Tascam DR-05 Review

My wife needed a good portable digital recorder for work, so I set out to find one in our price range. Naturally, since this was for a work project I did some extra research. Battery life was an important criteria, and it needed to be easy to use.

I was relieved when she started using the Tascam DR-05 to find it does have a long battery life, and the features are easy to use. She found the menu is simple, and she was able to transfer the files onto his PC with no problems. All hse has to do is drop and drag the files she wants. For the most part sound quality is good in that she can easily hear everything she needed to record as long as she carries earphones for the playback.

There are a few annoyances such as it picks up more background noise than she anticipated. Also, she needs to use earbuds to hear the playback until she’s moved it to her PC. She can’t really allow people to listen to the recording on the device as the speaker is very small. The device is a little bigger than she thought it would be, so she can’t put it in her front pocket. She discovered while making recordings that it does pick up some interference from nearby devices like cell phones, if these are too close while she’s recording. You can’t plug in another mic and make it work, and you can’t change the angles of the mic, so you need to line it up correctly to record.

Overall, for the price you really can’t expect any better this recorder. Expect to need a small case to carry it in, and some type of good quality earphones in order to record and playback.


Picking the best microphone

Now that you have the best voice recorder… usually most buyer’s attention goes to the next piece of kit in any producers arsenal – the microphone (or microphones).  There are so many options when it comes to picking the right microphone for the job.  Is it for a studio?  Is is for in the field?  Are you connecting it to a computer, or are you just connecting it to your recording device?  What is the difference between uni-directional, omni-directional, cardioid or dynamic?  USB or XLR?  Shotgun or Lavalier?

So many questions that you need to answer, and so many choices to sift through to find the best microphone for the job.

To help you navigate the microphone market, we have set up a sister product review site just for microphones.  The Best Microphone is all about helping you find exactly that – the best microphone for the job.

Check them out once you have picked the best voice recorder for your job!

Review: Rode NTG2 Shotgun Microphone

My school needed a “boom mic”. My club was given the assignment of finding something that was lightweight enough for anyone using it to hold, but still give us broadcast quality. We also couldn’t spend too much money, so we had to keep costs low. After looking around locally, we decided we could do better online. Seeing that the Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun was used for video engineering, and was light enough to mount directly to our video camera we selected this one. We were also interested because it said this one had rugged construction, so when out recording we didn’t have to worry about it getting broken when someone jostled it, or it got dropped.

From what we have seen this is a good mic, and it’s tough. It’s already been dropped once, but worked fine afterward. It’s mounted on the school’s Canon 7D with no problems, and does give us the broadcast quality we were looking for in the mic. It’s light which, makes it easy when other students use it, which was important for us. It’s also helped that it uses only one 1 AA battery that aren’t expensive.

The only problems we have are with keeping it in on the stand when there’s a lot of movement nearby. The windshield is hard for some people to get on and off, and it’s not effect in the high winds we have here. It does cut out the background noise, but some people have trouble holding all the gear and using the controls on the mic as well as the camera. While it’s great that it runs off a battery, it would be better if it lasted a little longer with each battery. We use a rechargeable, but it does die, if we don’t keep enough on hand.


How to record your stand up comedy gig

Recently I have been listening to a lot of stand up comedy — and trying to understand how stand up comics refine their material… and nail the delivery every time – night after night.  The best thing about comedians hosting podcasts is that they regularly let a few of their tricks of the trade, or processes out of the bag in their conversations.  Recently a number of comics have talked about their habit of recording every single gig they perform.  They record their performances proactively with the intent of replaying what happened if a particular joke got an extra laugh, or a section of their show was a bit of a lull.

So what do comics use to record their stand up comedy shows?  Most are simply using the voice memo or sound recorder function on their phone, with the phone simply sitting in their pocket.  Whilst convenient, most however suggest that whilst the audio quality is ok, managing the sound files can become tedious with the phone.  A number – particularly those that are crossing over into producing podcasts as well – have graduated from phone recordings to using a portable digital recorder like the Zoom H4n, or Zoom H6.  Better sound quality, you can hook it into the PA system at the club you are playing, and you can use it for other publishing or broadcasting activity as well.  The perfect way to raise your profile as a comic, and reflect on your practice after every show!

