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Review of the Roland Edirol R-09 WAV and MP3 recorder

If you need to record high quality audio on the go, then this remarkable little machine will be just what you need. It's compact, easy to use, has no moving parts and produces brilliant quality audio. Goodbye tape forever!

I love audio. You might find that surprising as I like to take photographs, but audio and still photography are complimentary and can be used very well together.

I remember my first tape recorder, a Phillips Cassette recorder bought around 1971. I will never forget the excitement of recording members of my family speaking, the cat drinking a bowl of milk, the birds singing in the trees, and other fascinating soundscapes.

In the 80s I bought a Sony Walkman Professional, which I used to record interviews for use in teaching languages, as well as music. It was a sturdy machine, had very good features and served me well.

But now, technology has moved on, and by far the best sound quality ever can be achieved using digital audio. And one of the best players you can get for this purpose is the amazing Edirol R-09.

I'm not going to give a 'workbench' appraisal with graphs, charts, comparisons and crash tests. I'll leave that to reviewers who specialise in that sort of thing.

I prefer to give a 'gut feeling' review, based on using the machine since I bought it a few weeks ago. I must confess I haven't read the manual from cover to cover. But that dosn't matter since the recorder is so easy to use.

To switch it on, just press the button on the left, and the animated graphic, a picture of the recorder, appears in the illuminated window.

To record, press once. The button flashes red while you adjust the recording level, then you press again, and it is recording. To finish, press stop.

Did that sound easy? It is. Transferring the sound to your computer is just like any connecting any peripheral device. Plug it in using the USB cable and the R-09 appears on my MacBook Pro desktop like an external drive. Then all you have to do is copy the files, click on them and hey presto. You are now listening to crystal clear high quality sound.

And the sound quality really is superb. Virtually noise-free, with fantastic range. You don't need any advanced testing equipment for analysing sound to realise this. Your ears will tell you just how good it is.

And that's about all there is to it. Record. Download. Play.

it's the coolest, lightest, most portable thing you could imagine. Mine is in pearl white. As small as a consumer MP3 player, but with the recording capabilities of an expensive recorder.

Some points to note

The Roland Edirol R-09 contains no moving parts, and has two built in microphones giving perfect stereo sound.

It uses 2 AA batteries. With no electric motors to power, they last quite a long time.

It records in WAV for high quality, or MP3 for lesser quality but smaller file size

It takes a tiny Secure Digital memory card. A 1Gb card stores a lot of audio.

It has a low cut setting to reduce background noise such as wind.

There is an automatic gain control for use where sound levels go up and down, e.g. in a lecture.

There's a microphone gain 'low' and 'high' setting. Use the low when recording something very loud, such as a live band.

It has a built-in reverb so you can preview how vocals or instruments might sound.

The little read 'peak' light tells you if the recording level is too high.

Files and other info appear in the tiny window. It might be a bit too tiny for some, being about an inch wide and half an inch high. That's my only criticism.

There are some other features as well but by now I hope I have convinced you that the Edirol R-09 is a superb piece of kit and definitely worth buying if you want to record high quality audio. It you just want to play MP3s, something cheaper would probably suffice.

It cost me around 250 pounds, not cheap, but good design often comes at a premium, and in my opinion, it's worth it!

I bought my Edirol R-09 from Dawsons music store on Portland Street Manchester. There was a special offer when I bought mine, with a 30 pound reduction and free memory card.

Written by Aidan O'Rourke
Posted/Updated 2007-08-16

Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs his Eyewitness photography walks in Manchester, Liverpool and other locations. He offers one-to-one tuition in Photography and Languages. He is a high-level speaker of German and can offer photography walks and tours through the medium of German. Visit www.aidan.co.uk

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