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Peter,

If you don't want to have the iPhone for the sake of a 
phone/PDA/browser/whatever, I would not go the iPod Touch route.

The Zoom H2 takes about a minute (or a bit less) to boot. The H1 is 
faster. I don't recall about the H2n. I would think the Tascams are 
faster, but we've heard issues with battery life on at least one of 
them. I agree about the handling noise on the H1, but it, too, has a 
tripod socket. I would make sure that any machine I bought had a tripod 
socket. I carry a now-discontinued Rowi "clamp pod" to clamp the Zoom to 
a variety of things from lecterns to others' mic stands (I also have a 
wad of folded over duct tape that I use to avoid scratching things).

One unit that was well received a little while ago was the Olympus, but 
I do not know the current status of Olympus or the unit.

Sony also makes units, but they tend to be more expensive than the 
Tascam or the Zoom.

One thought about instant on is that with the 20-hour battery life of 
the Zoom H2n, you could turn it on when you entered the "possible 
recording zone" and then take it out and double punch the record button 
and you're in (the first punch puts it in record standby with the meters 
running...at least that is how the H2 works).

Whatever you do, do not get a "voice recorder" or "dictation recorder". 
Make certain it will give you WAV and MP3 files. I normally record WAV 
though for long things I have used MP3 on occasion.

Cheers,

Richard

On 2013-04-14 6:53 PM, Peter Hirsch wrote:
> Thanks all for the excellent guidance.
>
> Thom, the Transom looks like a particularly good resource for me. I'm
> not planning a career as a documentarian, but my personal interests
> are totally in synch with what I saw in a brief glance at the site.
>
> Richard, the reason I made my intentionally somewhat provocative
> remark about smartphones is that I don't have a cell phone and am not
> planning on letting one intrude on my life anytime in the future. I do
> wonder, on second thought, whether an iPod touch, which seems to be
> essentially an I-phone without the phone might be an option. I know as
> about iPods and I do about iPhones (nothing), so there are people
> reading this who can advise based on their own experiences with
> recording on one and the ease of transferring those recordings to a
> suitable editing/listening environment.
>
> To further inquire of the collective experience of this list, let me
> ask a more targeted question: Since I plan on using this recorder
> mostly in unplanned situations, where a machine that turns on as close
> to instantaneously as possible and doesn't require a number of steps
> to getting the recording mode started would be what I have in mind.
> These features are my main concerns, followed by size and audio
> quality (I would think that anything capable of creating uncompressed
> files would suffice for me), more of less in that order. Do you know
> of any that are superior in this regard or ones that a clumsy to
> operate in a hurry that I should avoid?
>
> Thanks once more,
>
> Peter Hirsch
>
> On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM, Richard L. Hess
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hi, Peter,
>>
>> Whey you say "no smart phones need apply" it is my understanding that there
>> are good-quality audio interfaces for the iPhone, just say'n.
>>
>> To that end, I have a Zoom H2 which is amazingly good for the price. The
>> slightly thicker, but otherwise improved Zoom H2n seems decent...not enough
>> for me to buy it as the H2 meets my needs (I do have other more serious
>> gear).
>>
>> In general, I think the Tascam units have also been well-received.
>>
>> I delayed a bit sending this after starting it and I see John Schroth has
>> said good things about the Tascams and Don Cox about the Zoom H4n. Two
>> things about the H4n--it is huge compared to many other options and I heard
>> rumours (you should check this out) that the XLR inputs (a plus) are not all
>> that quiet, but then again, I don't think you're looking for something that
>> uses external mics.
>>
>> Also, if you wish to spend less, the Zoom H1 is not bad. My son has one and
>> he's gotten some decent recordings with it.
>>
>> One of the neat things about the Zoom H2n is that it has an MS mic
>> arrangement on the front and a broad XY arrangement on the back (total of
>> five mic capsules) and the MS is much nicer than XY (as on the original Zoom
>> H2) for recording speech as you have a mic dedicated to the direct sound.
>> The H2 and H2n can record two stereo pairs (front and back) which is quite
>> useful. A colleague borrowed my H2n and bought her own to record a major
>> discussion session and she had eight different perspectives to transcribe
>> from.
>>
>> I see Cary brought up the point about battery life--this is something to
>> check. The Zoom H2 gets maybe six hours off a fully charged pair of
>> Maha/Powerex Imedion NiMH cells. The H1 uses a single AA and gets about the
>> same life. I think the H2n has even better battery life. I don't know about
>> the newer Tascams.
>>
>> http://zoom.co.jp/products/h1        Zoom H1 now on version 2
>> http://zoom.co.jp/products/h2n      Zoom H2n
>> http://zoom.co.jp/products/h4n      Zoom H4n
>>
>> http://tascam.com/products/handheld_recorder/   The Tascam lineup
>>
>> I have been happy with 8 and 16 GB cards in the Zoom H2 (I bought one for my
>> church and they record services every Sunday and then extract the sermon for
>> the Web). At 44.1 ks/s 24 bit it is about 1 GB an hour for stereo. I bought
>> a 16 GB card in 2010 when we were going to be away for seven or eight
>> Sundays (only one service a Sunday in the summer).
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> Richard
>>
>> On 2013-04-14 1:59 PM, Peter Hirsch wrote:
>>> I seem to recall the discussion of decent quality portable digital
>>> (audio) recorders on this list a year or three back.
>>>
>>> Can I get suggestions from out there for something pocket sized that
>>> costs up to $250 (or so) that I can use at those moments when I am
>>> saying to myself "I wish I had something to record that (birdcalls,
>>> subway musicians, environmental sounds, etc. - I'm not talking super
>>> hi-fidelity concert recording) with".
>>>
>>> "No smart phones need apply"
>>>
>>> Thanks,
>>>
>>> Peter Hirsch
>>>
>> --
>> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
>> http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

-- 
Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.