The mobile recording space keeps rolling along. Alesis is the latest company to try to turn the iPod into a usable digital recorder. With up to 160 GB of storage, the fact that the iPod is a mobile hard drive you may already own certainly has some appeal. But what about quality?

The Alesis ProTrack attempts to bridge that input divide with internal mics and XLR inputs:

  • XY pattern stereo condenser mics (they look a lot like the mics on the Zoom H4)
  • XLR and 1/4″ inputs (line/mic) with 48V phantom power
  • 1/4″ stereo output, making this interesting as a playback device, too
  • LEDs onboard (nice!), limiter
  • Tripod mount, universal iPod dock

Recording is limited to 16-bit, 44.1kHz; the lack of 48kHz means a big downside for anyone doing video production. Our friend and roving podcaster / NPR reporter Brad Linder has the full story on his blog:
Alesis ProTrack turns your iPod into a pro audio recorder [Brad Linder’s blog]

This does look quite like the Belkin Podcast Studio. I’m not totally sold on Alesis’ quality control of late, but I’m more sold on them than on Belkin, so we’ll see.

Edirol R-09 with more storage

If there’s one mobile recorder to rule them all, it may be Edirol’s trusty R-09. The big news there: support for bigger storage, in the form of firmware updates for the R-09 and new, higher-quality R-09HR. The updates add support for Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) cards, for up to 32GB in storage. The 32GB drives are still mighty pricey, but 16GB isn’t a bad sweet spot.

I hadn’t actually paid attention to the HR model, but it has some nice extras: dedicated analog input control, low-cut filter, limiter/AGC (Auto Gain Control), gain boost, and even a remote.

R-09 HR Product Page [Roland/Edirol]

The Edirol has only an 1/8″ mic jack, but I know people who’ve been very happy with it. It may not work as a primary recorder — for that you may be willing to sacrifice something bigger and pricier. But for quick and dirty jobs and internal mic use, it does look quite nice. I sometimes think I should’ve gotten it instead of the Zoom H4 I bought, but I’ll just save up for a real mic pre for the Zoom and go home happy.

Review: Tascam DR-1

The last bit of news from Brad: a quick review of Tascam’s entry to the increasingly-overcrowded handheld recorder market. Brad writes us:

Seems like a decent, but not great device for recording music and interviews. A friend of mine took one for a spin for a little while and ultimately decided to return it and get an Marantz PMD660. I’ve heard good things about the Olympus LS-10 though, and I might pick one up myself eventually as a backup for my trusty Sony PCM-D50.

Got all those models straight, kids?

The DR-1 does have a 1/4″ jack, though no XLR. Downsides: preamps sound a little disappointing (weak levels), there’s no real mono recording, and, well, a lot of competition. Here’s Brad’s review with sound samples:

A short review of the Tascam DR-1 [Brad Linder’s blog]