never had the means to do it easily, to just sit down, press a button and start making music/practice.

The major problem until now was the setup time, connecting all the cables, or mics, loading the playlist, turning your head to look at monitor, grabbing the mouse.... those are all small things that add up to a major distraction.

 

I strongly recommend buying a small recorder/player like this one, it really is helping me a lot in more than one way.

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Of the small form factor models available, I feel Yamaha has done the best job in terms of quality, workmanship, ergonomics, features, and bang-for-buck.

 

Others must feel the same way, because now both Zoom and Tascam (and maybe a few others) are stylistically paying tribute. :-)

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