Shiny new portable recorder.

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philicorda

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Jul 24, 2005, 6:37:15 PM7/24/05
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I've been considering an Edirol R1 for a while, but this looks rather good.
It's called a microtrack. Records to Flash/microdrive.
8 hours battery, 24/96, phantom, SPDIF in, balanced ins... $499.
I wonder what the converters are like?

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack-main.html

this]@ri.t-com.hr Edi Zubovic

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Jul 25, 2005, 3:34:59 AM7/25/05
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Yes! -- It seems promising to me. Watchout, Sony. Well, as to
converters I think, if they are 24/96, they must be good enough for
16/44 too {had it a, say, bluetooth or alike, remote control, it would
be just great but have we to wait a while still?}

Edi Zubovic, Crikvenica, Croatia

Mike Rivers

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Jul 25, 2005, 7:07:15 AM7/25/05
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> I've been considering an Edirol R1 for a while, but this looks rather good.
> It's called a microtrack. Records to Flash/microdrive.

Looks like it might be a reasonable alternative. At least it has
inputs on something other than mini phone jacks. Media is still too
expensive for me, however. Too bad they didn't put a 20 or 40 GB
laptop drive (like a Jukebox 3) in it. Microdrives are expensive,
fairly small capacity, and according to some digital camera folks,
aren't very reliable.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mri...@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo

Peter A. Stoll

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Jul 25, 2005, 10:18:22 AM7/25/05
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mri...@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in news:znr1122252322k@trad:

> Microdrives are expensive,
> fairly small capacity, and according to some digital camera folks,
> aren't very reliable.

I'd skip the microdrives, buy a just barely big enough Compact Flash card
now, and count on progress to help later.

Kingston Elite Pro CF cards are an example of a fast enough major card
which is widely available in the 2 Gb size for about $100. (two hours
recording time at 24/44.1) The 4GB size can be had easily for $230. By
then you are beyond the stated battery life of this offering with phantom
power, anyway, unless you plan to record for bats.

The RAW crowd with big-mexapixel digital cameras are driving demand for
fast multi-gigabyte CF cards. They should get cheaper fast now that there
is a decent size market.

Peter A. Stoll

tym...@hotmail.com

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Jul 25, 2005, 11:56:03 AM7/25/05
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Hmmm. 1/8 in. stereo or SPDIF Inputs and RCA outputs.... seems like the
line in/out should have been the other way around.

philicorda

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Jul 25, 2005, 12:04:28 PM7/25/05
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On Mon, 25 Jul 2005 08:56:03 -0700, tymish wrote:

> Hmmm. 1/8 in. stereo or SPDIF Inputs and RCA outputs.... seems like the
> line in/out should have been the other way around.

The inputs are balanced 1/4" TRS with 48v phantom. There is also a 1/8"
mic input with 5v for electrets. I hope the mic pre/line gain adjustment
is done on the analog side, before the A/Ds.

Peter A. Stoll

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Jul 25, 2005, 12:12:09 PM7/25/05
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tym...@hotmail.com wrote in news:1122306963.351439.138770
@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:

> Hmmm. 1/8 in. stereo or SPDIF Inputs and RCA outputs.... seems like the
> line in/out should have been the other way around.
>


The page says "1/8" TRS input with 5V power for use with stereo electret
microphone (microphone included)"
and "professional balanced ź TRS inputs with mic/line switch"

also "monitoring via RCA line outputs or 1/8" stereo headphone output"

I'd assume the 1/4" inputs and the 1/8" output are on a side not displayed
in these pictures.

Peter A. Stoll

Jonny Durango

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Jul 25, 2005, 4:35:57 PM7/25/05
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I can't find anything out about the size of this thing. You can get a
good idea by looking at the 1/8" jacks on the side, but does anyone know
the actual dimensions? Either way, it looks a lot smaller than the
R1....the only drawback is the lack of high-quality built-in mics. At
first I thought the mics on the R1 would be a poor quality gimmick, but
after hearing the samples, why tote around 2 SDC's or even a single
stereo mic when the built in mics sound great?

But I think for REAL field work, the 48v phantom, 1/4" TRS ins and line
outs on seperate "channels" puts this ahead of the R1, assuming it has
the same high-quality pre's and ADC....but even if it doesn't, it has
SPDIF in which for some stupid reason the R1 doesn't have....just pick
up a mic2496 and you're set.

Anyway, here are some more articles I found about it:

http://createdigitalmusic.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=663&Itemid=44

http://createdigitalmusic.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=481&Itemid=44

From the looks of this, it appears to be significantly smaller than the R1.

"...the Flash Tracker looks from the SonicState report to be half the
size, in an iPod-like, curved shell."

Anyway, according to Doug at OADE, the digital level controls could
really hurt the sound quality of this device. Does anyone know if the R1
has digital level controls or analog?

Quoted:
"Sadly this thing uses a digital level control that probably cannot be
bypassed or improved. Fine for MP3 users or ENG but not so great for
tapers or audiophiles. Think JB3/MD analog input sound quality."

Jonny Durango

Mike Rivers

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Jul 25, 2005, 6:03:49 PM7/25/05
to

> I'd skip the microdrives, buy a just barely big enough Compact Flash card
> now, and count on progress to help later.

For me, a just barely big enough flash card would be enough to record
over a whole weekend, perhaps 20 to 30 hours.

> Kingston Elite Pro CF cards are an example of a fast enough major card
> which is widely available in the 2 Gb size for about $100. (two hours
> recording time at 24/44.1)

I haven't used $1,000-$1,500 worth of media on a weekend recording gig
since the 2" tape days. Sure, you can re-use it, but it would take a
week on-and-off to transfer all those cards to another medium.

Peter A. Stoll

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Jul 25, 2005, 6:55:13 PM7/25/05
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mri...@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in news:znr1122310342k@trad:

>
> For me, a just barely big enough flash card would be enough to record
> over a whole weekend, perhaps 20 to 30 hours.

For that, I agree, nothing less that a notebook class hard drive will do
(as, for example, in the Sound Devices 722). As you and I can buy them for
$60 retail, you'd think they could be put in a reasonable machine, but
these low-volume machines sell at ferocious hardware markups to amortize
development, marketing, and handholding, so I'm afraid ones with such
drives will remain expensive. Microdrives in that capacity are not
current, and in CF envelope I'm not convinced magnetic disk has the
permanent advantage over semiconductor memory that seems so clear in the
larger forms.



> I haven't used $1,000-$1,500 worth of media on a weekend recording gig
> since the 2" tape days. Sure, you can re-use it, but it would take a
> week on-and-off to transfer all those cards to another medium.

The upload speed from a decent card in a decent reader may rival the upload
speed from an HD, but I imagine you are thinking about swap time. At the
moment, on the 722, uploading from the card is actually faster (about 6
Mbytes/second vs. 3, in round numbers), the HD being limited by a 1394
implementation that wants tuning.

But, nit-picking aside, I can see CF is not yet the answer for someone with
your recording duration need. In maybe three years, quite possibly yes.

I wonder whether the firmware in these CF machines actually is set up to
handle cards bigger than 2 or 4 Gb. There are some implementation seams at
those two points which may trip up a machine or two. I can vouch the 722
handles a 4Gb card from personal use.

Mike Rivers

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Jul 25, 2005, 8:50:02 PM7/25/05
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> > http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack-main.html
>
> I can't find anything out about the size of this thing. You can get a
> good idea by looking at the 1/8" jacks on the side, but does anyone know
> the actual dimensions?

Nobody knows anything. It's a pre-pre-release teaser announcement.
Wasn't anyone at the NAMM show? They probably had one there.

What size would you like it to be? Generally the size of a portable
audio device is mostly a function of the connectors and controls. I'd
like it to be big enough to have XLRs in and at least 1/4" jacks out,
but I'd settle for 1/4" jacks in if the controls are big enough so you
can hit the right button easily. I'd guess it's about 1 x 3 x 5
inches.

> Anyway, according to Doug at OADE, the digital level controls could
> really hurt the sound quality of this device. Does anyone know if the R1
> has digital level controls or analog?

I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the possible
exception of the buttons on the side. That means the gain is digitally
controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled analog
attenuator. That probably means that when you turn it up, you amplify
the front end noise and when you turn it down, you can get the meters
to read below full scale and still have clipping. Better bring a
pocket full of attenuators.

Arny Krueger

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Jul 26, 2005, 12:01:23 AM7/26/05
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"Mike Rivers" <mri...@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1122330509k@trad

> I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the
possible
> exception of the buttons on the side. That means the gain
is digitally
> controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled
analog
> attenuator.

