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Hello folks. I know now a days we have things like the smart phone's recording apps and stuff, but can someone tell me about an accessible device for recording sounds? I need a tool like a digital recorder of sorts both to record some classes and to do some field recordings to make sound effects.
Best regards, Haramir.

The true blind is the one who refuses to see.

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I have a Zoom H1, and there are things I like and dislike about it. First, though it has a tiny speaker and allows you to play anything you've recorded with the device, there are no beeps for power on, activating things, etc. Next, if you record, then listen to something, even if you pause the playback, the first tap of record doesn't start recording, it just puts you back in record mode. If you have headphones plugged in, you'll hear the monitoring start again. There is no way to know if recording is occurring or if its stopped. You wouldn't think it would be possible, but I've lost recordings I wanted to capture because I got essentially the inverse of what I wanted You can put it on auto level, but then you have to listen to it up and down and up and down, or you can adjust the gain yourself, but it goes very slowly, even if the button is held. changing this in the recording, by the time you reached the lower setting, the thing you wanted to avoid clipping has since clipped. It's best to record at a mid to low gain and normalize in post. The system has a very insane noise pattern to it, you will want a sample of this noise recorded at a higher gain setting to use as a template for noise reduction. If you attempt to use compression, and then make up gain with recordings produced on this device, you will be squashing the dynamic range of the audio, and allowing the noise to creep in, same as if you normalize.

All these things being said, the H1 can produce some really good sounding recordings if you do it right. It's a sub-hundred dollar recorder, and its a stereo one at that, using an X-Y mic configuration. It has the ability to transfer from the recorder to the computer, saving you the trouble of removing the SD card and sneaker netting it over to your machine. It can also work as a sound card, its another mode of operation that you can access when you plug it in. SO, you have transfer mode, and sound card mode, not official names, because I can't read the screen, so I don't know what it says. In sound card mode, you can use its mics as input in your DAW or sound editor, and output to its speaker. You can plug the recorder into a set of computer speakers, or a stereo system if you have a breakaway cable, etc. The only downside to this mode is that it almost could be a mini interface, but plugging something into the mic port disallows the mics from working, makes sense honestly, but if it had a line in capability, or the mic port could serve dual duty, you could almost do a podcast with it, having something like your phone plugged into the line in, if you wanted to demonstrate a particular app.

I'll provide a button layout. I'll start by saying I don't remember the three switches on the back of the unit, but I know what they do, just not in which order. I think I know though, and I will tell you what I think I remember, but I'm just saying now, this could be incorrect, so maybe you would want to double check. If you turn the unit over, holding the recorder in your hand so that the big round button with the ring of ridges faces away from you, and you feel a hold in the center of the device which should face towards you, this is the back. Now, rotate the device such that the mics face to your right. So, if you have it facing correctly, the ringed big button should face away from you, the mics should be to your right, and to your left, you will feel 4 little bumps, and a set of slits on the end of the device. Those are actually for the speaker. Now, In this orientation, left is off, and right is on. From top to bottom, the first one I think is low cut, its supposed to help with wind noise. The second is recording format, left is wave, right is MP3, and finally, auto level, left is off, right is on. OK, now we pass the section of what I speculate, / half remember, what I tell you now, I know for certain. SO we're all on the same page, just sort of rotate the device, keeping the same orientation, just making the mic face left and the speaker grill right. On the surface, the front if you're holding it the way I indicated, there is only one button, this is the record button, and its got a ring of ridges around it. The small screen is directly left of that button. Moving to the bottom, from left to right you have the headphone / speaker jack, volume up, volume down, and a plastic door, which when uncovered, is where you insert the micro SD card. Same thing on the top surface, start from the left, where the mics are. The first thing is the input jack. Plugging something in here disrupts the internals and uses that instead. Next are gain up and down. Now there are three buttons sort of related to one another. In the middle of this group is a button with a raised dot on it. This is the play pause button, to the left of that is the left arrow, or rewind or previous track button, and to the right of that is right arrow, next track, etc. The final button is the delete key. When you get onto a file you don't want, you press that, then confirm by pressing record. To the right of this is the power switch. If you press it in one direction, it is spring loaded, this is power. You press it and hold it for a second or so, and the recorder comes on. The other direction, it will lock in place, this is hold, and stops you from inadvertently stopping your recording or so forth, it basically locks all buttons until you put the switch in the center position. And finally, to the right of that is the USB mini port for transferring, powering, and sound card mode.

