enjay (4th June 2009)
I've bought some Marantz PDM-620 recorders; and boy are they busy this week! 140 quarter hour French exams, Spanish and German last week, Russian, Chinese, Italian, and Japanese next week.
Not without issues though. Last week we were getting partially corrupt files, turned the sample rate down which reduced the failure rate, but didn't cure it. Ordered some faster SCHC cards (didn't know until Monday that such a thing existed) and this stopped that particular issue.
However, I am now trying to sort out two files that exist on the cards but wont play. They report as .wavs of appropriate size. It seems VLC can deal with them, and they play happily on my daughter's eee.
Grrr! Why isn't life easy?
We have one of these Tascams (below) for the higher end recordings - GCSE / A Level musical pieces and the smaller Olympus WS-100's as mentioned above. I bought all departments one so they could create podcasts; the MFL department now have 10 and the ICT department have 5.
Tascam DR-07 | Dolphin Music
Those of you who are using MP3 recorders - how do you submit these to the exam boards? Do you send them the MP3 files or do you burn audio CDs??
Is no-one using real-time CD recorders?
Thanks David. That was one of the models I'd identified as well, reassuring to hear they're actually being used!
One of my schools has a couple 0f the Coombers. I suspect one was purchased in error, as it's recording facilities will never be used, but the other was used when they had a dedicated music teacher.
Coomber's support was helpful but slow (and it took a couple of tries for them to get it right) when there was a problem.
Being a Primary, it was never used in an exam situation.
I've just been passed a document from our exam board about the phasing out of cassettes, and it says that they want "CDs using MP3 format" - does that actually mean they won't accept a 'regular' audio CD, such as one would burn from Media Player or with real-time recorders such as the Coomber thing?
We could do this with the likes of the Zoom, but for our MFL Department, I would rather have a direct-to-CD solution...
I think that what it means is that they don't have the first clue what they are talking about.
I expect to get a letter in the near future whining that they can't play the mp3s we've just sent them (as requested), so I am keeping all of the recordings on disk so I can re-do them if required.
The instructions I've got are very clear - actually quite well-written - and they definitely want MP3s not audio CDs, they even stipulate exactly what the MP3 files should be called. Those of you with Coomber machines: are your exam boards happy with the output, and which board do you use?
The listening exams are similar, coming in MP3 format. Think we may have to start holding the listening exams in the ICT Suites, and copy the MP3 onto the network at the last possible minute. Burning lots of CDs for portable players which the students may or may not have seems hassle-some, as does transferring MP3s from a PC to their iPod before the exam.
I would agree with Andrew_C's suggestion that they don't know what they're talking about, but unfortunately we have to do it the way they tell us, however much of a logistical nightmare that may be (our problem, not OCR's, so why should they care?!).
Thanks for your input on this guys, we've decided to get the Zoom H2 as it seems to offer the most versatility for the two departments - I fear that otherwise we'd end up buying two different units that will each spend 11 months a year gathering dust, with the Zoom we should only have one unit gathering dust for 9 months a year.
I sent most of ours of as MP3s on CD and apart from the one that got lost, and the CD that was BROKEN in the post, no problems. I did send our 1 Arabic recording as Orange Book audio, which was also accepted.
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