I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.

I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that part
to start showing up all over the place.

Yup, here it is:

http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/pga2500.html

Richard Crowley

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Jul 26, 2005, 12:17:12 AM7/26/05
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"Arny Krueger" <ar...@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:RbidndjT1u4...@comcast.com...

Seems like wishful thinking to imagine that small portable
unit uses a mic preamp chip like the 2500. Would that it
were so.

Doug Oade in his "tapers" online forum....

"Sadly this thing uses a digital level control that probably cannot be
bypassed or improved. Fine for MP3 users or ENG but not so great for
tapers

or audiophiles. Think JB3/MD analog input sound quality. Still, the
promise
of this thing is as a non resampling 24 bit storage device for the Grace
V3,
Apogee MiniMe or MOD UA5. Until we see Microphone Preamps with A/D
converters that include CF slots, something like this unit is our best
hope
for low cost storage.
Let us all hope they managed to include a good quality 24 bit S/PDIF
input..Doug"

http://www.oade.com/Tapers_Section/Forum/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=100&topic_id=3057&mesg_id=3088&page=

Arny Krueger

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Jul 26, 2005, 12:38:44 AM7/26/05
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"Richard Crowley" <rcro...@xpr7t.net> wrote in message
news:11ebea8...@corp.supernews.com

> "Arny Krueger" <ar...@hotpop.com> wrote in message
> news:RbidndjT1u4...@comcast.com...
>> "Mike Rivers" <mri...@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
>> news:znr1122330509k@trad
>>
>>> I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the
>> possible
>>> exception of the buttons on the side. That means the
>>> gain
>> is digitally
>>> controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled
>> analog
>>> attenuator.
>>
>> I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.
>>
>> I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
>> new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
>> preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
>> attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that
>> part to start showing up all over the place.
>>
>> Yup, here it is:
>>
>> http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/pga2500.html
>
> Seems like wishful thinking to imagine that small portable
> unit uses a mic preamp chip like the 2500. Would that it
> were so.

Time will tell.

> Doug Oade in his "tapers" online forum....

> "Sadly this thing uses a digital level control that
> probably cannot be bypassed or improved. Fine for MP3
> users or ENG but not so great for tapers
> or audiophiles. Think JB3/MD analog input sound quality.
> Still, the promise
> of this thing is as a non resampling 24 bit storage
> device for the Grace V3,
> Apogee MiniMe or MOD UA5. Until we see Microphone Preamps
> with A/D converters that include CF slots, something like
> this unit is our best hope
> for low cost storage.
> Let us all hope they managed to include a good quality 24
> bit S/PDIF input..Doug"
>
>
http://www.oade.com/Tapers_Section/Forum/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=100&topic_id=3057&mesg_id=3088&page=


I think that Doug knows as much factual information about
the Microtrack as anybody else who has read the M-Audio
press release. ;-)


Justin Ulysses Morse

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Jul 26, 2005, 12:38:56 AM7/26/05
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Mike Rivers <mri...@d-and-d.com> wrote:

> For me, a just barely big enough flash card would be enough to record
> over a whole weekend, perhaps 20 to 30 hours.
>

> I haven't used $1,000-$1,500 worth of media on a weekend recording gig
> since the 2" tape days. Sure, you can re-use it, but it would take a
> week on-and-off to transfer all those cards to another medium.


I imagine you'd do fine with 2 or 3 of these 4G cards (maybe 8-12 hrs
at 44.1/24), and do an upload to your laptop back at the hotel each
night. You don't have to sit there and watch the upload take place.
Then you burn CDR or DVD-R backups of thes files, and delete them from
the CF cards.

And you don't "use $1000 worth of media on a weekend." The media is
reusable, so consider it equipment, not media. The media is the DVD-R
which costs $0.30 apiece and you use three of them for the weekend.

Even if this recorder sells "street" for the $500 MSRP, and you need
four $250 4G CF cards, you've still got yourself a high-resolution
digital recorder that fits in your shirt pocket for $1500. That's
amazingly cheap.

Is there a good AD converter that'll fit in the other pocket?

ulysses

Mike Rivers

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Jul 26, 2005, 6:49:28 AM7/26/05
to

> > I haven't used $1,000-$1,500 worth of media on a weekend recording gig
> > since the 2" tape days. Sure, you can re-use it, but it would take a
> > week on-and-off to transfer all those cards to another medium.
>
> The upload speed from a decent card in a decent reader may rival the upload
> speed from an HD, but I imagine you are thinking about swap time.

I'm figuring that I could set up something to transfer, get it going,
then do something else for a while. Assuming I was transferring to
media that was larger than the flash card (like a DVD, which I ain't
got any of now) I could let it run unattended. Even if it only took 15
minutes, I might not get back to it for an hour or two. And I
certainly wouldn't want to sit there watching the disk drive lights
blink. Hence the "week."

Mike Rivers

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Jul 26, 2005, 10:20:26 AM7/26/05
to

In article <1122352738.0d1d4016a81af2dddf505e9f9f317dbe@teranews> ulysse...@rollmusic.com writes:

> I imagine you'd do fine with 2 or 3 of these 4G cards (maybe 8-12 hrs
> at 44.1/24), and do an upload to your laptop back at the hotel each
> night.

That's the obviousl solution, but after a day of working at a
festival, fiddling with my recording equipment is about the last thing
I want to do (or even want to have to remember to do). And I distrust
computers enough so that, while I could let it run unattended while
I'm soaking in the hot tub, I would definitely want to check the copy
before erasing the flash card. I suppose that a "file compare" utility
might work OK for that, but I'd rather play it and listen.

> And you don't "use $1000 worth of media on a weekend." The media is
> reusable, so consider it equipment, not media. The media is the DVD-R
> which costs $0.30 apiece and you use three of them for the weekend.

OK, so the recorder costs $1000 more than the apparent cost. That's
still too much. Plus it requires carrying a computer as well as the
recorder. And seeing as how my laptop computer doesn't have a DVD-R
drive, I'd have to either get a new computer or get an external DVD
burner, which is another box to carry with me. When I get "paid" $200
for a weekend (if that much) I can't justify the investment.

My Jukebox 3 (I bought it when it was brand new) cost $300, stores
more than 20 hours of stereo recording, and is small enough so that I
can toss it into my festival tool kit. If I choose to do someone a
favor and make them a CD of their set to give them the next day, I can
let the file transfer run while I'm taking a shower, and burn the CD
(on my present laptop computer, which, I'll admit, I'll probably have
with me) while I'm getting dressed. It will be a rough CD with no
track markers, but it will be quick. And I won't have to erase the
"master" and use the media again the next day.

> Even if this recorder sells "street" for the $500 MSRP, and you need
> four $250 4G CF cards, you've still got yourself a high-resolution
> digital recorder that fits in your shirt pocket for $1500. That's
> amazingly cheap.

I can buy a Sound Devices for that, with an internal hard drive and
real XLR mic inputs. If I was going to spend $1500, I'd go that route,
or possibly the Edirol R-4 which gives me 4 channels if recording that
way makes sense. I would actually prefer something larger and heavier
than shirt pocket size so it's not as likely to slide off the table if
a cable gets pulled.

> Is there a good AD converter that'll fit in the other pocket?

I've often considered accessorizing my Jukebox that way, but I haven't
found the right one at the right price yet. The Jukebox's digital
input is S/PDIF optical, and it uses even a sleazier connector than
TOSLink. It's one of those kludges with an optical sensor at the end
of the line input (mini phone) jack. It works, but I don't trust it
any more than I trust analog audio plugged into that jack.

Mike Rivers

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Jul 26, 2005, 10:20:25 AM7/26/05
to

> > I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled analog attenuator.

> I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.
>
> I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
> new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
> preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
> attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that part
> to start showing up all over the place.

That's the one that Mackie is using in their mic/line I/O card for
their dxb console. I don't know if it's cheap enough to use in a
recorder like the M-Audio yet though. I guess we'll wait and see.

Still, the cost of recording media is what will keep me away. I'd be
happy to put up with an extra 1/4" thickness in exchange for an
internal disk drive, but I suspect that the market dictates
pocket-sized as a design criteria.

Arny Krueger

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Jul 26, 2005, 10:42:06 AM7/26/05
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"Mike Rivers" <mri...@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1122377358k@trad

> In article <RbidndjT1u4...@comcast.com>
> ar...@hotpop.com writes:
>
>>> I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled analog
>>> attenuator.
>
>> I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.
>>
>> I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
>> new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
>> preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
>> attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that
>> part to start showing up all over the place.
>
> That's the one that Mackie is using in their mic/line I/O
> card for their dxb console. I don't know if it's cheap
> enough to use in a recorder like the M-Audio yet though.

