Griffin iTalk - home recording recommendations?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by paulwesley, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. paulwesley macrumors newbie

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    Syracuse, NY
    #1
    I'm thinking about getting an iTalk for my iPod... I've heard they're mainly for up close dictation or voice, ie: not appropriate for capturing a live concert.

    My question is whether it would work well for recording one or maybe two people playing acoustic guitars and singing - not live in concert but as lo-fi home recording for rehearsal and as a songwriting scratch pad. I'm hoping it would be comparable to a standard tape deck with built in mic...

    Anyone have one of these babys who could give me some advice?

    Also, I'd welcome any general comments on it, good experiences, bad ones... ?

    I really like being able to use an external mic with it, and the gain control.
    (on the other hand, maybe I should just get a USB mic for my laptop, though that would lose the portability of the ipod...)

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
  2. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #2
  3. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #3
    I had an iTalk briefly and I returned it because I wasn't satisfied with the quality. That's probably not so much an iTalk limitation as it is the iPod recording limitation (8 kHz mono).

    The built-in mic on the iTalk distorted a lot when I was playing with it... and the built-in speakers didn't sound very good either. The recordings did sound much better when played through real speakers rather than through the iTalk speaker, but the quality still wasn't great.
     
  4. paulwesley thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Syracuse, NY
    #4
    That's too bad...

    :( hmmm... that's too bad if it's the iPod that's the weak link (8 kHz mono)

    ...since that would mean an external mic through the iTalk line-in won't improve the sound quality much...

    Thanks for the advice - at least they will let you return it...
     
  5. noahsnyc macrumors regular

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    Los Angeles
    #5
    iMic possibly?

    If you're going for home-recording, lo-fi or not, I must bring up the iMic.

    It's a wonderful little dongle that turns your USB port into an audio (mini - 1/8") input. Works great with Garageband and SoundStudio (for the true one-track lo-fi experience)

    Get yourself an iMic and a cheap microphone (on sale for $10 at Sam Ash) and start to rock. It'll sound like crap b/c of the cheap microphone, but much much better than the iTalk, and not to mention the iMic allows you to input any source, such as a turntable or guitar.

    It kind of usurps the iPod situation, but if it's at home, it shouldn't make a difference, just download the finished file to the iPod.

    Cheers.

    N.
     
  6. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #6
    So what do people suggest for classroom and meeting situations? Not just with an iPod (preferred); but with a PB?
     
  7. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #7
    Haven' played much with recording, but whether it is 8K or something better; what ill allow users to get a recording of meeting or class discussions?
     
  8. noahsnyc macrumors regular

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    Los Angeles
    #8
    Meetings w/ iPod and/or PB...

    For voice or meetings, very lo-fi stuff, an iTalk or the Belkin version is probably fine. In fact, that's what they're made for.

    If you're looking for something low-intensity, for recording music at home (or on the road w/ a laptop), that's where an iMic and a cheap microphone or line-based input would come in handy.

    Also, I believe there's a iTalk-like peripheral (might even be the iTalk or the Belkin version) that has a line-in (like the iMic, a 1/8" mini jack). Using this peripheral with a mic might make for mediocre live recordings or more direct voice notation than just the built-in mic. Unfortunately, I think that even the line-in peripheral is still limited to the iPod's low bit rate of live recording. I might be wrong...

    Cheers,
    N.
     
  9. paulwesley thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    iMic vs standard PB audio in?

    Thanks for pointing out the iMic. Is there an advantage to using the iMic over the standard 1/8" audio in on my powerbook? higher sound quality perhaps?

    After looking at the iMic I start to wonder if I should just go for broke and get an M-Box or one of the Tascam models... but then what I really *need* now is just a simple "cassette deck replacement" setup. (The higher end can wait...)

    (I would guess that the iTalk would be fine for small meetings or conversation settings...)

    Thanks for the advice!
    Paul
     
  10. noahsnyc macrumors regular

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    #10
    iMic rocks

    I have an iBook G4, and the iMic is the only way I've used to get analog audio in. It works really well in my experience, and on my new G4, there's no lag time. I'm recording music in Garageband and I'm consistently pleased with the results. For that matter, I've been pleased with the results from my built-in mic, which may sound strange, but it sure beats cassette tapes or four-track recorders.

