Gear / Technical Help > Ask The Tapers

Portable FM Recorder?

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Bullet1979:
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?

jerryfreak:
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

DSatz:
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.

hoserama:
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.

morst:
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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