For chatting and discussions.
By bubudi
handling noise is a big factor with all pocket recorders. the ls-10 has a wireless remote ($50 extra). with all the features, it's pretty close to the sony pcm-d50 only smaller, lighter and cheaper. as for battery life, i'm getting 14hrs rec time on the 2700mah ni-mh batteries. i can take a spare pair with me for field recording in africa. your storage capacity comes in handy there as well. a 16gb sdhc card will be more than enough, and then i have the 2gb built in memory as well. 8)
By kana
My instructor uses his ipod just plug a tiny recording device into the bottom. He recommended we all get one to record our lessons. I had yet to bite the bullet and buy an ipod, but finally did. I got the 120gb classic at Costco. I then purchased the plug-in recorder at the apple store, but went online, and founnd it at Amazon for half price, then applied for an Amazon card, which means it was free!

You can record hours and hours if you want, with no concern of running out of room, and the quality is great! I've been very happy with it.
By bubudi
if you already have an ipod and can get an ipod recorder cheaply, it might be a good budget option for recording lessons. it's pretty poor quality really - somewhere between a voice recorder and the zoom h2. for many, it may be good enough for lessons, but some of us want to record rehearsals, demo songs for promotion of their ensemble, musicians in africa or concerts, where you will need far better quality. i also find that poor quality devices like the ipod recorders don't pick up the dununba well at all. those frequencies need a good preamp and a decent mic.
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By e2c
Y'know, I see an analogy between this and artists' sketchbooks. Some sketchbooks are made with cheap paper, some with what I'll call "medium good," and some with super-high-quality paper.

There's always a need for the cheap paper, even for accomplished artists. For some purposes, only the best paper will do. It depends on what your aims are.

If you come up with a good drawing or watercolor on cheap paper, you can always choose to pull out a sheet of high-quality paper later and make a new version.

It's probably easier to dash off ideas on the cheaper paper, or at least, that's been my experience. Trying to do *everything* on the best paper only isn't a good idea.

The paper can play a big part in the feel (and durability) of the overall piece, but that doesn't mean that it's "wrong" to do studies on cheap paper. Most people can only afford to buy limited amounts of the better stuff, because it's costly. And it's easier to feel OK about making mistakes on the lower-quality paper. (You don't see dollars and cents floating in front of your eyes.)

Cool? :D
By bubudi
i agree that cheap paper is great to use for a lot of things. while high quality paper is not necessary, it doesn't badly affect the purpose you are using it for - it's just a bit wasteful. in the case of digital recorders, it's a little bit different. once you have the recorder, you're not wasting good quality media. you can overwrite the memory card as many times as you like! it adds clarity to even your most basic class recordings (whereas the paper doesn't add any resolution to the artist's drawing, although i would add that one paper can give somewhat of a better result). also, the recorder does well for whatever other purposes you want (rehearsals, live music, field recordings in africa, demo cds for your ensemble). for those on a budget, a relatively cheap pocket recorder that does for all purposes is usually preferable to buying two different recorders. but each to their own :D
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By rachelnguyen
Hi guys,

I just got back from Mali and bought a Zoom h2 for the trip. For me it was a good option because I was mostly planning to use it for recording my classes and wanted something affordable. I picked it up at Amazon for $160.

The good:

For my ears, the sound was great. I was very impressed it could pick up the drums so well. I had to fiddle with the recording levels a bit to get the dun duns to sound good, but eventually was able to work it out. I think, for our purposes, it was a great choice.

The bad:

Tricky to use... not terribly intuitive. The menu is hard to read and I missed a few recordings because I thought it was on and it wasn't. So there was something of a learning curve. Also, you can record with four mikes, but it apparently splits the recording into two files and I haven't figured out how to combine them yet.
Also, no internal speakers is a bit of a bummer. Even a tiny one would have been handy.

The verdict:

If I had the scratch, I would have taken Bubudi's advice on the Olympus... but as it was, I got some great recordings and was able to transfer them to cd very easily. Now that I know how it works, I can get really nice recordings of rhythms in class as well as occasional performance recordings. I am not doing a side by side comparison, but when I listen to the recordings, the drums sound beautiful.

Mali, by the way, was fantastic. Can't wait to go back.... for longer next time.
By bubudi
nice one, rachel. the lack of intuitive menus has been an issue with the zoom recorders, but with some playing around you eventually get there. incidentally, i was easily able to use the olympus ls-10 straight out of the box, without looking once in the manual. the h2 only has one mic input, so i think when you talk about 4 mics you mean the 4 internal mics. if it's splitting the content onto two files then you just need to mix them together using a good sound editing program. then edit out the silence at the beginning and end of the tracks, and you're good to go. many people use sound editing techniques such as compression and eq to tease a bit more bass from the dununs and to eliminate clipping, but that requires a lot of time to experiment.
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By Marc_M
Hey Bubudi -

I took your advice and spent the extra scratch to get the Olympus. Very easy to use, good size and it feels solid. I made my first audio in class the other day, so I need to import it into Cubase and edit out the junk.

Thanks for your advice.

By bubudi
no worries, glad it worked out for you. it really is a solid unit, small and lightweight, excellent battery time, good inbuilt memory (2gb) and expandability (+16gb), intuitive to use, decent inbuilt mics, solid analogue settings, inbuilt speakers... i could go on.

get yourself some 4 x 2700ma nimh batteries (and battery charger if you don't have one) to get the maximum out of it. on that rating of battery you should get 14hrs before you have to switch to your spare pair.

did you record your class with the inbuilt mics or with external mics? any chance of uploading a sample to the media section of this site so that others can get an idea of the quality?
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By rachelnguyen
That's a good idea, Bubudi.

I could see about taking a sample for the H2, too.

Incidentally, I took the manual to bed with me last night and realized there are a ton of features that I didn't know about, including mixing the 2 tracks into a single file. There is also something called 3d panning, which allows you to shift the 4 record levels around without needing a mixer. For one of the recordings I have, that will be really useful because there was a singer who didn't get close enough to the mike. I can boost her a little bit.

It also allows you to boost a record level after the fact if you discover one of your recordings is too low.

So, when I get this all worked out, I'll see if I can upload a sample file.
By bubudi
i was actually asking marc to post samples taken with his ls-10, but it would be good to have some content from the h2 to compare. besides, i'm sure everyone's dying to hear some of the stuff you were listening to in bamako.
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By Marc_M
Hey folks -

I'm not comfortable posting anything from classes, but if you like, I could post myself playing with 20 - 30 second sound bites just to give everyone an idea of the sound quality. It may take a couple of days, however.

Once there is some public concert, I could post samples of that for comparison as well.

By Legba
I have not used it for Djembe, but have had tremendous success with the Zoom H2 for guitar, and other recordings.

I look forward to some postings by Marc.
By shorty
what is a good mix touse with these?

im not sure which one i will get, but i suppose i will need a good mic too?