Zoom H1n Review

Zoom H1n Review

A few years back I bought the Zoom H1. After a couple of days using it, I returned it (amazon return policy is awesome!). Last month, I bought the Zoom H1n – the newer/better(?) version of the H1. And I’m going to keep it and recommend it for researchers. In this review, I let you know why. Summary: Zoom H1n Review The good: very good recorded sound. Lots of recording versatility – 96 kHz 24 bit wav. 5v plug in power, you can power this recorder using the USB and use it as a USB microphone. The bad: no internal memory. Max 32GB micro SD card external memory. Cannot recharge batteries, 10 hours battery life. Verdict: great for recording interviews in quiet locations, using lav microphones, focus group discussions with the ME33 boundary mic. Definitely best recorder for powering ME33 boundary microphones. Buy the Zoom H1n from Amazon. The Zoom H1n is an entry level… Continue reading…

Olympus ME33 Review

Daisy Chaining 6 Olympus ME33 Boundary Microphones

The Olympus ME33 boundary microphone is the mic that I recommend for recording medium and large focus group discussions. There are several reasons why, and I’ll touch on them later on in this review, but first a couple of suggestions. If you are looking to record focus groups, meetings or conferences in a boardroom setting, I recommend you also read this post on how to record focus groups and this post on choosing a recorder for focus group discussions. Those two posts have lots of tips that’ll help you capture great sound in a boardroom setting. Summary: Olympus ME33 Boundary Microphone Review The Good: you can connect up to 6 mics. Captures very little background noise; but captures distant voices very well. Sleek, attractive design. The Bad: only works with digital recorders with plug-in power (1.5v-5v). Verdict: these microphones are perfect for recording audio in large meeting or conference rooms. Also great for recording focus… Continue reading…

Sony ICD-PX470 Review

Sony ICD PX470 Review

Let me begin with a caveat. I am an Olympus fan. I really do like their digital voice recorders. But the recent Sony models are making me re-evaluate that. The Sony ICD-PX470 has become my default backup recorder – and I have a lots of recorders. In this review of the Sony ICD-PX470 I’ll try and explain why I rate this recorder so highly. Summary: Review of Sony ICD-PX470 Pros: records very good sound; high sensitivity with low background noise. Can record in 16bit 44.1 kHz wav format. 9 different mic sensitivity settings. Cons: Can’t recharge batteries. 32GB max expendable memory. No back-light. Verdict: Great budget recorder. If you are looking for excellent recorder on a budget, this recorder is perfect. Buy it now from amazon, you won’t be disappointed. Sony ICD-PX470 Specifications I got my Sony ICD-PX470 a couple of months ago and been using it to record interviews and I’ve been impressed. Here’s… Continue reading…

Olympus WS-853 Review

Olympus WS-853 Review

3 years after I bought the Olympus WS-853, I write a review! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to pen this review. Not for the lack of desire – just been bogged down with other “stuff”. But, due to public demand, I’m going to be writing a lot more in-depth product reviews. And if you’re a researcher and appreciate them, please leave a comment below! If my memory serves me right, I first bought this recorder because it had a USB direct connection to my PC, easy copying of files to PC and mac (no need for software), and its ability to recharge batteries. However, these are standard features in most digital voice recorders worth buying in 2018. Summary: Olympus WS-853 Review The Good: comes with 8GB internal memory (impressive!), rechargeable NiMH batteries and a kickstand (reduces “table noise”). Captures very little background noise. The Bad: max MP3 128 kbps recording mode… Continue reading…

Sony ICD ux560 Review

If you are regular reader of our (excellent?) blog, you’ll have noticed that I recommend the Sony ICD ux560 as the best recorder for recording interviews, lectures, and small focus group discussions. While I highlight the key features of the Sony ICD ux560 and give reasons as to why I recommend it, I’ve never done an in-depth review of the Sony ICD ux560 digital recorder. So, here we go. With the ICD ux560, Sony made a few bold (risky) changes from their previous digital recorders. I remember my first impression of this recorder: it’s very thin and lightweight. Photos of this recorder do not reflect how light it feels on your hand and its low profile. How did Sony achieve this? Summary: Sony ICD ux560 Review Pros: very lightweight; powers up instantly; amazing sound; records in LPCM format; 3.5mm mic input with plug-in power; clear, sharp, and crisp LCD screen. Cons: built in battery; only… Continue reading…

