Card Recorders Survey (2005), by Alan Heighton

Journal articles index

Make Model Length (mm) Width (mm) Height (mm) Weight (kg) Indicative cost (UK web prices where available) Storage medium Bit depth (max) Sampling frequency (max) Mic Input connector Phantom power? Line In connector Line out connector Headphone out Filters? AGC/ALC? Limiter? MS decoder? Pre-record buffer? Power supply USB Download Open source or dedicated software? Computer requirements More info. Comments
Core Sound Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) + PD Audio interface + 24/96 pre-amp 76 51 146 0.5 with batteries PD Audio card: $199. PDA + PD Audio card + software:$375. PDA + PD Audio card +24/96 preamp +software: $975 . Recording software (alone) 'Live 24/96': approx $50. PCMCIA, SD or CF card 24 96 24/96 preamp: 5 pin TA5 mini XLR. Break out connectors to XLR, jacks etc available P48 by setting internal jumpers in 24/96 pre-amp, 4mA max. 24/96 preamp: via mic inout through attentuating break-out cable No 3.5mm jack on PDA No No No No No PDA - depends on model. PD Audio card powerd by PDA. 24/96 preamp can use PP3, NiMH, Li-ion etc via adaptors No. Download to PC via CF card. S/PDIF digital input/output on PD audio card Open source PDA is an integral part of the kit. Recording software for the PDA is needed http://www.core-sound.com/pdaudio_system/3.php Audio recording using a combination of a PDA (models specified by Core Sound), the Core Sound PD Audio interface and the Core Sound 24/96 preamp/adc, together with recording software. Pre-amp input connectors is mini XLR, with 'break-out' converter cables to other connectors available. Digital optical output from the pre-amp is fed to the PD-audio interface and into the PDA where it is stored on a flash memory card (type depends on PDA).
Edirol R-1 99 134 30 0.205 w/o batteries or CF card 319 incl VAT CF card 24 44.1 3.5mm jack stereo No 3.5mm jack stereo 3.5mm jack stereo 3.5mm jack stereo. SP/PDIF optical out on this socket Low cut via audio processor No ? No No 2 x AA Yes USB 2.0. Open Source Windows XP/2000/Me or MacOS9.2 or OS X http://www.edirol.it/europe/details.asp?id=12&la=UK&gid=-1&gruppo=Search%20products&code=346 Built-in Mic. Built in sound effects processor. Records in WAV or MP3.
Edirol R-4 254 222 72 1.7 999 incl VAT 40GByte internal hard disk and CF card slot 24 96 XLR or 6.3mm jack Yes, on XLRs As mic inputs - switch selectable 2x Phono 6.3mm jack On-board Graphic EQ No No No Yes 8x AA Yes USB 2.0. Open Source Not stated http://www.edirol.it/europe/details.asp?id=12&la=UK&gid=-1&gruppo=Search%20products&code=356 4 channel recorder. Digital coaxial input and output. Built-in omni mics. Built-in loudspeakers. Jog Dial playback. Built-in waveform editor sing LCD display. Price includes case and AC adaptor
Fostex FR-2 250 220 77 1.5 w/o battery 999 incl VAT CF card or PCMCIA hard disk 24 192 2x XLR P48 2x XLR 2x Phono (unbalanced) 6.3mm jack Yes. -switchable low cut No Yes - switchable No 10 Sec 8x AA (NiMH preferred) Yes Open Source Not stated http://www.fostexdvd.net/fxdvd_route/docs/product/fr2/fr2_overview.htm Digital output on XLR. Concentric rotary gain controls. Built-in loudspeaker. Line and mic inputs are switched on same sockets
M-Audio Micro-Track 26/96 69 21 102 0.15 with batttery 350 incl VAT CF card 24 96 6.3mm TRS jacks (balanced). 3.5mm jack unbalanced. Yes but 30V, 2mA max. As mic inputs - switch selectable 2x Phono 3.5mm jack No No No No No Internal Li-ion battery -not removable. Charged via USB port from computer Yes USB 1.1 or 2.0 Open Source Windows 2000, XP (SP1) . Mac OS X 10.3.9 or greater. http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack-focus.html Records in WAV or MP3. S/PDIF coaxial digital input. Editing software included. Battery and AC adaptor included.. Comparisons by University of Wisconsin-Michigan suggest mic pre-amps are noisy relative to Sony NH-900 and Sound Devices 722 - see http://www.uwm.edu/~type/Mic%20Preamps/.