Yea, its not a cheap chip - about $10 in production
quantities. But, it's not like the MXB is cheap or comes
with a lot of mic preamps.

> I guess we'll wait and see.

Agreed.

> Still, the cost of recording media is what will keep me
> away. I'd be happy to put up with an extra 1/4" thickness
> in exchange for an internal disk drive, but I suspect
> that the market dictates pocket-sized as a design
> criteria.

I sort of homed in the microdrive option which is a disk
drive option.

Mike, I also don't share your need for gobs of in-device
storage, probably because I might be a lot more comfortable
with offloading stuff from the portable via USB.


Peter A. Stoll

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Jul 26, 2005, 11:42:07 AM7/26/05
to
mri...@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in news:znr1122378632k@trad:

>
> OK, so the recorder costs $1000 more than the apparent cost. That's
> still too much. Plus it requires carrying a computer as well as the
> recorder. And seeing as how my laptop computer doesn't have a DVD-R
> drive, I'd have to either get a new computer or get an external DVD
> burner, which is another box to carry with me. When I get "paid" $200
> for a weekend (if that much) I can't justify the investment.

Mike, I doubt this is a solution for you, but in case other are following
this thread:

An alternate to laptops or burners for storing flash card data has
cropped up mostly in the digital photography world. Some are called
"image tanks". At the bare bones minimum, they are basically a box with
a laptop hard drive, a battery, one or more card reader interfaces, and
one or more computer interfaces.

I just bought an extraordinaryly inexpensive example of the breed. The
Digimate II-Plus as sold with a preinstalled 30 Gbyte hard drive by
mwave.com for $105 delivered.

-Has reader ports for nearly all current flash cards. Slower than more
expensive models, about 2.1 Mbytes/sec for large files. (faster models
will do 6 to 12, but cost several times more)
-Lithium Polymer battery is good for about 80 minutes (about 9 Gigabytes
of upload.
-Has USB2 computer interface, can upload large files at about 9
Gigabyte/sec from its HD to a USB2 PC (much slower to a USB1 PC)
-uploading card to disk it dirt simple. power on the Digimate, stick in
the card, observe the card ID light up on the display and that adequate
free space (shown) remains on the HD to upload the card data amount
(shown). Push the "upload" button. Watch a progress display if you are
conservative.
-uploading from the Digimate to a PC is almost as simple--just plug in
the usb cable and an XP PC will recognize it as a device, and display its
contents in Windows Explorer as an additional drive. Each separate
uploading of a card is placed in a separate directory, so you are safe if
your file from yesterday has the same name as your file from today.

Downsides
-unknown manufacturer--no comfort factor of a major support organizatiom
-slow card upload speed

Upsides
-amazingly inexpensive
-sturdy construction
-good upload progress display for situational awareness

People who are considering a flash field recorder might think of a gadget
in this class. Other, faster models currently popular with the storage-
heads at dpreview.com's user forums include the Nexto-CF (somewhat over
$250 by the time you add your own hard drive), and the PD70X (something
like $200-250 or more). Neither is sold by U.S. sellers, but they are
easy enough to find on eBay or overseas web sites.

Peter A. Stoll

Kurt Albershardt

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Jul 26, 2005, 11:50:33 AM7/26/05
to
Mike Rivers wrote:
> In article <1122352738.0d1d4016a81af2dddf505e9f9f317dbe@teranews> ulysse...@rollmusic.com writes:
>
>> Is there a good AD converter that'll fit in the other pocket?
>
> I've often considered accessorizing my Jukebox that way, but I haven't
> found the right one at the right price yet. The Jukebox's digital
> input is S/PDIF optical, and it uses even a sleazier connector than
> TOSLink. It's one of those kludges with an optical sensor at the end
> of the line input (mini phone) jack.

It is TOSlink, just using a different connector.

> It works, but I don't trust it
> any more than I trust analog audio plugged into that jack.

Agreed.

norman...@comcast.net

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Jul 26, 2005, 1:30:36 PM7/26/05
to

"Arny Krueger" <ar...@hotpop.com> wrote in message
news:RbidndjT1u4...@comcast.com...

It has a serious problem as a component for small portable applications: It
draws 300mW per channel. A stereo recorder, using a pair of these preamps,
will draw over half a watt---and that's without even considering the rest of
the recorder.

Norm Strong


Arny Krueger

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Jul 26, 2005, 2:05:29 PM7/26/05
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<norman...@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:pMydnQV7NeO...@comcast.com

> "Arny Krueger" <ar...@hotpop.com> wrote in message
> news:RbidndjT1u4...@comcast.com...
>> "Mike Rivers" <mri...@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
>> news:znr1122330509k@trad
>>
>>> I don't see anything mechanical on the M-Audio with the
>> possible
>>> exception of the buttons on the side. That means the
>>> gain
>> is digitally
>>> controlled, and I'll bet it's not a digitally controlled
>> analog
>>> attenuator.
>>
>> I'm hoping that you'll lose that bet, Mike.
>>
>> I seem to recall that about six months ago TI announced a
>> new low-power-supply-voltage (+/-5) high-performance mic
>> preamp chip with a built-in digitally-controlled analog
>> attenuator. Seems like the time might be right for that
>> part to start showing up all over the place.
>>
>> Yup, here it is:
>>
>> http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/pga2500.html
>
> It has a serious problem as a component for small
> portable applications: It draws 300mW per channel.

I noticed that. Like 30-40 milliamps for each of the plus
and minus 5 volt supplies. It's almost like what good is
the low voltage operation?

> A stereo recorder, using a pair of these preamps, will
draw
> over half a watt---and that's without even considering
> the rest of the recorder.

If you haven't had the experience Norm, hard drive based
portable recorders like my Nomad NJB3 run pretty warm. I
think that total device dissipation while playing .wav files
is like 5 watts or more. That's why the size of these
devices is dominated by the batteries and their mass
storage.


Mike Rivers

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Jul 26, 2005, 3:14:19 PM7/26/05
to

> I sort of homed in the microdrive option which is a disk
> drive option.

I thought about the Fostex FR-2 (I think that's the number) because it
would take a Microdrive, but that was before the digital camera folks
started picking up the Microdrive, the price went down a bit, and the
reports of occasionally losing all the data started coming in. I don't
think I'd trust that for a field recording when there's no chance to
do another take, and you might not even find out that you need another
take until too late.

> Mike, I also don't share your need for gobs of in-device
> storage, probably because I might be a lot more comfortable
> with offloading stuff from the portable via USB.

If it was for in-house use, it wouldn't be that much of a problem. But
when I go off on a field trip, I like to minimize the amount of stuff
that I have to carry with me, as well as the amount of stuff that I
have to hook up in order to make a recording. This is why I'm looking
for something that doesn't need to be unloaded before I can get back
to work. It's also why I'm looking for something that has usable mic
inputs so I don't have to carry an outboard preamp if I'm not
recording from an existing mixer.

Jonny Durango

unread,
Jul 26, 2005, 5:52:40 PM7/26/05
to
Arny Krueger wrote:
> I sort of homed in the microdrive option which is a disk
> drive option.
>
> Mike, I also don't share your need for gobs of in-device
> storage, probably because I might be a lot more comfortable
> with offloading stuff from the portable via USB.
>
>

I agree....a 2 or 4GB CF card is plenty for most ppl, myself included,
especially considering the battery will probably die before you use 4
gigs. I could understand for people who record musical festivals or
shows in which multiple bands are playing, or long lectures and such,
but I think the average "taper" records less than an hour or two at a
time and would rather have something they can throw in the pocket for
spur-of-the-moment recordings as opposed to lugging some big mechinal
hard drive around that will record 40 hours of uncompressed audio.

I think we've all run in to that situation, somewhere, it could be
anywhere at any time where there is a sound or something so incredible
that we pray that something like the microtracker would fall from the
heavens into our hands. Anyway, I applaud M-Audio and hope in the final
version they put more thought into the gain stages and level monitoring.

Jonny Durango

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 26, 2005, 3:14:21 PM7/26/05
to

> An alternate to laptops or burners for storing flash card data has
> cropped up mostly in the digital photography world. Some are called
> "image tanks". At the bare bones minimum, they are basically a box with
> a laptop hard drive, a battery, one or more card reader interfaces, and
> one or more computer interfaces.

Somebody (a camera person, in fact) showed me one of those. Still,
it's intermediate, temporarly storage. There's something very
comforting about taking the media out of the recorder and putting it
away. A lot of the field recording that I do doesn't get played or
produced immediately. It could sit on the shelf for several years
before someone pulls it out to see what went on at that festival that
year. Tape reels and cassettes were berry berry good for that.

