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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for a recorder for our community band and my big band. I want something simple for casual use. I don't need anything for cutting a CD just decent built-in mics with as low hiss as possible in this price range.

Has anyone compared these three devices?
 

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If you want it simple remove from your list the H4: a nightmare....!
 

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rispoli said:
If you want it simple remove from your list the H4: a nightmare....!
Rispoli: H4 a nightmare? Au contraire!

I've been having a blast with mine. It *does* have a daunting number of buttons and doohickeys on it that look complicated, but a very teeny stroll through a very teeny part of the manual got me up and recording in 5 minutes.

And now, after that initial set-up, when I take it to a gig, I turn it on, push the Record button twice, and that's ... it. I added a 2G card to have plenty of memory, the thing will record for *hours* on 2 AA batteries, and it's just been plain painless....

Most important, however, is how the thing sounds. Everything listed below in my sig was recorded on it, with its built-in mics. November Morning probably shows best how it records in a live situation. I did nothing to the track but add some reverb and bring up the recording level -- and the Zoom includes Cubase that'll do that for you if you feel so inclined.

Some of the tracks, like In A Sentimental Mood, were recorded behind the group, but still sound pretty good -- if you can get past the crowd noise, which ain't the Zoom's fault, of course.

I haven't tried the H2 or the Edirol, and they may be great -- just wanted to recount my non-nightmarish experience!
 

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The H4 couldn't be simpler if you just want to record. I never learned about all the other functionality. I simply push the top right buttom once to place in record standby, and then again to start recording. It doesn't get much easier than that.
 

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Morry said:
The H4 couldn't be simpler if you just want to record. I never learned about all the other functionality. I simply push the top right buttom once to place in record standby, and then again to start recording. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Ok, I agree with this, however for this type of usage (which is also mine) it makes more sense to save some money and get the H2, which is also considerably smaller/lighter.
 

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I use the Edirol R-09 and I really like it. But I haven't tried the Zoom recorders. The Edirol is small, light, easy to use, etc. Quality is good as long as you pay attention to the input levels (but that's always part of recording, right?).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The H2 has the interesting 4 microphone set up. My concern is the noise floor on something that inexpensive. No, it won't be used to cut a commercial CD but what is the noise floor for a bassoon solo from 20 ft.

The Edirol publishes their specs, which is more than Zoom does. Has anyone seen spec tests on the Zoom recorders? The reviews I've read all state the same thing, "Great recorder for the money." Well, my TuneTalk connected to my iPod sounds good for the money. It sounds even better when I connect it to a mixer with AKG recording mics!
 

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rispoli said:
Ok, I agree with this, however for this type of usage (which is also mine) it makes more sense to save some money and get the H2, which is also considerably smaller/lighter.
I agree it would have been nice to have saved $100 and gotten rid of the multi-track recording capability and the guitar effects.

Does the H2 use the same quality mics as the H4? They are fairly impressive at this price point.
 

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I own the Edirol and it's a great little piece of gear. It records in Wav or MP3, 16 bit or 24 bit. It's really easy to use and set up a moron could figure it out without the manual. It's idiot proof!!!!! With the 2 gig SD card I can record about 160 minutes at CD quality 16 bit 44.1. If you go MP3 you can go up to close to 2000 minutes. You can I think even put a 4 gig or 8 gig card in it also but I have the 2 gig card. It only comes with a 64MB SD card so you have to upgrade.

Sound quality is pretty good but you do have to place the unit in a good spot. It has a built in stereo mic that has a high gain and a low gain switch. For loud sources you pick low, for low sources you pick high its that simple. Then it has a gain up and down and a clip light. Turn it up till it clips then back it off till it doesn't. Press record and your done.

I do have a hook up at Roland through a friend so I got mine for 250 bucks, but I think even retail it is worth it.
 

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Kelly Bucheger said:
Rispoli: H4 a nightmare? Au contraire!

I've been having a blast with mine.
Kelly, I somehow envy your proficiency with these little devices (if you are able to use more than the rec button as me and Morry do...), probably you had more commitment to the task than me.
I instead DEFINITELY ENVY your chops! Great sound.

I had that device and sold since I was not making a better use of it than what also my iriver ifp899 allows me to. Just click REC and record.
I then bought another one, the BOSS MICRO BR, same thing, I will sell that one soon too.
I think I should settle with the H2 which seems to do exactly the only thing I proved myself to be willing to learn. I think its microphone is way better than the one I plug into my Iriver (still my recorder of choice). The EDIROL should be great for the task too but at twice the price or so. Probably not worth the extra cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The Edirol has a mic stand adaptor, too.

OK, everyone take their recorder into a sound booth, turn it on and let's find out which one has the most noise at 80% and 90% gain.

It's amazing what's expected out of a $200 recorder compared to what I hear in a recording such as Miles Davis' "Round Midnight"
 

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First, thank you, rispoli, for your kind words!

Doug Lange said:
It's amazing what's expected out of a $200 recorder compared to what I hear in a recording such as Miles Davis' "Round Midnight"
My most recent previous experience with "micro-portable" recording along these lines was a minidisc recorder and that Sony stereo mic that everybody was using a few years back. The results were not horrible, but not too great either.

So when I heard what the Zoom was capable of, I was amazed -- I had no idea things had gotten so much better...
 

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I've heard nothing but positives regarding the Edirol R-09; the battery life is rather good, and though it seems the consensus is that the Zoom and Edirol have nearly the same sound quality, the Edirol's interface is more friendly.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I haven't bought one yet. Thanks for the info.
 

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I have the Zoom H4 and I think it's great. It has mic modeling, 4 track recording, external 1/4" & XLR inputs with a built in preamp and effects (comp & limit), plus all the guitar stuff (amp models, effects, etc.) It has a ton of functionality in a very small package. I agree that it definitely takes some learning to figure out all the different settings, but that's simply because it does so much. For $300 it was a very good buy and comes bundled with Cubase LE. The guts are very common between the H2 and H4, but the H4 has a lot more goodies and the external inputs which I find a very handy addition to the very good built-in mics. I haven't tried the Edirol, but if you're looking to do more than just a basic live recording, or if you have any inkling to plug in an external mic, instrument, XLR from a mixer, etc. then the H4 is the way to go. Once you figure it out it's very easy, and the manual is pretty good.
 

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NIce recordings!!! Would you mind posting if you recorded direct from a board, using the XLR inputs, or just set it up and used the Zoom's internal mics?
 

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affuman2 said:
NIce recordings!!! Would you mind posting if you recorded direct from a board, using the XLR inputs, or just set it up and used the Zoom's internal mics?
Hey affuman2:

If you're asking about my recordings in the post above (or in my sig below), they were done using the Zoom's internal mics.... Just stuck the thing in front of the band (well, behind, in the case of the trio) and let 'er rip...
 

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Just for your info,
Just bought a Zoom H4 and it is not recognized by MAC computers when you want to transfer files. Problem raised on different discussion forums. Wait and see ... I do not want to buy a separated SD card reader just to transfer my recorded files.
 

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Boss BR-600 Digital Recorder -

I bought this for my daughter (12 yrs old) and the recording quality with the two built in mics is excellent. Though it has a lot of other features like drums, the recording is very straight forward. She is artsy, not a technophobe, never even played nintendo and does not have an ipod, but with very little effort, figured out how to record her piano, violin and voice on multiple tracks. It works well with either built in mics or with external mics, can run on batteries and records to a compact flash card. I picked it up a year ago for $299 at a Guitar Center.
 
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