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Review: Belkin GoStudio

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As a dilettante musician I enjoy the concept – if not the process – of recording my reedy, whiny voice to digital files. Until recently, that process was fraught with trouble and high quality recording equipment was difficult to obtain and expensive. Now anyone with a six-string and a dream can record fairly acceptable audio with something like the Belkin GoStudio.

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The GoStudio records directly to your iPod. It is compatible with iPod Classics, Videos, and Nanos in 16-bit 44kHz stereo. The recordings are stored on the iPod as voice memos which then appear when you sync the iPod. It has two combo XLR/mic jacks and two 3.5mm mini-jack inputs along with two built-in microphones. It has independent gain control on both channels, a main master level control, and a monitor/headphone jack and control.

The recorder works best without inputs. As a stereo audio recorder the GoStudio records with nice depth and quality. Below is a sample taken with the built-in mics:

This is completely unamped with me about three feet from the recorder. Once you get into add-on mics, unfortunately, things break down.

Because this doesn’t amplify line-in input, you get a bit of a mess. If you increase the gain and the levels, you get fuzz. If you don’t, you get silence. This is the best I could do with an XLR stage mic and a Dean Markley acoustic pick-up:

I’m sure with a bit of tweaking I could make it sound better, but I came at this as a novice and without trial and error you won’t be thrilled with the results. In short, the built-in microphones are acceptable and the combo and 3.5mm jacks are slightly less so.

How is this better than a standard iPod voice recorder, then? It’s more robust, definitely, and once you solve the problems I mentioned, it records audio quite nicely. Like the TuneStudio, Belkin is offering fairly high-end technology to entry-level consumers, which is admirable. At $119.99, the device would be good for recording concerts or seminars and even grab a quick musical performance in your bath- or bedroom.

Bottom Line
A nice little audio recorder that records directly to iPods.

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