Recording on a flash card, copying to a portable disk drive, then
again to a CD or DVD for shelf storage means that your only copy (what
then becomes the "master") is third generation. I know that digital
copies are supposed to be perfect clones, but now and then something
goes wrong. When it does, you don't lose a little high end like making
an analog tape copy, you lose everything.

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 26, 2005, 7:08:35 PM7/26/05
to

> > http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/pga2500.html
>
> It has a serious problem as a component for small portable applications: It
> draws 300mW per channel. A stereo recorder, using a pair of these preamps,
> will draw over half a watt---and that's without even considering the rest of
> the recorder.

Hey, that's good. Probably gen-u-wine pretty-close-to-Class-A
operation. But not good for a battery powered portable, for sure.

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 26, 2005, 8:59:38 PM7/26/05
to

> I agree....a 2 or 4GB CF card is plenty for most ppl, myself included,
> especially considering the battery will probably die before you use 4
> gigs. I could understand for people who record musical festivals or
> shows in which multiple bands are playing, or long lectures and such,
> but I think the average "taper" records less than an hour or two at a
> time

This is exactly the problem - the products are designed for the
"average" user and that's all you can buy unless you're willing to pay
at least three times the price for a difference that's worth maybe
$50. But "economy of scale" talks. The average user would tell you
that he couldn't use it because his microphone plug won't fit and he
can't take the disk out (like a flash card) and plug it into his
computer. In fact, the true "average" user isn't even interested in
recording, which is why there are so many more loadable players than
recorders available.

Ty Ford

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 8:36:08 AM7/27/05
to
On Tue, 26 Jul 2005 11:42:07 -0400, Peter A. Stoll wrote
(in article <Xns969F62B05C439Ha...@216.196.97.138>):

> mri...@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in news:znr1122378632k@trad:
>
>>
>> OK, so the recorder costs $1000 more than the apparent cost. That's
>> still too much. Plus it requires carrying a computer as well as the
>> recorder. And seeing as how my laptop computer doesn't have a DVD-R
>> drive, I'd have to either get a new computer or get an external DVD
>> burner, which is another box to carry with me. When I get "paid" $200
>> for a weekend (if that much) I can't justify the investment.

The M-Audio 2496 looks like a winner. Haven't heard it yet.

Ty Ford


-- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
stuff are at www.tyford.com

Ty Ford

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 8:38:45 AM7/27/05
to
On Tue, 26 Jul 2005 15:14:19 -0400, Mike Rivers wrote
(in article <znr1122394566k@trad>):

>
> In article <58ednaYS7bs...@comcast.com> ar...@hotpop.com writes:
>
>> I sort of homed in the microdrive option which is a disk
>> drive option.
>
> I thought about the Fostex FR-2 (I think that's the number) because it
> would take a Microdrive, but that was before the digital camera folks
> started picking up the Microdrive, the price went down a bit, and the
> reports of occasionally losing all the data started coming in. I don't
> think I'd trust that for a field recording when there's no chance to
> do another take, and you might not even find out that you need another
> take until too late.

The FR-2 is 14 inches away right now. It uses two kinds of cards, no
microdrive. It also has a timecode option.

The Edirol box just came in.

More later.

Ty

Eric Toline

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 9:13:39 AM7/27/05
to

Re: Shiny new portable recorder.

Group: rec.audio.pro Date: Tue, Jul 26, 2005, 10:20am From:
mri...@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers)

In article <1122352738.0d1d4016a81af2dddf505e9f9f317dbe@teranews>
ulysse...@rollmusic.com writes:

Even if this recorder sells "street" for the $500 MSRP, and you need
four $250 4G CF cards, you've still got yourself a high-resolution
digital recorder that fits in your shirt pocket for $1500. That's
amazingly cheap.


I can buy a Sound Devices for that, with an internal hard drive and real
XLR mic inputs. If I was going to spend $1500, I'd go that
route,<<<<<<<<<<

Actually you can't. The Sound Devices 722
2 track hd recorder has a street price of $2375.


Eric

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 12:37:19 PM7/27/05
to

> The M-Audio 2496 looks like a winner. Haven't heard it yet.

Another (for me) loser. No internal hard drive. Can't afford the media
to use it for a weekend long gig without having to recycle, and I
don't want to trust myself to do that correctly when I'm tired.

Jonny Durango

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 2:29:18 PM7/27/05
to
Mike Rivers wrote:
>
> This is exactly the problem - the products are designed for the
> "average" user and that's all you can buy unless you're willing to pay
> at least three times the price for a difference that's worth maybe
> $50. But "economy of scale" talks. The average user would tell you
> that he couldn't use it because his microphone plug won't fit and he
> can't take the disk out (like a flash card) and plug it into his
> computer. In fact, the true "average" user isn't even interested in
> recording, which is why there are so many more loadable players than
> recorders available.
>
>

Very true...I agree there is a market gap between devices like the R1
and the 722T that is only filled with cheesy consumer grade stuff like
the JB3 and iRiver thingy. But for the average "taper" or semi-pro
recordist, most people don't need more than an 8GB CF card for one
recording. And if they need more overall storage, keep in mind that you
can buy any number of flash cards, but a HD has an absolute limit, that
might be further restricted by the firmware or FAT.

Hopefully in the future, as the market becomes more competetive, the
price of CF media will come way down and we can all be happy.

Jonny Durango

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 6:12:48 PM7/27/05
to

> Actually you can't. The Sound Devices 722
> 2 track hd recorder has a street price of $2375.

That's sure a big change from the original plan. I've just been
watching the development, not the price. I guess I'll stick with my
Jukebox 3 for a while yet.

Richard Crowley

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 6:44:10 PM7/27/05
to
"Mike Rivers" wrote ...

> Another (for me) loser. No internal hard drive. Can't afford the media
> to use it for a weekend long gig without having to recycle, and I
> don't want to trust myself to do that correctly when I'm tired.

*IF* you had enough time between sets/performers and *IF*
this thing works with CF audio recorders, this might the the answer..

http://www.supergooddeal.com/product_p/hs80otg.htm

80GB space for $158
Automatically (one button) downloads device contents into
hard drive without using computer, etc.

If I had known about this I might have got a Marantz PMD-660
and this thing to take with me to Spain last month.


Jeffrey Friedman

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 9:06:59 PM7/27/05
to
On Mon, 25 Jul 2005 17:55:13 -0500, "Peter A. Stoll"
<Lyn1Stol...@comcast.net> wrote:

>mri...@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in news:znr1122310342k@trad:


>
>>
>> For me, a just barely big enough flash card would be enough to record
>> over a whole weekend, perhaps 20 to 30 hours.
>

>I wonder whether the firmware in these CF machines actually is set up to
>handle cards bigger than 2 or 4 Gb. There are some implementation seams at
>those two points which may trip up a machine or two. I can vouch the 722
>handles a 4Gb card from personal use.

The Edirol R1 works fine with 8 GB CF cards, although in 2 GB max
pieces. If they came up with a firmware revision to auto split files
at some reasonable size (1 or 2 GB) it would be perfect. Now it
just shuts down and saves at the 2 GB limit.

Jeff

vdub...@earthlink.net

unread,
Jul 27, 2005, 9:52:18 PM7/27/05
to
I've thought about the Cinte also, but until it Googles up more than 5
hits (with just one user opinion), I'm holding off. There's plenty of
other options for CF standalone storage that aren't unreasonable
(Wolverine, SmartDisk), but yeah the Cintre's quite a bit cheaper.


I just don't get the grousing about the media. You buy some large
cards and a storage unit (the Wolverine 80 gig is $270) and you record.
Every two hours you swap cards. It's not as if half the other stuff
we do isn't a pain in the ass.

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 28, 2005, 6:42:21 AM7/28/05
to

In article <dc92nq$3ab$1...@news01.intel.com> richard....@intel.com writes:

> *IF* you had enough time between sets/performers and *IF*
> this thing works with CF audio recorders, this might the the answer..

Someone mentioned this approach - essentially a hard drive with a flash
card reader and an "operating system" that knew how to do just one
thing - copy the flash card files to the hard drive. Thing is that the
more intermediate steps you have between the original recording and
what you're going to produce from, the more chances you have that
something won't be there when you need it. It's fine for studio work
and casual work where you can eithe do it again or just blow it off if
it's not there, but if you have to bring home the bacon, it's best to
bring the pig back alive, and then make the bacon when you have plenty
of time.

