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Portables Media Music Hardware

Professional-Grade Audio Recording With A PDA 205

Posted by timothy
from the it'll-cost-ya dept.
matt-fu writes "For a long time, live recording has been consigned mostly to the realm of DAT recorders, Minidisc recorders, or laptop computers. On one hand you have subpar sound quality, on the other you have a bulky rig with a big 'steal me' sign attached. Thanks to the folks at Core Sound though, mobile recording is about to take a huge leap forward with their PDAudio project. By using a hardware card that allows recording via S/PDIF onto Compact Flash, you will be able to use your iPaq or Zaurus alongside a decent A/D converter to portably get field recordings at up to 24bit/192kHz. The site includes WinCE screenshots, and there are Linux clients in the works as well."
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Professional-Grade Audio Recording With A PDA

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  • by dirkdidit (550955) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:00PM (#5722695) Homepage
    Miss Cleo: I'm seeing high quality concert bootlegs in the future, along with a good chance of RIAA lawsuits. Be prepared as the death card is also in your future.
    • Re:I Can see it now (Score:3, Informative)

      by Read Icculus (606527)
      There are plenty of uses for this besides piracy. Such as legal taping of concerts, like on http://etree.org/. Hopefully the linux version comes around soon as I'm looking foward to trying this out.
      • There are plenty of uses for this besides piracy.

        Didn't you get the memo?

        "Innocent until proven guilty" is OUT, and "assumption of guilt" is IN, along with his friend: "preemptive defense."

        --

    • That's Miss Clio [pinaxgroup.com] or Miss CLI± [sonystyle.com] to you!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:01PM (#5722703)
    Now we can expect a special music piracy tax on PDA's as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    RIAA endorsement
  • Size Limitations (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shepmaster (319234)
    So, who would be interested in nothing more than a high-quality sound bite? Most CF and similar products are small, and audio recording is big. Or are there multi-gigabyte flash cards in the making?
    • Re:Size Limitations (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:14PM (#5722771) Homepage Journal
      I wonder if they're going to include some form of lossless compression (like flac) on the sound to squeeze more bits out of the 4GB CF card mentioned in the article. As it stand, you can only get about an hour of uncompressed 2 channel 192 Kilosample 24 bit audio on there. With compression it should be easy to get 2 hours out of the card. If you use a lossy compression (like ogg) it should be trivial to get many many hours on a 4GB CF card.
      • You could swap a few Secure Digital [cnet.com] cards in between songs... On the Axim and iPaq you are able to read from a CF card and an SD card simultaneously.
      • I wonder if they're going to include some form of lossless compression (like flac) on the sound

        Unless I'm mistaken, lossless audio compression can't be done realtime, even with fast processors. The reason lossy compression can be done realtime is because it's actually dropping data based on an acoustical model; if something comes in that's outside the model, drop the unnecessary stuff right there.

        On the other hand, lossless compression uses the entire span of the audio clip to figure out what to comp

        • 192khz sampling and compression do not fit together. The Hi-Fi people already hate mp3 and other such compressed formats. The last thing they want to see is a 24bit/192khz sample compressed to shit. Its already a very heated discussion with hi-fi people. Now this is just gasoline to the fire.
          • Re:Size Limitations (Score:4, Interesting)

            by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Sunday April 13, 2003 @06:27PM (#5723371) Homepage
            192khz sampling and compression do not fit together.
            As long as you restrict yourself to lossy compression schemes, you may be correct (it's still a controversial subject, of course.) However, you may not have noticed this, but the person you responded to mentioned *both* lossy and lossless compression.

            (Of course, he did incorrectly suggest that lossless compression requires having the entire stream at once, which is patently incorrect. Obviously he's never heard of gzip or bzip2 -- both of which are lossless and compress streams block by block -- but aren't that great at compressing audio streams. There's more on various lossless audio-specific compression programs here [firstpr.com.au].)

            Note that even lossy compression is not always bad. mp3s and Oggs at 128Kbit/s may not be CD quality, but they're pretty good -- and yet it's compressed by a 12:1 factor! Increasing the bit rates will reduce your compression factor, but will increase the quality.

