M-Audio Microtrack II “changed my life”

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Emily Scarlet Kramer at Cool Hunting, in her review of M-Audio’s Microtrack II, says that it “changed my life for the better.” A straightforward, no-nonsense high-quality portable digital recorder, it records to WAV or MP3 and can easily be configured to pick up exactly what you want it to…

Sound quality is superior for a small on-the-go recorder and its simple and straightforward interface makes it easy to use. Cutting back on the oftentimes superfluous knobs in favor of a few straightforward buttons makes for a quick learning curve. … I’m most impressed with the MicroTrack’s range. A tiny plug-in T-mic is able to pick up the most discrete library voice, but the ability to adjust levels allows me to record even the loudest dance music.

At $300, it’s still a lot more expensive than even fancy voice recorders, but reasonable given its features. Any other suggestions for a capable entry-level mobile recorder?

Product Page [M-Audio]
M-Audio MicroTrack II [Cool Hunting]

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15 Responses to M-Audio Microtrack II “changed my life”

  1. Sonic Airhole says:

    I’ve had great luck with the Zoom H2. It has microphones on both the front and rear of the unit and can be easily configured to record in one or both directions. This allows it to be placed on a table to record a conversation without handing it back and forth. The automatic gain control, something that would ordinarily frighten me, works remarkably well. It handles disparate volume levels with aplomb.

    I’ve used mine to record podcast lectures, live music, interviews, and even spoken inventories.

    It has lots of advanced features, but to protect the innocent, they’re well obscured within a very simple UI. You can literally turn it on, press a button twice and be recording. I’ve given this thing to very non tech-savvy people to use and they’ve had no trouble with it. It’s also $100 cheaper than the Microtrack.

    I don’t work for Zoom, I just really like this thing. Find it here, and check the reviews:
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/H2/

  2. Felixe says:

    For what I’ve read on the O’Reilly Digital Media blog a good candidate for the best recorder of this type is the Olympus Ls-10.

    http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/pub/a/oreilly/digitalmedia/2008/05/22/olympus-ls-10-recorder-review.html?page=1

    They are slowly reviewing several of these recorders and, eventually, they will choose a winner. I have been keeping an eye on their reviews because I’m planning on buying one of these recorders in the future.

    Good info.

  3. drblack says:

    This is a great recorder. It isn’t expensive for what it is.It is a very low cost portable recorder, Sony has a model(PCM D1) that is over $1800. M-Audio makes equipment for musicians so it is intended as a musical tool.
    It has a 24 bit and a 96KHZ sample rate which makes it superior to CDs (which are 16 bit and 44.1 khz) and FAR superior to MP3 which are generally low fidelity. ( MP3 is fine for music that has low fidelity and no dynamics like rap, dance most top 40)
    I like the zoom H4 because you can use any microphone, it even has phantom power for condenser mics.It also has 4 tracks not just 2. I generally don’t like Zoom but this is a good toll and only $299. A 2 track version is only $199
    If you want incredible fidelity Korg has the MR 100 which is not as portable but has the best digital fidelity of any recording device available to the consumer. It is $1200.
    For voice any of these is fine.
    Most music manufacturers have made one of these so the field is crowded.

  4. scissorfighter says:

    After much exhaustive research on this and other entry-level portable recorders, I purchased the Sony PCM-D50 three months ago. It’s the smaller (and cheaper – $499) version of the PCM-D1 mentioned above by DRBLACK. It has a ton of great features and is easy to use.

    • -Records up to 24/96
    • -Has built-in positionable stereo mics
    • -also has external mic input
    • -good battery life on 4 standard or rechargable AAs
    • -4GB flash on board with MemoryStick slot for additional capacity

    I will say that the mics are very sensitive to wind noise, and the optional ADPCM1 wind screen is required if you plan on going outdoors at all, or even walking around indoors.

    My goal with this unit was to replace a 10-year old Sony D8 portable DAT recorder, which was awesome a decade ago but is starting to be outclassed by this fancy flash-based gear. As such, it’s been awesome. It should be on the short list for consideration by any serious amateur recording enthusiast.