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 28, 2005, 9:25:08 AM7/28/05
to

> The Edirol R1 works fine with 8 GB CF cards, although in 2 GB max
> pieces.

As far as recording goes, I have no problem with a 2 GB limit. There
are always places to break, at least for the things I record. What's
nice about using, for example, cassettes, is that you can record one
set on a cassette, you change tapes at the end of the set, and you've
only invested a couple of dollars. A $50 tape budget can cover a
weekend and you don't have to worry about recycling the media.

A 1 GB card would probably be about the equivalent in terms of
recording time, but that's (just guessing here) about $25 per card,
plus the darn things are so small you can't write anything on them
except maybe for an index number, so how do you know what's on each
card?

> If they came up with a firmware revision to auto split files
> at some reasonable size (1 or 2 GB) it would be perfect.

I'd rather have a button I can press to do that. The Jukebox 3 with
the current firmware does that (when I can remember which button to
press) but it leaves a small gap. No problem if you split during a
pause. The bigger the files, the more difficult they are to handle -
longer transfer time, more "receiver" space required, and more to lose
if it doesn't work.

I know that professional news photographers are all using digital
cameras with flash cards. I wonder what kind of failure rates they
have? On the other hand, photos take up a whole lot less space than
audio, so you can shoot all day on one card, transfer the files in a
few minutes, and chances are if you work for a newspaper or agency,
they're paying for the media anyway.

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 28, 2005, 9:25:09 AM7/28/05
to

> I just don't get the grousing about the media. You buy some large
> cards and a storage unit (the Wolverine 80 gig is $270) and you record.
> Every two hours you swap cards.

There are some problems. One is with organization of the media. If you
have a bunch of medium sized cards, you have a lot of them to keep
track of. If you buy a couple of large cards, you're dead in the water
until you either transfer the data and recycle the cards, or you buy
more cards.

The other is a percepual problem. The recorder is cheap and
attractive, but it isn't useful until you invest several times the
cost of the recorder in re-usable media. It's that you really can't
buy a $300 recorder with interchangeable media, you buy a $1500
recorder with reusable media.

Arny Krueger

unread,
Jul 28, 2005, 10:55:05 AM7/28/05
to
"Mike Rivers" <mri...@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:znr1122548045k@trad

> A 1 GB card would probably be about the equivalent in
terms of
> recording time, but that's (just guessing here) about $25
per card,

Just looked, it seems that 1 GB flash is still up in the
$50-75 range.

1 GB is about 90 minutes of 16/44 stereo, right?

> plus the darn things are so small you can't write
anything on them
> except maybe for an index number, so how do you know
what's on each
> card?

If you want something bigger to write on, stuff each card in
a paper envelope.

> I know that professional news photographers are all using
digital
> cameras with flash cards. I wonder what kind of failure
rates they
> have?

I went swimming a couple of weeks ago in our community's
ozinated swimming pool for over an hour with a 256 meg Lexar
Jumpdrive USB flash memory device on my pocket key ring. I
dried it out by hanging it in front on my PC's PS for about
half a day. This extended drying may not have been needed.
The LED stopped working but the memory reads and writes just
fine.

It's been dipped ans showered with it a few times since, and
I just shook it off and used it.

BTW, my use of this flash memory device is rough enought
that the nomenclature is significantly worn off after 3
months. I've also had to repair a break in its rubber
keyring holder, but the memory itself keeps working.

Message has been deleted

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 28, 2005, 3:54:46 PM7/28/05
to

> Just looked, it seems that 1 GB flash is still up in the
> $50-75 range.
> 1 GB is about 90 minutes of 16/44 stereo, right?

Right - comparable to $2 premium quality C90 cassette only you don't
have to turn it over. I just guessed at the $25 price based on the
fact that 4GB ones are about $100 when you can find a good deal, but I
guess it doen't work that way. I was looking for something else this
morning and found a few "good deal" 1GB Compact Flash cards for $79.

> If you want something bigger to write on, stuff each card in
> a paper envelope.

I was actually thinking of a project-length storage system when flash
card recorders first came out. They're about the same size, at least
in one dimension, as a 35mm slide. You could put together a loose leaf
notebood with a page or two of those vinyl multi-pouch envelopes that
they file slides in, number each flash card, and then put log sheets
in the binder, numbered to correspond with each card.

My question of the day to the media vendors at a trade show last year
was "Do you have a storage case for flash cards, similar to a DVD
case, that has room for a couple of cards and space to write notes?"
They didn't, nor did they have any idea why anyone would want such. I
thought those double DAT cases that Ampex used to supply were really
cool. Room for the original and a backup copy plus some written notes.
Storage space can't be at such a premium that you have to give up an
easy way of finding your stored recordings. (and don't say "just
search your disk for the file")

> I went swimming a couple of weeks ago in our community's
> ozinated swimming pool for over an hour with a 256 meg Lexar
> Jumpdrive USB flash memory device on my pocket key ring. I
> dried it out by hanging it in front on my PC's PS for about
> half a day. This extended drying may not have been needed.
> The LED stopped working but the memory reads and writes just
> fine.

I lost a digital wrist wrist watch when raking leaves about three
years ago. I found it nearly 8 months later when cleaning up the pile
that didn't get sucked up by the county's vacuum truck. It was buried
at the bottom of the leaf pile, having been nearly on the ground all
winter. There was some condensation on the underside of the crystal
and it wasn't running. I let it dry out, gambled a new battery for it,
and it's still running. The beeper didn't work. Ain't electronics
wonderful?

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 28, 2005, 3:54:47 PM7/28/05
to

In article <3ksah9F...@individual.net> ch...@vangennip.nl writes:

> If you want to record a weekend, use 2 flashcards and a hard disk like:
> http://www.cooldrives.com/usb-on-the-go-enclosure-usb-otg.html
> While recording one card transfer the other to the disk.

No. Just plain NO. I don't want to have to do anything but remove the
"cassette" and pop another one in its place. I don't want to have to
think about anything else until live gets back to normal pace.
Sometimes I have trouble remembering to hit the Record button. You
expect me to back up files, trust what I did without verifying it, and
then, delete the original? You have more faith in me than I do.

> Except for the exact file creation date, you don't have much info.

I could have a couple of pages full of notes as to what's recorded on
there. At festivals, we have other people to do this so we (the
engineers) don't have to worry about it. They write down the
performer, the song titles, the instruments, who's playing what if
they switch around, and they'll go up to the performers after the set
to fill in the blanks if they miss a song title or aren't sure of how
to spell it. The log and the media have to get together and be able to
be kept together. And the loggers don't all carry computers, so it's
hand written on real paper, and usually stays that way for 50 years.

> I have not seen much about the quality of preamps and conversion yet. Has
> anyone seen and or used this microtrack? What about quality?

If you're still talking about the M-Audio flash card recorder,
nobody's seen it yet with the exception perhaps of some testers, and
they don't talk until at least the product is actually available.
You'll just have to be patient. I doubt that they're fabulous, and
they can't be very bad with today's technology. But as we've discussed
here before (and like the person with the R1 who's getting distortion
when he's recording his loud band up close) if the record level
control is on the digital side of the A/D converter, it's really only
good for turning things up, not turning them down.

Message has been deleted

Lorin David Schultz

unread,
Jul 29, 2005, 5:07:08 AM7/29/05
to
"Mike Rivers" <mri...@d-and-d.com> wrote:
>
> when I go off on a field trip, I like to minimize the amount of stuff
> that I have to carry with me, as well as the amount of stuff that I
> have to hook up in order to make a recording.


If you take your laptop with you on the road anyway, why not just use
that? An outboard interface isn't going to represent any more cartage
than a portable recorder.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)


Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 29, 2005, 6:30:25 AM7/29/05
to

In article <3kt550F...@individual.net> ch...@vangennip.nl writes:

> Even with casettes you will have to do something to store it. Puting a CF
> module in a device and press one button should be possible.

I don't understand your point. You can put a cassette on the shelf and
it's only a couple of bucks. You can put a CF card on the shelf and
it's $80. Which would you rather do, assuming you were responsible for
the money?

Playing is not the same as storing.

> If this are your requirements, you need a DAW in a laptop with firewire
> or USB soundcard. Ad a scanner for the documentation. Just write the
> exact time of the performace on the paper befor scanning ;-)

Horseshit! I need a tape deck, a tape, a sheet of paper, and a pencil
or the direct equivalent. It'll last a lot longer than your fuckin'
laptop and it's a lot easier to carry around.

