Friday, October 03, 2014

Roland R05 First Impressions

About two weeks ago, I was trawling ebay for either a Sony M10 or Roland R05 and this came up. Lightly used, and at a good price, and decided to go for it. My Zoom H1 has been plagued with the poor battery life issue - and this is my 2nd zoom h1 to have developed it - and I really wanted something that plays nice with rechargeable batteries AND has a metal tripod mount. The R05 ticks all these boxes. I'm rather in the mood to write, so here's my first impression of my new toy.

First, the build quality is great. It's lightweight, but has a good heft. The the casing is supposedly aluminum, and the sides are made from a more grippy material, providing a really confident grip when handling it.

There are two inputs, one for line-in, one for mic, both 3.5mm, located between the two built-in microphones. The SD card slot is also located there, and it comes with a 2GB card. The opposite side of the R05 has a slot for a lanyard if you so wish to carry it that way.

The menus are very straightforward, though I had to check the meaning of some technical terms. The file format, bit rate and sample rate are all contained inside the menu system, which I find good as I really just want to record 48/24/wav and not accidently ops set it to  96/24. Batteries, as mentioned above, can be set to NiMH, perfect for use with Enerloops.

No speaker on this little boy, so headphones are required. That said, the speaker on my H1 is near inaudible outdoors, so headphones - probably iems to block the ambience - would be needed.

Input levels are set via +/- buttons on the front face. Unlike the Zoom H1, the record button needs to be pressed twice to fully engage the recording - one to arm the device into standby mode, and another press to begin recording. I would have preferred the way the H1 does it, by having the monitoring to be going on all the time, and only requiring one button touch to begin recording.

Another recording feature I hope will be good to use is the limiter. This is engaged by a hardware switch on the reverse side of the R05, and, if you prefer, the is an option in the menus to use AGC instead of the limiter. Another switch engages the variable low pass, though I'm unlikely to use it. The final switch at the rear chooses the high or low gain for the mics.

Lots of other features are available that I don't have a use for the moment - "rehearsal mode" samples the current input levels and sets the input gain to a suitable level - there is a reverb built in - playback with variable speeds, and many, many other functions.

There is one thing that I am looking forward to test this weekend - how stereo omnis on the R05 compare to the H1's XY co-incident mics in terms of the stereo field.  I also quickly spent some time sewing together a quick wind muff for the R05.

I accidentally trimmed a little too much off the sides - the sides of the R05 are supposed to be covered too but oh well. I've got like loads of fur left over, if this doesn't do well I can build another :)

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