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Topic: What voice recorder to purchase

I just purchased soundslides.  I'm a photojournalist for a weekely newspaper.  We are wanting to start posting audio slideshows. 
Which audio recorder works best with the Sondslides software?, is mp3, and Vista compatable with the best price.  I'm new to this and looking for advice.

Thanks.
Daniel

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Re: What voice recorder to purchase

If you're just getting started and are on a budget, several folks (myself included) have had good luck with the better Olympus recorders (DS-2 and W-300, or their current incarnations). These are around $100. Use the highest quality stereo setting (even if recording a mono source) and the quality will be limited more by the environment and your technique than the equipment. You'll also want a good external mic; I almost always use a directional/shotgun mic, a fairly cheap Audio Technica ATR-55 ($45 on amazon). Upgrade as budget allows and your actual needs require.

The Olympus recorders (other than the higher-end LS-10) do their higher-quality recording in Windows Media Audio (.wma) format. You *can* record directly to MP3, but you'll want better quality in your source material. You'll need something like Switch  to convert from .wma to a format that Audacity (a recommended free audio editor) can work with. I convert the raw tape from WMA to WAV (PC) or AIFF (Mac), which are uncompressed formats, and work in that format until the final audio is ready, then I export as an MP3 file and use that in Soundslides. To export as an MP3 from Audacity, you'll need the LAME encoder, which is also free.

-Kevin

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Re: What voice recorder to purchase

Thanks Kevin!

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Re: What voice recorder to purchase

Your question is a bit tricky. Do your photojournalists take photos with a mobile phone? Is that good enough quality for your needs? My guess is no.

Same thing with audio recorders. Kevin's suggestions about Olympus recorders is really good, given the caveat that you only have about $100 to spend. But keep in mind that for that amount don't expect much more that equivalent cell phone photo quality. Really. Truly.

If you gave us your budget for one device, then we could provide more helpful advice. If all you have is $100, then go with Kevin. If you have $300, then there's actually much better options. If you can go professional (about $800 or above) then you can do much better still. But it's not magic. There are worse, and better, buys but in a general way the cheaper recorders have definite limitations (some of which may not matter to you).

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Re: What voice recorder to purchase

I entirely agree with what Mitchellm posted: I put forward what I thought would be the best you can do for the least amount of money. The next step up would be one of the newer compact PCM recorders, which record at higher sampling rates, use uncompressed file formats, record to removable flash media, and have better internal bits that do some cool stuff I don't understand but seems to make a difference to those who do.

The current choices include the Marantz 620; Sony PCM-D50; Olympus LS-10 ...etc., which run $300-$500. Check transom.org for reviews. Similarly for better mics: I'd look at the Audio Technica AT-875 and AT-897, both are shotgun mics at around $200-$300.

There are undoubtedly other good buys in that same price range. I've just listed what I'd buy when the day comes that there's $500 burning a hole in my pocket. Oddly, it hasn't happened yet.

-Kevin

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Re: What voice recorder to purchase

At the lower-end of the higher-end recorders (if you see what I mean), the Samson Zoom H2 is worth looking at and can be had for around $165 these days... Yes, there are now better recorders but in the $300-$500 range. For the price it's a great unit.

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Re: What voice recorder to purchase

I am sorry, but i really can´t recommend Samson Zoom H2. I had one and it was only trouble. There should be more modern alternatives out there.
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Bob at Audio player software informer

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Re: What voice recorder to purchase

Hopefully it's kosher to post this, but if you search for "LS-10" on a certain auction site, you'll find factory-refurbished Olympus LS-10s for $159 (new price is $299 at B&H). 90 day warranty and 30 day refunds, and it appears you're buying from the manufacturer. They seem to have several (including the one I purchased).

FWIW

-Kevin

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Re: What voice recorder to purchase

I've been happy with my Sampson H2 and have had no issues with it in terms of quality or function. For $ 200.00 it is an outstanding tool.