            Jpeg files are lossy, yet with higher quality factors the quality is so high that you can't even tell the difference with your own eyes.

            An audiophile may not be at all happy with 128Kbit/s mp3 files, but as you increase the bit rate, there's likely to be a place where he can't tell the difference between the lossy compression and the original. (Of course, depending on how strongly he hates lossy compression schemes, he may never actually admit it.)

            At that point, what matters is the compression ratio compared to what you could get with a lossless compresser.

            You wouldn't want to use a lossy compression scheme for compressing the studio masters (you should always do your mixing and such with no compression or lossless compression), but if the quality is good enough, it may be perfectly ok for the final distribution of the music, even for the audiophiles. 128 Kbit/s mp3s don't cut it, but that doesn't mean that `mp3 sucks!'.

        • According to this website [emusician.com]
          "A number of lossless audio-data packing schemes have been developed, but only a few have made it to the market. Merging Technologies' Lossless Realtime Coding (LRC) has been fully readied for license to provide compression and decompression programs for Mac, PC, and common digital signal processing (DSP) chips."

          Not only are you wrong, about realtime lossless encoding, you can even get a DSP built in to do it instead of relying on the CPU to provide the horsepower. Nice try, bu
      • by mattkime (8466) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:37PM (#5722896)
        you'd only use one channel anyway. how could one person record two channels of audio at a concert in the crowd? they'd both sound the same
        • Re:Size Limitations (Score:2, Interesting)

          by soupdevil (587476)
          How far apart are your ears?

          Can you hear two channels of audio at once?
        • Nah (Score:3, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770)
          Even two normal mics with a cardiod pattern will produce some sensation of stereo if they are right next to eachother. However, they make mics specifically for this kind of thing. They have two capsules that face away form eachother and a pickup pattern such to give good stereo from one unit. The recording studio on the university has one like this, I don't remember what kind it is. Sounds just gorgeus for stereo drum kit recordsing. You just hang teh thing over the centre of the kit and it gets good stereo
        • Re:Size Limitations (Score:4, Interesting)

          by hackstraw (262471) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @05:55PM (#5723250)
          Actually, some mikes that are used in audience concert recordings have different cartridges to change the reception pattern of the mike (cardiod, hypercardiod, shotgun, etc ). Why? For better stereo seperation at different distances from the stage.

          A good stereo audience recording sounds excellent. They really have that "there" feeling. I've actually jumped listening to a recording when a balloon popped near the mikes!

          Some people have meantioned using minidisc for shows. I have never had a recording come from a minidisc. I've seen "tapers" use minidiscs, but there not considered tradable, they are for personal use only.

          Regarding the recording of music on PDAs in general, I don't see this happening. There isn't a need. A minidisc is about as small as your gonna get, if size is what your after. Also, many of the current tapers have a dat deck, a good A/D converter, and some even have separate preamps to give gain from the mics to the a/d converter.

          Trust me there are plennty [etree.org] of excellent recordings out there for many taper friendly bands. Many of the recordings have detailed lineage of the source. For example:

          FOB B&K 4006 omni's (in hat, 36th row left of center) > Lunatec 316> Panasonic SV-250 by Marc Nutter; Transfer: Sony DTC-A6 > Dio 2448 > SF 4.5 @ 48K, Resample, add fades> CDWAV> SHN

          This is from a recording 8 years ago, taping is almost godlike now!
      • I would not that you are probably going to go for, at most, 96kHz 24bit. It's not real likely you are going to be able to get a A/D, preamp, and mic high enough quality to exhaust even 96kHz. This is live work we are talking about here.

        But yes, it wouldn't be hard to add some simple losless compression to double your space, giving you about 4 hours of stereo audio, which isn't bad.
    • The site linked to mentions that 4 GB media are readily available. I think that'll do nicely.
    • The main thing this does is actually let you connect standard professional-grade microphones (and other audio input devices) to a PDA. Even at relatively low bitrates, you can get much better results from a good microphone than from the microphones that you get get with cellphone or PC headset jacks.

      For that matter, this will let a band playing at a club get a soundboard recording on their PDA. If you're in a band with no recording equipment, this is a pretty big advantage, even if you don't get better tha
  • by Spyffe (32976) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:05PM (#5722722) Homepage

    This is really cool, but there are good solutions (MiniDisc, etc.) already for audio recording. This may have advantages over them, but there is still a significant installed base out there which will make adoption slow.

