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Edirol R-09 Wave/MP3 Recorder Review

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Author: Digital Man

My Sony Hi-MD (mini disc) kicked the bucket somewhat prematurely. It chews and chews on a disc without engaging. I suppose the mechanism got mangled on one of my trans-Atlantic flights. I had to drag myself into the modern recording age and invest 300 quid in a flash recorder, AND stump up another 25 for an SD memory card. And do you know what? It was worth it.

The Edirol R-09 by Roland of seventies synthesizer fame won't win any prizes in a beauty contest. It looks more like an electric shaver than a digital recorder - but that hasn't stopped me falling in love with it. I'm suspicious of in-built microphones, but those silver grills on the top are pretty good - fine for journalistic notes at any rate. The plastic record and play buttons are big and chunky, but they are dead easy to use without reference to the manual. Even someone like me who is all thumbs and struggles to send a text message can use them with ease. There are buttons on the back for mono or stereo, automatic recording levels, etc. Volume controls are on the side. In other words, you can do most things without scrolling through a menu on the LCD screen. Transfer of sound onto the laptop is a doddle. You plug it into the USB and it becomes an external disc. I just open up SoundForge on my computer and start editing away. I have a 2 Gig SD card so it holds several hours of audio.

And what about the quality? It records in mp3 or WAV, the latter being uncompressed and very high quality indeed. It's 24 bit, which is ample. You might want more bits for recoding the Boston Philharmonic, but short of that it will do for most things. I find it works best with my microphone routed into the sound mixer via the Line In. When I plugged my Sure SM58 directly into the R-09 I got a certain amount of hiss. Not much, but discernible. Perhaps the impedance does not quite match (or some such technical guff). Edirol recommend buying one of their own external condenser mics, but they would say that, wouldn't they. I might try a transformer. I would hate to buy yet another mic for out and about interviews, but it might come to that...

About the author: Digital Man, a sales manager of Gigasonic, has more than 10 years experience dealing with music gears.

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