A lot of folks have asked me what “kit” I use to record my podcasts…
The NxtGenUG chaps, Dave’n’Rich, John’n’Chris, etc., are avid supporters of the Edirol products, such as R-09 and R-09HR units. The Edirol kit certainly very good, and would seem to fall into the ‘you get what you pay for’ sector.
So here is what I use: an iRiver H320 device with a 20GB hard drive. I was given this particular unit back in 2005, it has served me well both as a podcast recording device, MP3 player and FM radio. Earlier this year the battery started to fail to hold its charge, I replaced the battery at a cost of £12.
Here’s a photograph of the device:
1 – I use a Sony ECM-DS70P Microphone. This a good microphone that is capable of picking up conversation without the need for it to be directed specifically at the person who is speaking.
2 – The iRiver device itself. I use the ROCKbox firmware, it supports a variety of codecs and file formats including MP3 and FLAC. The iRiver supports dual-boot, so I can switch between ROCKbox and the default firmware. ROCKbox has the advantage of a feel-good factor whilst recording as it offers record level bars.
3 – The iRiver lapel mic, as supplied with the device. This worked well for my first 40 or podcasts, however it doesn’t have the professional look of the Sony microphone.
4 – Headphone socket, line in, line out and a connector for the optional but not supplied remote control. To the right of the “4” stamp, there is an internal microphone. I’ve used this once, by accident, I thought I was recording via the external mic, but no…one lost podcast. I had, however, remembered to press the record button!
5 – Power socket, USB 1.1 host and USB 2.0 device connections. The iRiver can connect to your digital camera and suck the photographs from the camera to the iRiver HDD.
I personally think the kit is rather good. The problem I have relates to the location at which the podcast is recorded! More often than not, it’s in a pub or another equally noisy environment. The podcasts that I have recorded in a quiet environment demonstrate this point. I’m thinking specifically about podcast number 45 with Caroline and number 12 with Jerome. Both of these were essentially recorded in a closed environment where noise was at a minimum.
Getting hold of an iRiver H320 or H340 series device is probably a matter of going to eBay. From recent excursions to the MP3 player market, I’ve noticed that the number of devices with an external microphone socket are few and far between. An external mic socket is, in my opinion, a key requirement.
I’ll certainly be looking for a like-for-like replacement when the time comes to choose something else.