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Review: MiCorder Lets You Record Music From Almost Any Source

Rip Audio from Casette, Vinyl, CDs and Other Players With a Headphone Jack

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Review: MiCorder Lets You Record Music From Almost Any Source

The MiCorder digital MP3 recorder.

Photo by Jason Hidalgo

Remember when ripping music meant having a boombox with a double tape deck?

If you’re not old enough to remember, well, just know that some day, even you will be telling stories about how far you walked to school as all the hip, young folks roll their eyes while thinking just how much of an old fart you are.

For those who do remember, here’s a modern take on the one-to-one backup system that allows you to convert those old Loverboy tapes and records of yours to digital format. Is the MiCorder digital MP3 recorder worth the $79.99 you’ll be workin’ for the weekend, er, in order to afford it? Let’s take a closer look.

PROS

Rips from digital and analog sources: The MiCorder can record music from any device with a regular headphone jack. That hot neon pink cassette player you’ve got stashed next to those light-up LA Gear sneakers in your secret closet? No problem. That MP3 player that belongs to your friend, er, I mean that you happen to “own” and have no plans to rip music from that you didn’t pay for? Record away. You can even grab audio from YouTube by plugging this to your computer’s headphone jack slot via the included double connector. Otherwise, you can also use the built in mic to record from sources without a headphone jack.

Sounds good: As an MP3 player, the MiCorder actually sounds surprisingly nice. It even comes with various equalizer presets such as Rock, Pop and Classical. As far as the music it rips via the included connector, the quality is good albeit with a slightly muffled hint to it. Sound quality and volume is also highly dependent on the quality of the player you’re ripping from so make sure you get your settings dialed in. Music from the mic isn’t as good as from the connector but still surprisingly OK when recording music from a good stereo. It tends to pick up other background noise but at least the option is available if, say, you’re at a live performance.

Easy to use: Recording pretty much involves tapping the record button once to initialize , then one more time to start recording. Ending and finalizing the recording is done by pressing the record button one more time. Note that you’ll need to actually press it twice if the screen has dimmed.

Listen while recording: By inserting headphones into the Line Out slot, you can listen to the music you are recording. This especially helps if you need to know when a song ends so you can stop recording.

Expandable memory: The MiCorder comes with a SD card slot for saving your files via memory card.

Auto shut-off: The device will shut itself down after a few minutes of activity, which helps conserve battery life.

CONS

A bit fussy: Getting the best sound quality with this device requires a bit of finagling with your source player’s settings. For example, you’ll need to make sure your source material isn’t playing too loud or you’ll get some garbling. Set your volume too low and you get weak sound that typically comes with some chirping if you try to increase the volume while listening. So you need to make sure you find that ideal middle ground, which can take time — especially when switching between different sources.

Volume consistency: Unless you’re really good at getting your volume settings down pat, you’ll likely end up with songs that don’t have the same volume levels.

Takes time: Since you’re doing one-to-one recording, ripping two hours worth of music will take you, well, two hours.

Feels like a toy: The MiCorder looks very plasticky, and the buttons feel the same way, too. It doesn’t quite have the nice solid feel you typically associate with well designed products.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The MiCorder is a pretty neat player that allows you to rip music from just about any source. Folks who already have their entire collection in digital form likely won’t get as much use for it. The sound quality for recordings likely won’t satisfy hardcore audiophiles as well. But for average consumers who want to easily convert their casette and LP collection into digital form, grab music from sources such as YouTube without having to deal with FLV programs, or even rip music from someone else's MP3 player, then the MiCorder is a good option.

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