Ty Ford

unread,
Jul 29, 2005, 8:23:14 AM7/29/05
to
On Fri, 29 Jul 2005 06:30:25 -0400, Mike Rivers wrote
(in article <znr1122598456k@trad>):

>
> In article <3kt550F...@individual.net> ch...@vangennip.nl writes:
>
>> Even with casettes you will have to do something to store it. Puting a CF
>> module in a device and press one button should be possible.
>
> I don't understand your point. You can put a cassette on the shelf and
> it's only a couple of bucks. You can put a CF card on the shelf and
> it's $80. Which would you rather do, assuming you were responsible for
> the money?
>
> Playing is not the same as storing.
>
>> If this are your requirements, you need a DAW in a laptop with firewire
>> or USB soundcard. Ad a scanner for the documentation. Just write the
>> exact time of the performace on the paper befor scanning ;-)
>
> Horseshit! I need a tape deck, a tape, a sheet of paper, and a pencil
> or the direct equivalent. It'll last a lot longer than your fuckin'
> laptop and it's a lot easier to carry around.


I record to my laptop and burn a cd

Ty Ford

Message has been deleted

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 29, 2005, 10:49:49 AM7/29/05
to

In article <0lmGe.171188$tt5.81708@edtnps90> Lorin@DAMNSPAM!v5v.ca writes:

> If you take your laptop with you on the road anyway, why not just use
> that? An outboard interface isn't going to represent any more cartage
> than a portable recorder.

The laptop stays in the hotel room. It's there to check e-mail and
entertain myself surfing the web when I wake up at 6 AM and the
festival doesn't start until 11. That isn't always the ideal
configuration for recording audio.

There may not be enough room for a laptop-based recording system at
the PA console. You have the computer taking up about a square foot,
then you have the external audio interface (that usualy has a fairly
short leash so you can't put it anywhere, it needs to be fairly close
to the computer), and with a several gigabytes a day being stored, I'd
want to use an external disk drive. The power supply usually ends up
on the ground. The recorder that I use now (Jukebox 3) or the new
recorders I'm looking at are complete in one package, with the
possible exception of the power supply, and have about half the
footprint of a laptop computer.

Besides, how easy is it to see a laptop LCD screen in the bright sun?
And do laptop computers keep working when the sun is beating down on
them? Mine gets bloody hot just sitting on a shelf in the house when
it's on all day. And then how easy is it to see the keyboard after the
sun goes down?

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 29, 2005, 3:14:32 PM7/29/05
to

In article <3kunkhF...@individual.net> ch...@vangennip.nl writes:

> You can store the contents of a CF-II by putting it in mentionned device and
> pressing one button.

And then what? Eventually you're going to have to get it off there and
move it to something that's more permanent and off-the-shelf playable.
Recording directly to my Jukebox's 20 GB internal hard drive gets me
to the same point without the intermediate step of using the flash
card.

> In the 70's we had recording trucks. They had tapes, good telefunken
> taperecorders, a writing desk etc. Quite convenient although a bit
> expensive.

I had a recording truck. The first generation had a TASCAM Model 5
console, and two 2-track recorders, a Revox and a TASCAM, and a bunch
of pretty good to excellent mics. The recorder graduated to a TASCAM
80-8, the console graduated to a Soundcraft 600, and the next upgrade
was to an Ampex 2" 16 track. The next upgrade was going to be to 24
tracks worth of MDMs (probalby DA-38s) but there just wasn't enough
potential cash coming in to make that worth while. Truck got sold to
someone who wanted a truck, the console is still in my house, the
recorder is now a Mackie HDR24/96, and the mic collection remains.

Today I most often do remote recording as a volunteer, so the less I
have to haul along with me, the better. I actually did a laptop
recording not too long ago using a Mackie Onyx mixer equipped with the
Firewire option care (for both PA and recording). It turned out OK,
but it was a lot more trouble than using the Jukebox (which I had
running as a backup) and there was nothing worth improving over the
stereo mix that I could have done had I bothered mixing the
multitrack. This may not always be the case, and certainly isn't
always the case for other projects. But this time, it wasn't worth the
trouble other than that I got an article out of it that might get
published one of these days (as soon as I finish writing it).

> Current HiMD decks easely compete with taperecorders from the 70's (and
> will give you removable and storable media).

What's the cost of an hour-long Minidisk these days?

> With the current improvements in technology, I don't expect you will see
> much tape decks or tapes.

You're correct, at least about the latter half. There's nobody making
DAT transports any longer, though you can still buy a cassette
recorder, and one or two reel-to-reel recorders. I'm not saying that
it has to be tape, but it has to be as convenient in terms of
record-and-store, and it has to be cost-competitive.

> For me such a CF-II recorder with phantom would do fine if preamps and
> converters are good.

Fortunately, we're all different.

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 29, 2005, 3:14:31 PM7/29/05
to

> I record to my laptop and burn a cd

That's two operations, with the second operation needing to be done in
a fairly timely manner.

I used to record on my portable DAT recorder and put the DAT on the
shelf. The recorder was smaller than my laptop computer and had more
robust audio connections. That's one operation. Simple and reliable.


Now I record on my Jukebox 3, move the files to a computer (which can
be a computer at home, since the Jukebox has 20 GB dedicated to
nothing but storing audio) and then burn a CD. That's 3 operations,
but the transfer to CD doesn't have to be done on site to make sure I
(a) have enough disk space for the next day's recordings
(b) don't screw up the files before I transfer them to CD

Still, the Jukebox takes up less space than a laptop computer, doesn't
have any worse audio connections, and is dedicated to nothing but
recording, so it's less likely to screw up, or for me to screw up.

Message has been deleted

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 6:06:45 AM7/30/05
to

In article <3kvrfnF...@individual.net> ch...@vangennip.nl writes:

> If you want permanent storage, at some time conversion is needed.

Not if the original recording medium is a tape that you can remove
from the recorder and store. You may question the longevity of a DAT
tape or cassette or any other kind of tape, but that's a different
issue. The point is that it can go directly from the recorder to the
shelf.

> At the moment I prefer harddisk.

I do that, sort of, with my Mackie HDR. It has a docking bay for
removable drives, and I keep different projects on different drives.
When I want to change projects, I change drives. And when the project
is sufficiently finished so that it's ready for long term storage, I
remove the drive from the carrier and wrap it up in an anti-static bag
with a label on it. I keep an eye out for sales and rebates on disk
drives since I'm not so active that I run through several a week like
I did with reels of tape when I was more active and using that medium.
In the past couple of years, I've been paying (quick calculation on
the abacus here) about $1/gigabyte, which is, in terms of recording
time, about 1/3 the price of a 120 minute DAT tape. It makes pretty
good sense when you have 24-track CD-length projects that fit easily
on a 40 GB drive. I've become bold and "archived" a few projects
together on a 120 GB drive to free up the smaller "project length"
drives.

However, for stereo projects, 120 GB is a mighty big basked to put all
your eggs into. I never really thought about using the Jukebox as a
removable media recorder because you have to take the case apart in
order to get to the drive, and while 3-1/2" IDE drives smaller than
200 GB are getting cheap as dirt, laptop drives haven't taken that
price dive. So while I could reasonably fill up a 20 GB drive over a
weekend, it would take a couple of hours and maybe $80 to put it on
the shelf. Plus it would be a pain to have to hook up the drive to get
files off of it.

So when it comes to a weekend recording project, it makes most sense
to get the files off the internal hard drive and on to CDs ASAP.
They're cheap, easy to store, and easy to retrieve. Still, it takes
time to do that, and even if I'm being paid some meager stipend for
being at the festival and hooking up the recorder, I'm not paid for
the transfer time.

I say "Bring back the Nagras."

Neil Gould

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 8:34:46 AM7/30/05
to
OK Mike,

I've tried to follow this thread, but get puzzled by your resistance to
the new workflow. For example, with regard to storage and handling:

Recently, Mike Rivers <mri...@d-and-d.com> posted:

> In article <3kvrfnF...@individual.net> ch...@vangennip.nl writes:
>
>> If you want permanent storage, at some time conversion is needed.
>
> Not if the original recording medium is a tape that you can remove
> from the recorder and store. You may question the longevity of a DAT
> tape or cassette or any other kind of tape, but that's a different
> issue. The point is that it can go directly from the recorder to the
> shelf.
>

So, you have a DAT tape or cassette in a box. Those using CF w/transfers
have files on a hard drive and/or CD/DVD.

>> At the moment I prefer harddisk.
>
> I do that, sort of, with my Mackie HDR. It has a docking bay for
> removable drives, and I keep different projects on different drives.
>

So, you have a stack of removable drives. Those using CF w/transfers have
files on a hard drive and/or CD/DVD.

[...]


