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Personally I'm fond of the modified Marantz PMD660 from Oade Brothers. 
At around $560 it's  only $50-$100 more than the stock PMD660 and has 
much cleaner micpres.

If you have the money to spend, the Sound Devices units are excellent.

I'm not a fan of the Edirol, M-Audio or Zoom units for interviewing--my 
primary use--but they might work well for lecture recording purposes.

Fostex has a new unit--I'm not sure if it's out yet--the FR2-LE, that 
specs wonderfully and will apparently list at $499.  If it pans out, 
this will be the one to beat in the $500 range.

I maintain a website dedicated to field audio equipment that might be of 
use to you:

http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/res_audioequip.htm

Best,

andy

> At 02:10 PM 2/22/2007, you wrote:
>> It looks like I may be able to convince the powers that be where I
>> work that I need to get a flash recorder.  The archives wants to start
>> recording lectures and presentations to preserve them and to make them
>> available on our website.  (Their initial test, which they conducted
>> before consulting me, was to stick a handheld consumer brand MP3
>> recorder on the lecturer's podium.  "It sounds just fine to me!" one
>> person said.  Sure, and while we're at it, let's take some pictures on
>> a camera phone to accompany this high quality web content...  Hi, I'm
>> in snark mode...)  I think I've made them see that in order to make
>> things suitable for web delivery, we need to start with the highest
>> quality possible since the quality will inevitably suffer once it's
>> compressed down to streaming content or MP3 or the like.
>>
>> Anyway, I've never bought a flash recorder and was hoping for
>> recommendations, particularly brands and models to look for and to
>> avoid.  (Ditto for dealers of the equipment, too.)  What we get
>> doesn't have to be top of the line, and right now we're only at the
>> stage where my supervisor is asking me to find quotes, preferably
>> cheap ones.  But I'm well aware that you get what you pay for, so I
>> don't want to get something worthless.  I'd also like this recorder to
>> be able to interface with the archives auditorium's existing PA
>> system, assuming that there are the right ins and outs on both, so to
>> speak.
>>
>> Comments and questions welcome here or off-list.  Thanks!
>>
>>
>>
>> Trey Bunn
>> Folklife Archivist
>> Alabama Department of Archives and History
>> Montgomery, AL
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Alec McLane
> Scores & Recordings/
>  World Music Archives       Phone: (860) 685-3899
> Olin Library                       Fax: (860) 685-2661
> Wesleyan University          mailto:[log in to unmask]
> Middletown, CT  06459       http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/srhome/srdir.htm

-- 
Andy Kolovos
Archivist/Folklorist
Vermont Folklife Center
3 Court Street ; P.O. Box 442
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 388-4964 [voice]
(802) 388-1844 [fax]
www.vermontfolklifecenter.org