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I bought an Olympus DM-620 a while back, and although it was somewhat accessible, it's tiny speaker made listening to your recordings difficult at best unless you use headphones. Not what I wanted or needed, so I sold it a couple of months later.

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Thanks guys.
Best regards, Haramir.

The true blind is the one who refuses to see.

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Olympus DM7 is my little beast; it's accessible and it's a great recorder! I also have a zoom H2N; despite the fact it's not as accessible as the DM7, with a bit of studying, the menues are great and you can do a lot of different tipes of recordings.

Claudio

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I still have my faithful old Roland Ederol R09 which I use both for work and for bits of voice acting, its been a good companion now for a rather frighteningly long time.
Accessibility isn't great, although I do have a menu guide for it, however once its set there is very little messing to record, literally point and click, and you can do all the file management on pc, it also has  stereo mikes which is nice.

the only two issues I have are firstly that the recordings tend to be quiet, and secondly and more seriously  it has no external speaker meaning you need to listen on headphones, though it does have the useful property of being able to let you hear on headphones through the mikes what is about to be recorded.

It also doesn't have any bleeps, though it has some handy lights which are good for me, although probably wouldn't be for others.

Its likely not the best out there, especially since I imagine there are much better and likely more accessible models out now, but it does what I want it to, especially since I can't get bloody windows 10 to recognize my external mike.

I also of course can use the basic voice recorder on my victor stream, which actually does fairly well if you just want to record a quick voice note such as taking down a phone number etc.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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I know there are peripherals for IOS for high quality recording. Zoom makes one but I can't remember the model. I never used anything like that, but from what I heard, It's a mic that you connect to your device somehow and most decent recorder apps can pick it up and record from it. I've heard recordings with the Zoom one I'm talking about, and they sound about as good as Zoom recorders. I'm a fan of those, so I think the Zoom IOS peripherals are worth looking into, though I have no clue about accessibility-related challenges.

As for actual recorders, I used the Zoom h1 for a while until it failed me last year, and it is indeed a great unit. I got it I believe in summer 2013 and it lasted me for 3-4 years. That's pretty good for a $99 recorder! It does have accessibility challenges as do most recorders, but the H1 doesn't really have menus, so you won't have to memorize menu trees. The only excuse for a menu is adjusting mp3/wav quality, and once that's set the way you want, it'll stay there. Of course you still have to deal with knowing if you're recording or not,, or if your batteries are running flat.

. Olympus recorders tend to be most accessible these days because they speak menus, tell you about your battery power, and other things. I recently got the Olympus LSP2 and on the whole I am pretty happy with it. So I will try to compare the H1 and the LSP2. They are very similar for the most part.

Both recorders have a 3.5MM headphone and mic input jack and a crappy speaker for previewing. They can't record from line in natively, but they allow you to turn the gain down low enough so that line in recording is possible, at least from the sources I've tested. In terms of how much hiss they have, both seem to be pretty comparable. I've not had major issues with either one. I do believe the Olympus is slightly better with really low-level mics though I haven't tested this comprehensively.

If you're an audio quality fanatic, both recorders allow 24 bit 96 KHZ recording. They also both allow mp3 recording with a number of bit rates, though the Zoom H1 has a wider range and selection of rates to choose from, and I seem to remember that its mp3 encoder sounds a little better. I could well be wrong though, as I've only briefly messed with mp3 on either unit.

One qwirky thing about the Zoom H1 is it doesn't have a pause function. Just record and stop. Their higher end recorders do have a pause function but the H1 doesn't. Kinda odd, but I normally just record and leave the thing going until I'm done. I'm weird like that. So I don't really like pausing and stopping a lot until I'm actually done.

Both recorders take micro SD cards up to 32 gigs IIRC. The Olympus also has internal memory (I believe it's 8 gigs) where as Zoom recorders must be used with a card.  Both recorders can act as either storage devices or sound cards, though I haven't tested the sound card part very much on either of them so I couldn't tell you how well it works. I remember on the H1, using it as a sound card was something I found confusing. On the Olympus, that's obviously going to be easier to set up because of its voice guidance. Unfortunately, even the Olympus can't tell you how much space you have on either the internal memory or the card, so if you need to know, you'll need sighted assistance for that, or you'll have to get to a computer where you can hook it up and check.

