compact flash audio recorders

Introduction

A compact flash audio recorder is a digital audio recording device that saves audio onto a compact flash card - the same kind of card used with a digital photo camera.

The amount of audio that can be recorded on a compact flash audio recorder thus depends on the size of the compact flash card used.

For the Marantz PMD660 recorder a 2 GB compact flash card can hold up to about 6 hours of audio, if recording in mono. When you turn the recorder on, the amount of recording time left on the card will be shown in the display window on the top of the recorder.

The audio on the compact flash card can be downloaded onto a computer via a USB cable.

You can also transfer the audio to a computer using an inexpensive "card reader" that attaches to the computer via a USB cable.

You remove the compact flash card from the audio recorder, and insert it into the card reader. A folder will appear on your computer desktop containing the audio files you recorded, which you then can drag onto the desktop, onto some other folder on the computer or onto a portable storage device such as a firewire drive.

Setting up the Compact Flash Recorder

Batteries

First insert batteries into the recorder. These usually are AA batteries that you slide into a battery compartment on a side or the bottom of the recorder.

On the Marantz PMD660 recorder, the battery compartment is on the bottom of the recorder. It takes 4 AA batteries, and the batteries are good for up to three hours of recording in mono.

You can check the life of your batteries by looking at the battery icon in the display window on the top of the recorder when it's on. A half full icon means 90 minutes or less of battery life is left, an empty icon means 20 minutes or less of battery life is left.

When the batteries die completely, the icon will blink and the recorder will beep. If the batteries die, you won't lose any audio you've already recorded. You'll just need to replace the batteries to do any more recording.

Note: If you're near a power outlet when recording, you also can use an AC adapter instead of the batteries to power the recorder. The AC adapter plugs into the right side of the recorder in the DV IN 5V jack.

Compact Flash Card

Next, insert a compact flash card into the recorder, usually into a slot or compartment on the side of the recorder. Insert the compact flash card facing up and with the arrow pointing in.

On the Marantz PMD660 recorder, the compartment with the compact flash card slot is on the front side of the recorder. Flip open the door to the compartment (be careful not to push the door too far down when opening). Make sure the tiny square eject button to the right is pushed in.

Insert the compact flash card into the slot, with the card facing up and the arrow pointing in. The card will snap into place. Close the door (if it won't close, check to make sure the eject button is pushed in).

To remove the compact flash card, turn off the recorder using the power switch, open the door to the compact flash card compartment and push the tiny eject button to the right of the card slot and the button should pop out. Then push in the eject button again, grab the card, slide it out of the slot and close the compartment door (if it won't close, check to make sure the eject button is pushed in).

Microphone

Next, you need to plug a microphone into the recorder.

If you're using a professional grade microphone with an XLR connector, you'll need a male-to-female XLR cable to connect the microphone to an XLR jack on the recorder.

On the Marantz PMD660 recorder, the XLR jacks are on the back of the camera.

If recording with a single microphone in mono, connect the XLR cable to the left jack, which is labeled Mono.

If you have a microphone that requires power, such as a condenser microphone, move the tiny microphone power switch to the on position, which is located to the right of the XLR jacks. This will provide 48V of power to the microphone. This is not needed with self-powered microphones, such as the Sennheiser dynamic handheld microphone or the Sony lavalier microphones. If using a self-powered microphone, leave the mic power switch off.

Headphones

Finally, you should plug headphones into the headphone jack in the recorder (which usually is labeled "headphones" or has an icon for a set of headphones). Using headphones is very important to verify that you're actually recording audio.

On the Marantz PMD660 recorder, the headphones jack is on the front side of the recorder and is labeled PHONES. Be sure to plug the headphones in or you might get feedback from the built-in speakers during recording.

You can adjust the volume level of the headphones by turning the small dial labeled HP/SPK VOL on the right side of the recorder.

Note: The headphones jack is sensitive on this recorder. If it doesn't work for some reason, plug the headphones into the LINE OUT jack on the back of the recorder. You can still use the HP/SPK VOL dial to adjust the volume level of the headphones.

Power Switch

Turn on the recorder using the power switch.

On the Marantz PMD660 recorder, the power switch is on the left side of the recorder and is labeled POWER.

Note: Unless you're recording audio, after 15 minutes of inactivity the recorder will automatically turn off. You'll have to turn the POWER switch off and then on again to re-activate the recorder.

Filed under: Audio