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RockBox + Refurbished MP3 Players = Crowdsourced Audio Capture

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the like-y'do dept.

Hardware Hacking 66

An anonymous reader 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 repurposing.

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66 comments

HAPPY MAY DAY TO THOSE DOWNUNDER !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41510851)

And have a nice summer !!

Happy NIgger Coon Jigaboo PorchMonkey! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41510901)

And have a nice summer !!

with NIGGERS. That is all.

Re:Happy NIgger Coon Jigaboo PorchMonkey! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511119)

You will suck it. Suck it slowly, lovingly, like Mike Huckabee would. You will draw a bomb picture like Benjamin Netanyahu. It will be Jewish, and likeable, and rock fucking solid.

huh? (4, Insightful)

swell (195815) | about a year and a half ago | (#41510869)

Sorry, I have no idea what TFA is about. Please help.

Re:huh? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41510907)

The gist of the problem is how to recreate the human ability to focus on individual conversations in a room full of noise. It involves shit like to the FFT, to the DFT, on a rhyming spree, a straight-G. The problem was described in Slashdot shortly before, using all kinds of advanced shit which is too powerful for your feeble mind to comprehend.

Look to the final link of the summary. What happened is that, when you look to youtube for classic videogame speedruns, most of the links resolve to that annoying "let's play..." asshole whose voice is so goddamn annoying that you want to smack him in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper and look for another speedrun.

What that asshole did was find a way to slow his voice down, so it sounds like he's on Vaaaaaaaliummmmmm, and in doing so nobody knows who he is and so they don't get pissed off listening to such a fuckhead.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:huh? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#41513375)

It involves shit like to the FFT, to the DFT, on a rhyming spree, a straight-G.

Can we get the non-rap explanation? Some of us are still hopelessly white.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41510935)

Just sit on your hands for a little bit and the people who do grok it, or get ideas from it, will post what is called a "discussion".

Or perhaps improving your behavior isn't what you wanted help with?
 

tl:dr Recipe for recording the audio of multiple i (5, Informative)

buro9 (633210) | about a year and a half ago | (#41510947)

tl:dr Recipe for recording the audio of multiple individuals in a large crowd.

Ingredients:

Sandisk Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player - http://www.sandisk.co.uk/products/sansa-music-and-video-players/sandisk-sansa-clipplus-mp3-player [sandisk.co.uk]
Rockbox - http://www.rockbox.org/ [rockbox.org]

Instructions:

Install Rockbox (open source firmware for MP3 players) on the Sansa Clip+. Configure to record on the Sansa Clip+ microphone in .wav format. Give a Sansa Clip+ to every person you want to record the audio for. Have every person start recording at roughly the same time, leave for 5 hours.

Gather all Sansa Clip+s at the end of the session, and extract the .wav file. 10-participants = 10-track equivalent audio recording of the session.

Mix and fade between the tracks to isolate the audio of single conversations between participants.

He basically has created a relatively inexpensive and reliable way to get this audio. Much like using multiple Go Pro cameras to record action of sports events beats out using professional equipment (and in some ways has become professional equipment). He's arguing that the Sansa Clip+ together with the Rockbox open source firmware, is a better solution than using professional radio mic's and then having recording equipment receive those signals and store them on disk for editing later.

I've no idea how "crowdsourced" fits into this though, nor how this is anything more than an advert even though the solution is a little interesting. It's useful enough and potentially cheap that you might imagine giving everyone at a Ted one of these as the conversations caught off-record might be even more valuable than the sessions.

Re:tl:dr Recipe for recording the audio of multipl (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511579)

Nobody uses GoPro cameras. They use the Go Pro Hero HD2 pro version ofthe camera. Huge difference between the low end crappy GoPro and the Professional model in video quality.

Although audio still sucks horribly on all Go Pro cameras.

Re:tl:dr Recipe for recording the audio of multipl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41513323)

audio's great, just not when trapped in that little box. try running some cable to a mic.

And your so-called "pro" version is still thunderously cheaper than anything else.

