It's been quite a week for mobile recording. The M-Audio Microtrack (a small, ugly, useful, $399) began shipping in numbers. I saw the Windows CE-based PD Audio system (weird, bulky-but-high quality, $750+) system for the first time, and Sony announced the PCM-D1 (awesome looking, crazy, $2,000).
But the really big news came on Wednesday. Hidden in the small print of the iPod 5 announcement was
news that Apple have
finally allowed the iPod to record audio properly. Previous models had a 8khz (telephone quality) cap on recording.
iPod Linux proved that the machine was
perfectly capable of recording in mono at up to 96khz (pro quality), and now we can all do 44.1khz (CD quality - but
this might be compressed) stereo recording.
Of course, this has been possible for a while on other DAPs. In fact, high quality recording was a feature on early machines that is now becoming rarer. The ancient, huge, Creative Nomad 3 (looks like a CD player, costs $100 on eBay) has become a workhorse for concert bootleggers and field recordists, because it has digital ins and outs, and can record uncompressed wav files. The iRiver h120 (2004 era iPod clone, < $100 on eBay) even has an open source alternative firmware called Rockbox, which improves its recording capabilities.