Need a voice recorder for college!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Demon Hunter, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    I need some advice on buying one of these for recording lectures. I had an epiphany that I could use one of these for my daily, two-hour bus commute! So with that in mind, I did a little research, and so far I'm kind of disappointed.

    Sony seems to have an exclusive monopoly, with by far the most models and media types. However, besides the fact that I hate Sony, they are greedy jerks. What this means is me being forced to buy lots of proprietary MiniDiscs or flash sticks. A few models take Memory Stick PRO Duo, which is good. They also have the best looking devices (grr).

    The iPod isn't really an option for me, since my Mini is gone and couldn't record anyway.

    And then there's the question of media: flash, cassette, microcassette, MiniDisc. I've never used a MiniDisc, and what the heck is a microcassette? What are the advantages to each?

    My needs are: reliability, function, sound quality, looks. Price isn't really a concern; I want to use this for a long time (grad school). I'm very hesitant about giving any money to Sony, although MiniDisc looks like it might be cool. Transferring to my Mac is a minor plus.

  2. Nuc macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2003

    I have the olympus WS-300M (paid $110 w/ shipping). You should be able to get a price similar by doing a google search..
    Or check out others on the website. You may want to get one of their external mics, this may improve the sound quality.

    I bought one of these myself. You can hook it straight into a mac. With EasyWMA you can convert the media to .mp3. You can also listen by using Flip4mac. You may have to buy EasyMac, I downloaded version 2.2 that didn't require a SN. I believe they started making you pay in 2.2.1...

  3. AJBMatrix macrumors 6502


    Feb 6, 2006
    Athens, Georgia
    I see a lot of people recording lectures with thier iPods. There are attachments that you can get at BestBuy for somewhere around 40 - 70 dollars.
  4. boncellis macrumors 6502


    Feb 9, 2006
    Salt Lake City
    Griffin iTalk

    I have a 4G iPod with Griffin's iTalk, and it works beautifully. No background noise, and fabulous integration with iTunes.

    I am a law student, and I have also used my powerbook's internal mic to record lectures with Office for Mac. Those tools also export seamlessly to iTunes, but you do get the typing and internal noise from the computer's fan, hard drive, etc.

    Good Luck!
  5. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Yeah, beg borrow or steal an iPod that fits the Griffin iTalk.

    I use it with my 20gig fourth gen AND IT WORKS SO WELL I CANNOT BELIEVE IT.

    I need it for interviews and it has saved my life. Those lousey microcassettes are expensive and you can't easily convert to cd.

    Get a used ipod and the iTalk. Unreal how great the voice memo option is.

    Thank you Apple for making my life easier.
  6. japasneezemonk macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2005
    i use minidisc, but i no longer need high quality recordings so i might just go the iPod way.
  7. Demon Hunter thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    Really? Hmm I could beg my dad for his old 3G. :)

    Is the iTalk good at 10-20 feet?
  8. Demon Hunter thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    MiniDisc looks very appealing, after more research. Not interested in the music ability, that's what my iPod is for. But the time marks, media footprint, quality, look excellent. May be able to transfer to Mac via optical?
  9. Rye Brye macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2003
    Don't bother with the iTalk - just put on iPod linux

    If you are technically inclined - just load up iPod linux on your ipod (no, it wont erase your files - and yes you will still be able to boot into your normal Apple firmware by default if you want)

    iPod linux enables line-in recording via the headphone jack (mono) or stero through the dock connector. And it's free + the cost of whatever cable/mic you choose to use.

    Oh, and it records up to 96 kHz files.
  10. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
  11. cwedl macrumors 65816


    Jun 5, 2003
    My friend uses an sony minidisc player and a sensitive recorder (both sony), works really well. I know sony is a rubbish company, everything I have bought from them has broken. Try it you may have better luck.
  12. japasneezemonk macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2005
    There is no denying that with the right mic, the minidisc recorder is amazing.
  13. Demon Hunter thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    Thanks everybody.

    Touché. :)

    The advantage of a taped lecture would be no missed details or important ideas, improved recall from auditory cues, a context for understanding vague notes, etc. Increase your attention in class, and transcribe later, or like many of my professors do, print out the notes and then use the recorded lecture to review.
  14. Demon Hunter thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004

    I've chosen the aged but reliable Sony MZ-B100 MDLP recorder. It's no iPod, but I think it's pretty sexy. Although I can't directly transfer audio, I figure I can record via my laptop's microphone later using QuickTime Pro if needed. Which is most compatible anyway!

    The problem with DVRs is their lack of physical copies (or maybe a plus for others), no compatibility with Mac and strange formats. That left me with cassettes, which are inferior compared to MiniDisc. This way, I throw the thin MiniDisc in with my paper notebooks, mark specific parts of a lecture, and can study without hauling my 17" PB around.

    The iPod is very promising, but until the adapters are improved, I think this will give me better results. Surprising that no mic exists for the 5G yet. I also bought an omni-directional external mic with noise-reduction, with the ability to specify a small/large room.

    A definite gamble with Sony/MiniDisc, but for "field recording" purposes the MiniDisc seems alive and well, at least until my iPod can do everything this recorder does.

    Just in case other students are interested, I'll post results later...

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