Another new CF recorder. Details here:http://sonicstate.com/news/shownews.cfm?newsid=2137
The new M-Audio machine has nice high-level features but I can’t find any specifications for key things like S/N ratio. Sample rate and bit-depth are very good, but that can be deceiving as in the case of the Marantz PMD-671 I had to send back.
Another interesting point about the Micro-Track is that it uses the same inputs for Line and Mic. I imagine this means the pre-amps have to deal with a broad range of inputs… can we expect this to be a limiting factor?
There’s a lot of discussion on the Oade recording forum, including rumors from people who know beta testers.
Here’s another new CF card recorder (assuming you have lots of $$$$):http://www.sonosax.com/MINIR82/MINIR-PRELIMINARY.htm
Cross-posting my msg from PMD-660 forum:
You can find the pdf manual here:
You can tell this manual was written in English and not a translation from Japanese, a la the Marantz manuals. Also unlike Marantz, you can tell that the folks who designed the unit appear to be people who would actually use the equipment in real life rather than being pure engineers.
Very preliminary impressions:
Initial caveats…the firmware is version 1.00, so I think anyone with a unit right now is a real early adopter and should consider themselves a beta field tester. Also, my evaluation is based on being a broadcast reporter for nearly 30 years — I don’t claim to be an engineer despite an FCC First Class license and I’ll leave it to others to post jpg files of wave forms off their oscilloscopes.
First off, I took me about 30 seconds to figure out how to work the menu. Unlike the Marantz machines you won’t need to carry around the manual with you for a month.
The included little stereo mic with the 1/8" plug is neat and actually is not a total piece of crap. You could certainly use it in a crunch to record broadcast acceptable sound bites. I compared it to my Sennheiser MD-46 on a 48k .wav 16-bit playback and while the MD-46 is more robust, of course, the little stereo mic did not sound unacceptable.
For some reason I could not get my condenser mic (Shure Beta 87A) to work using either the 1/4" or 1/8" inputs. I’ve had troubles with this mic in other situations (bad connection to the XLR cable?) so not blaming the Microtrack just yet.But the designers have given much thought to users working with a wide range of levels coming from input devices (see the manual). But, sorry Wayne, no XLR’s on this machine. I almost didn’t buy it because of that but thought, what the heck, I’ve got enough cables to handle this sort of conversion.
Levels on record and monitor are much easier to adjust on the fly than with the PMD-670/671.
I have not tried to record line inputs yet.
Most disappointing for me is that there is no mono recording option — although this is promised in a later version of the firmware which M-Audio claims we’ll be able to download from the internet. (It’ll be interesting to see how we are supposed to flash it into the unit.)
There does not appear any way to store presets. Not a super big problem because unlike the Marantz units, this one is very intuitive and it takes about ten whole seconds to make the switches for format, compression, bit rate, inputs, etc.
After monkeying with it for about an hour, I can see using it for ambush sound bites in a standing scrum, utilizing the included tiny stereo microphone.
I can also see using this in the field when I don’t want to carry a bulky machine and am recording wild sound (parades, traffic noise, etc.) using a shotgun for audio that is going to be mixed in a news piece or in the background.
Until now, I’ve had the two Marantz units in my bag (the 660 and the Oades-enhanced 671). From now on, for most assignments I’ll probably be leaving one of the Marantz units behind. Either the 660 or the 671 are fine for recording events where one is taking a feed off the mult box, but the unmodified 660 is a non-starter for interviews because of its mic-input level troubles.
I know that in some cases when you show up with the bulky 671, it says to your interviewee "I’m a serious professional." The Microtrack fits snugly in the palm of a teenager’s hand. I suspect some interviewees will think you are somehow interviewing them with the latest version of an iPod!
That’s it for tonight…
Steve HermanVOA NewsTokyo
Doug Oade has posted some samples from a Microtrack over on the Oade Brothers Recording Technology Forum. He has some nice things to say about it: "With the supplied mic, it offers great performance that to me is shocking given what it sells for….This thing kicks butt for ENG with the supplied mic."
Thanks for the link to Doug Oades recordings by the Microtrack. That is what I needed to go out and buy one. The unit is actually for my wife a radio reporter, and not all that technical, so this unit with the simple controls works quite well for her.
I am very pleased with how this unit operates, there are only a couple of oddities:1) The unit doesn’t sleep, it is either on, or off, and it takes approx 25 seconds to "load firmware"
2) We are running the latest beta firmware (1.1.5) and it does not record at 24 bit 96 khz sampling rate. However for my wife’s work, 24 bit at 44.1 Khz is more than enough.
I would recommend this for anyone who is looking for a lean mean little recording machine.
Craig MillerFormer Chief Engineer KHPR
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