Every musician can relate to the frustration of coming up with that awesome, mind-bending riff or catchy melody only to get distracted by something and then find later that it has disappeared entirely from memory (like Genesis' fanbase post-Peter Gabriel). But all obscure, music-elitist references aside, I submit that the average musician's life would be much simpler (and much less rage-inducing) if they made something portable and awesome sounding that could fit right in your pocket when fickle inspiration ruthlessly strikes and you need to lay down a track NOW. Well hey, wish granted!
Roland has come to the rescue of every song-writer's muse with their new handy-dandy R-05 portable .wav/.mp3 recorder. It's inexpensive, it sounds great, and look at how little it is:
If it had a nose, I'd totally boop its nose.
Here at the shop we've carried quite a few different portable recording gadgets in the past and have good luck with pretty much all of them. But we all (Ryan in particular) felt like this new one deserved some extra press for a couple of reasons...
1) Switch between Automatic and Manual Gain-staging:
A common issue that a lot of people run into with hand-held recording devices is trying to balance the input signal so you don't overload the mics, or under power them and get a weak signal from the source. Instead of trying to dial in the gain manually, especially in a live scenario with multiple different sound sources, the R-05 comes equipped with an internal sensor to set the gain at the most appropriate level for whatever you're trying to record. So, let's say you're heading out to see your second-cousins' Lamb of God cover band at like...Studio Seven, or something. Assuming you're a glutton for punishment and you want to record a song or two, you just put the R-05 in "Rehearsal Mode" which allows you to sample the sound source and then decide what gain level would be best from there. Even if you're somehow not terribly impressed with the device's ability to automatically dial in the gain (which I'll admit is pretty darn accurate), you can always use "Rehearsal Mode" to put you in the ballpark and then dial it in manually. It takes quite a bit of the personal complication and fiddling out of an impromptu recording session and gives you an idea of what gain levels compliment what signal source best.
2) Simultaneous .WAV and .MP3 Recording:
As far as digital music goes, the general idea is that .WAV files are the higher-quality, more "publishable" type of audio files, though they tend to eat up a bit more data than an .MP3, which is a smaller file that is better for data-sharing and uploading but is a little less clean and crisp. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and these days if you're doing more and more personal recording, it is a good idea to have a version of the track in one of each. That being said, the Roland R-05 allows you to record a real-time track in two different file types simultaneously (.wav and .mp3). This is really handy if you're wanting to upload the tracks onto recording and mixing software for editing and mastering later, but also giving you the smaller, more compact version for data-sharing. With that being said, you can upload all files via either SD card or min-USB port.
3) Split-Recording Option (Automatic/Manual):
So let's say you're in the middle of a jam session and you guys are cooking up ideas and improvizations faster than you can organize and seperate them in your head. Or, let's say you're at a concert and you're trying to get a good live recording, but you're stuck between wanting smooth, live-transitions in your recording from song to song but you'd rather not have to record the entire 3 hours and 46 minutes on one, giant track. The R-05 addresses that scenario by giving you the option of splitting up a long track into seperate tracks later OR, even more conveniently, automatically sensing dips in volume and trimming tracks based on those. That way you can get a good live show recording of an entire concert or session without missing anything important, but skipping the awkward transitions in between or smoothing over them.
4) It Just Sounds GOOD
If you liked what you just heard and read, I highly recommend coming into the Bigfoot this holiday season and asking one of us for more in-depth info on the R-05. That pretty much wraps up all our Christmas Countdown Staff Picks.
Stay excellent and have a Merry Christmas!