I've just joined the xstreameast.co.uk online radio academy (a volunteer run-program training up young, aspiring radio superstars) and will be creating a series of features, documentaries and vox-pops.
BUT my technical knowledge in terms of recording 'on site' is limited... is a minidisk player with a decent mic the way to go, or an MP3 player with an inbuilt mic... or a digital dictaphone? Which one is most cost-effective but without sacrificing quality? I need to sort it out ASAP and get interviewing but don't know where to begin!
Any advice most welcome... and if anyone has an old minidisk player or one gathering dust in a corner and wants to help out a great online volunteer radio project, I'd be grateful to borrow it or take it off your hands. Worth a try!
You'll have a job finding a new minidisc player these days that costs less than £200. You're probably better off getting a hard disc player with a mic input (don't rely on a built-in mic). I know the iRiver H320 has one (www.iriver.com), and it's worth checking out Creative (uk.europe.creative.com and Cowon (eng.iaudio.com)
I would look in at Morgan they have an Aiwa Minidisc for 47 GBP, but I do not know if it has an mic input, the simplest sony NH 600 hasn´t, alternatively go for the Olympus DM 1 as it has a mic input and variable sensitivity: http://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/shop/products2.asp?CategoryID=201&SubCategoryID=144 the usual mp3 player records in awful quality, and with glitches because of the harddisk, these Olympus´ are at least designed for voice recording, although not radio quality, but you would need pro equipment for that.
Katie, like Dave says, I would stay clear of using an inbuilt mic on an MP3 device for semi-pro voice recording. My experience with 'em is that the function is so basic - no adjustable eq levels for a start! I suppose it depends on how much you're gonna be using it? If quite frequently then it might be worth shelling out for a dictaphone to do the job properly...
Thanks for the help guys... I'll follow up on your recommendations and let you know how I get on. I think breaking into the bank balance may be in order - above all else, I want the interviews to have sound quality. Watch this space... :)