Choosing the Best Recorder for Interviews (Updated 2018)

Best Recorder for Interviews

There’s a myriad of ways to record your research interviews. You could use your phone, laptop, or even a camcorder. However, I strongly recommend using a digital voice recorder. Handheld digital voice recorders are compact, affordable and enable you to easily manage the audio recordings, which makes the process of getting your dissertation interview transcripts easy and cost effective. Summary: Best Recorder for Interviews Sony ICD-UX560: lightweight and low profile; powers up instantly; amazing sound; records in LPCM format; 3.5mm mic input with plug-in power; clear, sharp, and crisp LCD screen. Perfect for recording interviews. Stop shopping around and go and buy this beauty on Amazon! Sony ICD-PX470: if you are looking for excellent interview recorder on a budget. Very similar to the Sony ICD-ux560, but larger and bulkier. Uses 2 AA alkaline batteries (no USB recharging), no backlight. If you can’t afford the Sony-ux560, this recorder will save you some money. Zoom H1n: Very good recorded sound.… Continue reading…

Best Recorder for Lectures (Updated 2018)

Best Recorder for Lectures

When I was in college, I recorded a lot of the lectures and found the recordings to be incredibly, incredibly useful. Why? They were a useful learning tool; I used recorded lectures to strategically revisit sections I wanted to reinforce, and when preparing for assessments. I was always amazed, when I listened back to the lectures, how much stuff I didn’t write down! During my freshmen year, my friends took the piss a bit, but a few of them borrowed the recordings after they’d missed a class and soon everybody realized how useful it was to have a recording of the lecture.  By the second year, everyone expected (including the professors), that I’d record the lectures and the few times I forgot to carry or switch on my lecture recorder, they were mad at me! Go figure! Summary: Best Recorder for Lectures Sony ICD-UX560: lightweight and low profile; powers up instantly; amazing sound from distance;… Continue reading…

Best Audio Recorder for Focus Groups

Recording focus group discussion is not easy. Focus groups are notoriously hard to control and manage. But crucially, you’ll have to record sound from different sources and direction. That’s not easy. Luckily for you, there’s recording equipment that make recording focus group discussion easier. And that’s my intention, to share with you the best focus group recording devices. In a previous post, I shared a general outline of how to record a focus group discussion. I listed the 3 things you need to think about while planning your focus groups. I also shared specific recording devices for recording different types of focus group discussion. But I realized that I didn’t provide researchers with options and recommendations. Summary: Here’s the best audio recorder for focus groups. Sony ICD-UX560 audio recorder – a couple of these recorders are great for small sized focus groups. But can also be used to power two ME33 boundary microphones and record… Continue reading…

3 Best Books on Qualitative Data Analysis

3 Best Books on Qualitative Data Analysis

Here’s my blogging modus operandi. A client emails me and asks me to recommend a book, software,  recording equipment et al. I make a recommendation and make a note of it in my work diary. If another client asks me to make a similar recommendation – I know I need to blog about it! And that’s how we got here! Last week a client asked me to recommend a good book on qualitative data analysis. Let’s back up a little bit. Typically researchers get in touch with us looking to have their research interviews and/or focus group discussions transcribed. Now, some researches are also looking for help analyzing their qualitative data. That’s a service that, sadly, we don’t provide. We usually direct them to someone who can assist them in analyzing their data and suggest a few qualitative data analysis books that will set them on the right path. In this post, I’m going to… Continue reading…

How to Record Focus Group Discussions

How to Record a small focus group discussion

A few days ago, I got this email from a researcher. “Hi, I’m doing an eval of a math program, 1 focus group with max 8 grad teaching assistants, 1-2 focus groups with students in intro math classes. 60 min each (max 3 60 min sessions). What kind of recording equipment/software would I need? Thanks, [Maggie].” I’ve been meaning to write a detailed post on how to record focus group discussions, but seem to never get to it! And this is the 3rd researcher that has emailed me asking for advice on how to record focus group discussion in the past 3 months! And recording focus groups can be tricky. You’ll have a room with 4-15 participants and making sure you clearly record each one of their responses is challenging. A couple of disclaimers. This is not a post on how to conduct focus group discussions. So don’t expect the do’s and don’ts of conducting… Continue reading…