> So when it comes to a weekend recording project, it makes most sense
> to get the files off the internal hard drive and on to CDs ASAP.
> They're cheap, easy to store, and easy to retrieve. Still, it takes
> time to do that, and even if I'm being paid some meager stipend for
> being at the festival and hooking up the recorder, I'm not paid for
> the transfer time.
>

So, now your client wants a copy of the weekend recording project. You go
to your stack of DATs and locate the job. Then you transfer that weekend
full of recording to a hard disc *in real time* so that you can burn them
a CD, or you dupe the DAT. If you used your Mackie HDR, then you have to
at minimum transfer the files to your HD and convert them to a compatible
format. Sounds like another weekend's worth of time to me.

Those having transferred the CF simply burn the CD. Since CF file
transfers are not done in real time -- it takes much less time to transfer
the files than to fill a new CF with a recording -- CF users are *way*
ahead of the time game. So, as was said in the '70s, "Where's the beef?"

While I've only used CF with my digital camera, I don't see any
significant practical difference between the CF and a hard disc beyond the
fact that the CF has no moving parts (ergo more reliable) and the hard
disc has a larger capacity; a data file is a data file. If there's a
problem with the file on the CF, you'll find out about it during transfer;
if there's a problem with the DAT, you won't find out about it until you
try to dupe it or record it to disc. Both kinds of errors are pretty much
equally unlikely.

Each workflow has its risks and limitations, but this new recorder looks
pretty attractive to me. For your weekend session, the recorder and a
laptop with a CD burner could mean that you're pretty much done with the
weekend project by the end of the weekend! ;-)

Regards,

Neil


Message has been deleted

Ty Ford

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 10:09:00 AM7/30/05
to
On Fri, 29 Jul 2005 15:14:31 -0400, Mike Rivers wrote
(in article <znr1122649492k@trad>):

>
> In article <GtGdnSpXH5A...@comcast.com> tyre...@comcast.net writes:
>
>> I record to my laptop and burn a cd
>
> That's two operations, with the second operation needing to be done in
> a fairly timely manner.

Well, yes, but I can keep the files in my computer until I'm ready to burn
them right there on the laptop. No transfers. Your approach below requires a
transfer from DAT to CD, I'm assuming, so it can be distributed.

DAT, reliable, USUALLY.

Ty

Richard Crowley

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 10:44:53 AM7/30/05
to
"Neil Gould" wrote ...

> OK Mike,
>
> I've tried to follow this thread, but get puzzled by your
> resistance to the new workflow. For example, with
> regard to storage and handling:

For me, it came down to the cost of media. I hauled my
HHB/Aiwa DAT recorder with me when I went to Spain
last month because the cost of enough CF memory to hold
all the recordings would have exceeded first-class airfare
to Madrid. OTOH, a "brick" of 10 data-quality DAT
cassettes was ~ $23

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 1:29:29 PM7/30/05
to

In article <3l1c8tF...@individual.net> ch...@vangennip.nl writes:

> You can store about 500 hours of stereo audio at tape quality (44/16) on a
> single 300MB disk volume. So there is no technical problem to have an
> on-line audio archive.

It's not a technical problem, it's a practical one. You, yourself, can
sit at your computer and listen to the recordings, but suppose you
want to play the weekend's recordings in your car over the next couple
of weeks, taking some mental notes of things good enough to offer up
for sale at next year's festival or if you're the radio producer and
are looking for material for a show? That's another transfer. And what
about ten years from now? Will your server still be there?

> I know from experience it is much easier to find a specific part in a raid
> array than in a pile of tapes or CD's. A pile of tapes does not
> practically scale to 2000 tapes or more.

Gee, I dunno. I look in the log book for the date and time, then go to
the shelf where the tapes are stored in order. Maybe some day someone
will have grant money to build a "festival jukebox" so you can look
through an index (indexed several ways - date, artist, instrument,
style, key words in the song, etc.), click on a button, and play the
file. It would be a simple step to store your selections in a playlist
so at the end of your session you could burn a CD of what you heard
that you want to keep. I've listened to a lot of festival tapes over
the past 35 years, and believe me, there's a lot of crap there, but
it's all history so we don't want to destroy it.

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 1:29:30 PM7/30/05
to

> Well, yes, but I can keep the files in my computer until I'm ready to burn
> them right there on the laptop. No transfers. Your approach below requires a
> transfer from DAT to CD, I'm assuming, so it can be distributed.

That's what I do with the Jukebox now. I transfer the files to the
laptop during breakfast (it takes just about the right amount of time)
but that's just an evening concert recording. But there's plenty of
space left on the Jukebox so I don't delete the files right away.

However, my laptop (at least the one I have presently) gets used for
all sorts of other stuff. It has a 20 GB drive, and after about 4
years of service, even though I keep trying to clean it off
diligently, it never seems to be much less than about 6 GB free. I'd
be afraid to store too much on it. An external drive, of course, is
always a possibility, but that's one more lump to carry along. Buying
a new laptop is another possibility. Show me the money!

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 1:29:28 PM7/30/05
to

> I've tried to follow this thread, but get puzzled by your resistance to
> the new workflow. For example, with regard to storage and handling:

> So, you have a DAT tape or cassette in a box. Those using CF w/transfers


> have files on a hard drive and/or CD/DVD.

The problem is that you have to transfer the CF card to another
medium. That takes time. The other problem is that the card is the
master, and you destroy the master in order to re-use it. When flash
cards become cheap enough per recorded minute so that we're not
tempted to re-use them for another project, then putting the card on
the shelf will be the equivalent of putting the DAT on the shelf.

The concept of giving up the master isn't new. Lots of 2" tape has
been re-used for other projects, either by the artist who originally
paid for it or by others. But in the case of a multitrack master, it's
part of a work in progress. When the job is finished to your
satisfaction and you have a mix, the mix becomes a new master, and, if
you choose, you can recycle the original multitrack recordings. Or you
can keep them if you think that when you get famous you might want to
remix and reissue them in surround or something.

> So, you have a stack of removable drives. Those using CF w/transfers have
> files on a hard drive and/or CD/DVD.

Right, but my hard disks are the original masters, and they didn't
require a copy process. I don't doubt the ability of digital
technology to make a perfect clone, so I'm not worried about losing
quality like with an analog tape-to-tape dub. What I'm worried about
is a screwup that I don't discover until the master is gone. So not
only do I have to copy it, I also have to verify it, and I have to
have confidence in my verification.

One might also question confidence in the master, if a copy is made
without first hearing it. There's nothing you can do about a glitch on
the master, but you don't want to make the copy any worse.

> So, now your client wants a copy of the weekend recording project. You go
> to your stack of DATs and locate the job. Then you transfer that weekend
> full of recording to a hard disc *in real time* so that you can burn them
> a CD, or you dupe the DAT.

Well, more than likely I'd transfer it (in real time) via the CD
recorder, but yes, that's the idea. But this is something that I can
do pretty much unattended. I need to be around, of course, to load the
blanks, but unless I want to, I don't have to listen to it. The
"client" (in quotes because I probably won't be paid for this effort)
will do that. Then I'd give him the CD. If he says "hey, this CD
only plays half way through" then I still have the DAT master and I
can make another copy. Or if he says "what's that noise at 1:15:30?" I
can check the original, and if that's clean, I can make him another
copy.

Of course after he listens to all 20 hours, gives me a list of 15
tunes, and asks me to compile a CD for release (for money), then I'll
transfer each tune, in real time, while listening for obvious
problems, to the DAW, and then get busy. It's all on the clock then,
or part of what's most likely the fixed price. By the way, other than
for long enough to make playable reference copies for the client (I
don't expect him to have a DAT or something to put a hard drive in for
listening), I'll give the original recordings to the client.

> If you used your Mackie HDR, then you have to
> at minimum transfer the files to your HD and convert them to a compatible
> format. Sounds like another weekend's worth of time to me.

If I used it as a multitrack recorder, sure. We, in the trade, call
that "mixdown." If I used it as a stereo recorder, I could pop the
drive into the computer (I have a matching drive bay in the studio
recorder), load it into the DAW program, chop it up into CD-length
chunks virtually, and burn, baby, burn. And I'd still have the
original recording that I could put on the shelf or give to the
client. It doesn't matter to him if he's paying for tape or a disk
drive - media is media. But it DOES matter if the tape/disk cost would
be $100 for the weekend and the CF card budget would be $1,000.

Sure, I could "lend" him the flash cards (which is pretty much what
all of us do with hard drives during the duration of the project) but
that's an investment that I'D have to make. Where's the payback for me
other than the great feeling of donating money and time to preserve
music that I love.