    The iTalk sounds like it may be great for meetings and voice-notation. It's simple and small and obviously connects to another simple and small device. The iMic (about $30) needs an input, like an external microphone, so at that point you're talking about carrying a little gear along for the ride.

    The audio-in on your PB should be as good if not better than the audio-in given with the iMic. Obviously, the iMic is converting the analog input through a USB cable that the computer will understand. Having a built-in input gets rid of a "generation", which could yield slightly higher quality, but probably nothing more than you'd hear with the iMic considering you're talking "lo-fi".

    The real issue is that since you have an audio input already built into your PB, you don't need an iMic, do you?

    N.
     
  11. ColoJohnBoy macrumors 65816

    ColoJohnBoy

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    #11
    My roomie bought an iTalk for her 3G iPod. This last quarter, all of her professors gave her the go to set it up by the podium and record their lectures (The most important ones at least). She'd then transcribe them to notes later on. From what I heard the quality wasn't great, but it was more than sufficient for what she was doing.

    For concerts and such... well, we were front row at the David Bowie concert in January, and while we occassionally caught a lyrci or chord, for the most part it just sounded like a rumbling scream - not very good for listening to later.
     
  12. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #12
    Re: concerts and other live recording -- that's where I would bring out my MiniDisc recorder. Though nowadays I tend to tack on a shotgun mic onto my miniDV camcorder and use that. One time I used my 12" Powerbook to record some musical performances, just with its little built-in mic, and I was actually shocked at how well the recording turned out.
     
  13. Joeytpg macrumors 6502

    Joeytpg

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    #13
    So, if i want a GOOD/VERY GOOD recording sound (like recording vocals, or maybe a guitar using the amp.) which one you recommend?...imic? or a GOOD USB microphone?.......
     
  14. noahsnyc macrumors regular

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    #14
    Two answers

    First off, I'd also like to throw my hat into the mix for the built-in mic. I regularly use the built-in mic for scratch tracks or 'demos' with GarageBand. If the fan's not on, it sounds better than most four-track demos bands sell at shows. The built-in mic is grossly underrated.

    As far as anything better than that, I'm consistently happy with the iMic and my inexpensive Shure microphone. I also regularly plug my guitar directly into the iMic (with a 1/4"-1/8" converter from Radio Shack-$3). I use a lot of the built-in effects with GarageBand as well as some of my own "amp mixes". They sound just fine, probably as good as a Line 6 POD, which is basically the same thing. I find that's there's no lag on using the iMic, and it's become rather indispensible. I also use it with SoundStudio to record my vinyl to AAC then convert the AACs to MP3s in iTunes. Very snappy little device. One of the great parts about it is that since it gives you a standard 1/8" jack, you can plug anything into it. With a USB mic, the "USB part" might be great, but how many of those devices are made by companies with a reputation for making good microphones. The fact that I can use a Shure brand microphone or my Technics turntable or my Gibson guitar means that I know I'm still going 'into" the computer with something that makes great audio.

    N.
     
  15. Joeytpg macrumors 6502

    Joeytpg

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    Jul 1, 2004
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    Vienna, Austria
    #15
    hey noahsnyc, could you give me your ichat codename so we can talk about garagaband and recording techniques........? iplay guitar too, and i bought a plug to connect my guitar directly into my pbook, but for some reason it sounds bad......i really don't like it.....i preffer the sound comming from my amp and recorded with the build in mic......



    anyways can you give me the ichat id?.....or i can give you mine so we can chat (if you msn then we can use that too)


    thanks


    P.S. y own a Fernder Strat with EMG pick ups. yo have gibson?
     
  16. noahsnyc macrumors regular

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    Los Angeles
    #16
    Private Msg.

    Joeytpg, check your private message inbox on macrumors...People never seem to check those...I sent my email address to you!

    n.

    PS: '77 Les Paul Jr. P90 pickup, TV yellow
    '02 Gibson Reissue of the '62 Epiphone SG, black and pearl
    '56 Danelectro U2, turquoise
     

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