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Thread: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

  1. #1
    knows little
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    Default fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    I'm looking for recommendations for an easy-to-use digital voice recorder (DVR) to quickly pull from my pocket to grab ideas and sounds. Quality is less important than speed.

    I wore out a couple Sony "reporter" cassette decks. Whip it out, punch ON and RECORD, and Voila! Transcribing was easy too. But I recently bought (and returned) a small DVR that took 10 seconds to initialize after powering ON and another 10 seconds after hitting RECORD before it actually started recording. That's intolerable.

    My target DVR is small, cheap, and easy and fast to use. Thanks for all help.
    Mandolins, mandolas, guitars, 'ukuleles, dulcimers, banjos, harmonicas, tinwhistles, cuatros, kalimbas, synths, more -- enough to keep me busy on a slow day.

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    You dont have a cell phone? AFAIK almost every one has a decent but not amazing but serviceable recorder built in. You can easily transfer those sound files to you computer, too.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Yes, I've a cell phone, which requires two hands, my visual attention, and a bit of a wait before recording audio -- not what I want while driving or biking when ideas flow. I need one-handed eyes-off operation without lengthy delays. The "reporter" recorders were great except for juggling cassettes and batteries.

  5. #4

    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    You can actually do that with an Iphone, and with one hand, and without looking.
    One click on the home button (beeps as confirmation), swish to the left, then click on the volume buttom (also beeps to confirm start of a video)

    Ive done this before while its in my pocket, once when there was a fight on the bus, but the beeps of course can be heard by anyone who is nearby.
    Not sure how this helps you to play the mandolin though?

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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Zoom H1n

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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    My Android phone is not really suited for one-hand no eyes audio recording. If I only walked, stood, or sat while composing lyrics, tunes, sequences, poems, reminders etc, the phone or other slow, clumsy device would be fine. But when rolling along, I want a pocketable discrete DVR with palpable buttons and no initialization delays. If I must wait, I'll forget what was so important, duh.

    How does impromptu idea-grabbing help my mandolinization? Fewer broken fingers, of course! And fewer lost ideas.

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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Thanks for suggesting the Zoom H1N. Do you have any idea how long it takes to initialize? The DVR I just returned was way too slow. I fear a sophisticated recorder will not startup quickly.

  10. #8
    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Zoom H1N is pretty big to keep in your pocket. My H4N is smaller, still too large for pocket and doesn't startup quickly.
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  11. #9
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Lavelle View Post
    Zoom H1N is pretty big to keep in your pocket. My H4N is smaller, still too large for pocket and doesn't startup quickly.
    Eh? H1N is significantly smaller. First comparison photo is is H1 not H1N, but H1N is only slightly bigger than H1 (2nd photo).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    I think all these recorders have some sort of startup time. However, you can also just turn it on and have it ready to go when you are driving or biking. Then again my phone is always on ad I have used the app there to record quickly with no startup.

    OTOH: you could try one of these Sony DVRs. However I would guess that startup takes a bit of time. Why not leave it on and ready to go?
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  13. #11

    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Did you check out Amazon, there are lots of small recorders over there some look kinda cool - one looks like a pen. I would think any of them would have some start up time but seems like you want one immediately at your disposal so Id look into the voice activated ones. Check out the spy shops as well. If you decide to go a different route I have the tascam dr05 and it works great, the zoom equivalent gets good reviews here as well.
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    This is basically what I use my smart phone for. Occasionally, I'll actually answer a call, but not often.

    I agree with Jim in post 2. Hard to imagine a better tool for this than a modern smart phone. Its always with you anyway and if you configure it where the record button is on the front screen (at least for an android), then its two button taps away to record and one button to stop and no down time.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    I'd agree that a modern phone would seem best suited in that it is highly portable and likely to be available when needed.

    I just checked my Zoom H2n. Again, this is quite bulky to carry around. Startup time seems to vary depending on the size of the SD card, not a scientific test, but about 6 seconds with a 16GB card, about 3 seconds with a 2GB card. On the other hand, if not concerned about battery life, it could be left powered on with the power switch in 'hold' mode (to prevent accidental operation). Then in less than 1 second, a quick slide of the power switch, a touch of the record button and its already recording. Or if not in hold mode, to start recording is an instant single press.

    I should add, I mention the use of hold mode, because the H2n is incredibly easy to use, the record button is big, easy to find, it's great. But if it's in a pocket with the device powered on and active, the button might get pressed by accident, it is so easy.

  16. #14
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Thanks, I returned the slow-starting recorder to Amazon. My searches there returned no info on startup time. That's why I asked here for recommendations. I'll check the Tascam DR05, thanks again.
    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    Did you check out Amazon, there are lots of small recorders over there some look kinda cool - one looks like a pen. I would think any of them would have some start up time but seems like you want one immediately at your disposal so Id look into the voice activated ones. Check out the spy shops as well. If you decide to go a different route I have the tascam dr05 and it works great, the zoom equivalent gets good reviews here as well.

  17. #15

    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    When looking on Amazon, look for "voice activated recorder".. there are a ton of them. They must be able to start recording pretty quickly if they're voice activated.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    When looking on Amazon, look for "voice activated recorder".. there are a ton of them. They must be able to start recording pretty quickly if they're voice activated.
    This Amazon page seems to have a lot of info and some super-small spyware models, too.
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  20. #17
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    Quote Originally Posted by Hypoxia View Post
    Thanks for suggesting the Zoom H1N. Do you have any idea how long it takes to initialize? The DVR I just returned was way too slow. I fear a sophisticated recorder will not startup quickly.
    Turn it on, push the record button, and instantly start recording.
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  21. #18
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: fast-acting pocket audio recorder

    I guess there will be a few seconds boot-up time, like in this video:

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