By Andrew Liszewski
After a couple of years of battling with portable MiniDisc recorders for capturing audio in the field at university, they eventually let us switch to portable DAT machines which seemed far less finicky. However, it was still a tape-based linear media, and there was always the worry in the back of my mind that I would accidentally record over something important. So it’s no surprise that flash memory or hard drive based audio recorders have become more popular these days. But why spend the money on extra storage when there’s a good chance you’ve already got an iPod kicking around with gigs of room to spare? The ProTrack from Alesis accepts either the 5th or 6th generation Classic iPods or the 2nd or 3rd generation iPod Nanos and turns them into a miniature recording studio.
On the top of the ProTrack you’ll find a built-in stereo condenser microphone in an XY configuration, or you can plug in an external microphone or musical instrument using the two XLR jacks located on the bottom of the unit. The ProTrack can be powered by 4 AAA batteries giving it about 4 to 5 hours of record time (presumably with a fully charged iPod) or you can use the included AC adaptor which also gives you the option of providing phantom power to an external mic. Best of all, Amazon currently seems to have the ProTrack marked down from $399 to just $199.