    Perhaps a video version of this could be developed, holding DV video? One of the difficulties of Mini-DV, just as DAT, is its linearity, which makes editing a chore. Combined with the LCD display on the PDA, a DV version of this tech could enable basic editing on the fly. It could do for video what MiniDisc did for audio.

    • I do a lot of field audio recording on a minidisc with a Rode NT4 Stereo mic. The biggest problem is that you have to play the recordings back. You can't just transfer them off the discs like a file. That is a pain, and this device might solve that problem.

      The other problem is that using the internal mic battery versus the phantom power there is a difference. Phantom power makes the mic sound better. And if you can record at 96Khz, thats even better. Better sound quality, etc, etc.

      I'm a little skeptical a

      • Microphone basics. (Score:3, Informative)

        by grumling (94709)
        Phantom power doesn't make anything sound better or worse. It provides +48vdc to a microphone to charge the condenser plates so that it will work. It can actually ruin some types (ribbon) mics.

        Generally condenser mics (such as the Rode NT series), are higher quality and will produce superior recordings.

    • This is really cool, but there are good solutions (MiniDisc, etc.) already for audio recording.

      No no no, this is completely different! It replaces the fragile, expensive MiniDisc recorder with a... PDA... oh wait...

    • by van der Rohe (460708) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:26PM (#5722844)
      Minidisk uses ATRAC compression, however, so it's not the same quality as DAT for example, which can record at CD quality (16 bit, 44.1 kHz.)

      This PDA solution appears to provide high-quality sampling rates/bit depth without relying on compression.
    • by cscx (541332)
      This is "professional" grade audio by the standards. S/PDIF is not *professional grade*. AES/ABU on a 110 ohm cable is. S/PDIF is considered "consumer" grade. No XLR cables, no pro... that's how it goes.
      • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mononoke (88668) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @05:08PM (#5723023) Homepage Journal
        This is "professional" grade audio by the standards. S/PDIF is not *professional grade*. AES/ABU on a 110 ohm cable is. S/PDIF is considered "consumer" grade. No XLR cables, no pro... that's how it goes.
        Not necessarily. They are only two different ways to carry the same digital signal. (AES/EBU is balanced signal, S/PDIF is unbalanced.) Yes, you want AES/EBU for longer cable runs to keep data loss to a minimum, but S/PDIF is perfectly suitable for short distances. Such as: From the Mic preamp in one jacket pocket to the PDA in the other. No need for balanced signal for that short a distance.

        Yes, I Am An Audio Technician (IAAAT).

    • You mean nothing? I swear im not trolling but honestly MD really didn't do anything for audio outside of the audiophile community (which I am a proud part of). Yes it was technically advanced and has put lossless audio into alot of hands but without the Sony juggernaut it would have died peacefully a decade ago.

      I would say an iPod like device would have better luck, huge capacity for lossless audio out the gate, instead of trying to cram a concert into a SD/CF disk.
      • Lossless?!?!? Atrac is a _lossy_ codec, and the latest version are actually more lossy (lower bitrate) in order to pack more data onto a small medium (by today's standard's, MD is tiny.. ~140 MB) with a relatively large form factor.

        As for HD-based recorders, some people are trying to work with Nomads.. but their recorder function currently will occasionally drop samples, and creative is not paying much attention. Field/Home recording is not a large part of their target demographic, evidently :)

        For more di
      • MD did nothing?

        You have to be joking - try going to any consumer hifi shop... they're selling like hot cakes. I can't see why audiophiles would use them (except the pro. models which are stupidly expensive).. but for the average punter they're great. 8 hours per disk, very very long battery life (mine is only on its second battery after 12 months, and I use if every day) and none of the disadvantages of mp3 (like needing a £1000 computer to actually get songs onto it).
  • Good! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TerryAtWork (598364) <research@aceretail.com> on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:05PM (#5722726)
    How many great concerts have disappeared into the ether because no one recorded them?

    A LOT!