Mayah Flashman 127 147 53 0.6 bare; 0.715 with batteries and CF card 1150 + VAT CF Card 16 48 XLR balanced mono, 3.5mm jack unbalanced stereo 12V 3.5mm jack 3.5mm jack 3.5mm jack No No Yes No No 4x AA (NiMH preferred) No. Download via RS 232, or using CF card in a PC Not clear Edit Pro software (supplied) needs PII 350MHz or better; Win 98SE or later http://www.mayah.com/content/download/pdfs/brochures/flashman_e.pdf Digital input and output. RS232 port for firmware updates. Designed for single handed Interview) use. It is not clear whether or not the EditPro software is needed when down-loading to PC from the CF card.
Marantz PMD 660 113 47 184 0.5 389 incl VAT CF Card 16 48 XLR P48, 5mA 3.5mm jack 3.5mm jack 3.5mm jack No Yes, switchable No, except via AGC No Yes 2 sec 4x AA Yes USB 1.1 Open Source Not stated http://www.d-mpro.com/users/folder.asp Built-in microphones. Built-in loudspeaker. Concentric rotary level controls. Mic attentuator. Records in WAV or MP3.
Marantz PMD 670 264 185 55 1.3 650 incl VAT CF Card 16 48 XLR P48, 10mA Phono (RCA) jacks Phono (RCA) jacks 6.3mm jack Switchable low cut and band pass filters. Yes, switchable Yes, switchable No Yes 2 sec 8x AA in battery carrier. Dedicated NiNH and Ni-Cd batteries available. Yes USB 1.1 Open Source Not stated http://www.d-mpro.com/users/folder.asp Superceded by PMD 671. Built-in microphone. Built-in loudspeaker. Digital coaxial input and output on RCA jacks. Concentric rotary level controls. Mic attentuator. Built-in battery charger for dedicated batteries.
Marantz PMD 671 264 185 55 1.3 895 incl VAT CF Card 24 96 XLR P48, 7mA Phono (RCA) jacks Phono (RCA) jacks 6.3mm jack Switchable low cut and band pass filters. Yes, switchable Yes, switchable No Yes. 1 sec at 24 bit; 2 sec at 16 bit 8x AA in battery carrier. Dedicated NiNH and Ni-Cd batteries available. Yes USB 1.1 Open Source Not stated http://www.d-mpro.com/users/folder.asp Built-in microphone. Built-in loudspeaker. Digital coaxial input and output on RCA jacks. Concentric rotary level controls. Mic attentuator. Built-in battery charger for dedicated batteries.
Nagra Ares-M 123 53 23 0.15 From 1350 Swiss Francs 1GByte internal memory 16 48 3.5mm stereo jack No 3.5mm stereo jack 3.5mm stereo jack 3.5mm stereo jack Yes. -switchable low cut Yes, switchable No No No 2 x AA Yes Open Source Not stated http://www.nagraaudio.com/pro/index.php Dedicated microphone supplied. Has built-in loudspeaker. Menu-driven set-up. Level adjustment by up/down bottons
Nagra Ares-BB+ 160 168 56 0.9 From 1400+ VAT PCMCIA card; CF card 16 48 2x XLR P48 2xXLR 2x XLR 6.3mm jack Yes. -switchable low cut Yes, switchable No Yes No 6 x AA or Li-ion battery pack Yes Open source Not stated http://www.nagraaudio.com/pro/index.php Built-in loudspeaker. Adjustable mic sensitivity. Line and mic inputs are switched on same sockets. Internal battery charger. Menu-driven set-up. Level adjustment by up/down bottons. Intended for over-the-shoulder or table-top use. Basic machine cost does not included battery box or case. Software updates via RS232 download cable (extra at 215+VAT!)
Nagra Ares-PII 188 80 28 0.45 From 1334 + VAT CF card 16 48 12 pin locking DIN P48 12 pin locking DIN Lemo 3.5mm stereo jack Yes. -switchable low cut No No No No 5 x AA Yes Open Source Not stated http://www.nagraaudio.com/pro/index.php Built-in loudspeaker. Menu-driven set-up. Level adjustment by up/down bottons. Breakout cables (eg to XLR) available to connect in to 12pin DIN input socket. Shares the same electronic circuitry as the BB+. Intended for hand-held use. Software updates via RS232 download cable (extra at 215+VAT!)
