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    • Very few albums manage to capture snapshots of a quality of life in the manner that Congo Norvell's sophomore record, "Abnormals Anonymous," does.

      Comparisons to the Velvet Underground are

  • Pretty Hate Machine

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    • For years I wanted to make music that sounded like something between Love and Rockets and Ministry. In 1989, Trent Reznor beat me to it with this genre-defining album, and it smacked me upside the hea
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    • Mystics Anonymous is the brainchild project of Jeff Steblea, a fantastic songwriter and good friend of mine, as well. In fact, I even played the drums on all but one of the tracks on this album. Jef
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  • 8:30

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    • This is Weather Reports quintessential line-up captured live. Jaco Pastorious and Peter Erskine join Wayne Shorter and, of course, Joe Zawinul to create this masterpiece.

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In-Depth Review

Recorder for iPhone is a Great Digital Voice Recorder

Recorder 7.1 from Retronyms is an inexpensive but capable digital voice recorder for iPhone and iPod touch (2G only). It can record an interview or personal notes, save them as AIFFs, create a named label, sort, and then e-mail the file. The app is amazing and worth far more than the asking price.

The recorder works as one would expect, and the user interface is simplicity epitomized. A big red record button is where one starts.

Recorder-1

Home Page

When the recording starts, a digital VU meter shows the sound levels -- however, the frequencies aren't labelled. A timer shows how long one has been recording. Then one can pause the recording or stop it, at which time it receives a default, numbered label and is catalogued.

Recorder-2

VU Meter, Timer, Stop or Pause

A time ordered list of recordings is maintained, but one can, in the usual iPhone sort methodology, rearrange the individual recordings. Just tap the label to play it back. An edit button allows the user to rename the file.

 

Recorder-3

File Data and Output Button

Touching the blue arrow brings up file data. At the normal sample rate for a recording (44 KHz), the files use up about 1 megabyte for each minute of recording. Those with 8 or 16 GB iPhones are at little risk of running out of room.

At the bottom of the file data is a standard output arrow that allows one to e-mail the voice recording. At that point, it's compressed into an MP3 for transmission. However, instead of sending an attachment, which can easily exceed the limits imposed on e-mail attachments, the file is stored on the Retronym server, and a URL is e-mailed. Like large file services, such as Dropbox, this allows the recipient to retrieve files much larger than the usual e-mail limit, which would be about 8 minutes of voice data. That's a very thoughtful touch.

Recorder-Sender

The Sender

Recorder - recipient

What the Recipient Sees.  URL has been truncated by reviewer.

Because your iPhone has an IP address on your local Wi-Fi network, it's also possible to access the iPhone or iPod touch with the Wi-Fi sync feature. Just enter the address supplied by the app: http://192.168.x.x:zzzzz, and you can download copies. Some really cool coding creates a visually attractive screen in your Web browser that allows you to download the recordings to your desktop. This is an especially nice feature.

Recorder - browser view

View in Browser when connected to iPhone

I tried the recorder in a room with gentle fan sounds and several computers running, and didn't have a problem. However, I suspect that given the iPhone's limitations, a very noisy hall would create some problems. That's when a really first class, dedicated piece of hardware, with special microphones is necessary, like the Edirol R-09HR for over US$300. This product is US$0.99, so given its functionality, that's an amazing price.

This is the first iPhone app I've seen that seems seriously underpriced. If you're a journalist or writer who needs to do an occasional interview, or you use your iPhone as a second brain to take photos and record voice notes, you'll find this app very much worth more than you paid, and I can't rate it high enough. Send the author more money.

Just The Facts

Recorder 7.1 from Retronym

MSRP US$0.99

Pros:

Easy to use, editable & sortable files, pause function, intelligent output options, local Wi-Fi access, incredible price.

Cons:

None.

1 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

JB Tipton said:

It’s a mystery to me why audio applications such as this are reviewed by people who obviously have no expertise in this area. One of the basics of audio recording is gain control. To be really useful, an audio recording application needs the ability to control the audio gain manually and automatically, preferably with several different algorithms to take into account varying background noise levels. The lack of this feature is ignored by this reviewer. We do discover that this app has a multiband VU meter without any sort of frequency labels—a totally useless feature that, along with the lack of gain control, tips me off to the fact that the developer is more interested in flashy graphics than useful features. A standard level meter with some gain control would have been much more useful and yet, none of this is pointed out here. Mr Martellaro’s columns are great, but he should really leave the audio reviews to the pros!

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