BAS Message
April 2010

Webmasters Note: This space will (from May, 2009 forward) be called The BAS Message, since it may be written by someone other than the President of the BAS. —Barry

1.  V32N1 of the BAS Speaker has been published. It features an extensive writeup of the Donald Keele meeting, "Constant Beamwidth Loudspeaker", by John S. Allen with followup comments by Brad Meyer; a lengthy article on the Boston FM radio scene by Mark Fishman and CES report by David Weinberg. 28 pp

2.  I was looking for a replacement for a DAT recorder for live recordings. Al Foster recommended the M-Audio Microtrack II based on its company's reputation. I bought one and it seemed to fit the bill. The SPDIF input was a plus (though I had to cut away the housing of the power plug to make room for the SPDIF cable--the company did not respond to emails). However it failed shortly after I bought it (it wouldn't even light up) and I sent it back for battery replacement. (I always used it with the AC supply). Twice more that happened and the company finally replaced it with a new unit. It seems to be working now.

It is completely specification-free, so be warned. It performed excellently in my tests. On the bench the line/mike input (1/4" TRS) measured 4700 ohms input impedance, a little low. It needs 4.8 mV for full level. It overloads at 1.35 volts, regardless of how low the gain is set. (There was no indication on the meter that the overload was ocurring). In the good old days there was a physical volume control at the input of equipment, making it overload proof. I was feeding it from the output of a mixer, so I made an attenuator connecting cable (-20 dB, correcting for the .3 dB channel imbalance as well). The next day I tried to use it and it wouldn't accept an input. When I tried playing back a file, it played at half speed! The manual says if the unit is "unresponsive", hold the power button down 10 seconds to reset it. I did this several times and it finally came back to life.

My only gripe is that there should be a clearly visible record light. It has only a black circle in the corner of the display to indicate it is recording (other than the time display incrementing). Now my only problem is how to keep from misplacing the tiny SD cards before I can transfer the audio into the computer.

email me here

Webmaster's note... for those interested in these recording devices, there is extensive coverage including pricing, on the B&H Photo site and also the Sweetwater site. However there are no recent comparison reviews that I know of that include this latest generation / iteration of devices. But there is a tech note HERE about using the Zoom H4N in conjunction with a DSLR for a "video shoot". When I mix live sound the group often has an H4N which allows simultaneous recording (on 4 tracks) of both a room stereo pair and the 2-channel mix or submix from the board. These track pairs can later be used independently or combined and manipulated to give a desired result. I myself do not have any of these lovely machines. — Barry


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updated 5/16/10