Nagra V 290 20 115 2.75 From 9000 Swiss Francs 20GByte HDD 24 96 2x XLR T power, P48 2x 'Sub D' 2x XLR 6.3mm jack Yes. -switchable Low cut No Optional extra Yes Yes -up to 20 sec. 8x D cells or Li-ion battery pack Yes Open source Not stated http://www.nagraaudio.com/pro/index.php Also Firewire down load. External hard disk drive is removable, internal hard drive also available. Digital inputs and outputs. Adjustable mic sensitivity
Sound Devices 722/744T 209 125 45 1.2 w/o battery 722: 1895 + VAT. 744: 2950 + VAT Internal 20GByte HDD or CF card or both 24 192 XLR Yes, 10mA per mic XLR (switchable from mic connector) TA3 mini XLR balanced 3.5mm jack Low cut. Switchable frequency and roll-off rate No On mic inputs Yes. Decoding selectable on the headphone output Yes 10 sec. Sony Li-ion battery pack or external 10-18V supply No USB. Download via 'Firewire' port Open source Windows 2000, XP or Mac OS X http://www.sounddevices.com/products/722.htm 744T is 4 channel version with timecode and 40GByte HDD. Menu-driven. LCD backlight display. 76 segment LED metering (adjustable brightness). Stepless level adjustment on mic inputs; 0.5dB steps on line inputs. Test tone oscillator. MP3 encoding. Digital input and output on BNC connectors. Internal transfer between HDD and CF card. Data connector for software upgrades. Built-in charger for Li-ion battery. To save power, record on CF card only, turn off display backlighting ('stealth mode' with no illumination is available); to maximise data security, record on both the CF card and the HDD simultaneously.
Sony Hi-MD MZ-NH900/MZ-RH-10 82 82 21 0.15 NH-900: as low as 100. RH-10: 155 (web) 1GByte HiMD Minidisk 16 44.1 3.5mm jack No 3.5mm jack 3.5mm jack shared with headphones 3.5mm jack No Yes No No No Ni-MH 'gumstick' battery and/or external screw on battery pack (1xAA) Yes. USB 1.1 Sonic Stage PII 400MHz or better. 200MB hard drive space. Windows 98SE or greater http://www.sony.co.uk/view/ShowProduct.action?product=MZ-RH10&site=odw_en_GB&pageType=Features&category=PAW+MiniDisc+%26+Net+MD+Walkman 1st generation (discontinued) and 2nd generation Hi-MD respectively (also consider NH-700 & RH-910). NH-900 - LCD display. RH10 - electroluminescent display. Sonic Stage essential for USB digital transfer - use version 3.0 or greater. Sonic Stage places restrictions on high speed digital transfer to PC (ie once only) but this can be overcome by using real-time transfer. Avoid MZ-NH1 - unique Li-ion battery only, no screw on pack for AA cells. Strong user community - see http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php. Pre-amps surprisingly quiet - see http://www.uwm.edu/~type/Mic%20Preamps/
Tascam HD-P2 246 188 60 1.2 w/o batteries 880 incl VAT CF card 24 192 2x XLR also switchable as balanced Line In P48 up to 10mA 2x phono (RCA) unbalanced 2x phono (RCA) unbalanced 6.3mm 18dB/octave roll off below 100Hz No Yes on/off switch selectable. No Yes - up to 10 seconds 8x AA. Ni-MH recommended - but see Notes. No USB. Download by 'Firewire' port Yes Windows XP. Mac OS X 10.3. http://www.tascam.com/Products/hdp2.html SMPTE/LTC Timecode board. Broadcast WAV file format. Digital S/PDIF input/output on RCA jack. Built-in mono microphone. Built-in speaker. 'Re-do last take' button. PS/2 keyboard input socket (allows remote control of machine). Best running time with alkaline cells ( 5 hours). Ni-Cad and Ni-MH can be used, but shorter running time and no internal charger. 12V DC adaptor included. Menu-driven. Adjustable metering decay speed, peak hold and clip hold display. Software updates via download onto CF card. Mic pad switches (-20dB). Concentric rotary level controls.

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