Chris Drage welcomes a cheap and cheerful new digital audio recorder from TAG Learning
Digital Audio Player and Recorder (£25 ex VAT) is a pocket-sized digital audio player and recorder to use for encouraging recording spoken language or listening to audio files without the need of a PC or laptop. The bright, lime-green device has a small LCD screen and a central speaker surrounded by navigation buttons and menu button.
Voice recording is achieved via the tiny built-in microphone. Files are stored in the Windows .wav format so they can be opened and edited by numerous audio editing and playback software while support is offered for playback of both MP3 and .wma audio formats.
The built-in speaker is surprisingly clear and a 2.5mm phono socket allows you to plug in the included earphones for even better reproduction (or output to other amplification). Using the built-in speaker is particularly useful with SEN or early years pupils who benefit from immediate feedback.
The controls include play, pause, next and previous track, and volume control, and all the relevant information is displayed in the tiny LCD display. The built-in rechargeable battery is recharged via USB connection to a computer. The device also includes a tiny TF (TransFlash) card slot for additional storage to the built-in 512Mb available.
I tried the unit in a number of environments including indoors and on a windy beach. For picking up background and ambient sounds the device is remarkably good. It does not isolate sounds well as a proper “shotgun” microphone would - but that is to be expected at this price point. So in noisy surroundings you will always get a lot of background sounds impinging on the target sound you are trying to record.
In use, I found the LCD screen a little too small for comfortable use. Similarly, the sequence of button pushes is not as straightforward as I would have liked – especially for younger pupils to try and master.
However, the Digital Audio Player and Recorder could prove to be a valuable aid for music lessons and for assembling evidence in the use of spoken language at early years or for modern foreign languages or even podcasting. Downloading the audio files to a PC couldn’t be easier – the PC ‘sees’ the device as a USB memory stick. Recommended – if your expectations aren’t too high.
Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 3
Ease of use 3
Value for money 4
Digital Audio Player and recorder, £25 ex VAT
Pocket-sized (55mm x 55mm x 14mm) digital audio recorder and player (with earphones)
TAG Learning, BLi group, Angel House, Sherston, Malmesbury, Wilts SN16 0LH
Tel: 01474 357 350
Fax: 01474 537 887