Re:tl:dr Recipe for recording the audio of multipl (2)

michrech (468134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41513457)

I don't think the article was meant to mean the approach to audio/video capture they took was "better" than using professional body-pack mics and professional recording gear. I think the point was how such could be accomplished when funds aren't available for the professional gear...

After having watched a bit of the video they linked, I'd say it did rather well.

Re:tl:dr Recipe for recording the audio of multipl (1)

chispito (1870390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41514779)

I've no idea how "crowdsourced" fits into this though, nor how this is anything more than an advert even though the solution is a little interesting.

RockBox is an open source firmware replacement for the Sansas. Also, he's (sort of) getting his audio from crowd members, instead of a room mic.

In /. terms: Imagine a Beowulf cluster of ears ;-) (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41517073)

The real tl:dr, in line with the anniversary mo(o)d... ;-)

Great idea BTW. Now just think of the kind of footage (including audio) we'll get when everyone is wearing/wielding their Google Glasses (or Sights [vimeo.com] for that matter ;-)) in just a few years (actually, everyone minus the millions who'll get jailed for accidently looking at or listening to anything copyrighted for more than 30 milliseconds while on).

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41510951)

You're not alone.
I also don't understand what's supposed to be wrong with the firmware of the Clip+.
Besides that, TFS is wrong about the Clip+. There's also an 8GB version and you can upgrade it with a microSD.

Re:huh? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511733)

I also don't understand what's supposed to be wrong with the firmware of the Clip+.

The audio recording functions are pretty poorly designed.

Rockbox allows much more control over recording.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41512225)

That and: 44 > 22 ...
'nuf said.

Lots of work? (3, Interesting)

mpoulton (689851) | about a year and a half ago | (#41510887)

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the process here, but this seems like it would create a HUGE amount of editing work. Are you manually switching which recorder's audio is used as different people speak? In other words, editing the video using as many simultaneous audio tracks as there are recorders, syncing them, and using the best one at any given instant during the video? That seems like it would add huge amounts of editing time.

Re:Lots of work? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41510913)

That depends, there are some applications out there that can align audio automatically (PluralEyes: http://www.singularsoftware.com/pluraleyes.html) for example, so then all you would need to do is name the track after the person who it relates to, and alter the levels as needed. All video creation requires a "huge" amount of editing work.

Re:Lots of work? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41510975)

All video creation requires a "huge" amount of editing work.

Exactly. Having dedicated audio sources for all speakers is great to have, and some increased editing time is worth it if your product is going to be higher quality.

It sucks to have to struggle to hear what's going on in a video and live events can be terribly chaotic. Having well planned audio capture is critical to reducing your stress. This is a clever use of cheap tech, and I may have to give it a shot with my old 2gb clip floating around in my tech bins. If only there was a way to pipe a proper lav into it...

Re:Lots of work? (3, Insightful)

bertok (226922) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511145)

Just altering the levels provides a lot of isolation (as seen in the video clips), but I have to wonder if there's an audio equivalent of "image stacking" or Photosynth, that would correlate all of the audio streams, build a "model" of the audio-scape, and allow noise to be cancelled out. Or more accurately, allow a voice to be extracted with a higher specificity than just 100% of one source.

I'm sensing that we're on the cusp of affordable setups where instead of just a few microphones, rooms could be set up with hundreds of microphones recording in parallel, with analysis done to track and extract individual sound sources moving in 3D. I suspect that a modern GPU already has the computer power, or will soon. This would allow individual speakers to be isolated even if they weren't set up with little clip-on recorders ahead of time.

Re:Lots of work? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511267)

I hate to post links to commercial products in a technical discussion, but 3D capture of sounds (as in "you can focus in real-time at any point of a room and listen to whatever happens there) already exists:

http://www.mhacoustics.com/mh_acoustics/Eigenmike_microphone_array.html [mhacoustics.com]

See also "microphone arrays" on google. Plenty of research in the past decades and for the coming ones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphone_array [wikipedia.org]

Re:Lots of work? (4, Informative)

bertok (226922) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511465)

I've seen this MIT project [mit.edu] before, but just like that product you linked, they all seem to be about "regular" arrays or arrangements.