Recording audio for DSLR video production

There’s no way to have quality sound for DSLR Video production without a good mic. Since weight is a consideration you want to have something that has a good range, offers broadcast quality, and easy mounting. Finding the best is often the matter of knowing what you truly need for your own projects.

The Top Reason for Mic with Good Range

There are many loaded mics that you might consider, but recording when standing back a distance from a subject you still need to get the quality recording you want.

Those without a good range, usually also have some unwanted noise, or trouble with picking up nearby noises while muffling the very audio you want to record.

Broadcast Quality Recording

While a good range is necessary, so too is audio that’s free of buzzing, and frying. While broadcast quality is a vague term you want the mic to give you audio that stands up to commercial recordings.

There should be no distortion, and a suitable range of sounds without the pertinent audio being drowned out.

Easy Mounting

With easy mounting onto the camera you will spend less time having to make adjustments, or fumbling with the mic delaying the recording.

Easy mounts also make it easier to set up and move the equipment faster. This will keep the mic from moving, and picking up additional busy noise.

Recording University/College Lectures – What to buy?

If you are heading to university or college and need a  device to record your classes with – how to you make the right choice of the hundreds of voice recorders on the market?  Here are a few things to think about:

You will need a reliable recording device for recording lectures, as well as taking the usual notes. What you will need for great note taking is a device with a good battery life, a mic that will pick up what is said in the lecture hall easily even from the back of the room, and one that’s easy to use.

The Importance of Battery Life

Everyone has experienced the frustration of a cell phone or recorder with a low battery life. Often while going to school it’s hard to find a way to recharge a device or its batteries.

A device with a strong internal battery, or one which allows reliable rechargeable batteries is the safest option.

A Strong Microphone

You can’t ask a professor to hold the recorder while giving his lecture. The best selection in recorders or mic is one capable of picking up voices from as far away as the back of a lecture hall.

While it should pick up voices easily, there shouldn’t be any distortion, or feedback while in use, allowing for a quietly running recorder.

Ease of Use

The best recorders are those you find easy to use. An easy to use device will start quickly, and you will not need to make adjustments often.

Plug and play options are the best, since there’s no drive necessary. You can concentrate on the lecture, and not the recorder when you have one with easy to use features.

Best Options for Recording Devices

Review: Sony PCM-D100 Portable High Resolution Recorder

Starting up my own podcast I wanted a high resolution recorder, with stereo mics, that was easy to use, and that I could upload to my PC easily. I’m new to podcasting, and after getting tired of blogging I was hoping to make this as easy as possible. I knew I’d make my share of mistakes, so I wanted to be able start and stop with no time lag. After considering other devices like the Zoom H6, I took a look as the Sony PCM-D100.  After researching a bit, so far I like it.

It’s easy to use and uploads fast, which is good since I don’t want to spend too much time fussing with the configuration. The other thing I found was that the quality was much better than I could have hoped for, and I seldom have to do any real editing except for my own mistakes. Files copied with no problem, and I noticed that when I use the editing software the resolution makes the sound clear. With the stereo mics my voice doesn’t sound “tinny”. The features are simple, and I don’t have to keep searching for the controls to start, stop, or make a change. The battery life is also good, which is also a big plus for this recorder.

The problems I had is the USB port being on the left side. This made it harder to plug in especially since this USB cable isn’t very long. I did a bit more research and got a longer cable. The windscreen, which I sometimes need when working outside or in the car isn’t the best. It’s hard to fit back on, and once on it pops off too easily. Since I am new to this I’ve had some issues with the balance control and I wish this was a bit simpler to use. These are the only issues I’ve encountered so far.

Review: Sennheiser EW 112P G3-A Omni Directional EW System

For the past few weeks we have playing with wireless lav microphone systems for public speakers.  To be honest the one that came out on top of the few we looked at was the Sennheiser EW 112P Omni Directional wireless system.

