Just a little trick if you use this little recorder, the Roland R-05 (pictured) – I have one that I use for my own use for community radio and it’s also good for collecting the odd sound effect. There is a “secret” set up menu, if allows you to (amongst other things) turn off the recording light to give a “stealth” mode and change the mic pre-amp gain, the nominal gain value is +18dB, but it can be changed to +13dB or +28dB. You access the menu by holding the “A<>B” button while pressing the “MENU” key and then go to the 8th item in the menu.

I really like this little recorder and I am on the look out for a small personal mic that will work with it. I’ve used a few similar machines and this one is my favorite for the size and money. I previously used the Roland R09, it gave great results but the build was a lot less robust and more plastic. Handling noise wasn’t bad but it did develop some random faults, like hideous results when playing back files on the machine which turned out to be fine when downloaded onto a computer. Others also reported seeing the record light lit and numbers turning but when they got home no file was recorded..

The Zoom H2 was great value but I’m not keen in the arrangement of the front and rear microphones if you want to use it as a machine for recording interviews. It’s great as a “one box” music recorder as the front and rear mics give you a choice of pick up patterns for different sizes of groups – but if you want to use them both together as an omni for interviews they don’t match that well. The Zoom H1 is a bargain at the price, fairly easy to use – but feels a bit “plastic” and you have to be very careful how you hold it the reduce handling noise. I’d recommend using that particular recorder in manual level mode as the automatic level is often fooled by the din the pressing the record button makes into making a very low level recording. It can of course a all be bumped up in the edit, but it’s not a great start!

The Zoom H2n I’ve only had a brief play with, it looks fantastic, the mics match very well in all configurations and the machine has a very solid feel to it which also helps keep handling noise to a minimum. It’s available now at a very reasonable price. I’d say the only downside in comparison with the other models is that it’s a bit more chunky in size and I guess that’s good in some situations, it certainly sits well in the hand and the level control – which is a lovely smooth wheel rather than the buttons all the others have – is placed right where you need it. If you need something that slips easily into your pocket though, this one is probably a bit too big.

2 Responses

  1. Dear Mary
    I came across you quite by accident. I wonder if you could help me?

    I am looking for a sound recorder mainly for recording voice, that does exactly what my old minidisk recorder does, and a bit more. I want to be able to insert a line of speech into an existing recording (insert edit). And I may want to cut and paste., and be able to name and rename my recordings. I also would like to be able to dub one track on another (eg spoken relaxation exercise onto music) – although I suppose I could do this with audio mixing software on PC. Id like to spend less than £100, but Id go up to £200 or so. Oh, and Id prefer being able to connect to ac supply, and have lithium batteries (although I think Roland says these are incompatible with music recording because of variable voltage (which I find very surprising).

    I have searched for many hours among dictaphones and field recorders and I’m astonished that these features are so hard to find, and so poorly or complicatedly explained. Id have thought that any actor, teacher, journalist or perhaps musician would want these features.

    Please Mary, do you know of nay product which would fit the bill?

    Yours despairingly
    Mike Tossell

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment. I think you have kind of answered your own question here. Most of the things you require are more suited to the editing process and you’d be better off doing them in an editing package. “Audacity” which is free to download would fit the bill for you, you might want to add a plug-in to make MP3 files with it but that is also a free download.

      I’m no expert on these sort of recorders but I have used several from the Zoom range and you might find that the Zoom H1 or H2n would suit you. I believe both can be powered externally (but don’t take my word for it – the Zoom H1 has limited capabilities in particular, but comes at a good price). You may also be able to name / rename the tracks to some extent, but again that’s something you can do on a PC. Most of the recorders that provided editing facilities in the past did so in a very fiddly manner IMHO which I guess it one of the reasons why they no longer provide it.

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