I'm thinking more along the lines of ad-hoc arrangements of microphones, which is more like what Photosynth does -- it arranges arbitrary photos together to make a 3D scene, instead of taking specific, precisely aligned photos.

One interesting bit about the MIT project is that they have 1,020 microphones -- a world record -- generating 50MB/sec of data. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation verifies that this represents 44.1Khz at 8 bits per sample. If you think about it, this amount of data is peanuts to a modern PC. Just one high-end GPU might have 200GB/sec of memory bandwidth and over 2 teraflops of processing power! This translates to about 38,000 operations per sound sample, in real time, at 32-bit precision. That should be enough to track moving sound sources, figure out what's an echo and what isn't, correlate sounds across multiple microphones, perform doppler-shift analysis, etc...

Going to higher numbers of microphones ought to be easy, and could allow some fantastic applications, as well as some scary ones. There would be enough redundancy in the data to build a 3D scene with tracking of both moving sound sources and moving microphones. It may even be possible to determine room geometry, and the movement of large objects could be tracked based on their interaction with the sound field.

One application I can think of would be for capturing sound during movie filming. Often, studios have to discard the recorded sound and re-dub everything because of background noises, but this kind of technology would allow the director to perform arbitrary filtering after-the-fact, comparable to the light-field cameras that allow "refocusing" after an image has been captured. An actors voice could be picked out and made louder, everything with a source "behind the camera" could be edited out, and surround sound effects could be generated from any scene setup.

Re:Lots of work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511885)

One application *I* can think of is for Batman, but Lucian Fox won't like it.

Re:Lots of work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41512455)

Reconstructing mic locations from recorded sound alone is probably tricky because of the complexity of sound propagation. But if you have known sources, say ultrasonic beepers in the room corners whose position you know exactly, maybe that could work. Or use RFID localization [eurucamp.org]. In a larger venue (outdoor festival) even GPS could work. Then you can plug all soundtracks with their calculated locations into a 2D or 3D model (such as good old VRML/X3D) and let users move freely between them.

Re:Lots of work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511659)

There is also one called "woowave", which works if you have After Effects 6.

Re:Lots of work? (3, Informative)

gordm (562752) | about a year and a half ago | (#41513263)

Have used PluralEyes but find not much harder to sync manually. Make 3 loud clapping sounds once recorders are all running, manually sync to that in timeline. The vast majority of the audio can't be put in sync manually because the audio is so different for each perspective (for 5 hours) compared to the 3 seconds where identical clapping can be heard. Ideally the devices are all activated & running (then you clap 3x) before the event starts, and deployed as needed. As opposed to starting them as they are deployed to collars.

Use a computer properly instead of manual edits (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#41510955)

Computers are good for that sort of stuff, and something very similar has been done using them for around forty years. Seismic surveys consist of a large number of devices that strongly resemble a moving coil microphone, and recordings from those devices are stacked (added together) so that random or location specific noise is reduced and the common signal is amplified. There's a bit more than that in seismic surveys due to wide spacing between receivers, but that's not relevant with microphones just about on top of each other in the same room. Getting the start time the same on all the audio samples and adding them together will get increase the signal (conversation at the table) over the noise (conversations from other tables which will be much louder at some microphones and less audible from others).

Re:Lots of work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511097)

HUGE amount of editing work ... compared to what?
Radio mics will give you the same amount of material (and cost quite a bit more), and passing mics around, or using booms simply mean you'll miss bits and/or will place severe restrictions on how freely you can allow people to move around and interact.

Re:Lots of work? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511573)

:HUGE amount of editing work ... compared to what?
Radio mics will give you the same amount of material:

you never did ENG recording have you. If I have 4 cameras with audio guys, I get 4 audio tracks per camera (from good cameras, crap ones record only stereo) Even if I have 6 audio guys with booms per camera I still get 4 tracks because I have 1 guy with a field mixer making sure the audio is mixed right before it goes into the camera. Typically you get only 1 guy running a boom and the mixer, with the wireless units mixed to that or ran into the other 3 tracks. Anyone trying to record 30 people at the same time and shooting with 1 camera is a nut or insane, or both.

