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Field Report: Yamaha Pocketrak W24
The W24 ships with 2GB of internal memory, but will also accept a microSD card up to 16GB. Depending on the file format selected for recordings, this recorder will hold a considerable amount of audio with no microSD card. For example the estimated available recording time for 32kb/s MP3s is 136 hours. While a 24-bit 96kHz PCM recording will last about 55 minutes. Essentially, the W24 will hold 3 hours of CD quality (16-bit 44.1kHz PCM) audio.
|Performance at a glance|
Lightweight and very compact
Excellent built-in XY mics
Internal 2GB memory
Easy-to-read LCD screen
Easy-to-navigate menu options
Speaker for listening to audio playback
Jack for external mic and line sources
The recorder has a 7/8" by 7/8" backlit LCD screen. While seemingly impossible to see, it is actually very easy to read. The main screen indicates all functions including recording time, audio levels, file name and format and battery life. The menu options are easy to read and very intuitive. Most users will find the owner's manual necessary only for advanced settings and features. The front of the W24 is also home to the rec, stop and playback buttons, along with the menu/enter button and the global transport/volume control button. Sliding mic sensitivity (high/low) and ALC controls are on the same side as the headphone jack, and file management buttons, power button and USB/SD card insert slots are on the other side. A hold button is on the back to prevent accidental operation during recording or playback. The recorder accepts one AA battery. The remote control ships with a lithium battery installed.
Interfacing the W24 with PC or Mac is as easy as plugging in the included USB cable. It appears as a removable disc for dragging and dropping files. No drivers are necessary. This is also how music is added to the playlists, again, making the recorder a fun little gadget to take along.
After a week of experimenting and playing with the W24, I noticed a little bump on the front of the unit. I eventually found out the bump was the sensor for the infrared remote. Aside from that, most of my questions were answered within minutes of experimentation. It is amazingly easy to use right out of the box. More importantly, the clarity by which the stereo X-Y mics reproduce audio is excellent. For a unit of such diminutive proportion, it is surprisingly robust. For interviewers, handling noise is minimal. For musicians, it has features galore. For recording engineers it's a back saver. The W24 is worth its weight in gold. That's not a lot of gold, but you know what I mean.
Wygal is the programmer, engineer and Web designer for Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.
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