First, this is a great “go-to” system if you need more coverage, or if you are looking for more features than many other systems offer. Most people will be more interested in the sound, and being able to make fine grade adjustments when using it.

What we found is that it works well with the frequency we are allowed locally. The sound is great, and very clear so we are not left having to constantly repeat transmissions over a distance. There is a body pack transmitter that those in the field can use, and there’s several important features such as the mute function, and an automatic frequency scan. The menu’s easy to use and there’s no issue with reading it.

There are the same problems you will find with any system. In some areas you will need a license to operate this system. Clip-ons can break, and you can find yourself needing a new battery while the other one is still recharging in the pack. The construction is fairly rugged, but with anything wireless the first thing that will be damaged is usually the receiver. It’s not easy to operate in low lighting without a flashlight.

Anyone who’s using this for field recording will probably be used to dealing with these issues, and the important thing is this system does work well, and you can synchronize the channel and frequency with a button that’s simple to use in the dark once you know where it is located. The black-lit display is good in dim light, and if you are familiar with it you following the menu is fairly simple, even in poor lighting if you are familiar with the device.

We are starting to use the Sennheiser 112P in presentations… it is reliable with great sound.  The perfect wireless lav microphone for any professional speaker!

Zoom H5 vs Zoom H6 Digital Recorder

Zoom H6 Digital Recorder vs Zoom H5 Digital Recorder

In searching for a high-quality digital recorder, there’s no better name than Zoom. In looking at the H6 Digital Recorder versus the H5 Digital Recorder, you will find both have great features. The selection here comes down to what’s important to you when recording.

The Zoom H6 Digital Recorder

This a great recorder right out of the box. Capable of recording with crystal clarity, it’s surprisingly easy to use considering its complex appearance. Often used by those interested in recording live music it is easy to set up. An easy to use set of features, and excellent display make it simple, even for those who haven’t used a recorder in the past. It does have a noise issues at high input levels, and a lower battery life when used without a USB power adapter.

The Zoom H5 Digital Recorder

This recorder has longer battery life, and uses rechargeable batteries. Like the H6 its switchblade microphone capsules make getting a quality recording easy. The H5 is considered by some long-time users as somewhere between the Zoom H4 and the H6. The features are easy to use, and the quality is good.

Is the H6 or H5 Right for You?

The biggest difference between the H6 and H5 is that the features of the H6 are a bit better than the H5. There’s also more power to the Zoom H6 than H5. All the power and features could be the reason some battery life is sacrificed with the H6. Both are built to much the same specifics, including a stereo line for output to connect a camera. For those interested in high quality recordings for podcasts, both of these devices are good choices. If battery life is the key element than the H5 is the winner, but for the most features, and quality H6 is the better choice.

Zoom H2 vs Zoom H1

When it comes to buying Zoom Digital Audio Recorders, some people often mull over, whether Zoom H1 would be better than H2. Even though one is the predecessor of another, some often wonder which one is better given the price range and the features.

Indeed, both of them have their own advantages, but when put side by side, does H1 surpass H2 in its reliability? Or does H2 come off as the stronger bet among the two? Let us assess their strengths and weaknesses in detail.

Pros and Cons:

    1. Battery life: H1 has a serious issue with battery drains. Even though the equipment itself works pretty well, the battery not being able to put out longer is a major issue with the recorder. In this aspect, H2 as not faced such issues or complaints from the users yet.
    2. USB support: In the previous version, there was not firmware that supported the USB cable, but they have released a latest firmware which supports this feature perfectly in H1. While H1 has been having upgrades, you can swiftly change the SD card of your H2 recorder and install things into it by connecting it to your PC.
    3. Ease of use: Let’s face it, how many times have we actually tried to read the manual, but ended up taking advice from our teenage son on how to use it? So the ease of use and the interface matters a lot. In our opinion, H2 is more easy to use and simple. H1 has chunks of features, but at times it can become a little difficult to access these features due to its complicated workings.
    4. Metronome feature: If you are a musician looking to buy a decent recorder, then beware. H1 does not have the metronome feature which some might find very important. H2, however, does have it. Also, there is no pitch tester in H1 which the audio people might need so much.
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