Still another new option:

This is a clever concept. iPods are ubiquitous. Note, though, that a hard drive iPod is a bit more 
fragile than a flash-memory recorder, and heavier with this contraption around it. Still, though, a 
library or charity may be able to solicit donations of old iPods and end up with a cheap solution 

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital oral history recorders - any recommendations?

> For what it's worth, I've had good audio luck but so-so usability luck with the M-Audio Microtrack 
> II. Finally with the latest firmware, they seem to have solved a problem where it would randomly 
> fail during a recording, lock up and need a complete reboot. This is NOT good for a must-do field 
> recorder. So far, after installing the new firmware and turning DMA off (a new option in the 
> SYSTEM menu), no random failures. But I don't want to say the problem is solved until I've used it 
> plenty. The failure happened with a variety of make and model flash cards, as has been reported by 
> other users. From what I can tell, it may be power-supply based and not memory-card-interaction 
> based, which means turning off DMA may or may not help. For what I used the Microtrack for this is 
> not a problem but I did have it fail once while recording a live web stream and that was very 
> annoying.
> Given the wide variety of choices today, I would say you can probably find something comparably 
> priced that is more bulletproof. Whether it will have the same excellent audio quality is another 
> question. For oral history recording, to replace something pretty bulletproof like a 
> properly-functioning cassette recorder, I would shop for durability above audio, and would favor a 
> proven track record of durability over a new, easier-to-use but unproven device. If you find 
> excellent for both in your price range, you are golden.
> My bottom line, as a person who reluctantly retired his Sony Pressman, digital portable recorders 
> offer vastly superior sound quality and I bet some of the newer models have been engineered for 
> improved reliability. But the Microtrack II is definitely more finicky and failure-prone than any 
> cassette recorder I ever owned. Also, in typical digital-device design MO, the buttons are too 
> damn small and too sensitive to the touch!
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> At 11:07 AM 2009-01-26, Schooley, John wrote:
>>>We are looking to apply for a grant in order to purchase some digital
>>>recorders for oral history interviews.  Up until now we have been using
>>>cassettes.  I was curious if any of you have any experience with any
>>>particular models, or any recommendations?  Keep in mind that these
>>>devices will probably be used by a variety of interviewers (historians,
>>>volunteers, etc.), none of them audio engineers, so ease and simplicity
>>>of use is probably the most important factor.