Audio recorders


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Audio recorders

  1. 1. Audio RecordersWhat type do I have and what are its capabilities and limitations?
  2. 2. Types of Recorders• Geared for music recording• Geared toward news gatherers• Analog Recorders – Use tape to record information. Must be converted to digital to edit on an N.L.E.• Digital recorders – record in a compressed or uncompressed digital format• Consumer recorders – inexpensive, not meant for rough service• Professional recorders – cost more, but are made to take more abuse and capture higher quality audio
  3. 3. Choosing an audio recorder • Cost - Generally, newsrooms purchase several audio recorders to supplement their staff. With prices too high, bulk purchases can become very costly. You must also weigh in maintenance and repair costs. • Quality - Does the recorder give you the ability to use an external microphone? Very few recorders have built-in microphones that are useful for field reporting. Does the recorder have XLR (professional grade) input, Tip-Ring Sleeve (TRS) input or just a mini jack? • Format - There are two types of audio files: compressed and uncompressed. Cheap audio recorders will compress all of the audio it captures. This not only brings down the quality during the capture process, but when you edit that audio and then re-compressed it, the audio is further degraded in the finished project. Buy a recorder that will allow you to capture uncompressed audio (.wav, .aiff)
  4. 4. Choosing an audio recorder • Durability - This is important. Some of these audio recorders are as expensive as a digital SLR camera, and repairs are on par with high-end electronic devices as well. • Power - Probably one of the most overlooked attributes of audio recorders. Can the batteries be removed? What type of batteries does it take? Can they be easily obtained? What is the power consumption of the device? Will it last a long time on a single set of batteries/charge?
  5. 5. Cost vs. Quality• “Good enough for the web”• Advanced in technology and cheaper equipment means quality and cost can live together
  6. 6. Inputs• XLR: This is the highest quality connector. It is called a "balanced" connection, which means both the positive and negative signals are balanced out to prevent interference. The third plug is a ground, which also helps to eliminate unwanted interference. The cable itself is generally high quality and can span long distances. Also, the connector has a locking mechanism that prevents accidental removal.
  7. 7. Inputs• Tip-Ring Sleeve (TRS) or 1/4" jack: This connector is also a balanced line, so you get all of the benefits of an XLR cable. The drawback is the lack of a locking mechanism on the connector, so these plugs are easier to remove. This is great for instruments on stage and sound mixers, as they need to be unplugged often. For audio recorders, however, this could mean accidental disconnects.
  8. 8. Inputs• Mini or 1/8" jack: This is the worst type of connector. They are generally very low quality, and the plugs are notorious for static/drop-outs. Most of the time, the connector is unbalanced, so the possibility of interference is greatly increased. Often, just moving one of these plugs in their sockets can result in static, or audio drop-out.
  9. 9. Different file types– WAV (.wav) - "Wave" or waveform audio format. An industry standard uncompressed format.– BWV (.wav) - "Broadcast Wave" format. Uses the same extension as wave, but it includes some additional features for synchronization and larger file management. (also .w01, .w02, .w03, etc.)– AIFF (.aif) - "Audio Interchange File Format." An Apple proprietary audio file format that uses lossless compression, meaning it doesnt lose any quality.– MP3 (.mp3) - "MPEG 1 Audio Layer 3" format. The most ubiquitous audio file format. This is a lossy compressed file, meaning you will lose some quality when recording to this file.– AAC (.m4a or .aac) - "Advanced Audio Coding" format. A very similar type to mp3 used heavily by Apple for its iPod and iPhone players. It also uses lossy compression.– WMA (.wma) - "Windows Media Audio" a Microsoft Windows proprietary format that can be both compressed or uncompressed.
  10. 10. Power• One of the more overlooked aspects of audio recorders. Some audio recorders take rechargeable batteries. And at least one recorder has non-removable rechargeable batteries. This could be very bad should it die in the field.
  11. 11. Audio RecordersWhat type do I have and what are its capabilities and limitations?