Both recorders have reasonable battery life, but the olympus has more than the Zoom. The olympus takes a tripple A while the Zoom takes a double A. I think the Olympus gives you over 24 hours of use, but I haven't really tested. The Zoom, last I remember, gives you around 10-12 hours. I use rechargeables with my recorders, and I habitually just charge them when I'm done, only letting them dye every once in a while, so I can't give you very precise figures. But I wouldn't be surprised if the Olympus could spin circles around the Zoom with its battery life.

There's one big thing that I think lays in the Zoom's favor. For me, the Zoom's internal microphones  sound better, warmer and there is more stereo definition. The olympus is brighter and narrower-sounding to me, though it's probably a lot better than I give it credit for. I used to have an old DM620 and I seem to remember its stereo image being narrower than the LSP2, so maybe my assessment of the LSP2 is more psychologically based. In any case, my Zoom recorder came with a windscreen for the mics, which you will definitely need. The olympus, being smaller and thinner, has little room for a securely fitting windscreen. You could probably stretch something around the mics and half the display and it'd work, but I think you'd have to be pretty creative to make it fit securely. It's pretty wind sensitive too, so it would very likely benefit from a windscreen.

So there you have my assessment. If you need bang for the buck, the H1, I believe, could not be a better choice. Its appearance might suggest it's a plastic toy, but in my opinion the internal mics alone are worth the price tag. I also prefer Zoom's higher end recorders which offer interchangeable mic capsules, so I am used to how Zoom stuff sounds and works. If this were not the case, I'd recommend the Olympus without contest. They're known for good sound, great battery life, can help you independently set its menus, and will audibly yell at you when your card is full, among other advantages.

There are obviously other choices out there too, and I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about them. I'd be interested to know what you go with, if you do decide on something.
HTH!

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musicalman wrote:

I know there are peripherals for IOS for high quality recording. Zoom makes one but I can't remember the model. I never used anything like that, but from what I heard, It's a mic that you connect to your device somehow and most decent recorder apps can pick it up and record from it. about as good as Zoom recorders. I'm a fan of those, so I think the Zoom IOS peripherals are worth looking into, though I have no clue about accessibility-related challenges.

The IOS peripherals you mentioned are the zoom IQ 6 and IQ7.
The zoom IQ6 is a XY configuration, the microphone can rotate to either 90 or 120 degrees stereo.
The zoom IQ7 is a little more advanced, because of the fact that it can record in mid side stereo, which is great for adjusting mid and side levels in post.
Both go for about 99 dollars, of course its just an estimate, since I am not from the US.
The units I use myself are the zoom H1, as others have stated it's a pretty handy unit to have, because it's very portable and you need only 1 AA battery.
Then there is the zoom h4nPro, I wouldn't recommend it for starting off with as it is a more expensive recorder and it is also more complicated and power hungry, but if you are looking to record with external XLR microphones it's a good choice.
And then I also use binaural microphones from the Sound Professionals, they are in ear, but are quite good when recording, lets say ambiences, and they work great on both my H1 and H4NPro.
As others had also stated, the Olympus recorders are great too, due to them having speech, unlike the zoom products.
Anyway, just my 2 cents on this, let us know what you decide.

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I haven't used rechargeable batteries in a while, mostly because I got ripped off by some dude at the radio shack who sold me these crappy chinese batteries. I kept wondering why my camera would constantly report the batteries were going dead when they were fully charged, I found out later that each battery was rated at 1.3 volts. An AA battery is supposed to be 1.5 volts. So 4 batteries in one camera is meant to offer 6 volts, but in my case, the camera was getting 5.2. that's a lost of 0.7 volts. No wonder the camera thought the batteries were dead, it wasn't getting the power it needed. To combat this, the camera had a feature that would kill the display during a shot, and not bring it on again until the flash was charged up. In that particular camera, you weren't supposed to use rechargeables either, but it handled it fine, despite never getting the power it needed. So, I don't want to screw up my electronics, so I don't know how I could be sure to get batteries that provided the correct amount of power.

The bipeds think this place belongs to them, how cute.

