Filed Under (Ethnomusicology, General) by Rob on 09-04-2010

…just got smaller!

My Edirol R1 finally gave up the ghost after faithfully serving me for four years in numerous village locations in Togo, Benin and beyond! So, it was time to find a replacement. After much web-based reasearch, I came up with the Yamaha Pocketrak CX; it’s about a quarter of the size of my old one, but does everything I need it too. Neat display screen too, and a pair of decent built-in mics:

However, most of my recording will be through five external microphones and the Behringer Eurorack mixing desk (click here to see my usual set-up), so it’s good it has a ‘line in’ socket.

Other cool features include a record limiter, high pass filter, record standby (so you can set the level before recording), and a peak indicator light which comes on when the level is too high. It also takes a TINY micro-SD card – I have an 8gb one, which will hold around 12 hours of decent quality WAV:

One thing which drove me crazy with the R1 (apart from the ‘dalek noises’ it would make when it got too much sun) was the battery consumption. Two AA’s would last me 30 mins, maybe an hour, which was somewhat frustrating! The Pocketrak CX claims to run for 20 hours on one AA battery and even comes with special ‘eneloop’ battery, which is rechargeable via a USB lead.

The only slight limitation I have found is that it does not record in 24 bit WAV, only 16 bit, but – honestly – who can tell the difference? Also, given the size, ease of use, and price (ie about half the cost of it’s larger counterparts), I’d give it 10/10! I even has a tiny speaker in the back so you can listen to what you’ve recorded!

Still, don’t take my word for it; have a listen, firstly mp3 (128kbps):

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And now the same thing, recorded in WAV format (44.1k, 16 bit). This one may take a few seconds to download, but you can hear the quality:

44k (wav)

There you go! I suppose there’s no excuse for not bringing back ‘Tuesday Tunes’ next week! I’ll do my best…

Watch out for the Pocketrak CX in future ethno blog posts!

2 Comments posted on "Sound recording equipment"
Pauline Baker on April 10th, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

Brilliant sound – great improvement for you I’m sure. Thanks for all that info – it sounds like it will make a big difference to your work.

Jonathan on April 16th, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

It’s… so… stinkin’…… BEAUTIFUL! Praise God for new and improved gadgets.