I came to the happy monochromatic world of Apple MP3 players in 2007 after hating everything portable that was not minidisc. For good reason too – in 2004, there simply were no fully-featured player/recorders that did not hiss from their headphone jacks like the more dangerous snakes in the world. Sure, there were half-attempts from the likes of Rio and iRiver, but nothing that made my Sharp Auvi-powered MD recorder waver in the reeds.
And, there was nothing I hated more than MP3 unless it was Apple MP3. The iPod was the exact manifestation of all that was evil in the market. Big, bulky, able to hold your ‘entire’ library of songs and from a giant computer company. The only thing I would have despised more than the iPod, would have been a media player from Microsoft.
Well, several years later and after suffering through the likes of Cowon, Meizu, Panasonic, Kenwood, Sony, iRiver and a few other recommended players, I am quite happy with an iPod Touch. It is not the be all and end all of portable music, but it sounds good, has very clean headphone and line outs and above all, plays music gaplessly. However, I have been in search of a good field recorder that can mimic my experience with the Sharp recorders and microphone amps.
Alesis are bucking that trend of shoddy recording accessories with their Protrack, a recording accessory that physically encapsulates nearly any docking iPod model and turns it into a CD-quality lossless recording device. Alesis’ Protrack makes use of onboard cardiod condenser mics and best of all, input ports for XLR and 6,3mm mono jacks. Why am I using such short sentences? Or such frank language? I am excited.
The Protrack also runs from 4 AA batteries or from the mains. You can mount it on a tripod, mic stand, camera stand and presumably many other configurations. Entries are time-stamped for easy reference and features LED level-metres. This looks like a great device for musicians, professionals and field recorders who need quality inputs and a robust design. It is not however, a great device for stealth recording in venues like concerts. For that, there is always, the MiniDisc.
At only 179$, Protrack seems quite a steal when comparing to dedicated hardware and amps which cost at least 3x Alesis’ asking price.
Take a look at their press video below and the Alesis Protrack product page here.
Acoustical operating principle: pressure-gradient transducer
Transducer type: back-electret condenser
Directional pattern: cardioid
Frequency range: 30 – 18,000 Hz
Sensitivity: -50 ±4 dB @ 1 kHz 90dB = 1V/u bar
Rated impedance: 200 ohms ±20%
Signal-to-noise ratio: more than 60 dB
Supply voltage (DC9V): 52V
Attenuation (pad): -10dB, switchable
High-pass filter: -6 dB / Octave @ 200Hz, switchable
Sleek design with clear, protective covers, integrates iPod
Record to iPod Classic, iPod 5G, and iPod nano 3G
Stereo 1/8″ headphone output
48V phantom power for use with external condenser mics
Records 16-bit, 44.1kHz or 22kHz stereo digital audio
Switchable limiter ensures overload-free recordings
AC/DC operation on 4 AAA batteries or AC adapter
Threaded mounting point for tabletop and floor-stand applications
Matched stereo pair of microphones
Excellent clarity, sensitivity, and detail
Attenuation (pad) switch enables usage in high-SPL settings
Low frequency roll-off compensates for proximity effect in close-miking applications
Hard, padded mic case and XY-stereo mount included
ProTrack handheld recorder for iPod
ProTrack Tripod table stand
AM2 Stereo Mic Set