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Author Topic: Portable FM Recorder?  (Read 1141 times)

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Offline Bullet1979

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Portable FM Recorder?
« on: September 22, 2020, 04:36:40 PM »
I'm going to be going to a drive-in concert where I am assuming they will be broadcasting the show via FM.  I'm wondering if anyone here has any input on getting the least lossy capture of the FM broadcast?

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2020, 04:43:34 PM »
there are tons of high quality portable fm handhelds

signal quality and reception are going to be your limiting factors

portable receiver>headphone out> handheld recorder
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2020, 05:22:35 PM »
Actually I disagree. Portable radios don't generally have very wide dynamic range or flat frequency response. They generally have just one signal path, with its response tailored to their built-in amplifier and speaker or speakers. Low-noise, low-distortion circuitry would raise the cost of manufacture significantly, when the market segment that cares about such things is so tiny, it's almost non-existent.

The RF and IF sections of portable radios are also economized to a fare-thee-well. People who need or want high-fidelity FM signals generally use high-fidelity, component FM tuners and receivers. That's what's built for that purpose. That said, I'm sure that some portables are distinctly better than others for this application. If a radio has a line output distinct from its headphone output, that might be a useful hint (or not).

I don't have any specific recommendations because I haven't tested anything like this in decades, but maybe someone else here has. Tandberg used to make a high-quality portable FM radio; I wonder how the Tivoli units measure, for example, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they have boosted low and high frequencies and a rather sharp cutoff below the range of their built-in speakers, and no greater dynamic range than is needed to support the amplifier power that the unit actually has.

All told I would probably look for a component tuner that has a DC power input, rather than a radio that has its own power amp and speaker or speakers.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 05:25:41 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline hoserama

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2020, 04:08:33 PM »
I had looked at Tecsun PL-880 for exactly this purposes. It has a built-in telescopic antenna, so I'd look to put an SMA or BNC port on it. But that looked nice for drive-in FM pulls.
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Offline morst

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2020, 01:19:08 PM »
Many (most?) Android phones have a built-in FM tuner which utilizes the headphone or line cable as an antenna.


Found this suggestion on line:
"If your phone has a built-in FM radio tuner, but didn't come with a stock app that lets you access it, then NextRadio is your best bet."


You may be able to record directly to another app as well as patching a standalone recorder
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Offline 108Ω

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2020, 01:34:41 AM »
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2020, 03:06:55 AM »
::busts into a windmill::
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2020, 04:34:42 AM »
Sort of brings this image to mind:
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

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Offline tapeheadtoo

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2020, 08:14:55 AM »
I had looked at Tecsun PL-880 for exactly this purposes. It has a built-in telescopic antenna, so I'd look to put an SMA or BNC port on it. But that looked nice for drive-in FM pulls.

I used this model for a recent drive-in.  Great reception with the stock antenna without modification.  Unit has both headphone out and line out (obviously I used the latter).  I wasn't thrilled with the captured sound though--mono and compressed.  Don't know how much of that was due to the broadcast signal vs the radio itself.



« Last Edit: October 03, 2020, 08:18:27 AM by tapeheadtoo »
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Offline hoserama

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2020, 08:43:28 AM »
I had looked at Tecsun PL-880 for exactly this purposes. It has a built-in telescopic antenna, so I'd look to put an SMA or BNC port on it. But that looked nice for drive-in FM pulls.

I used this model for a recent drive-in.  Great reception with the stock antenna without modification.  Unit has both headphone out and line out (obviously I used the latter).  I wasn't thrilled with the captured sound though--mono and compressed.  Don't know how much of that was due to the broadcast signal vs the radio itself.

How's it sound with regular FM audio? I could see the transmission being mono and compressed, but hard to say.
Audio: Countryman B3 + SBD feeds
Wireless Receivers: Lots of those
Antennas: Lots of those
Cables: Lots of those
Recorders: Cymatic Utrack24, Cymatic LR16, RME Multiface, Zoom F8, (3) Tascam 680, (2) Tascam 2D, Zoom H6, Zoom H4n, and a graveyard of irivers/nomads/minidiscs.

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2020, 10:19:09 AM »
dont decent car stereos have lineouts for amps?

im sure you can find one that is optimized for FM reception, like some old alpine, blaupunkt, kenwood, etc from when FM was still relevant
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Offline morst

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2020, 10:44:21 AM »
dont decent car stereos have lineouts for amps?
Not on the front panel. Car stereos built before bluetooth may have a line INPUT on the front.

The RCA outputs are usually buried deep behind the dashboard, and already connected to the installed amplifier.
I suppose if the amp is accessible under a seat or in the trunk that you could unplug it and loop it through a recorder.
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2020, 10:47:41 AM »
dont decent car stereos have lineouts for amps?
Not on the front panel. Car stereos built before bluetooth may have a line INPUT on the front.

The RCA outputs are usually buried deep behind the dashboard, and already connected to the installed amplifier.
I suppose if the amp is accessible under a seat or in the trunk that you could unplug it and loop it through a recorder.

i wasnt thinking of installed (or new install), more like thinkin find a $30 old alpine on craiglist and wire a lighter plug to power it for this dedicated purpose

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Offline morst

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2020, 11:00:54 AM »
dont decent car stereos have lineouts for amps?
Not on the front panel. Car stereos built before bluetooth may have a line INPUT on the front.

The RCA outputs are usually buried deep behind the dashboard, and already connected to the installed amplifier.
I suppose if the amp is accessible under a seat or in the trunk that you could unplug it and loop it through a recorder.

i wasnt thinking of installed (or new install), more like thinkin find a $30 old alpine on craiglist and wire a lighter plug to power it for this dedicated purpose
Fantastic idea, but you also need to wire an antenna and probably be ready to not move it during the event.
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Portable FM Recorder?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2020, 11:09:43 AM »
hadnt thought about that

are the roof-mount magnetic antennas that same big coax connector?
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