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Submission + - RockBox + 50 Refurbished MP3 Players = Massively Multitrack Audio Capture->

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... http://youtube.com/watch?v=co-vj_PSfL8

Despite having (higher quality) ZOOM H1n and wireless mics, I've continued to use the RockBox-ified Clip+ devices... even if H1n is running, the Clip+ serve 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 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... http://youtu.be/ENH-jd6NhRc?t=3m21s ...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.)

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RockBox + 50 Refurbished MP3 Players = Massively Multitrack Audio Capture

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