Networking for radio sales professionals from Grace Broadcast Sales.
Not sure where I would list this question - does anyone have any advice on field recorders? I'm thinking about investing in one personally so I don't have to schedule clients to come to the studio to record a spot.
I'm looking for something that can be easily converted once I bring it to the production dept or even better, something I can download as an mp3 and email to production. Being able to edit it on my own would be great if it's not too pricey.
I'm also needing something with quality sound (no background noise, static, hissing) - you know, all those annoying things you hate when listening to a commercial that sounds home-grown.
I appreciate your help!
Great question. Anyone who records clients for commercials should have a portable recorder handy. (They're also useful for gathering impromptu audio for news stories, liners and invitations for promo spots, and--as Jim Williams used to teach--for creating an audio contract. (Taught in Chapter 7 of The Smart Call Demo Plan, if memory serves.)
In the old days we lugged around "portable" reel-to-reel recorders. Then cassettes came along, followed years later by mini-disc recorders. Sony made a great one for on-site recording. These days, portable digital recorders use CF or SD cards with as much storage as you're likely to need.
Look for a recorder that gives you the option (in Settings) to choose .wav or .MP3 formats. Most offer this.
A good mic is important, too. The mic that came with the M-Audio Microtrack, one of the earliest flash recorders (pictured at left) has proven to be superb. I use mine regularly. The biggest drawback to this recorder (which M Audio may have fixed in later iterations; I bought one of the first generation units) is the absence of a user-replaceable rechargeable battery. Rather than send my unit back to the factory for battery replacement, I found a rechargeable battery online for around $20. It's been working well for years.
These days I see a lot of people using recorders from Roland and Tascam.
Here's a page of choices from Sweetwater Sound, one of many companies selling these: http://www.sweetwater.com/c1006--Portable_Recorders
You can get a fine recorder for under $200. Not sure how the sub-$100 units will compare, but certainly worth checking into. You might also check Amazon, Musicians Friend, BSW, and Full Compass. I suspect they'll all be close in price; can't hurt to shop around.
Hope this helps.
Thanks Rod -
Based on this info, I'm thinking about the Roland R-05. Here's a link to the info on it. I was thinking about the Tascam DR-40 but it seemed a little vague on editing and wav/mp3 formats. Both are priced the same now at $199. The Roland was originally $200 and the Tascam was $270. Not sure if that matters. Thanks for your opinion.
If these units offer on-board editing capabilities, I'm unaware of it. Usually we just use them to record the audio, then copy the MP3 or WAV files to our computers for editing in our audio software (Audition/Cool Edit; Sound Forge; Fast Edit; ProTools; etc.).
One brand that's popular, that I forgot to mention, is ZOOM.
The people at Sweetwater and other places are glad to answer questions about capabilities of specific units. Sometimes they're not even hard-sell!
I own a ZOOM II and really, really like it. The menu system is a little small, but you can record in a multitude of compression schemes. Or not. Has a line-in which is very handy for recording audio from my synths.
I've used it for about 3 years, and would highly recommend it. You can do some on-board editing with it, but the small menus make that a tedious option. Audacity is a free downloadable program that will let you edit your files. The unique thing about the ZOOM is the 4 mics built inside it. If you know how to record things well, the unit shines.
I've used a Zoom H4 Handy Recorder for a couple of years now to record interviews in the field that I use on my radio show. I always record in MP3 format and I've found the audio quality to be very good. However, you need to be careful (with any recorder) to make sure you are not recording in the wind or in a large room that has a cavernous sound. Background noise is picked up easily so too, which can be good or bad, depending on what you are trying to do. I always use the wind mic screen on my recorder, it works better for me.
Hope that helps!
Northwestern Outdoors Radio
We use the TASCAM - DR-05. Very portable and data transfer is easy. Price is not bad either. Some of us own these personally.
Good morning Celeste:
Our sales group and news departments all use iPhones and the iRig app. Apple even recomends iRig on the Apple web site. iRig has an app for the iPhone and iPad. They also sell mics, and other equipment to hold the iPhone or iPad. The app costs $4.99 and works great. s Rod has stated we originally ordered direct from iRig but than started to buy from Sweetwater. Sweetwater is great and you pay the same or less through sweetwater. iRig just came out with a new mic called the icast.
Works great for us!!
Great idea! This has lead to so much new business for me over the years! I have a laptop with Cool Edit Pro installed....you can get the program on the web....and I have a small digital mixer, cords and microphones...all fits nicely into a medium sized carry bag. It is like taking the production studio on the road with you as it records right into mp3 or wave format (whatever format you need) and can be easily transferred to the production studio for editing....I edit mine right there with the client so they can actually approve their part and it speeds thing up for you. It's something I put together on the fly when one of my clients could not get out of the office to go to the studio....and it has also become my home recording studio. Very good idea!
I use the Edirol R-09 by Roland. You can find them on line. They are almost studio quality and they will download easily to your computer. They don't edit but you can do that back at the station. Mine cost about $180 but the quality is worth it. I use it for spots, client recordings and our Sunday morning public affairs show. I'm happy.
Have an iPhone? Download iTalk for free from the app store. Inside app you can select recording quality and, (with free app) you can file share your recorded file(s) with Mac or PC, and dropbox files to yourself if larger then 2mg. If recording(s) is/are 2mgs or smaller email them to yourself from app. Records in .aiff file, which easily converts to Mp3. This week I compared the recording capabilities of my iPhone with the other recorder I have used, Roland's Edirol R9. I hear no difference in quality between these two. For me, it's going to be my iPhone going forward.
I have an android on which I have downloaded a very basic ap called easy voice recorder free. The quality is about as good as I have heard on any other portable voice recorder. From there I download the audio onto my computer where I am more comfortable editing anyway. If you have an iPhone or an Android, try these options that are free using the eqipment you already have and see if that works for you, you could end up saving money and having the answer at the same time....We could write a commercial about this!!!!
I had a Droid X until two weeks ago (four years) and I used an app called Tape Machine. I now use it on my Galaxy sIII. It is perfect for field recording. I have dropbox on the same phone so I can just drop the files and away they go.
One thing to remember... hold the darn thing back a ways! Don't try to hold the phone like a broadcast microphone and PROJECT into it. You'll overdrive the microphone. Also remember that some of the best ads DON'T sound like they were done in a studio. I hate when announcers do on-location broadcasts and make sure that NO background music seeps in. Make it sound live... mistakes and all.