Looking for a portable mp3 player / recorder?

So were we. In 2007, PRACE selected the iRiver T30, because it filled many of the criteria below. At the time, it was the only portable audio gadget that would record direct to mp3 using an internal mic. The T30 filled all except the 'easy to control' criterion.

Hold the Press:

July 2008: JB HiFi have on Special, an E100 (2GB) iRiver for $79.. which looks great.

Controls on the E100 are much more intuitive than the T30 we bought last year, with all the other things we love. Records direct via internal microphone; connects to any computer via USB, no need for additional software. Slimline design, shaped more like a mobile phone than before. Grab one if you can. (link to iRiver site)

CORRECTION this gadget doesn't record direct to mp3, it records to WMA format. WHOOPS that is highly annoying, as Audacity doesn't import WMA format. Ouch. There is a way around this, using eg software called Switch - but it adds an extra step.

(Switch can also run on a portable usb stick, you just copy the installed folder& files onto your stick and run from there. Which means technically you can run the app from your E100 too.)

Our Criteria

  • uses either internal or external microphone
  • records and encodes direct to mp3 format (in adjustable quality)
  • connects to computer without need for extra software (like a normal usb "stick")
  • connects to either windows or apple mac
  • affordable
  • plenty of storage space
  • accessible and easy for people to control

iRiver audio gadgetsexternal image Compagni_di_Viaggio_by_moneboh_at_flickr.jpg

Sometimes referred to as the Russian iPod, these portable audio devices can be effective, but not always as user-friendly as the iPod. Michael has an old model, the H340, which is in a word Clunky (but very fabulous in its effectiveness). The PRACE team has obtained a number of T30 models.

Recording capable

However, their voice recording is superb, and they encode straight to mp3, which no other portable audio gadget will do. This brand was highly recommended by a NSW e-learning project in 2004, for these reasons (Stephen Ridgeway).


The iPod requires additional plugin hardware in order to record .. however many people prefer the simplicity of the iPod hardware.

For example, Robyn Jay from the NSW branch of the Australian Flexible Learning Framework, said via Twitter,"I wouldn't recommend anything but the (iPod) nano, Belkin TuneTalk voicerecorder, & visivox lapel mic. Never lets us down. Always great quality." robynjay

Jill from Carlton used an iPod in 2007, but found issues with file format.

image: thanks for Compagni di Viaggio by moneboh at flickr