Quite some time ago I had written about the long wait we were forced to endure with the new iPod voice recorders. I saw a bunch of them on display at MacWorld back in January and kept waiting and waiting for a solid portable recording solution …. well, I’m not sure when it actually got released, but I finally was able to get a new Belkin TuneTalk Stereo (TTS), only down side is that it is black and my iPods are white. The quality is really so much better than the previous versions for older iPods that it isn’t even worth comparing that. Just right out of the box you can make very high quality sounding recordings with your iPod, the TTS, and the goofy little stand it comes with — BTW, that stand must have cost Belkin a whole quarter of a penny.
I spent some time testing the thing — both as a stand-alone and with a couple of lav microphones to see what I could get. Right out of the box the thing sound good plugged into the bottom of an iPod — in some situations you can hear a little hum from the hardrive in the iPod spinning — I noticed it more on my 60 GB than on the 30. There is a little gain switch on the bottom that makes a huge difference in quality.
When I got this thing the thing that got me interested was the line in … it allows you to bypass the internal mic of the TTS and plug in an external setup into the .35mm jack on the bottom. Originally, I thought a wireless mic setup would be ideal for so many situations — walk in, drop an iPod on the podium with the TTS hooked to the bottom, plug in the base unit, and start recording with the freedome to roam. The setup doesn’t seem to work with my Gemini LIX-16 wireless unit as I am only able to get one channel to record audio. I then tried my wired Griffin lav mic and it produces really good sound. It actually got me thinking that the iPod with the TTS and the lav mic plugged into it is actually only a half inch bigger than the wireless unit … the iPod setup is noticably thinner too.
The software on the iPod works the same way as it did before … clip on the TTS and the iPod switches over to voice recorder mode with the option to start recording. You can now also set the recording quality to high or low. I went with high for all my tests. THe one thing the whole thing misses is some sort of user feedback. THe recording click ticks along, but a level meter on either the TTS or, even better, on the iPod screen would make a huge difference — just take the guesswork out of the whole process. At any rate, the included podcast will give you an idea what this thing can do — about half way through the podcast I swtich from the TTS with the lav mic to without. Let me know what you think.
Update: A lot of people have emailed me asking where to find this thing … we found it at the Apple Store … if you are an edu customer, make sure you go into the education store as it is $10 cheaper. Here is the link to the public store.