Re:Lots of work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41512989)

Yes. Post production is hard.

I don't see this being fundamentally any different than any multi-cam shoot. Timeline waveforms show who is doing the talking.

If it is a controlled shoot with 4 people taking, 2 zoom + 4 wireless mic are fine.

This is to capture chaos and pull useful audio out of it in post.

Thorium? (1)

aglider (2435074) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511029)

The most massively multi-track event was a thorium conference

About a specific isotope, or was it more generic?

Re:Thorium? (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511195)

Probably Th-232.

Re:Thorium? (1)

aglider (2435074) | about a year and a half ago | (#41512483)

Probably Th-232.

More likely it's Th-231, its half-life is way shorter ( 1 month) and it beta-decays.

Re:Thorium? (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year and a half ago | (#41522533)

I understood it was about Thorium reactors, and a quick wikipedia told me they work on 232.

Re:Thorium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41522883)

Th-232 is as stable as the Universe (about 14 billion years). It'd be like a reactor based on nuclear fission of plain water!
It works, but requires looong time spans.

Re:Thorium? (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year and a half ago | (#41523863)

I always thought Thorium reactors were breeder reactors: the stable element absorbs a neutron, which makes it fissile. Th-235 has a half-life of 25,5 hours. That's quite fast so you can't have much of it in store.
The wikipedia page of the LFTR [wikipedia.org] says to run it you need Th-232 and a neutron source (for example U-235). The neutrons from the neutron source are captured by the Th-232. The new Th-233 (Th-232 with an extra neutron) decays into Pa-233 with a half life of 21 minutes. Pa-233 decays in 26 days into U-233. U-233 is fissile. The fission of U-233 produces enough neutrons to keep the whole thing going.
Yes, the thorium fuel cycle is complicated. That's probably one of the reasons we don't have them everywhere yet.

New Clip Zip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511109)

Will this also work for the newer Clip Zip? It's about the same price but with even more features.

Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip
http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Sansa-Clip-Player-SDMX22-004G-A57K/dp/B005FVNGRS/

The Rockbox support page for the Clip Zip makes it sound like the firmware is pretty solid.
http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SansaClip#Sansa_Clip_Zip_port_status

Re:New Clip Zip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511157)

Also, here is the Rockbox Forum Thread for the Clip Zip model:

http://forums.rockbox.org/index.php?topic=28709.0

Will this also work for the newer Clip Zip? It's about the same price but with even more features.

Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip
http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Sansa-Clip-Player-SDMX22-004G-A57K/dp/B005FVNGRS/

The Rockbox support page for the Clip Zip makes it sound like the firmware is pretty solid.
http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SansaClip#Sansa_Clip_Zip_port_status

Re:New Clip Zip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511513)

I see they finally dropped that proprietary connector. I nearly bought a SanDisk player before but decided not to because it didn't use a standard plug.

Clock Drift (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511111)

Interesting idea, but it sounds like a pain in the ass to deal with in post production. Each recorder is running off it's own crystal for timing, with each crystal being ever so slightly different. This is why the professional approach is to route a mic signals to one recorder, or if you need more channel capacity to sync recorders to the same master clock.

It's a neat hack, with some usefulness if you cherry pick recordings and edit the best parts together without mixing/overlapping sources together.

Re:Clock Drift (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511487)

Each recorder is running off it's own crystal for timing, with each crystal being ever so slightly different. This is why the professional approach is to route a mic signals to one recorder, or if you need more channel capacity to sync recorders to the same master clock.

That was true when using tape recorders, with flywheels to keep the recording running at a constant speed. Any solid-state recorder is going to be accurate to within a frame over a period of hours (at least).

Once you sync up the audio and video channels, everything should stay in sync.

Re:Clock Drift (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511559)

"Any solid-state recorder is going to be accurate to within a frame over a period of hours (at least)."

