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Why did you suggest she avoid Zoom recorders? My experience with my Zoom H-4n is that it makes much 
better recordings than a friend's comparably-priced Tascam. I was going to suggest the H-4n because 
the buttons are tactile and rubber-coated and she could either memorize the layout (the record 
button is alone on the right side, the stop button is the largest top left button in a cluster of 4 
in the center, the play/pause button is the top right), or she could tape brail tags or whatever 
else is helpful to improve the tactile foolproof-ness. The recorder is menu-driven, so she'll need 
setup help, but it holds menu options even when the batteries are removed (unlike some older Zoom 
models). My experience is, the mics are quite good and if you monitor with headphones you can set 
levels well. Also, the peak-limiter is fast and effective, so you can get a decent average level on 
interviews and conversation without annoying pumping compression. There are also push-button 
selectors for the record mode (stereo, line, 4-channel surround) right on the front panel.

That said, probably the easiest of any of these for a blind person would be the older Marantz units, 
which were designed to look and feel more like the old Superscope cassette recorders, were larger 
form-factors and thus had larger and more tactile buttons, switches and knobs. Also dirt-simple to 
use is the old M-Audio recorder. However, my experience with one that I still use is that it 
sometimes crashes during recording (maybe 2% of the time) and it takes time to recover and start 
over. The other problem is the included plug-in mic, which sucks. If you used a detached stereo mic 
with a decently high output (the mic preamps are a bit noisey), it is one of the best-sounding 96/24 
portable recorders I've used. Its control buttons are somewhat small, but they are simple and 
tactile. It's setup is menu-driven, so she'd need help with that, but it holds setup parameters even 
when the battery dies.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Paul Stamler" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, March 27, 2015 2:26 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Recorder for blind user?


> On 3/26/2015 11:18 PM, Paul Stamler wrote:
>> Hi folks:
>>
>> I've been asked by a blind friend, folklorist Marge Steiner, to
>> recommend a portable digital recorder with good quality sound (.wav
>> files -- we're not talking .mp3s here) that's easily operable by a blind
>> person. She'll be using it for field recordings and live concert
>> recordings of programs held by a folklore society. She's been using a
>> Sony portable DAT machine, but it just went belly-up and no parts are
>> available. I've informally suggested that she avoid Zoom recorders and
>> that perhaps a Tascam would be more appropriate, but beyond that I don't
>> really know. I don't think her budget would stretch to Audio Devices.
>> Any suggestions?
>
> Er, I meant Sound Devices, of course.
>
> Peace,
> Paul
>
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