Inspect Our Gadget | Griffin iTalk

italkYou get the picture, and it is not a pretty one when a former Modern Lover and a senior citizen of American Art Rock is not happy.  Recorders are a good thing, almost as good as having interns to transcribe them. At least the publisher will know who to be mad at.

 

 

italk2I was late to the world of iPods. I accidently got one when a boss wanted to unload his to pay for some work I had done. I saw the loophole in our cash-strapped finances and readily agreed. Having been through an Emerson Wildcat turntable, take-n-tapes, a reel-to-reel, dozens of cassette recorders, an eight-track, a Sony Walkman (cassette and CD), and transistor radio both expensive and cheap, I was ready to take the leap into the brave new world of MP3s. I was pleasantly happy with my new friend and soon rediscovered the joys of listening to music on headphones, ignoring the world, and hearing all the nuances on albums that had eluded my ADD ears. iPods rock, but I am telling you the obvious and this really isn't about Steve Jobs' turning the music world on its ear. Though I will say that pound for pound, Apple puts out fantastic equipment. (I do reserve the right to rant on one of these columns about the species called Mac Nerds who will bend your ear about how Macs are more creative and Macs are so much better than PCs and Macs make you a better lover. Please!)

This month I want to talk about a gadget that has won our hearts here at the magazine: Griffin's iTalk. A few years ago we finally broke the last of our cassette recorders. Kids, if you are going to interview famous rock stars (let's say Jonathan Richman, you need to record the conversation. It is one of the few rules we pound into the heads of our writers. You don't want to get a phone call that goes something like this:

Me: Hello?

Gravelly, nasally, unmistakably Jonathan Richman's voice: Uh, hello, is this Playback?

Me: Yes, it is…Jonathan?

Jonathan Richman: Uh, yes. I just got a copy of your magazine and I believe you misquoted me.

Me: Ew…sorry.  So sorry…

You get the picture, and it is not a pretty one when a former Modern Lover and a senior citizen of American Art Rock is not happy.  Recorders are a good thing, almost as good as having interns to transcribe them. At least the publisher will know who to be mad at.

So we came to the conclusion that we needed to take this recording thing into the new frontier. Perhaps a digital recorder was in order. They run from cheapish (a small, quite effective San Disk will cost you about $50) to grossly expensive (it will do your laundry and other things that we can't print in our family-friendly publication). However, we had heard that our little iPod might be of some help. 

With the introduction of newer and more powerful iPods, the market opened for all sorts of devices that could be added to them. There are, of course, the million different cases you can buy to hold your iPod. There are dozens of other useful to useless things you can get for the iPod (I highly recommend one of the many attachments that will broadcast your iPod to the nearest radio), but the iTalk is the most lovely little device to come down the pike. While not the only one on the market, we are in love with the little black bud.

It plugs in to the power/data port of the player, immediately bringing up the menu for recording voice memos on iPod. Calling them voice memos is a bit belittling. The iTalk records crisp, clear sound under some very tough conditions. It works perfectly for recording interviews both live and over the phone. I have used it to record live music with pretty good results. It is not going to replace professional recording equipment, but I am not a recording engineer. So I call that even.

Once you have saved your file, you need to transfer it to your computer (though you can listen to it on the iPod), which is as simple as hooking your iPod up the computer as you would to update songs, pictures, etc. The one mystery I had was finding the file on my computer after it was transfered. We tend to ship off the audio files for transcription so we need to find them. The voice memo is buried in the unknown area of my iTunes called "voice memos." A minor problem, but still a bit irritating.

Overall, the iTalk is a brilliant piece of equipment and it is available for under $30. One note if you do buy it: make sure you get the black one unless you have an older version of the iPod (clickwheel), where the iTalk plugs in to the top of the iPod.

For further information, visit: Griffin Technology 

To buy the iTalk, may we suggest: Newegg

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