Hand-Held Recorders

Hand-Held Recorders

Greetings,

I’ll be off for Ireland soon and while I’m there I’d like to record some session tunes (with permission, of course). I have a very standard hand-held tape recorder, but was curious to see if anyone out there recommends a specific make or model that they have found particularly good for recording tunes at sessions. I’m willing to spend a little bit more money, but not thousands of dollars…

Thanks,
John Harvey

Rhode Island’s Irish Connection
http://www.rhodeirish.net

I think you can’t go wrong with a small DAT, or one of the new portable mini-disk recorders. Not thousands of dollars, but hundreds. 🙂 But then you have digital recordings that you can put in a CD later, easy.

Re: Hand-Held Recorders

John, I second glauber’s recommendation. A friend uses a sony mini disk recorder with an add-on high-quality stereo mic, and the clarity and balance are amazing. He paid close to $500 for the entire set up, and says the mic made a big difference–well worth the extra $170 he paid.

If you want to spend less: I’ve used a Sony Walkman tape recorder with remote stereo mic. It works fine if all you want is to be able to pick up tunes later from your tape. Mine comes with variable speed playback, handy for slowing down the tricky passages. I paid about $90. Model number WM-GX322. The stereo mic that comes with this is very small but sensitive–great for clipping to your shirt placket, with the recorder stuffed in a back pocket. Very discreet for session recording….

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Re: Hand-Held Recorders

The mini-disk is where its at! Simply great sound. One small problem though! I’ve found the mini-disk recorders suck up batteries like a dog eats sausages!

Even with a fully charged and brand new batterys, I can barely fill one mini-disk before the entire unit shuts down. Granted, the sound is worth the expense! Anyhow, my model is over a year old, so see if they’ve made any improvements to the battery life.

Re: Hand-Held Recorders

A friend of mine has had really good results with a Sony DATMan. I don’t know what it costs or the battery life, though.

Re: Hand-Held Recorders

Jeez, DATs are nice, but I don’t think he’s looking to drop $500 to $800. In a lower price range I’d suggest any tape player that has different speeds & an EXTERNAL mic so the recorder doesn’t pic up its own motor when recording. Record on the fastest speed this gives you better sound quality & you can also slow them down later. A far stretch from a DAT or a mini CD recorder in sound quality, but still good for recording the tunes. I’d suggest going to Radio Shack & checking out what they have if your looking for something below $200. As far as tape player recorders, I’ve had bad experiences with Sony & Phillips, but my Radio Shack tape player is the most dependable & longest lived tape recorder.

Re: Hand-Held Recorders

Personally, I’ve never had much of a problem with my $16 tape recorder. 🙂

Usually I just want to learn tunes rather than make a recording to actually listen to for enjoyment, so a cheapo tape recorder (I have a Sony that I also use to record interviews when I’ve got my writing hat on) has worked just fine. I can hear the tune well enough to learn it, and then eventually toss the tape.

Zina

I have a little Sony walkman that i stole from an old roomate, and for $0 it works fine! 🙂 Stereo recording and all. But it’s not CD quality. It’s important to have the mike that is not mechanically connected to the machine, so it doesn’t pick up the engine noise. It’s nice if it’s a one-piece stereo microphone.

Re: Hand-Held Recorders

Brad is right!

When I made the original post, all I was looking for was some recommendations for a good, relatively inexpensive, hand-held tape record.

Nonetheless, I went out and bought a mini-disc recorder anwway…sigh.

I broke down under pressure and got a Sony mini-disc recorder (MZR70) with a decent mic & power adapter for overseas. The place where I bought it has a 30-day swap policy (meaning as long as I don’t drop it in a pint of Guinness, all I have to do is hand it back with the receipt), so I’m going to go back after my trip and exchange it for a model that records for 3 hours long-play mode without losing sound quality. It will cost me an extra $20 (This model wasn’t going to be in stock for another couple of weeks.).

While it’s going to be great for tunes, I’ll probably use it ten times as much for all the interviewing and articles I write for the Boston Irish Reporter. Most of the benefits everyone cited for recording tunes went double for my journalistic endeavors, which I hadn’t really considered before.

Thanks for the feedback!

Take care,
John Harvey

Rhode Island’s Irish Connection
http://www.rhodeirish.net

Re: Hand-Held Recorders

Jdharv – Let us know if the recorder meets up with your expectations. How long does that device hold a charge?

Re: Hand-Held Recorders

I recently purchased a Sony mini-disc player via a deal at the Wiz for $170…that was the MZ-R70. It has the ability to both record from a microphone and to download MP3’s. It’s “last-years” model but records like a dream. One word of warning for anyone purchasing these: make sure the model you get has a microphone jack!

We first made the mistake of buying a newer more expensive model that is called a “recorder”, but only refers to recording from a digitial source, i.e. MP3. No mic jack! very misleading I think. I would also agree that the battery life is annoyingly short.

Also, bought a small little stereo mic that plugs into the player and is super compact…well worth the $70 or so as the sound is just as good as the larger mics with long cords.

Hope this helps!

Re: Hand-Held Recorders

My mini-disk recorder is the Sony MZ-R70 too. There is a stereo microphone that works extremly well with this device, also made by Sony. What’s scary is listening to your recordings with headphones and finding your head is moving in the direction of the sound. It’s not just a mere recording any longer, but a very faithful capture of the entire event. If you have the means, you should look up this microphone and buy it. The part number is ECM-MS907. It is so choice!