Nope. Jitter enters in because these are not recording raw WAV files to disk. You get 5ms-20ms skips in the audio here and there.

Re:Clock Drift (1)

chispito (1870390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41514807)

While I think clock sync would still be an issue, the summary includes:

The devices have 4GB capacity, and RockBox allows WAV capture.

Re:Clock Drift (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41513237)

Wrong. :My experience attempting to mix live audio from multiple sources, even the same model recorder shows that drift is significant. You can hear the drift as echo delay. Working with non-synced sources requires offset measurement at the sample level, and then time stretching one of the sources. Not fun. Add in more sources, and this quickly becomes unmanageable. There is a reason pros use word-clock.

Another use for the Rockbox recorder (5, Interesting)

StealthSock (634668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511187)

My ears got plugged up while swimming and I could barely hear the next day. Rockbox's recorder function outputs the microphone to headphones even when it is not recording. That $30 Clip+ worked reasonably well as a makeshift hearing aid, as long as I was facing the person I was trying to hear.

Ten Canoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511525)

This is precisely the technique I developed for recording audio in the award winning film Ten Canoes (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0466399/), filmed in 2005. The challenge there was 10 naked actors, in a crocodile/leech/mosquito infested swamp, speaking Yolngu dialect language, so conventional mic techniques were not feasible. I use MSI Megastick-256 at 16kS/s, disposable AAA batteries and external 1/4" electret mics woven into the actors' hair (or in their string bags for the bald characters). There were three big challenges: 1. Reliable transfer, 2. Reliable archiving (the memory devices have no real time clock, so we needed a technique for keeping track of actors and dates) and 3. Jitter. The ADPCM voice codec would occasionally skip multi-20ms blocks, requiring tedious editing. The big positives were: we had no near-far issues with dialogue at a distance; we could edit out extraneous dialogue (eg actors in the background discussing the film in pidgin) and we had hours of folie for atmosphere.

Nuice but causes problems. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511555)

Audio sync in post will be a NIGHTMARE. Been there done that.

and isolating people at a dinner party is not hard, 11 people? 11 wireless microphones into a field mixer and then into the camera. OR do it old Skool. Camera guy + audio guy with a boom and a shotgun microphone on it, Two would be better (two audio guys on mic booms) A pair of ME55's in a dead cat are magical.

Re:Nuice but causes problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41511911)

But this is cool, and hacked together with cheap hardware, and requuires more hacks to get working in post production. You're suggesting a well-understood, simpler process that has good enough results to get $100M+ in revenues.

Re:Nuice but causes problems. (3, Insightful)

Urza9814 (883915) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511957)

and isolating people at a dinner party is not hard, 11 people? 11 wireless microphones into a field mixer and then into the camera. OR do it old Skool. Camera guy + audio guy with a boom and a shotgun microphone on it, Two would be better (two audio guys on mic booms) A pair of ME55's in a dead cat are magical.

...I think you just proved the utility in this. First, a hundreds or even thousands of dollars of professional equipment and techs vs. a couple $25 devices. Not to mention needing to clear a couple feet around the table for the people carrying your boom mics plus all the wires to your equipment and all of that set up somewhere...

Sure, in most cases your professionals are still going to be using their professional quality equipment, because the techs and equipment are already paid for and probably cheaper than the editors anyway, and the space constraints aren't there in a studio. But there are CERTAINLY plenty of situations where repurposing a handfull of cheap MP3 players will come out ahead.

Re:Nuice but causes problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41512133)

or, you know, hang the mike from the ceiling.

Re:Nuice but causes problems. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41519751)

A plate mike hung from the ceiling will work if it's a QUIET room. if it's a typical dinner party, you have about 15 tables of others all yamering and causing a lot of noise. Boundary mics on the table will not work as you have people thumping the table, dropping glasses, etc... so stick 11 rental sure wirelesses on them and let the system automix. automixers work great and take no effort.

Honestly I could have rented all of what I needed to do a 11 person dinner party for the cost of buying all the devices.

