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Author Topic:  Best portable recorder?
Tony Palmer


From:
Lincoln, RI USA
Post Posted 27 May 2000 2:55 am     Reply with quote

I'm going to the steel conv. in St. Louis and would like to (audio) record some of the greats...we can do that right?

Any suggestions what the best way to do this is?

How about mini-disc recorders?
Or do I have to spend big bucks on one of those DAT recorders?

I do want a portable unit, and of course, the smaller the better.

Should I get one with an external mic jack? If so, what kind of mic should I use?

(why don't they just record the shows and sell the &%*$# tapes?!)
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Bill Llewellyn


From:
San Jose, CA
Post Posted 27 May 2000 9:16 am     Reply with quote

I'd go with DAT for best quality. MiniDisc is good, too, but there will be a very slight degradation in sound quality due to its use of compression. (Most people wouldn't notice it, though).

For more info on DAT, go to www.eklektix.com/dat-heads .

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Bill * MSA Classic U12 * email * homepage

[This message was edited by Bill Llewellyn on 27 May 2000 at 10:26 AM.]

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Jerry Gleason


From:
Eugene, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 28 May 2000 8:23 pm     Reply with quote


My own opinion about cassette versus Minidisc versus DAT?

I have a Sharp 702 Minidisc recorder and I abolutely love it. In the early days of Minidisc, digital compression had a slight, but audible effect on audio quality. Current models have much better compression algorithms, and even an expert would be hard pressed to detect any audible difference between Minidisc and DAT. In the end, it still isn't as good as DAT because it is compressed, but it's only an issue if you need to do digital editing after the original recording. It's probably best to think of a Minidisc recorder as a much better sounding alternative to a cassette recorder. The informaton on a disc is much easier to navigate than on a tape, even a DAT tape.

My 702 is about three inches square and about one inch thick, making it easy to carry and inconspicuous. I'm not sure if they still make this exact model, but something similar from either Sharp or Sony can be had for about two hundred bucks, more or less. Minidiscs cost about three dollars, and can be reused again and again.

The place you'll need to spend money for satisfying recordings is microphones. There are a number of very high quality, teeny, tiny mics marketed at "steath" tapers, people who sneak recorders into concerts to make bootlegs. I'm not into bootlegging, but I wanted something very small, compact, and inconspicuous for live recording. I bought a set of "binaural" mics from Core sound, and I couldn't be happier with them. They are a stereo pair, each about the size a pencil eraser, and can be clipped anywhere. They cost around $250, and they sound, well...really, really good. Everybody who's heard the recordings I've made with this rig has been extremely impressed.

If you have the bucks for a portable DAT deck, great, that's probably the best thing. For a lot less money and no perceptible difference in first-generation audio quality, a Minidisc is a perfect choice. The best portable cassette recorders are more expensive, and don't sound anywhere near as good, IMO.

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Kevin Mincke


From:
Farmington, MN (Twin Cities-South Metro) USA
Post Posted 29 May 2000 5:12 am     Reply with quote

Tony, in answer to your first question I think the recording of conventions is prohibited & I'm in agreement, someone should be recording the greats for those who can't/don't have the opportunity to attend. There has been some discussion & post re: this sometime back.Just so you don't go out & buy a cass/DAT/disc or whatever & lug it to a convention only to be no no'ed!
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 29 May 2000 5:26 am     Reply with quote

Unless they change the rules this year, St Louis allows AUDIO recordings but not video. That's the way it's been for years, there. Most of the other shows are the same way.
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Bill Llewellyn


From:
San Jose, CA
Post Posted 29 May 2000 8:08 am     Reply with quote

More info on MiniDiscs at http://www.minidisc.org/index.html . I've actually wanted a MiniDisc recording deck and portable player for a long time, but just haven't quite nudged muself into buying them. If I did, I'd also need to put an in-dash player in my car, which ups the cost quite a bit.

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Bill * MSA Classic U12 * email * homepage

[This message was edited by Bill Llewellyn on 29 May 2000 at 09:10 AM.]

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Jerry Gleason


From:
Eugene, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 29 May 2000 10:19 am     Reply with quote

Bill, for what it's worth, a portable recorder like mine has virtually all the features of component-sized deck, except that it lacks an optical digital output (the output would have to be converted to analog first and then redigitized anyway, since the compressed data stream would be useless). Mine has an optical input, though.

When I take in the car, I use one of those cassette inserts that portable CD players use. Works great.
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John Hanusch


From:
Benson, AZ USA
Post Posted 29 May 2000 1:39 pm     Reply with quote

Just a note of info re mini-disc vendors. About a year ago I had a bad experience with a group out of Fairfied, CA, called "Mini-Disc Now". I'm not sure if they're still in business or not, but would advise avoidance. I'd give details to a specific request. Take care...jh
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Bill Llewellyn


From:
San Jose, CA
Post Posted 29 May 2000 6:39 pm     Reply with quote

Jerry,

The optical output is still useful. It's in conventional SPDIF format, and is a decompressed version of the ATRAC data on the MisiDisc. No need for analog down-conversion if going to another digital unit. There's always some loss when audio is compressed/decompressed with a MiniDisc, but with ATRAC 4.5 compression (or is it a higher revision nowadays?) it's hard to tell.

I have one of those cassetter adapter inserts for my car player which came with a portable CD player I got a few years back. Works well, but the magnetic tape head preamplifier in my auto deck is noisier than a straight CD or MiniDisc player would be. I guess I'm picky....

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Bill * MSA Classic U12 * email * homepage
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Ole Dantoft


From:
Copenhagen, Denmark
Post Posted 30 May 2000 5:11 am     Reply with quote

I'm totally in favor of MiniDisks.

I recently got a brand new model Sharp called MD-MT15, and its absolutely amazing.
It's small and very portable, and I too use the cassette-adapter in my car.

I actually think it's an updated version of the "702" mentioned earlier, and it sounds terrific.

Here in Denmark it costs equiv. to 200$, so that's not too bad in my oppinion.


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Ole Dantoft - The "young" steeler from Denmark !
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seldomfed


From:
Colorado
Post Posted 31 May 2000 4:18 pm     Reply with quote

For what your planning the minidisc will be great! You'll have fun with it elsewhere too. Spend some money on as good a mic as you can afford. Anyway, at Scotty's you'll not be sitting at an optimum location to get a live recording quality that could support endless debate on sound quality of minidisc vs. dat. Just capture the 'moment'!

Some think the 'best' portable recorder is a NAGRA (analog and DAT), but they cost more than two new pedal steels Personally, I like to buy the CD's of the guys that play there cause it's better than I could do in that space. Then I just sit there and soak up the event without having to hassle with all them wires and such.
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