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A lot of older Mp3 players and audio recording devices were fully capable of delivering excellent audio quality, but were hampered at the time by poor software and outdated file types. RockBox is a free open source firmware replacement that runs on many of these devices. Stable versions are available for the following devices:
Apple: iPod 1g through 5.5g, iPod Mini, iPod Nano 1g
Archos: Jukebox 5000, 6000, Studio, Recorder, FM Recorder, Recorder V2 and Ondio
Cowon: iAudio X5, X5V, X5L, M5, M5L, M3 and M3L
iriver: iHP100 series, H100 series, H300 series and H10 series
Olympus: M:Robe 100
Packard Bell: Vibe 500
SanDisk: Sansa c200, e200 and e200R series, Fuze, Clip and Clip+
Toshiba: Gigabeat X and F series

An anonymous blogger writes, “Looking for an inexpensive means to capture audio from a dynamically moving crowd, I sampled many MP3 players’ recording capabilities. Ultimately the best bang-for-the-buck was refurbished SanDisk Sansa Clip+ devices ($26/ea) loaded with (open source) RockBox firmware. The most massively multi-track event was a thorium conference in Chicago where many attendees wore a Clip+. Volunteers worked the room with cameras, and audio capture was decoupled from video capture. It looked like this. Despite having (higher quality) ZOOM H1n and wireless mics, I’ve continued to use the RockBox-ified Clip+ devices … even if the H1n is running, the Clip+ serves as backup. There’s no worry about interference or staying within wireless mic range. The devices have 4GB capacity, and RockBox allows WAV capture. They’ll run at least 5 hours before the battery is depleted (with lots of storage left over). I would suggest sticking with 44kHz (mono) capture, as 48kHz is unreliable. To get an idea of their sound quality, here is a 10-person dinner conversation (about thorium molten salt nuclear reactors) in a very busy restaurant. I don’t know how else I could have isolated everyone’s dialog for so little money. (And I would NOT recommend Clip+ with factory firmware… they only support 22kHz and levels are too high for clipping on people’s collars.)”

This video incorporating much of that captured audio is worth watching for its content as well as the interesting re-purposing.

Re-Posted from Slashdot.Org–refurbished-mp3-players–crowdsourced-audio-capture

October 1st, 2012

Posted In: Uncategorized

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