Q: My son is in college, and some of his professors allow recording of their lectures. He doesn't like recording with his smartphone, so we are looking for an inexpensive solution. Any recommendations?
A: The Olympus VN-541PC is an excellent small audio recorder that sells for $39.99. It has noise cancellation to remove extraneous noise, one-touch recording and can record up to 2,080 hours of audio on internal memory. Recordings can be reviewed using the built-in speaker or headphones, so your son can listen anywhere. Recordings also can be transferred to a computer for archiving. getolympus.com
I am sure one recorder is capable of recording all of his lectures for the semester, but if it gets to be awkward keeping everything organized, you might want to consider giving him a separate recorder for each class. The recorders can serve as "electronic notebooks," and he can erase and re-use them at the end of the year for the next set of classes. I would start with one recorder and see how it works out. You always can add more later if he wants to keep recordings separated by subject.
One caveat: You say "some" of the professors allow recording. Anyone interested in recording a professor — or anyone else, for that matter — should make sure they have permission first. Besides common courtesy, recording a presentation without permission could be a copyright violation.
Turning the tables
When I was in college, I used to visit a high-end audio gallery near campus and marvel at the quality, style and sound of the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable.
Introduced in 1972 and repeatedly refined since, the Sondek set the standard for sound quality and proved the prime importance of the turntable in the sound reproduction chain. In 2012, Stereophile Magazine placed the Sondek No. 1 on their list of the 100 most important components they ever reviewed.
A new, fully equipped Sondek LP12 runs north of $20,000 these days, and can be fussy to set up and maintain. (Think of an ultra-high-end sports car requiring special tools and technicians.) Even the stripped-down Majik LP12, with a very modest arm and cartridge, is pricey, selling for $4,250. Though I still love the Sondek LP12, I think it is simply too expensive for what it offers and I never bought one.
Which leads us to the Pro-Ject Audio's The Classic. It brings a timeless style to a high-performance turntable selling for only $1,099 with a good starter cartridge. It looks like a Sondek clone with its beautiful surround of real wood and thick metal platter.
The Sondek plays in a different league in terms of performance and prestige, but The Classic will still bring high-end vinyl record sound to your listening room with definite pride of ownership to go with it. It's the most compelling turntable I've seen introduced in years, especially in that price range.
Recently I helped a friend build a system and had several turntable suggestions prepared, priced from $399 to $1,099. I showed her The Classic first, and she stopped me right there.
"No need to show me the others. I want it," she said. The Classic simply has that "gotta have it" appeal. It has outstripped sales projections and is back-ordered everywhere. I think it is worth the wait! Project-audio.com
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.