    And artists - if you are concerned that pir8's will swipe all your material remember that piracy makes the pie bigger and the bigger the pie the bigger your slice, and that the Grateful dead encouraged this sort of thing and they had the second most lucrative tour after U2 and that the pir8s are in fact working for you for free - all you have to do is grab their best stuff and publish it yourself ala Zappa in Beat the Boots.

    • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      If record companies were smarter, they'd record all the concerts themselves. I mean, you already have a full audio setup for sound reenforcement. With just a little extra effort it could be setup to do a good job recording, or for 0 extra effort a DAT can by plugged into the main output and that captured.

      Then, sell it all on your website. Let fans buy, either through download or purchasing custom burned CDs, all the songs from concerts they want. If they feel like getting a particular performance of a part
      • Re:Good! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mononoke (88668) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @05:26PM (#5723106) Homepage Journal
        If record companies were smarter, they'd record all the concerts themselves. I mean, you already have a full audio setup for sound reenforcement. With just a little extra effort it could be setup to do a good job recording, or for 0 extra effort a DAT can by plugged into the main output and that captured.
        Already being done by most bands, but only as a reference tape used to judge the quality of their performance.

        Have you ever heard a 'board tape', as these are called? The mix is usually terrible because the show is being mixed to sound good for the paying audience, not the tape. Mixing a live concert and mixing to tape are two very different things. Real 'live-recordings' are recorded on separate consoles located away from the arena, at great added expense.

        (Why are board tape mixes bad? Mixing a live show involves combining the sound coming out of the PA with the sound coming off stage (Huge guitar stacks and expensive snare drums are the worst offender in this regard.) The board tape is only getting half of what the audience heard.)

        (Yes, I mix live audio for a living.)

        • I'm glad that someone 2nd's my opinion that board tapes aren't all that. I think that the lure of boards for at least Grateful Dead concerts, was that the variability between shows was less from show to show vs. audience (microphone) recordings. A board tape will always sound like a board tape, but an audience recording to a $50 boom box vs something like B&K 4006 omni mikes > Lunatec 316> Panasonic SV-250 makes all the difference in the world.
          • Re:Good! (Score:2, Informative)

            by Mononoke (88668)
            I think that the lure of boards for at least Grateful Dead concerts, was that the variability between shows was less from show to show vs. audience (microphone) recordings.
            Dead board tapes also tended to be more like what the audience heard because of the size of the venues. On an outdoor show 98% of what the audience hears comes from the board, as opposed to 70% (or less) in smaller indoor venues.

        • Didn't say they were great but know what? Fans would buy them anyhow. I also don't think that doing a passable live recording with seperate mics would add significant expense. I'm not talking about doing a full out, pro quality, for release as an album kind of thing with a seperte mix enginer and all. Take a couple good mics, set them up, and run them to an Alesis Masterlink or something like it.

          The point of any of this being to give an ok recording of the show for any fans that want it. Just do a 2-tracks
    • Although, to be fair, there may have been a few other factors involved in the Dead's awesome tour numbers. If you can convince a good chunk of your fans to follow you to every single venue, or at least two week's worth, ...

    • I agree man ... best show ive ever heard, Steely Dan @ The Riverport Ampitheature in St. Louis on 09-01-1993. I was 14 and unable to attend :) I am glad someone did, because its my favorite SD album (and I own them all).

      That being said, having a studio myself, I would like to point out that wether something is "Professional Audio" or not is determined by a high Dynamic Range (DNR) and a low Signal to Noise Rratio (SNR), not the useless and misleading "Audio Precision" graphs.

      That being said, I hope it

  • Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Flunitrazepam (664690) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:06PM (#5722732) Journal
    With this, and cell phones the size of postage stamps that can stream live video, we are reaching a point where people are going to have to assume they are being recorded or filmed at all times.
    • "we are reaching a point where people are going to have to assume they are being recorded or filmed at all times."

      You mean you don't already? This is truely a great age for the exhibitionist.

