Tag Archives: portable

Great Idea….Bad Timing??

Alesis ProtrackFinally, a professional mobile solution for recording on an iPod. The Alesis Protrack sounds good…

ProTrack provides convenient, direct-to-iPod stereo digital recording to iPod in a portable, handheld form factor. Users can capture live audio anywhere and anytime with their iPod or iPod nano. ProTrack’s smart design integrates the iPod into the recorder, with included sleds to securely mount supported iPod models to the recorder.

But only records 16-Bit, 44.1kHz or 22kHz stereo, supplies 48V phantom power to inputs when wall-powered (not on the 4 AA batteries it needs), and it only records to iPod (Classic or 5th Generation), or iPod nano (2nd or 3rd Generation). The last one is the kicker. With Apple due to refresh the whole iPod line anytime, it is rumored that the Classic iPod will be dropped…..and who knows about the Nano.
If this product was released like…….two years ago, it would have been great.

Portable Recording Studio with your iPod?

Belkin has a product coming out that looks rather good. Belkin Podcast Studio.

Belkin Podcast Studio is an advanced attachment for your iPod to add high quality recording capabilities. Dual XLR and 1/4-inch channels offer a solid range of recording options. A built-in mic and speaker are powered by their own battery, saving your iPod juice better used for listening to your genius later.

Engadget has some more pictures of it.
Seems no one knows if it has phantom power or not (probably not), and it seems to be 16 bit. Though, if you hook up a iPod Nano to it, and have 4+ gigs of free space, that would easily give you 6 hours of 16bit 44.1Khz recording.
Two potential problems. First, battery life. If it is iPod battery powered, who knows how long it will last. Plus, if it has phantom power on the XLR plugs, that would probably kill the iPod’s battery in no time. Recording on my Marantz flash recorder using phantom power pretty much kills 8 AA batteries if I record 3 hours of stuff.
Second problem, Windows formatted iPods. You can’t get, as far as I know, over 2 gigabyte files on a FAT formatted drive. I tried copying Pirates Of The Caribbean on an FAT (PC) formatted iPod that was 2.6 gigabytes in size. The iPod did not like that. Mac formatted ones didn’t complain.
So, it’s an interesting idea, especially since most everyone already has an iPod, but until we see it actually come out (June?), we can only guess.

Roland KC 550

Roland KC 550I recently bought a Roland KC 550. It is a keyboard amp, but you can use it for many other things. I bought it for some gigs this summer. It has an XLR microphone input, plus 3 additional inputs. Easily enough to share with a keyboard player, your EWI and your Sax mic. We touched on the subject of amplification way back (not sure if I agree with my opinions from then, oh well).

Sound. It has a nice, smooth sound, and a real nice low end. Two of these together would make a nice little PA system. One makes for a killer amp for those gigs where no one wants to setup and run a PA system. The KC550 has tons of output. I don’t think I ever got past about 4 on it. It never cut out or distorted on any gigs.

Size. Well, Continue reading

iPod “Video”

After nearly 3 years of faithful service, my 3rd generation iPod died. It wasn’t the battery. It was the hard drive. The hard drive finally decided to check out. I was sad.

For the last 2 or 3 weeks, I’ve been going through iPod withdrawal. Shuttling my music files between home and the studio is a pain. I’ve been using a “portable HD” that I usually use to backup my stuff. Plus, those nights when you want to listen to music before going to bed? Or in the car?

So, it was a choice between an iPod Nano or an iPod (with video). The Nano is very nice. A number of my students have them. However, 4 gigs is just too small. My finale files I transfer back and forth take up nearly 500megs, plus if I wanted to put all my Aebersold play-alongs on there, I couldn’t. So, I decided to go with the iPod. Wow…..

(Update: 02/21 21:00 GMT by E :The Aebersold AACs/MP3s take up about 10 gigs. I don’t have all the playalongs, but I have 85-90% of them)

First off, it “looks bigger”. But it is not. In fact, it is the same width, and the depth is almost half that of my 15 gig iPod. It looks bigger due to the screen. And the screen is absolutely incredible. Clear, color, crisp. Man, in 3 years they have done wonders. I haven’t watched any videos on it, but I imagine they look great.

Sound quality is great. I plugged in the standard headphone and it sounds great. I plugged in my Shure headphones, and it sounds “greater”.

Two bad things. First is the case. It’s really flimsy. I am planning on getting a better case ASAP. I don’t want any scratches. Second bad thing, no dock. My previous iPod came with a nice little dock, this one comes with nothing. They will sell you one for like $40. Um. No. Not right now, thanks.

Rating. 8 out of 10. No dock and a poor case are the two points taken off. They could have at least done a clip case like what came with the 3rd generation iPod. And no dock, that’s just cheap Apple.

Update: 02/28 08:50 GMT by E :Found another interesting thing. When you unplug the headphones while playing, the iPod will put what it was playing on Pause for you. That is a very nice little thing to have.

EM Reviews Field Recorders

Electronic Musician reviewed a bunch of field recorders, including the the Marantz 671, Marantz 660 and the Edirol R1 among others.

Basically, they panned the Marantz 671 (successor to the 670, which I love) for having firmware issues causing the mic preamps to be noisy. The Edirol R1 came out on top of the two Marantz units. Though I would really call the article a “introduction” to field recording. They do not list exactly what they tried to record, and with what. We all know that the microphone is key to getting a good recording.

I would totally recommend the Marantz 670. I used it this weekend and got some great recordings putting it about 6 feet infront and 7 feet above the band. Of course using my Rode NT4 mic (awesome piece that it is).

I imagine the issues with the 671 have been fixed. I would take the EM article with some grains of salt. The reviewer used these units to record a snare drum (why??), the “ambience in a suburban neighborhood” (um, ok), and dialog. Ok, great tests there. NOT.

Oh, and EM was reporting, like it was news, that Sony introduced a new format called MiHD. Um, guys, these things have been out for OVER A YEAR. Get with the program!