Handheld recorder review: iKEY-AUDIO HDR7

The iKEY-AUDIO HDR7 is a new handheld digital “Portable Field Recorder” for professional-quality recording to SD/SDHC cards, and USB drives…AND IT IS RICH WITH FEATURES!
I expected it to have more weight to it, but it’s very light:  only 0.55 pounds/0.3 kilograms.  It measures 6.22 inches long, 2.87 inches wide, and is 1.46 inches deep (158 x 73 x 37 mm).

At the top are two condenser microphones in an X/Y configuration, a 1/8-inch (3.5mm Jack) stereo line input socket, and a combination 1/8-inch (3.5mm Jack) stereo headphone/line output socket.  A wind screen is included.

On the right-side:
the Standard-A USB 2.0 port for storage drives…
for connection to a computer, a Mini-B 5-pin USB port…
the mic gain switch…
an “OUTPUT LEVEL” control for adjustment of the headphone level…
and a 1/8-inch (3.5mm Jack) stereo microphone input socket.

From the User Manual:  “The HDR7 unit will only interact with one memory device at a time, and the USB drive gets priority over the SD card…when a USB memory stick is connected, only files stored on that device will be viewable.  As well, all recordings will be stored on just the USB drive when it is connected.  When there is no USB drive connected, the HDR7 uses the SD card to read files and store recordings.”

On the left-side:
is an input gain switch with three levels (20, 0, and +10 db)…
the power switch…
and the 5-volt/1 amp “DC INPUT” port for the included AC adaptor.

The SD card slot on the bottom allows for recording onto FAT and FAT32 formatted SD or SDHC cards (64 MB to 32 GB).  The included tripod stand also connects at the bottom…

An SD (or SDHC) card must be insterted, or a USB drive must be connected, before the HDR7 can be powered-on.

Included is:
a USB cable (Standard-A and Mini-B 5-pin plugs)…
four AA batteries…
and a 1 GB SD Card.

Freq Response:      20Hz – 20KHz

Supported file formats:
Waveform Audio Format (WAV)
MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3)
Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)
Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF)

The sampling rates (the number of samples per second taken from a signal) available for WAV and AIFF files include 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, and 96.0 kHz.

For WAV and AIFF files, bit depth (how many bits of sound are utilized within a particular sound sample) can be recorded at 16-bit and 24-bit.

And bitrates (how many bits per second are being processed) for MP3 and AAC are 64, 96, 128, 160, 192, 224, 256, and 320 kbps.

Recording levels can be adjusted using an on-screen (volume unit/VU) meter.

Other features:
Automatic Gain Control (AGC) – a mid-range frequency compressor to enhance vocals
Compressor – Condenses the signal so it sounds fuller
Limiter – to ensure a file does not reach too high of a level and become distorted
Noise gate – so audio below a certain threshold does not get recorded

When engaged during recording, auto-track will begin a new file after there is a “prolonged silence”.

At preset increments, during a recording, file timer will begin a new file.

“But wait…there’s more!…”

Guitar and chromatic tuners are built-in…just connect a guitar to the HDR7, and you can stay on key.  (Per the manual:  “The Guitar option is meant for the more novice guitar player, and the Chromatic is for intended for more skilled players.”)

Recordings are stored to /ikey/folder/

For better stereo recordings, I suggest an external stereo microphone be used.

The webpage for the HDR7 is http://www.ikey-audio.com/products/items/22

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UPDATE:

A file to update the HDR7 to version 1.0.37 has been released.

After downloading it from their website, and following the instructions in the User Manual, my unit did not update.

I posted a message on their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=120247142274&topic=16194), and found others were having the same problem.

To resolve the issue, the file must be renamed (see the discussion in their Facebook account).

4 thoughts on “Handheld recorder review: iKEY-AUDIO HDR7”

  1. To Andy:

    (Oops…I just noticed your comment…)

    I don’t remember when they sent it to me.

    I haven’t had an opportunity to “use it in the field”. I’ll try remember to post some audio…

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