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Roland R-09HR High Resolution WAV and Mp3 Recorder Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Accessories Acoustics, EQ & Room Tuning
Written by Andre Marc   
Monday, 15 November 2010
Article Index
Roland R-09HR High Resolution WAV and Mp3 Recorder Review 
Evaluation Process

For this evaluation, I purchased a Kimber Kable GQ mini silver & copper hyrbid cable. It is normally sold as an iPod cable, with a 1/8 mini jack at one end and phono plugs at the other.In this case I upgraded to the WBT-044, which are super German made connectors.  I connected everything up, adjusted levels, selected 96 Khz, 24 bit quality, did some testing to find the peaks, and hit record. I also used the built in limiter, which prevents the incoming signal from red lining the meter. The first piece I dubbed was a recording of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, led by George Szell. This performance, recorded specifically for FM broadcast in 1967, has probably not been heard since, although Szell released a commercial recording of the piece on Columbia records. When I listened back I was utterly astonished at how the Roland captured the relaxed, analog sound of the tape. It had preserved the soul of the performance, and was a massive leap over my earlier results when going to 44.1 Khz and 16 bit with the CD-R deck.

I transferred 3 more reels of tape and was thrilled with the results each and every time. But that was just the beginning. The R-09HR has on board editing capability that allows you to split, join, and move the WAV files. While very handy, I preferred to transfer the data to my Mac Mini and edit with Audacity, a shareware program available for download and commonly used by amateur audio enthusiasts. After splitting the tracks, naming the files, and exporting the final “masters” to my external hard drives, I listened back using my Logitech Squeezebox as the interface through my CIA VDA-2 24 bit DAC, which I reviewed here, (LINK) and was extremely  pleased with the final results. To pass the final product along to friend, I was able to down sample to 44.1/16 bit with iTunes. I must comment that converting down from 96 khz/24 bit sounds much better than a native 44.1/16 bit recording. It’s a bit like shrinking a picture down packed with megapixels as opposed to creating a low resolution version of something that already was compromised.

Front layout view

I also decided, for the heck of it, to make some recordings with the built on board microphones. We usually go to the local farmers markets a couple of weekends a month, and there are always talents musicians performing to promote local gigs and to sell self produced CD’s.  I asked a local performer, Todo Mundo, and Latin flavored acoustic rock ensemble if could record a tune or two. They obliged and I when I got home to check out the results I was very impressed. The recording preserved the vibrancy of the performance. Due to the limitation of the internal mics, there was a flatness to the soundstage, but a high quality external microphone would certainly yield results that would satisfy even the most demanding enthusiasts.

Conclusion:

I was utterly knocked out by how easy the Roland R-09HR high resolution recorder was to set up, use, and record with. The recording quality of the line in jack was stellar, especially with a high quality cable like the Kimber GQ mini. The built in microphone, while usable, offers convenience, but any serious archivist will want an after market mic. But for recording spoken word, meetings, or demos, the on board mics are way more than sufficient.

Once you have made your recordings, it is easy to edit the tracks, and create a professional quality final product. I know I did. I was able to preserve the integrity of high quality, vintage reel to reel recordings with a minimal amount of effort.  I only wish I had the R-09HR a few years ago, when I was more active in recording, and for when the Clientele were in town, as they played a stellar show. Going forward, I now have a hassle free, fail safe way to make recordings that far surpass CD quality, as I have decided to purchase the review sample.

Brand



Roland R-09HR
Street Price: $280
www.roland.com

Specifications



Tracks: 2 (stereo)
Signal Processing: AD/DA conversion: 24 bits, 44.1/48/88.2/96 kHz
Recording: Stereo only WAVE - 44.1/48/88.2/96 kHz, 16/24 bits - MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3) - 44.1/48 kHz, 64/96/128/160/192/224/320 kbps
Playback: WAVE - 32/44.1/48/88.2/96 kHz, 16/24 bits, MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3)- 32/44.1/48 kHz, 32 to 320 kbps or VBR (Variable Bit Rate)
Memory Card: SD Memory Card (SDHC format compatible)
Size: Width 62 mm (2-1/2 inches), Depth 113 mm (4-1/2 inches), Height 27 mm (1-1/16 inches)
Weight: 174g (0 lbs. 7 oz.)

Reviewer Equipment



CD Player: Marantz 5003
Music Server: Squeezebox 3
DAC: CIA VDA-2 with VAC-1 Power Supply
Tape Deck: Revox A77, Edirol 96/24 WAV recorder
Amplifier: McIntosh MA6600 integerated
Speaker: Audience 2 + 2, Harbeth Compact 7ES3
Cables: Kimber/QED/Transparant/Shunyata(AC)/PS Audio(AC), Pangea Audio, RS Cables, Element Cables.






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