[Table of Contents]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital oral history recorders - any recommendations?

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.

This is a difficult question. Ease of use, cost, and quality all factor into the choice.

Andy Kolovos has a wonderful page about this. I list that link and a few other resources for oral history work here:
(If you can suggest any additional links, I'd be happy to add them)

Personally, I have a Sound Devices 722, but I use that for music more than oral history. On the other hand, I'm coming close to getting a Zoom H2. I now know some people who have one and I think it makes sense for certain uses. My son wants to start recording things he does and I'm considering getting one for my church as we want to start podcasting sermons. I hear from my local music shop that the H2 is selling like hotcakes and newspapers are giving them to reporters, too.

One thing for oral history interviews that I find attractive about the H2 is that it can record in a quadraphonic mode that I would think would be interesting for a round-table discussion. It has two pairs of cardioid mics, front and back. Personally, I think stereo enhances the oral history experience and the H2's quad is set up so that it should sound reasonable out of a standard ITU 5.1 configuration (with only a phantom front centre).

I know, this is not like me, but this interest was partially driven by the church application and the tradeoff there is any dollar we spend on technology is a dollar we don't spend on feeding the homeless. In view of that, is the H2 adequate? I'm willing to buy one soon to see. It's $259 CAD at the local music store--when they get them back in stock.

One of the people with really good ears who has one doesn't use it for final music production, but he does use it to work through ideas. Another professional sound restorer from New Zealand has one and he says it's much better than a cassette.

The H2 will take higher capacity SD cards than the H4, as I read the specs, and is cheaper. The connectors are not as good. Like most things in life, it's a tradeoff.



Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents]