Music Thing: Roland Micro-BR and Trinity DAW

Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:

Two new shiny boxes were announced this week. They both run on batteries and can record and edit audio, but they couldn't be more different. In the trashy and corporate corner is the Boss Micro-BR. It's a four-track, with guitar and mic inputs. It's "slightly larger than an iPod," runs on 2 AA batteries, has built in drum sound and effects, and is shinier than a cheap Korean DAP from 2005. This unit is the spiritual offspring of the cassette four-track, which anyone who was in a band in the '80s or early '90s will remember with a mixture of fondness and dread. If for some reason you're recording a demo by yourself, and you can't get to a laptop, it's probably perfect. No price yet, but it won't be much.

Meanwhile, in the open source startup corner is the Trinity DAW, a Linux-powered stand alone audio recorder. It's has the professional ins and outs that the Micro-BR so obviously lacks, and is built around a 500mhz processor, 128mb memory, 20gb hard drive and a real screen. It ships with Audacity software which, like most Linux software, is great/cruddy depending who you ask. It can record in stereo with professional microphones that need phantom power, and there's a nifty circular touchpad next to the screen to navigate around the GUI. Unfortunately, there's a whiff of vapour around the project, which currently only exists in rendered form, with an eye-watering price tag of $999. For which price you could probably buy 16 tracks of Micro-BR, or a decent laptop and a pile of software.