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digital recording media

Dear list,

I would be most grateful for advice from anyone with experience of using
portable digital recording equipment?

There seem to be two choices available now, Digital Audio Tape or Minidisc.

Can anyone recommend any particular model for high quality sound
recordings, such as for speech? or suggest which system (DAT or Minidisc)
is the best and for what reasons.

I need to take into account transferability to computer (eg the Kay system)
for analysis - from the descriptions I've seen all the digital systems seem
to have digital output on optical channel only - is there equipment
available to convert this to standard input interfaces?

I also need to know about suitable microphones to use with such a system
and restrictions to their use.  We hope to record in comfortable,
relatively casual surroundings (not anechoic or acoustic rooms), so
although the equipment will be visible to the speaker, it should not be too
obtrusive or constraining, such as requiring the speaker to sit in a
precise position.

I've used DAT in the past but remember having problems with keeping the
(directional) microphone well-aligned with the speaker - non-directional
microphones seemed to collect too much back-ground noise (also we had
battery problems with microphones) and we also had to use the analogue
output to transfer to the computer and so would like to know to what extent
technology has now advanced to make recording easier before purchasing new

Sheila Williams.

Dr Sheila M Williams                            phone: 512-471-4253
Psychology, University of Texas at Austin       lab:   512-471-0693
528 Mezes Hall, Austin, Texas, USA, 78712       fax:   512-471-6175

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