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Hey Ironcross.
I've had issues with rechargeables too. It is sometimes hard to find ones that are any good. I bought a pack of batteries and a charger at a Wall Mart and couldn't get the things to charge for some reason. I was about to abandon recharageables completely but I reached out to a friend who depends on batteries even more than I do, and he told me he still uses rechargeables, with an unused non-rechargeable backup on hand. He told me that he uses Ansmann batteries, and hasn't had issues. Ansmann stuff is a little more expensive than a cheapo Chinese ripoff big_smile but you won't be breaking the bank either, I think I paid $50 for a charger and two AA batteries. So I decided to not take chances with my erratically unpredictable stuff and just get both Ansmann batteries and Ansmann charger and so far it's been working well, both for my H1 and H5. The charger also takes double A and tripple A batteries, and it is able to charge any number of batteries, it doesn't have one or two channels like cheap chargers do. So I can stick a single battery if I need (handy for the lsp2 or H1 that only takes one battery), or put a bunch of batteries in, and wait for 1-2 hours and take them out. And they work. The charger's kinda bulky and accessibility isn't very good since you have no clue what it's doing, but I've never had a charger that did tell you that. I used to have an old one with a fan in it, but that one didn't last very long lol

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Hmm, I'll have to check into that then.

The bipeds think this place belongs to them, how cute.

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We use Zoom H5. Recorder accessable only in basic functions: record, play, e.t.c. If you need to change settings, you will need help. Also it's very large and quickly eat batteries.
But, In my opinion, quality of stereo recording is good. Microphones is very sensetive. We can record very laud sounds, like plane, or quiet, like scratches.

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When I got my H5, my mom and I made an incomplete, possibly inaccurate menu tree. I've used it a few times to set things like recording format and I think mid side stereo and a few other things, and it seemed to be accurate for that, but I am really not the person to be tackling this stuff so there are probably things in it that need work. If you or anyone is interested I can upload it somewhere. And it's a longshot, but a sighted person might see this and be able to help smile

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Hello folks! [wow], thanks alot for all the suggestions and considerations on each of the possibilities.
Best regards, Haramir.

The true blind is the one who refuses to see.

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Donavin.Liebgott, are you talking about these binaural microphones? I have been wanting to play around with some binaural microphones, but I have not set aside the money to get some. I have a Zoom H1 setting here on my desk that I used to record classes. Now I do not need it for that and I am thinking of other uses for it. Did they come out with a new version of the H1? I thought I have heard that they did. Anyway, I can say, for sure, the H1 is a good recorder. That does not mean that it will fit everyones needs though. I would also say that it looks cheep, but the recordings that it makes is good enough that I really do not mind the looks.

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.
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cw wrote:

Donavin.Liebgott, are you talking about these binaural microphones?

Yes, those are the ones I have, and they are really good despite the price tag. Very minimal noise and great sounding.
For a very short example see This example
It's very short, but it does give you an idea of what you can expect, be wear though, these microphones do not handle wind very well, so it's best to purchase windscreens for them.

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I'm using the Olympus Ls-7 which is essentially completely accessible, their are only I think 2 menus that aren't and one is a screen contrast dial.
I forget what the other one is because I use it so seldom LOL, oh it also can't read out how much memory is left on your SD or internal storage because it doesn't use TTS, it uses a prerecorded voice. I wish both had been included... but what ever.
Also, Ironcross, just like, do some research online first, it's not that hard man... :-D
The wirecutter, consumer reports, thom's guide and thom's hardware, CNET, trusted reviews, in depth reviews from verified users on sites like amazon, bestbuy, newegg, and wallmart, all that shit is worth a look.
You don't even have to look at all of them, just compare a couple from those trusted sites and your very likely to get a good product.
Also I doubt the big, well known brands would get away with undervoltage for long without a class action anyway... So maybe just don't buy a brand you've never heard of from a physical store with a salesman making slightly higher than minimum wage through commissions without doing any research before hand.
I understand that it was probably a long time ago so not as easy to research on the fly, but you shouldn't let one bad experience color your view on an entire product! lol

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

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Got a question for you Donavin.Liebgott. Will those binaural microphones work well with the victor reader stream new gen and or the Zoom H1? I am wondering. I would love to get a pair at some point and would like to know what all i need to get to make these work right. I might be even tempted to use them to make recordings on my PC. I for sure want the 3.5 MM connection.

All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.
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@cw: yes they work perfectly with the zoom h1, not too sure about the victor reader though, but I know for sure that it works with my zoom. There are no additional requirements besides the recorder should provide plug in power.

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