Portable Recorder Blog

The Portable Recorder Blog is our online journal.

It's the place to find out about

  • new products,
  • new sound samples, and
  • any other info about recorders and recording that might interest you

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Portable Recorder Sound Samples

Listen to the latest portable recorder sound samples from WingfieldAudio.com, including the Olympus LS-11 and the Sony PCM-M10

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Mono or Stereo? Your Questions Answered

Happy New Year everyone! Starting this year, we will from time to time share an answer to one of your questions.

Q: If I'm recording voice for podcast, or an interview with me and another person, should I record it in mono or stereo?

A: Mono is best for spoken voice. Stereo is best for music. Most spoken voice podcasts are encoded in mono and most spoken voice radio shows are broadcast in mono. Spoken voice is rarely recorded in stereo because the sound emanates from a single point (your mouth) and it is more difficult for one person to effectively handle two microphones at the same time. Also, recording spoken voice in stereo can cause a distracting shift in sound from side to side, especially for listeners who use headphones. This is one area where the stereo effect is not necessarily desirable.

More benefits of mono. A mono audio file is half the size of a stereo file and is therefore much easier to stream and download. Moreover, mono files always have higher fidelity at a given bit rate because only a single channel is encoded instead of two. Likewise, mono radio signals require much less power to broadcast than stereo signals and are much easier to tune in even if the signals aren't very clear or strong.

Of course, the ultimate decision is yours as to which sounds best. But as a rule of thumb, record spoken voice in mono and record music in stereo to capture its spaciousness and wider dynamic and frequency ranges.

The only handheld recorders that encode in true, single channel mono are the Marantz PMD661, the Marantz PMD620, and the Olympus LS-11. The Zoom and Tascam recorders have a "mono mix" feature that creates a stereo file where the left and right channels have the same content, but this is not true, single-channel mono. The Edirol R-09HR can encode in mono only when when used with an external microphone.

Although recording direct to mono saves a lot of time and storage space, don't despair if more than 80% of your recordings are spoken voice and you do not have one of the recorders mentioned above. Most stereo files can be converted to mono with an audio editing program like Audacity.

Sony PCM-M10 Review

Sony PCM-M10 review by Wingfield Audio. We like the PCM-M10, Sony's newest, smallest, and cheapest addition to its outstanding family of portable audio recorders.

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Olympus LS-11 Review

An Olympus LS-11 review by Wingfield Audio. We like the Olympus LS-11. Among other things, it sounds better than the LS-10 and has fantastic battery life.

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Portable Recorder Battery Life Test Results!

Our portable recorder battery life test results now include the Sony PCM-M10, the Olympus LS-11, and the Zoom Q3. The results may shock you. Check them out now!

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Zoom Q3 Review

Zoom Q3 review by Wingfield Audio. We like Zoom's new Q3 Handy Video Recorder. It sounds as good as the H4n, makes decent-looking videos, and is easy to use. The possibilities are virtually endless...

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Portable Recorder Noise: The Sounds of Silence

By popular demand, we've added noise floor samples of our mid and budget-priced recorders to our portable recorder noise article, including the new Olympus LS-11 and Sony PCM-M10. Listen and compare how they stand up to the high-end recorders!

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Compare Portable Recorders Part A

Compare portable recorders by Zoom, Tascam, Sony, Olympus, Marantz, M-Audio, Korg and Edirol. We've split this handy chart in 2 for faster viewing and printing. The full-view chart is still available for those folks with wide monitors and speedy internet connections.

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Zoom H4n Review

Zoom H4n review by Wingfield Audio. The Zoom H4n is a huge improvement over the Zoom H4 and offers incredible value for the price.

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Tascam DR-100 Review

Tascam DR-100 review by Wingfield Audio. The Tascam DR-100 is a good, solid contender in the new crop of handheld recorders with XLR inputs.

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Tascam DR-07 Review

Tascam DR-07 review by Wingfield Audio. We like the Tascam DR-07. It's affordable and even easier to use than the Zoom H2 or the Tascam DR-1.

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Zoom H2 Sound Samples

These Zoom H2 sound samples were contributed by happy customers. Take a listen!

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Marantz PMD661 Review

Marantz PMD661 Review by Wingfield Audio. We like the Marantz PMD661. It looks good, sounds good and is easy to use. It's very small too. Check out our sound samples.

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Tascam DP-004 Review

Tascam DP-004 review by Wingfield Audio. The Tascam DP-004 is an affordable, compact, multi-track recorder with good sound, good storage capacity and a bit of a learning curve. Could be ideal for songwriters on the go.

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Sony PCM-D1 Sound Samples

Some of our lastest Sony PCM-D1 sound samples were contributed by happy customers. Check them out!

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Compare Mic Adapters at WingfieldAudio.com

Compare mic adapters at WingfieldAudio. These adapters allow you to use a 48V phantom-powered condenser microphone with your handheld flash recorder.

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Frequently Asked Questions at WingfieldAudio.com

Frequently Asked Questions at WingfieldAudio.com. Check here first before calling or writing to us. Someone may have already asked!

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Sony PCM-D50 Sound Samples

Listen to Sony PCM-D50 sound samples prepared by the folks at WingfieldAudio.com and its customers.

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