> Those having transferred the CF simply burn the CD. Since CF file
> transfers are not done in real time -- it takes much less time to transfer
> the files than to fill a new CF with a recording -- CF users are *way*
> ahead of the time game. So, as was said in the '70s, "Where's the beef?"

So let's say it takes 10 minutes to copy a two-hour recording. 10
minutes isn't enough time to do anything useful, so I'd sit there
watching the progress bar, then stick in the next card. I could sit
there for a couple of hours doing that. I suppose I could put in one
card, then come back in an hour, but nobody really wants to do that.

> While I've only used CF with my digital camera, I don't see any
> significant practical difference between the CF and a hard disc beyond the
> fact that the CF has no moving parts (ergo more reliable) and the hard
> disc has a larger capacity

The capacity is the issue. You can be a pretty active photographer and
a 1 GB flash card might last you a year. Or if you were the festival
photographer, a $50 256 MB card would probalby be ample for the
weekend. Also, you could give the client the card and, perhaps with
the addition of a $10 adapter if he doesn't have one already, he could
look at the pictures on his computer. But suppose he wants prints. He
can take the card to the drug store, or he can print them himself.
There's simple, consumer-style software for that. But I don't have too
many festival clients to whom I could hand a hard drive or a handful
of flash cards and say "Here, make your own CDs if you want them."

> Each workflow has its risks and limitations, but this new recorder looks
> pretty attractive to me. For your weekend session, the recorder and a
> laptop with a CD burner could mean that you're pretty much done with the
> weekend project by the end of the weekend! ;-)

Obviously you've never sat in the sun at a console all day, helped out
on stage during the evening concert, barely had anything to eat, and
when you get back to the hotel, you might want to play a few tunes and
go to bed. When do you make the transfers?

Perhaps while I'm on a roll here, I should explain a couple of things
about this festival recording that I do, mostly as a volunteer. The
recordings aren't intended for production (though occasionally
they're used for that purpose), and they aren't, in general,
recordings that someone wants to listen to, they're recordings
that are mostly to show who was there, what they did, how they
did it.

A researcher may want to get the words to an unusual
version of a song that a festival performer sang, so he'll
go to the festival archive, find that song, transcribe the words,
and most of the time won't even take a copy of the recording
with him.

If a radio station or group (such as NPR used to do
with their Folk Festival USA series) wanted to create a
program from the festival, that would be planned in advance,
and almost always, the recording for broadcast was
independent of the festival archive recording. There was
a budget, and recording media was part of it. Recording
at 7-1/2 ips rather than the more 'professinal' 15 ips was
standard practice - it was fine for broadcast and saved a
bundle on tape. By the way, at least as of a couple of years
ago, NPR was still using DAT for much of their remote
recording, and virtually never used computers.

Neil Gould

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 2:45:39 PM7/30/05
to
Recently, Mike Rivers <mri...@d-and-d.com> posted:

> ne...@myplaceofwork.com writes:


>
>> I've tried to follow this thread, but get puzzled by your resistance
>> to the new workflow. For example, with regard to storage and
>> handling:
>
>> So, you have a DAT tape or cassette in a box. Those using CF
>> w/transfers have files on a hard drive and/or CD/DVD.
>
> The problem is that you have to transfer the CF card to another
> medium. That takes time.
>

Not anywhere near the time that it takes to transfer DAT for burning CDs.
The use of "this modern stuff" suggests a different workflow and mindset:
get what it takes to transfer the files from the CF on the fly. It really
is not rocket science, nor does it require much more attention than
swapping DAT tapes.

> The other problem is that the card is the
> master, and you destroy the master in order to re-use it.
>

You're showing your pre-digital mindset. ;-)

What is the significance of "master" in the digital realm? NADA! A
transferred file is bit-for-bit identical to the original. You can have as
many "masters" as you like. OTOH, a transferred audio DAT is not
necessarily so.

>> So, you have a stack of removable drives. Those using CF w/transfers
>> have files on a hard drive and/or CD/DVD.
>
> Right, but my hard disks are the original masters, and they didn't
> require a copy process. I don't doubt the ability of digital
> technology to make a perfect clone, so I'm not worried about losing
> quality like with an analog tape-to-tape dub. What I'm worried about
> is a screwup that I don't discover until the master is gone. So not
> only do I have to copy it, I also have to verify it, and I have to
> have confidence in my verification.
>

Screw-ups of the type you're describing here are far more likely with an
audio DAT transfer than a file transfer. With a CF -> HD file transfer
there is no sync to lose, no jitter involved, no samples to drop. In other
words, whatever you have recorded is what you will have when it's
transferred. When was the last time you copied a file from one HD to
another and had a problem? I do that all day every day, and can say that I
have rarely seen such problems in well over 20 years, and then it was due
to hardware/media failure and immediately obvious.

>> So, now your client wants a copy of the weekend recording project.
>> You go to your stack of DATs and locate the job. Then you transfer
>> that weekend full of recording to a hard disc *in real time* so that
>> you can burn them a CD, or you dupe the DAT.
>
> Well, more than likely I'd transfer it (in real time) via the CD
> recorder, but yes, that's the idea. But this is something that I can
> do pretty much unattended.
>

This is a "trust the media" thingy. If you feel comfortable doing a DAT to
CD recording unattended, you should have no qualms about a CF to HD
transfer unattended, since the latter is FAR more reliable.

> [...] It doesn't matter to him if he's paying for tape or a disk


> drive - media is media. But it DOES matter if the tape/disk cost would
> be $100 for the weekend and the CF card budget would be $1,000.
>

There is no reason that I can think of (besides the pre-digital mindset)
that you'd have to keep the CF cards as "masters". There is no point to
that at all. The way I do it is to use 512 mb CF cards, then transfer the
whole thing to CD and re-use the cards.

>> Those having transferred the CF simply burn the CD. Since CF file
>> transfers are not done in real time -- it takes much less time to
>> transfer the files than to fill a new CF with a recording -- CF
>> users are *way* ahead of the time game. So, as was said in the '70s,
>> "Where's the beef?"
>
> So let's say it takes 10 minutes to copy a two-hour recording. 10
> minutes isn't enough time to do anything useful, so I'd sit there
> watching the progress bar, then stick in the next card. I could sit
> there for a couple of hours doing that. I suppose I could put in one
> card, then come back in an hour, but nobody really wants to do that.
>

I would be doing it on the fly, at the gig. Set up an automated copy
process when I pop in the CF card, go on about my business recording to
the next card. By the end of the gig, all the audio is on the HD.

>> Each workflow has its risks and limitations, but this new recorder
>> looks pretty attractive to me. For your weekend session, the
>> recorder and a laptop with a CD burner could mean that you're pretty
>> much done with the weekend project by the end of the weekend! ;-)
>
> Obviously you've never sat in the sun at a console all day, helped out
> on stage during the evening concert, barely had anything to eat, and
> when you get back to the hotel, you might want to play a few tunes and
> go to bed. When do you make the transfers?
>

Well, actually I have. For well over a decade, though those days were
pre-digital and are *way* behind me now. Also did the media van trip for
video work, which isn't all that different of a stresser. As I said, were
I to do that kind of work today, my workflow would allow for file
transfers on-the-fly. The workload would be far easier in the end.

Regards,

Neil


Message has been deleted

Mike Rivers

unread,
Jul 30, 2005, 7:10:48 PM7/30/05
to


> > The problem is that you have to transfer the CF card to another
> > medium. That takes time.

> Not anywhere near the time that it takes to transfer DAT for burning CDs.


You just don't get it, do you? If I have a DAT tape, I don't have to
transfer it to CD unless someone asks for a CD. You presume that
having a CD is a requirement. It isn't. It's a favor, or a job.

> > The other problem is that the card is the
> > master, and you destroy the master in order to re-use it.
> >
> You're showing your pre-digital mindset. ;-)
>
> What is the significance of "master" in the digital realm?

It's the first generation. If there was anything wrong with the copy
that went undetected, you'd be able to go back to the original and
make another copy. People have suggested that if there's a problem
with a copy it will be detected. I've copied stuff to floppy disk with
no error messages and found, even immediatedy, that the floppy disk
can't be read. And I've made coasters that have some data on them,
too, but not all the data I want. And I've also had the copy process
work, but I've made a mistake and copied the wrong thing. If I have to
clear a day's worth of flash cards to use them the next day, I want to
do it when I can think clearly, not when I'm dragged out from a day's
work.

> This is a "trust the media" thingy. If you feel comfortable doing a DAT to
> CD recording unattended, you should have no qualms about a CF to HD
> tran