need advice for best audio digital recorder, please

Jan 28th, 2007, 07:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 96
need advice for best audio digital recorder, please

Good morning, everyone:As some of you might remember, I have some unusual circumstances while on safari, which is coming up in just eight weeks. As a totally blind safari traveller, my prime interest is in the sounds of the bush. My husband (who is not blind) and I have a wonderful digital video camera we will be taking along, but I have seen mentioned here on the board how valuable it could be to also have a digital audio recorder in tow. It's a wonderful idea, and I am wondering if anyone has any advice on which one has not only the greatest amount of storage, but also the best sound quality?

crystalsong is offline  
Jan 28th, 2007, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 38
I just bought a Sony ICD-U70. Sound quality is good. I didn't explore storage since I plan to transfer recorded files to laptop, and I don't plan to use for music.

I have ordered but not yet received editing software. Another time I would have paid more for the included Dragon, etc package.

The files play well on my desktop but are in a proprietary format and I want to edit them and insert on web pages and don't yet have software for that.

It's been a bit hard for me to figure out the instructions and if I just stick the recorder in my pocket, it has several times started to record on its own. It does have several 'dots' that would help orient by touch, but it also has lots of menus - don't know if they have an audio option for the menus. I have the settings at 'best' right now and battery life seems to be about 2 hours, not good. But I am still figuring out how to use it and whether 'best' is necessary.

SylviaCaras is offline  
Jan 28th, 2007, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Some video cameras also have an audio only capability. Check see if yours does. The great Canon S2/S3 camera can record audio only, in stereo, good quality.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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When we went to Zambia the fall of last year, I too, wanted to record the sounds of Africa. Unfortunately, the digital recorder setup I had ordered online did not arrive in time, so I just bought a relatively cheap Olympus recorder with stereo capability at Best Buy.

There are many models on the market, but the most important features, to me, were stereo capability, and large storage capacity as I didn't want to mess around with downloading files until I got home. An important add-on IMO is to get a small ext. stereo microphone to maximize sound quality and to minimize the unwanted extraneous noises of turning the recorder on and off, and changing settings. Olympus makes one with a short cord that plugs into the standard jack that comes on most recorders.

I did a search and came up with a new model, the Olympus DS-50, I believe, that even has a detachable built-in microphone and 512 MB storage, enough for 17 hours of stereo recording.

Even though the recorder I took along was somewhat limited, I did get some nice recordings of the night sounds outside our tent at Old MOndoro Camp on the Lower Zambezi which I have downloaded to my computer and burned on a CD. Ho-ho'ing and splashing of close-by hippos in the channel, the grunting roar of a lion, the rustling of elephants as walked by our tent snarfling up wintergthorn seed pods, all accompanied by the the exhortations of the "Work harder, Drink more lager," birds. What wonderful sounds to go to sleep, and wake up to.

Here's a link to the site I found on the Olympus recorder. Good luck. I do hope you let us know what you decide and how it all works out.

steeliejim is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 708
I had been thinking about using an mp3 player as a recorder and found this link:

The poster uses a Zen Nano Plus (which we happen to have) and a Sonic Sleuth microphone. I have just ordered the microphone from Amazon Market place for about $30 and will post again when I have a chance to test it. If it works, it would be a cheap light answer to the problem and you could listen to tunes while traveling. It would be really neat to add sound to presentations.
tuckeg is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 05:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 96
First, thank you to all of you whooffered suggestions and advice for fining the best digital audio device. This forum is always such an amazing resource.

Jim, you did some remarkable sleuthing when you found that Olympus DS-50! I just ordered it today. It sounds amazing--I heard some demos of it--and the voice prompts while navigating are going to be a godsend! So few gadgets on the market are accessible fo the blind, but it appears that this one is one of the first digital voice recorders to have that distinction. Bonus: It also can double as an MP3/WMA player and can work with to download and listen to audio books! How perfect is that?! I can't thank you enough for your help! I let you know how it sounds in eal time as soon as I get it and figure it out.

Five weeks to go until we leave for Africa!
crystalsong is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 352
I'm so happy you have found a recorder to meet your needs. I feel a little foolish that I had not mentioned the voice activation feature. Yes, I would be very interested in getting your opinion of it--esp. after you return.

I am always hesitant to offer suggestions about products that I haven't tried myself, but Olympus is a reputable brand and has pioneered many innovations in the small audio recorder field.

Do try to see the difference in sound quality between leaving the mic on the recorder vs. removing it and placing it a small distance away. I found that there was quite a bit of extraneous mechanical noises with the on-recorder mic when turning it on/off and moving it, vs. the remote stereo mic (which was waiting for me after I returned home).

Five weeks to go before you leave on safari. How exciting!

steeliejim is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 03:17 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 96
Hi, Jim:

I will give the remote a try. I wonder if attaching it to my collar and using the remote will be a reasonable solution while in the vehicle. I guess I'll just have to try. The recorder will be arriving tomorrow, so I'll have plenty of time to learn all of its idiosyncracies before we leave. Thanks again for your help; I'm glad you didn't hesitate, because I wouldn't have found an accessible machine like this without your input.
crystalsong is offline  

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