      I only take off my tin foil cap when I'm in the shower because the steam blocks the NSA GPS signal they implanted in all of our heads. PDAs all have this signal emmiter too, why do you think every business owner is required to own one?
  • have an "I'm bootlegging this concert" sign attached instead?
  • by PhyrePhox (218873) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:17PM (#5722789)
    This is not an all-in-one solution. You'll still need an encoder, and frankly, a portable DAT or MD recorder is: smaller; a single finished piece; designed specifically for this purpose; and (at least in the case of the MD recorder) much cheaper than a iPaq/A-D converter/this funky card.
  • this looks cool (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Though a minidisc recorder is fine for your bootlegging needs. This PDA thingy might be good for bands who are recording their own shows straight from the deck, etc. Less bulky than a laptop.

    While we are on the subject, any of you cats know about any loop-based composition software for the Zaurus? Just something to play around with. I've seen Nanoloop for the gameboy, and something else for the iPaq, but nothing on the Z....
  • What about an Archos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by toxcspdrmn (471013) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:20PM (#5722813) Homepage
    I can do pretty much the same with my Archos Jukebox Recorder [archos.com] and an amplified microphone. With on-the fly VBR MP3 encoding direct to a 20GB hard disc, space is not an issue. And it fits in a pocket.
    • by delta407 (518868)
      Do you honestly think that audio professionals store data in 160-kilobit VBR MP3s?

      Besides which, can your Archos do 24-bit/192 KHz sampling? Professionally, very, very few people use 16-bit/44 KHz for anything serious.
      • I take your point and IANAPSE (Professional Sound Engineer) - but I was thinking along the lines of recording live concerts without a permit, where you are likely to have the microphone sticking out of the cuff of your jacket, or clipped to your t-shirt, rather than taking a line level signal from the sound engineer's mixing board.

        In that situation, does it really help to have a 24-bit/192 KHz recording of you clothes rustling and your neighbour's coughs? :-)
      • by Mononoke (88668)
        Professionally, very, very few people use 16-bit/44 KHz for anything serious.
        Just every single CD audio disk mastered in the world. Damn professionals.

        (It's 44.1 KHz, BTW)

        • Right, of course, the final product is almost invariably 44.1 KHz, two channels, 16 bits per sample. But this is the difference: it's downsampled to that, after EQing and lots of other DSP. Except for some live stuff, very few professionals use such low quality initial recordings, choosing instead to have greater precision through the entire mastering process until it is discarded (actually, dithered and filtered away rather than truncated) at the end.

          Then again, I have seen some audio equipment capable of
  • This will be nice for future batches of pdas. The current batch of pda processors, almost certainly cannot handle this high of quality of audio.
    • If you'd actually read the article you would know that because this is a hardware addition, there are quite a few PDAs listed that will work fine (i.e. PDAs that have already been released and don't just exist in the future.)
  • Remember this story? [slashdot.org] It looks like this PDA gives high tech pirates a way to record uber-amounts of concert data. The RIAA may finally have some high-quality competition.
  • Professional-grade recording requires at least six-figures worth of high-end equipment, in addition to numerous skilled sound engineers. A single quality microphone runs thousands of dollars alone. Does this PDA offer good recording quality? Maybe. But don't start throwing around PR bullshit just because it runs Linux.
    • Really???!!! Well I can build a tube amp with just some resisters and caps. It will not look like a million dollars. It will blow the shit out of your low, middle and some high end gear. I have an original Dynaco ST tube amp. It will make your $50000.00 sound like something which was purchased at Future Shop. Good design will always win. Not expensive sperm filled caps.
      • Well I can build a tube amp with just some resisters and caps. It will not look like a million dollars. It will blow the shit out of your low, middle and some high end gear. I have an original Dynaco ST tube amp. It will make your $50000.00 sound like something which was purchased at Future Shop. Good design will always win. Not expensive sperm filled caps.

        The original poster's not talking about simply reproducing the sounds, he talking about capturing it and putting it on tape. Reproducing sound i

    • recording quality depends on your microphone kiddo, not your recording device.

      And professional grade recording costs less than $2000, if you know how to shop and what to buy. We're talking field recording, which for the price of a DAT ($500) and a good set of microphones ($1000 will get a great pair of binaural mics, excellent for recording a concert) will get you going just fine.

