USB audio input devices

Josh Berer olomachad at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 25 05:53:12 UTC 2010

Hey John,
Is there a specifc reason you want to avoid recording onto a solid state
device and want to jump directly to your hard drive? My concern is that,
especially with a netbook, you'll end up overloading the computer,
especially if you record for a decent length of time. That translates into
skipping or other interference, and if youre just using a mic and a
computer, and no device in between, you have no 'backup copy', or fall-back
to rely on.

Also, sooner or later your computer's fan is going to start going to cool
down the hard drive which is working hard to write all the data its getting,
so you're going to have that background noise to deal with too. Just in
general, I'd say direct recording to a computer is a bad idea, unless your
computer is super-duper suped-up and capable of handling a lot of data
coming in, which a netbook most assuredly is not.
If you're on a budget i've heard the Zoom is ok, I personally like the Sony
Pcm-D50, but it's more $$. But I kind of feel like, if youre in PNG doing
fieldwork already, it would be a shame to go to all that trouble only to
come back with sub-standard results because the equipment wasn't up to the
job. Just my two cents.

On Tue, May 25, 2010 at 1:27 AM, John Hatton <john_hatton at> wrote:

>  Hi folks,
> Can someone recommend a device for doing direct recording into a computer,
> at 24 bit/96 khz, using only USB 2?   The system will be used with a
> microphone to do the “careful speech” stage of the BOLD approach.  There
> seems to be some question about USB’s ability to handle the load, but I’m
> looking for something which will work with netbooks, which don’t normally
> come with firewire inputs.  There’s a number of devices for sale with claim
> this ability, but, well, being in PNG, if we get ones which don’t really
> deliver, it’s an expensive mistake.
> If anyone has managed to make a Zoom H4N perform this role, I’d love to
> hear that (that would mean one less bit of kit).
> Thanks for any advice.
> *John Hatton*
> SIL Papua New Guinea <>, Palaso<>,
> & SIL International <>Software Development
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