Tuesday, 25 March 2008

"Do You Remembird When We Met" ?

This might be of interest to potential budget sound recordists, a quick appraisal of the Remembird Sound Recorder. My review will generally appraise it's suitability for what I do, namely crossbills, for a more comprehensive review see THIS one at the WSRS pages.

I primarily bought mine after hearing a recording of some crossbills from a Dutch poster on Bird Forum. The idea was that I would attach it to my bins on days when I didn't fancy lugging heavier sound recorders and more obtrusive microphones. In practice it is the missus who now 'owns' it, which is fine by me as I now get recordings from her day trips when I am working !


The main advantage is that the unit is small and 'covert'. A pet hate of mine when I am out is constantly being asked "what are you tracking" ? My answers have ranged from radio tagged Brown Bears that have been re-introduced through to measuring the timing of pine cones opening by listening for them 'crack'. It may seem a bit mean, but it really does wear you down when you are repeatedly asked the same question over and over by people who are not really interested but rather who's 'noses are bothering them'. Thankfully, this is only bad at a couple of locations and even then only when I am on the paths. I should add that I always give people a "hello" or "nice day", I just don't want to give my life story.

Another thing that is quite impressive is the software interface, which is well designed and written and allows one to catalogue all the recordings and even add comments.

Attaching to bins it works best on my EL 8.5's - the unit sits unobtrusively between the barrels and does not impede the thumb rests. Not so good on my 10 x 42 Ultravids though. The wife prefers to use the little carry strap.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is the cost. Mine was £199 which I considered good value given the product, well produced software and the quality. They are now £150 direct from the manufacturer which has to be a great incentive for the first time recordist ?


You really need to be close to the subject, even in good conditions. How close ? Well in the tree right above you or next to you would be good. As the WSRS review states wind is problematic, but then what do you expect for the money ?

I found a potential problem with using external MMC cards with my first unit. At the highest quality setting of 320 kps a pulsing noise was evident ( sounded like a helicopter). The owner of Remembird relplied to my email enquiry immediately and sent a replacement unit - great customer service. The replacement unit was better but the anomaly was still present albeit to a lesser degree when using 512 and 1 gig MMC cards. If the cards are not used and the 32 meg internal storage is used the anomaly is not audible though a trace of an artifact can sometimes be seen around 11 kHz on a sonogram. On best quality you will get approx 12 minutes recording on the 32 meg internal memory, more than enough for calls though possibly not song in a typical day trip. My suggestion if you think you need more storage is to contact Remembird and ask what MMC cards they recommend and record on the second highest setting as per the WSRS reviewer.

The exported audio (MP3) files from the program are very quiet but this can be remedied by gain boosting in a third party audio program. I use MP3 Directcut as recommended by the WSRS review, and generally boost by around 15dB to get satisfactory levels.


Well, yes, for the dosh it is actually pretty good. Here are a couple of sonograms from recordings that my missus made with it:

And the flight calls from the same group:

As can be seen both calls are clearly identifiable in the sonograms ( in this case EcB and Fc1, so a 1B type ). For those who prefer to listen HERE is the Ec's exported as MP3's and gain boosted by +22 dB's. These were made in good conditions and you can still here a bit of wind rumble.

So, in a nutshell if it can be used for Crossbills then should be no bother nailing that Ibe or Sibe Chiff, if you are close enough !

In the spirit of blogs being interactive (apparently!) a bonus point for music buffs that can connect the post title to Led Zeppelin..............it's a toughie.

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