      I assume your "professional" runs the same as the people who pay for Monster Cable and assume that because it costs more, it h
      • I think we have a misunderstanding of what constitutes "professional". Professional recording is not what happens at your local county fairgrounds by dropping a few cheap mikes in front of a P.A. system and plugging everything into a fancy iPaq. This [czechphilharmonic.cz] is a professional recording environment.
      • And professional grade recording costs less than $2000, if you know how to shop and what to buy. We're talking field recording, which for the price of a DAT ($500)...

        Any DAT recorder that's that cheap is gonna have crap for a mic preamp and A/D converters.

        and a good set of microphones ($1000 will get a great pair of binaural mics, excellent for recording a concert) will get you going just fine.

        Why would you want two stereo mics, or is 'binaural' just some buzzword that felt good at the moment?

      • I assume your "professional" runs the same as the people who pay for Monster Cable and assume that because it costs more, it has to be better.

        My old boss, who is a total genius and hardcare audiophile, swears by monster cable, and says it's the easiest thing you can do to make your audio setup sound better.

        We were talking about something one day (on our project to make better AD converters by using optical sampling and demultiplexing) and got sidetracked into audio electronics. If you know any basic el

        • I work at a microelectronics shop, and with 20 EEs around the lunch table, woe to the one who mentions 'high-end' audio cables and means it.

          (We work motly with RF, so yes we are pretty well versed in transmission line effects ant the like)

          Expensive audio cables is a hoax. There, that is really all you need to know.

          To elaborate: most audio cable companies tries to pull somthing about transmission line effects or impedance matching (same thing) as the virtue of just their cables. This is utter bullshit as
    • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

      by torpor (458)
      Ummm... sorry to burst your pretty bubble, but 'professional grade' field recordings of concerts *can* be done with sub-$1000 microphones, well rigged to a portable system such as described here.

      There's nothing that says "Pro = digital multitrack with multiple busses from the house mix".
    • Checking my latest Guitar Center catalog puts the lie to that.

      Especially for the portable person.

      But even a full-fledged pre-built ProTools setup can be had for under $15K. Another 5 Grand for Mics, cables and hardware and you have a (small) studio's worth of recording equipment for $20K.

      I don't think you are being realistic about what is neccesary for sound quality, and what is a frill.

  • by rf0 (159958)
    Cool now when I goto a concert I don't have to have an obvious tape record/mini-disk etc. Just have my PDA and if anyone ask I'm just checking my email :)

    Rus
  • I have to say I'm impressed with what appears to be a very good product for handhelds.

    I can't wait to start seeing micro-editing and remixing suites available as well, I'm sure it will only be a short time before we have the ability to DJ or Master Music on a handheld as we do on a laptop today.

    Also, what about effects?
    It shouldn't take much doing to convert that application into say a reverb or delay peddle. An all in one solution for applying Delay/Distortion/Flange/Phaser/Reverb/EQ would quickly find i
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:29PM (#5722858)
    24kbits*192KHz*2channels = 1.152 MB a SECOND. If you compress it, then whats the point of having such high fidelity anyways? Your 512M CF card is going to hold 7 minutes of audio data.

    Why not just buy a portable minidisc recorder, which is smaller than a PDA, cheaper than a PDA, would probably have 10 times the battery life of this PDA-based monster, and has media that costs $2 a pop? Add to that the media lasts for a 74 minute recording at a quality that will definitely blow that PDA solution out of the water and you've got a complete waste of time.

    I can't understand why most geeks would lambast the general public for falling for the Megahertz Myth, and yet they get all starry eyed when someone starts throwing preposterous specs out at them. Do you honestly think that you can get an appreciable difference between 16/44 and 24/192 outside of a professional studio?

    This product is targeted at clueless audiophile wannabes. Unless you are one, move along.
    • First, MDs suck for live audio recording. Why? Because it compresses the audio in a lossy method (just like mp3's). The MDs are the last in the line of quality, and this solution (although I don't think it will ever see the light of day, as it is Core Sound that's releasing it) would be much better than MD any day of the week.

      And second, yes, you can tell the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/192. Try listening to a SACD or a DVD-A and tell me they don't sound better than a CD.

