M-Audio has updated its handheld Microtrack solid-state recorder to the Microtrack II. The specs are attractive. It records in stereo to Compact Flash or MicroDisk format cards, in either WAV or MP3 formats. It can record at up to 96 kilosamples/second at 24 bits per sample. It has both 1/4″ and 1/8″ microphone/line inputs, and can provide 48V phantom power to microphones. Interfacing this unit to hydrophones should be a piece of cake. NCSE has one of the M-Audio Microtrack recorders for making high-quality podcasts or audio documents.
Back in 2005, Diane and I had to come up with a programmable field recorder on three weeks notice. We went with a PDA-based solution using Core Audio’s Compact Flash format audio input card, coupled with Core Audio’s microphone pre-amp/digitizer system. If you need progammability, as for making unattended scheduled acoustic sampling, that’s still a good solution. On the other hand, for interactive recording, the M-Audio Microtrack II offers the convenience of a smaller, discrete package to use, plus you only have to worry about one power supply. The M-Audio unit is about the same size as a standard PDA, though a bit thicker. Core Audio does sell the MicroTrack II, and sees it as aimed at a different market segment than their PDAudio system.
As with any pro-quality system, though, it is pricey. The MSRP on the Microtrack II is about $500. Sweetwater is advertising them at about $300. As such, it is out of range of our budget at the moment. That’s not a whole lot more than one might pay for a top-end media player these days, though, and I can always hope for a price drop.