I'm not very techno-co-log-ical but the whole IT thing pushes one's boundaries and since I wanted to be very much the audiophile I've been working my butt off trying to establish some protocols to record by.

And this (pictured left) is it! --- all in one hand Ratbag Radio Recording Studio!

What we have here is an iRiver ifp 795 Mp3 player and attached to it is is a Sony ECM-DS30P microphone. Later you'll get to judge the sound by listening to Ratbag Radio and other stuff I record -- but this setup is so small and portable that I can carry it anywhere and use it anytime as it takes up much less space than a digital camera.It's actuilaly the size of three match boxes, end to end. It rests in my hand like any standard microphone -- that's both microphone and recorder combined ! -and is together probably at least one third the weight of a standard mic.

The only problem with the setup is the white thing in betwixt -- as the iRiver has a ridge which divides the iRiver chassis and the Sony mic doesn't sit flush against the line in port. So I had to improvise with a split stereo attachment which I shaved back to sit flush on the device. A L- shaped join works too.*

So it's a case of point and record.

Unfortunately this model of iRiver is now discontinued although some may still be available on eBay or at Tandy(where I got mine) here in Australia. The mic draws on the power in the iRiver as it functions through plug in power technology(again an attribute only of the ifp bnut is now styandard on mini disc recorders where it was first developed). If I want, I can run a lead from the recorder and set up the microphone at some distance from the Mp3 device to record a speaker at a public meeting or the like.

Since it records at 128 kbps/44kHz or lower -- any recording can be uploaded to the web or posted off as an email attachment. These Mp3 files can also be edited with such free audio editing programs as Audacity(pc) or GarageBand(mac).

I wanted to record out and about but, of course, you don't need to do that. With a cheap microphone** plugged into your computer and by using ODEO Studio on the web -- you too can make audio that can be uploaded, shared and podcasted.

The irony is that after spending a good deal of effort researching and pricing this setup not only is the iRiver model discontinued but I've more or less decided that the preferable route for the level of mobility I'm after as cheap as I can afford is to invest in a Mini Disc Recorder. (pictured right, the MZ-NHF800)

Mp3 makes for great format for listening to audio out and about but to record and edit audio the new format of Hi MD seems unassailable. Unfortunately the main threat to MD technology is probably its inventor and patent holder, Sony, and Sony has lost its nerve in the face of the massive popularity of the Mp3 format and its related player devices.(And don't forget that Sony has a stake in the recording industry too so it's not keen to facilitate file sharing)

Check out the format's history here. Unfortunately, the MiniDisc is being sidelined and it is hard to find players or recorders in Australia at the present time. Sony aren't importing them for distribution at the moment*** and those that do, like Minidisc Australia, are no doubt importing direct ewhile also offering a wide range in Mp3 players. Nonetheless, you'll find that many community radio stations still employ minidisc as their preferred recording format.

For further information on this and related topics go to the LOR/RR Forums.

* Some mics such as those from Visivox and Giant Squid apparently don't have the wide rim at the plug end and will sit flush against the player.
** ODEO recommends Logitech.
*** Sony tells me that they will however be importing the latest model Hi MD in August this year.

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