      • Um, I don't agree with that. I use a minidisc all the time to record groups that I play with. It works great. What really decides on how good the recording is going to come out is the microphone and microphone placement. I invested in a Rode NT4 stereo mic about a year ago. That with my minidisc player/recorder has resulted in many high quality recordings. They sound at least as good as recordings made with a pair of house mics (Neumanns I believe) going to a mixing board. Actually, they usually sound bette
        • What I'd really like to see is something like a recordable iPod.


          Now that would be something to get me to part with some cash in short order. Someone must have one in develompent by now?
      • The real question should be can you tell the difference between 44.1/24 and 192/24. That difference is much more subtile. It's there, but you need much better equipment to appreciate it at all, and even then it is small. The big improvement is the increased dynamic range, not so much the increased frequency range.

        Well, at 44.1/24 space requirements are quite a bit lower, and lower still if they do some on-the-fly lossless compression.
    • personally, I'd rather have a fully-digital device that can do 44.1/48 (which this can) and not have to deal with Minidisc, DAT's or anything at all that you have to transfer in real-time.

      The potential is there though with this device, to work very well into the future as media gets cheaper and prices go down. 5 years ago, would you have assumed you could get a DVD-R for $2? 512MB of RAM for $50? 200gb of hard drive space for $150?

      Of course not, with your thinking.

      It's a shame so many people think tha
    • Dude, you clearly don't know what you're talking about. I wouldn't be so rough on you except that you're calling those of us who do know something "clueless audiophile wannabes."

      First, 16bits is not enough to cover the dynamic range of human hearing. 16 bits only amounts to ninety-something db of dynamic range, and the human range is greater than that (Yes, I know about amplitude and frequency masking effects). 120db is the threshold of pain, and is relative to the quiestest observable sound.

      Second,
  • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2@anth[ ... m ['ony' in gap]> on Sunday April 13, 2003 @04:33PM (#5722875) Homepage
    You can have SPDIF, DAT, you name it....but if the mic sucks....so will the audio
    • I was about to say the same thing when I saw this. Everyone seems to think that the road to better sound quality is a higher sampling rate (e.g., 96K or whatever). Well, folks, to my human ears (and yours, too) 44.1K is plenty. If you want better fidelity, invest in the analog signal before it gets digitized.

      And oh, yeah - go out and buy an amp that goes up to "11"...

    • You might care to note that that company sells mics as well. (This device does not use the PDA's internal microphone).
  • Well, it all depends on what you consider professional grade. There are already digital four track recorders (the thing indie rockers usually know for their cassette eating tendencies) that use SmartMedia cards. Plus, on "high fidelity mode," the Zoom MRS-4 gets 17 track-minutes of 24 bit audio with a frequency response of up to 32 kHz on a 32 meg card.
  • Back in the 90s, DAT was where it was at for professional-quality live recording. If PDA recording had come back then, it'd have been great. But now you can spend $90, and get a MiniDisc recorder (including shipping) which gives great sound quality, and is much better on batteries than DAT decks, and writes a removable and archivable medium. I leave my DAT deck at home these days.
  • Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mindstrm (20013)
    So you use an s/pdif input card and record the data digitally on your pda... WHOPIE.

    You still need, as it says, a DAC. Got a really small high quality dac? High quality mic? Got enough storage capacity for high quality recording on your pda?

    A portable DAT recorder is still way better.

  • one question, which will be more likely snatched from the mixers work spot, 10cm*10cm pda or a 'bulky steal me' laptop/other hardware chained by multiple wires to the other hw? (and since it already includes bulky hw in the form of a good ad converter i honestly lose what's the point for honest usage)

    when was the last time somebody stole your entire suitcase without you noticing instead of nicking off just your wallet or gsm?(no, i haven't lost anything this way.)
  • Woah there, hoss! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bengoerz (581218) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @06:15PM (#5723315)
    For a long time, live recording has been consigned mostly to the realm of DAT recorders, Minidisc recorders, or laptop computers. On one hand you have subpar sound quality, on the other you have a bulky rig with a big 'steal me' sign attached.

    Subpar sound quality? The DATs that I've worked with have better resolution than CDs (48 KHz vs 44.1 KHz sampling), minidiscs are technically CD quality, and laptop computers can be equally sensitive given the right equipment. Given what I've heard of PDA sound, there's nothing subpar about the existing recording mediums. Also, it's hard to claim that a minidisc is "a bulky rig".