  5. Downpressor says:

    Somehow I just cant bring myself to buy any M-Audio gear, its like I have an allergy to the Digidisign corporate cluster. Zoom I generally like, IIRC I own 3 or 4 of their devices but avoided buying any of their recording devices due to lack of OSX support. A while back I grabbed up a new “damaged box” KORG D4 for about $125. Its not a field recorder, but I’ve used it as one. Its made to use an AC adapter, but a 9V battery with an adapter cord works fine.

  6. Peter S. Conrad says:

    I went with the $200 (sometiems $230) Boss Micro-BR. It’s a recorder, it’s a 4-track, it’s a guitar tuner, it’s a drum machine. All this convergence means it is not always dead simple to use–but it’s simple enough, uses SD cards, and I’m satisfied with the sound quality.

  7. Harrkev says:

    If you want a “voice” recorder (probably OK for music, but not for recording your next album), I highly recommend the Olympus “WS” or “WAS” series. It is small, records in stereo (choice of three compression levels and mono), and records in WMA files (which play fine under Linux). I use mine as an organizational tool, recording “to do” lists and the like. It is probably smaller than the M-Audio, certainly cheaper, but with a little less audio quality. A few models are available under $100, and it has a built-in USB plug (no cable needed).

    One similar to mine is here:
    http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-WS-311M-Digital-Recorder-Player/dp/B000VDNC9M/
    Here are my favorite things about it:
    1) Looks like USB mass storage device. Works under Linux, Mac. No drivers needed.
    2) Records to WMA. Playable on any platform
    3) Small
    4) Also usable as a USB drive for transferring files to/from work.
    5) MP3 player (some models have this, some don’t)
    6) No USB cable needed.

    If you aren’t recording music, this is highly recommended.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would second the Zoom H2. Not that I’ve compared it to lots of other devices for realz, but it’s cheap (Even here in Sweden) and the four microphones are easy to configure and neat for the lectures and interviews I’ve recorder.

  9. Gainclone says:

    I second the Zoom H2 recommendation, with the addition of the H4. On-board phantom power makes the H4 a far better product, in my opinion, because one can use an external microphone without limitation. My Sennheiser shotgun mic, along with the H4 make for the ideal field recording rig.

  10. Mister Staal says:

    A good friend of mine uses one of the mark 1s not only to get field recording for use in electronic music compositions, but also to record his performances. He’s quite in love with it. I think it’s the only piece of gear he hasn’t gotten fed up and returned that wasn’t a giant analog synth.

  11. lovemoose says:

    Add aonther vote for the Zooms for me; especially if price is a consideration. Been using both the h2 and h4 pretty heavily over the past couple of months, and both have been incredibly successful – over and above what I expected from such cheap units.

  12. yer_maw says:

    Ive been following this market for a while and i wonder whether someone has a rediculous patent on this sort of device. they are always REALLY overpriced considering the tech required for one, and why doesnt the ipod have it?

  13. w000t says:

    Here’s a good article from the NYT about the topic – I’ve heard great things about all of the units discussed: M-Audio Microtrack, Roland R-09, and Marantz PMD 660.

    Some Hot Recorders for Those Cool Podcasts – NYT

    Marantz has always been the gold standard for field recording. The sound quality is top-notch, of course, but the units are also very rugged and stand up well to years of use in the field. The trade off is that they are more expensive (a PMD620 is about $400, a PMD660 is about $500).

  14. KeithIrwin says:

    The commenters on Amazon have been pretty happy with the
    Gemini iKey Plus
    which is an mp3/wav recorder which will record to any USB mass storage device you plug into it (assume that it doesn’t need more power than the iKey provides).

    The original iKey had some strong shortcomings, but it looks like they fixed them for the iKey Plus. You can find them for about $125-140, so it’s substantially cheaper than the other gadget, but it’s still expensive enough that on my budget, I can’t really justify buying one just to play around with. I could’ve bought one during a woot off for $80, but didn’t. At the time, although it looked neat, I hadn’t done the research, so I held off. From what I’ve read since then, I wish I’d bought it. It’s my only real case of “non-buyers remorse”.

  15. locustfist says:

    We dropped a pretty sweet tutorial on the Microtrack II

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