Which Portable Recorder to Buy?

Quick: which brand-new portable recorder will be your long-awaited iPod of recording? The newly-announced M-Audio MicroTrack, or the already-proven Edirol R-1? One thing’s for sure: CompactFlash is where it’s at. I just got an email from Buy.com offering a full 2 GB of CompactFlash storage for US$70 after rebate. You’re likely to run out of battery life — or whatever it is you’re recording — before you run out of space. And drag and drop is so much better than the old way (dealing with MiniDiscs, DAT tapes, and the like). So, based on some feedback from readers, I may …

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Marantz PMD660 Portable Digital Recorder

While we’re mulling CompactFlash-based portable digital recorders, I’d be remiss to ignore the Marantz PMD660. Just as the new M-Audio MicroTrack is inspired by Apple’s iPod (check out the LCD display if you don’t believe me), the PMD660 is deeply rooted in past Marantz recorders. Those of you who have fond memories of Marantz cassette recorders (I sure do), are probably already experiencing a little twinge of nostalgia. How does the PMD660 differ from the other models we’ve looked at? Real XLR microphone inputs, for one. There are other pro features, too, like a wired remote with Record/Pause control, track …

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Edirol: New MIDI, Audio Gear; Portable USB Speakers

Edirol, the audio/video gear folks that are part of Roland Group, have a trio of announcements about new hardware. Let’s deal with them all at once, because Roland model numbers make my head hurt: New MIDI: Yes, new MIDI interface hardware. (MIDI will never die, folks.) What’s groovy about them? The US$89 UM-3EX has a built-in USB hub — chain them and/or rack mount them(!) and you’ve got some serious multi-port MIDI. Sure, some will be building a monster studio with this using lots of vintage keyboards . . . I’ll be building some weird interactive setup with sensors. Don’t …

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PSP Kick: Homebrew Drum Machine (What About DS?)

There’s plenty of homebrew music software for the Game Boy and GBA (check out LSDJ and Nanoloop), but what about next-gen portables? MusicThing gets the scoop on PSP Kick, a sampled drum machine for PSP. PSP Kick is very simple — it’s just a 12-slot drum sampler with AIFF output — but it sounds like fun, and you can save your creations to a Memory Stick. Hopefully this is a sign of more to come. PSP Kick official site (just a static image now, but “launching soon”) Release info and download at PSPupdates (warning: annoying popup ads, but worth it!) …

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Indie Cellphones: Jivjiv Lets Bands Set Up Ringtone Store

Indie ringtones? `Bout time. (What do you mean, this Jessica Simpson ringtone ain’t cool?) Jivjiv let’s anyone with art or music create their own cellphone wallpaper and ringtone store. A la cafepress, you even set your own prices. The stores are free; you just wait and collect your cut. You’ll need an Internet-enabled phone to get the ringtones. This all leads to indie coolness like featured bands Porches on the Autobahn (nice name), and, erm, something involving puppets. (No idea.) Thanks, Atariboy! Of course, CDM’s own ringtone, built on a Moog Voyager, is free.

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M-Audio to Release Palm-Sized Recorder?

SonicState has the scoop on an upcoming M-Audio palm recorder called Flash Tracker shown at MusikMesse, not yet officially announced. (Hint to manufacturers: if you’re trying to keep a product secret, don’t show it at a trade show.) The Flash Tracker is Compact Flash powered, like Edirol’s R-1 which I’ve covered here on CDM. Getting an R-1 has been near impossible because of low stock, though, and the Flash Tracker looks from the SonicState report to be half the size, in an iPod-like, curved shell. It also has S/PDIF digital input, which the R-1 significantly lacks. Other than that, all …

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DIY Portable Game System

The Mignon Game Kit lets you build your own portable game boy system, with a stunning 7 x 5 pixel resolution. (No, that's not a typo, but those individual red lights look gorgeous!) The kits come with different amounts of components, price EUR 29 – 69 plus shipping (no distribution outside Europe as near as I can tell). Here's where it gets cool: you can hard-wire simple games. And since this device makes sound in the video, it could be used live for chiptune music. (via Pixelsumo)

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Laptop Musicians Do Battle

NPR Morning Edition's David Malakoff yesterday covered the Laptop Battle phenomenon: competitive laptop composition contests that are spreading across North America, thanks to fourthcity's LAPTOPBATTLE.ORG. NPR caught the recent Mid-Atlantic laptop battle. Players are given a time-limit and are actually forbidden from using external controllers. The music must be laptop-only. Then it's a slam — whoever wins over the judges with their musical mastery and energy wins. So, how can you get on the action? April 1 (Friday!) is the next contest in Seattle. (Any Seattle readers? Hit comments and let us know if you make it!) And the contest …

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ThinAmp Portable Amp Fits in Laptop Bag

The ThinAmp from AXL, introduced in January at NAMM, is a portable amp packed into the size of a laptop: only 2" thick and just 5 lbs. (!) You can literally fit it into a laptop bag — in fact, you can probably fit it and your laptop into a laptop bag. The amp is geared at guitarists, but Synthtopia reviews it and finds it suitable for laptop, too. Of course, you can't expect a whole lot of sound out of a 2" amp; while it has EQ and DSP presets for reverb, vibrato, flanger, chorus, and the like, the …

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R4 Ships, DAT Dies

DAT tape is as over as eight track cassette. Edirol is shipping its R4 portable digital recorder. What's not to love? 40GB HD, 24-bit/96kHz (though we'll stick with 16-bit and 44.1 / 48, thank you), 4-channel recording, and even onboard effects and wave editor. Connect it via USB 2.0 to your computer and download files, or even swap them on CompactFlash. It even sync to cameras for video production, and now supports Broadcast WAV (BWF), which I hear means something to video people, even if it means squat to the rest of us. And, of course, the whole package is …

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