    By using a hardware card that allows recording via S/PDIF onto Compact Flash, you will be able to use your iPaq or Zaurus alongside a decent A/D converter to portably get field recordings at up to 24bit/192kHz.

    So to record in this way, I must buy a "decent" A/D converter and a bunch of Compact Flash. And, unless they are using some compression which will lower the sound quality, this thing will suck up more MB-per-minute of audio than a CD. Good thing Hitchai (formerly IBM) makes their MicroDrive [hgst.com], and I have a money tree [marketingdurango.com] in my yard.

    So, bottom line as I see it? An interesting project, but one which uses expensive hardware and media that makes it prohibitively expensive. So if you want professional digital recording, get a professional digital recorder. If you want ad-hoc "pro" sound recording from a PDA, now you've got an option.
  • 24 bits? right... (Score:4, Informative)

    by svirre (39068) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @07:03PM (#5723605)
    You are not going to get 24 bits recordings of anything battery operated.

    The level of precision recuired to even begin to approach 24 bits recuire very high biascurrents in the device.

    Actual 24 bit conversion is actually extremely hard. I am not aware of any standard device capable of this level of precision at audio frequencies, let alone 200KHz.

    Also you will not find any mic or concert venue enabling you to deliver 144dB dynamic range into the adc. You will likely actually get somwhere between 30-60dB

    Note: Do not confuse the wordlength with the precision. There are many AD and DA devices who output a lot more bits than they actually can deliver data for. This is done to justify the audio-biz need for specmanship. (stick a '24' bit dac in there so we can write it on the front panel, never mind the device is propably only capable on 16-18 bits)
    • Actual 24 bit conversion is actually extremely hard. I am not aware of any standard device capable of this level of precision at audio frequencies, let alone 200KHz.

      I suggest you look around more then, and maybe even RTFA. This company has the response of their 24-bit A/D convertor right there on the page linked to in this story. Duh.

      Also you will not find any mic or concert venue enabling you to deliver 144dB dynamic range into the adc. You will likely actually get somwhere between 30-60dB

      You ca
      • I suggest you look around more then, and maybe even RTFA. This company has the response of their 24-bit A/D convertor right there on the page linked to in this story. Duh.

        I have seen the plot and it doesn't look like a 24 bit converter to me. More like 18.5 bits.

        You can pretty easily get a mic which will give you 144db of dynamic range, they're just not cheap. Here's a mic that will handle 160 db maximum.

        http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/sid=0304141 8 36 38141149239237800975/search/g=rec/detail/bas
  • Like this device can't be easily stolen???

    The preview button is there for a reason - USE IT!!!
  • Nomad Jukebox3.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by rootlocus (82271) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @08:55PM (#5724211) Homepage
    I am a musician who records a lot of live performances, and I just bought a Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 [nomadworld.com].. I'm really happy with it.. For about $375 you get a 40 GB hard drive, and it can record to WAV or several different MP3 formats via the analog or optical line in..

    I tried the Sony Minidisc recorder, but was disappointed by the built-in DRM (you can't copy your own recordings to a PC digitally, because it doesn't think you have rights to them)..
  • Battery Life? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dimension6 (558538)
    I think that before this can become a truly viable solution, PDA battery life must increase. Since this drains battery power (from what I understand), many PDAs will be unable to record an entire concert straight through. On a side note, I believe Sharp is going in the right direction with the Zaurus SL-5600's longer life battery.
  • I had read on a couple audio boards that people were using CD recorders to captures live sound. This apparently yielded high enough quality, and had the advantage that you got a CD out of it.

    Is anyone out there using this?

    Jon Acheson
  • ...if you didn't notice. They won't be selling this stuff exclusively as a PDA kit.

    The cool thing about this is not "Yay, you can record on your IPAQ!" but "Yay, someone is producing a digital audio interface in CF format with OpenSource drivers!"

    I've thought that using the PDA to do my taping would be super-slick and would get me a lot of oohs and ahhs, but the PDA+4GB CF card+dual CF sleeve combo is WAY more expensive than a Nomad Jukebox 3, which I recently converted to from MiniDisc, and which I am e

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