LINGUIST List 14.707

Tue Mar 11 2003

Sum: Field Recording Equipment

Editor for this issue: Steve Moran <>


  1. Jim Long, Summary of responses to my Query #14.606

Message 1: Summary of responses to my Query #14.606

Date: Sat, 08 Mar 2003 17:35:24 +0000
From: Jim Long <>
Subject: Summary of responses to my Query #14.606

Many thanks to the several people who responded in depth to my query
regarding field recording devices: (Linguist 14.606). The responses
were helpful, detailed and from personal experience, in all, most
valuable. Respondents pointed out the possibilities for downloading
to computers without redigitizing for phonetic analyses, the need to
work with copies of tapes (rather than original recordings) when
transcribing, prices, and a number of other aspects that enter into a
choice of recording gear. MiniDisc recorders seem to be the most
popular, but a summary would not do the responses justice, so here
they are, arranged by device and only very slightly edited
(salutations and such deleted).

Overview of devices and field recording:
#1 From ''Mark Jones'' <> Mark Jones, Dept. of
Linguistics, University of Cambridge:

What you need depends on what you are going to do with the data. I've
used Mini Disc, which has great capacity (2.5 hours per disc on mono)
and the recorders are small and relatively cheap. However, for
acoustic analysis, they are not ideal, as the compression system used
distorts some amplitude and frequency components.

DAT is standard for phonetic fieldwork, though I'm planning to acquire
an MP3 recorder which can store files as .WAV files so that the
digitisation process is eliminated (always a huge pain). As far as I'm
aware, standard cassettes remain cheap and good quality, even for
acoustic analysis. So I wouldn't necessary go for new media if you can
find a good portable cassette recorder.

Download link to a talk by Plichta on recording equipment, at NWAVE
two years ago:

This paper was also published in the Penn Working Papers of
Linguistics, 2001.
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