Re:Nuice but causes problems. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41519723)

I'm an editor, make the lazy crew do something in the field. Instead of me spending 60 hours in the editing suite at $250 an hour for me and the suite editing it. Also the little recorder have sync issues as in they will sections of skipped audio or hicckups that makes you have to resync the audio tracks over and over and over and over.

This is great for the college student that has $1.50 for his budget and all their editing time on a macbook is free. They are trading the proper gear for extensive free labor.

Re:Nuice but causes problems. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about a year and a half ago | (#41520067)

This is great for the college student that has $1.50 for his budget and all their editing time on a macbook is free. They are trading the proper gear for extensive free labor.

Exactly; that, or any organization that has such free labor. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to conferences where they attempted to record sessions by having two or three people run around and set up a fixed camera/microphone in each of 6-10 sessions during the break between. Hell I've been one of the guys doing it a couple times. In such a situation, getting a couple people to volunteer a few hours over the next several months (usually it takes a couple months to get the videos up anyway...) to get quality audio off of devices like these wouldn't be much of a problem; getting a few hundred bucks to buy a few of these devices to use each year would be feasible; buying a dozen boom mics and hiring a dozen audio techs for a few days each year wouldn't be.

So yea, as I said, it's certainly not going to replace professional equipment for professional production, but that doesn't seem to be the point. And it's incredibly interesting given how difficult such a thing would have been, say, ten years ago.

Re:Nuice but causes problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41513017)

Seems like something that could be taken care of with some clever software programming. Perhaps an idea for somebody making plug-ins for Audacity.

Just need to make something that can recognize certain sound events common to all tracks loaded into your audio editor and aligns them. Perhaps stretching or shortening each track so they all synch with any other major common audio events to make up for any small timing differences in the recorders. Then after minor processing it re-outputs all the tracks with a common zero time reference for later remixing. Thus all you'd need somebody coughing in the background at a conference or the clinking of a glass at a dinner discussion which would be picked up by all the recorders, and you'd have the cues needed to have pretty good synchronization.

At least this idea sounds good in theory.

Sansa (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#41511839)

It's been a while since I checked the list of hardware at Rockbox.org, but IIRC, the newer Sansas are locked down and can't run Rockbox. Plus, they don't seen to age well; after the second Clip that just stopped responding, I switched to an iRiver - though I've never done any recording.

Re:Sansa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41513049)

I bought them refurbished. New hardware was too big (all about showing video) and too expensive.

Re:Sansa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41514535)

I bought a Sansa Clip+ a few months ago after my old Clip died and had no issues installing it.

I think the issue was that Sandisk had given the Rockbox Dev help with initial model which allowed an quick and easy port but they then later released a newer version of the Clip+ that had different components so a new port had to be done.

"The Conversation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41512217)

This reminds me of the movie "The Conversation" where Gene Hackman's character is recording a private conversation between two people in a public square. He uses small pieces gathered from multiple sources to try to piece together the whole discussion.

Check the laws in your state first (1)

nbritton (823086) | about a year and a half ago | (#41513099)

In Illinois, the law, under strict interpretation, requires the consent of all parties before you can eletronically record or intercept any conversation, it could be pursued as a felony offense otherwise... although current opinion is this only applies to recording conversations that you could not otherwise naturally hear with your ears.

Anyhow, check and know the recording laws in your area beforehand.

Nice hack. (2)

andrew_mike (458436) | about a year and a half ago | (#41513711)

This might make smartphone videos worth a toss. The audio's pretty terrible on those. Demux the video, mux it with the audio, and you'd be good. Not perfect, but good enough for YouTube.

BTW, if anyone wants to experiment with this, Newegg's selling some refurbed Clip+ players for $26 here [newegg.com].

Um, why use WAV? (1)

Benanov (583592) | about a year and a half ago | (#41516267)

Wavpack (.wv) is fully supported on the Fuze (with Rockbox obviously), I figure I would also be useful on the Clip. It's a royalty-free lossless compression format, and beats the shit out of .WAV

$26? Or $40? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41522001)

I see a lot of clip+ offered at $38+s/h, but nothing near 26, and I couldn't find refurb site-link please!

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