The Amazing iRiver Recorder

By Mark Foley and Doug Graham

iRiver http://www.iriveramerica.com/ is a company that makes solid state MP3 players, similar to the Apple iPod. The reason that videographers are interested in these players is that the iFP 7xx and 8xx models will accept an external microphone connected to their Line In jack. (NOTE: The newer T10 and T30 series players can record using their built-in mic, but cannot use an external mic. The audio quality of the internal mic is unsatisfactory for our purposes).

Used in this way, the iRiver becomes an alternative to a minidisc recorder or a wireless microphone for capturing audio. This article is a compilation of information and advice from iRiver users on the Video University Wedding and Events discussion forum. Much of the original data was collected by Mark Foley; thanks also to “Smitty” and other Video University members.


General Setup. This only needs to be done once, unless you use your iRiver as an MP3 player when it’s not working as a recorder.

  • Hold down the record button (far right of top three buttons) until you get the 4 selections to choose from (Mp3-Radio-Voice-Line in). Select “Line In”
  • Timer (manual section 5-17)
  • Sleep power off – OFF / Beep OFF
  • Stop Power off – 60 min
  • Control – (manual section 5-22)

    Line in recording mode:

    Mono Stereo

    44.1KHz 44.1 KHz

    160 Kbps 320 Kbps

    Line In Rec Volume (Suggested volume settings. You may vary these as desired, but be careful that the audio doesn’t clip): Giant Squid ”“ 45; MT830 ”“ 50; Azden 503 ”“ 50 to 55

    Line In Auto Sync: OFF

    Line In/Ext Mic: EXT MIC

    Startup. These are the steps to turn the iRiver on and start recording.

    • Connect mic to Line In jack
    • Set line in Rec mode as above (SETTINGS)
    • Press and HOLD “Mode/Rec” button
    • Select Line In mode
    • Press “Nav/Menu” button to go to PAUSED record mode
    • Press REC
    • Engage the LOCK!

    Shutdown.

    • Unlock
    • Press “Mode/Rec” button

    Press and HOLD the STOP button

    Expected recording times based on a 512 Mb model (256 will be half…1Gb will be double the record times below)

    iRiver Recording Times

    Mono

    Sample Rate (KHz)

    Storage Rate (Kbps)

    Recording Time (hr:min)

    44

    32

    35:31

    44

    40

    28:25

    44

    48

    23:21

    44

    56

    20:18

    44

    64

    17:45

    44

    80

    14:12

    44

    96

    11:50

    44

    112

    10:09

    44

    128

    8:52

    44

    160

    7:06

    Stereo

    44

    64

    17:45

    44

    80

    14:12

    44

    96

    11:50

    44

    112

    10:09

    44

    128

    8:52

    44

    160

    7:06

    44

    192

    5:55

    44

    224

    5:05

    44

    256

    4:26

    44

    320

    3:33

    Check remaining recording time.

    Press and hold the record button. From the menu that comes up, select Line In.

    Data transfer. iRiver uses a non-standard USB cable. When connecting it to your computer, use the cable provided with the device, rather than a generic USB cable.

    Microphones.

    The iRiver’s performance depends a lot on what microphone you use with it. Here are links to some popular mics:

    Giant Squid

    MT830

    Azden 503

    Sennheiser e604

    The iRiver has some idiosyncrasies when it comes to connecting a mic. It will not record a signal from many mono mic plugs, because the signal goes to the wrong jack terminal. Test your mic with the iRiver set to both mono and stereo. Most mics will require that you use the “Stereo” setting unless you rewire the mic plug as described below.


    Giant Squid makes a low cost mic that is specially wired to work with the iRiver in “Mono” mode. Some have experienced some hiss while using this mic. Using a very light bit of Noise Reduction in post will eliminate this.

    The Sennheiser e604 has been successfully used by many to capture audio by close-miking the DJ’s speakers. This cardioid instrument mic is designed to handle very high sound pressure levels. To connect to the iRiver, you may use a Mono XLR to Dual Mono 1/8 and record in stereo or XLR to 1/8″ male with the “+” of the mic connected to the ring to record in mono. Use a volume setting of about 35 ”“ 40.

    Video University forum member “Smitty” submitted this:

    “I made my own adapter to allow using a mono mic with the iRiver in mono mode, because the iRiver records the right channel as the left when in mono.

    I used Radio Shack parts and a stereo cable with a 1/8” mini plug.

    “Cut the cable about 4 inches from the mini plug. Strip about ¼ inch of the outer jacket, exposing the 2 wires and shield braid. Using an ohm meter, identify the “ring” lead, then cut the OTHER wire short.

    irver diagram

    “Next, use the meter to identify the sleeve of the inline jack. Make sure you have the sleeve on the wire before soldering to the jack. Solder the shield from the stereo cable to the sleeve terminal of the jack. Solder the “ring” lead of the cable to the other terminal of the jack. Crimp the cable holder on the jack around the outer case of the wire for strain relief. Make sure no wires are exposed to touch the others. Done”

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2 thoughts on “The Amazing iRiver Recorder

  1. no-neck

    When setting up the Iriver for recording, set the Line In/Ext Mic: to EXT MIC before setting the Line In Rec Volume.

    Changing the Line IN/Ext Mic to Ext Mic from Line In will significantly increase the Line In Rec Volume – usually to the point where the recording will have significant distortion.

    Reply

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