New nano Records Audio: Welcome, Podcasters | iLounge Article


New nano Records Audio: Welcome, Podcasters

Steve Jobs didn’t mention it during his introduction of the second-generation iPod nano in San Francisco, but the newest iPod has gained an impressive extra feature: recording capability. Much demanded by podcasters and students, this feature enables an iPod to create live lecture, conversation, or even concert recordings - assuming you have the battery power and storage capacity to store the audio.

Over the past several months, we’ve been testing recorders specially designed for use with the fifth-generation iPod - Belkin’s TuneTalk Stereo (iLounge rating: B+) and XtremeMac’s MicroMemo (iLounge rating: A-) are already on the market, while Griffin’s iTalkPro (shown in this iLounge First Look) has finally been confirmed for a near-term release*. These recorders enable 5G iPod owners to use two quality settings - both High (44.1KHz stereo) and Low (22.050KHz mono) are far superior to the scratchy old 8KHz recorders released for 3G and 4G iPods years ago - and capture hours worth of audio from built-in microphones or line-in audio sources. (Updated (*): On September 26, 2006, we tested an advance version of iTalkPro and found that it had only limited functionality with the new iPod nano; it is unclear whether later units will become fully compatible.)

Thanks to a new Apple firmware feature, the new iPod nano works almost seamlessly with these recorders - in some ways, better than with the 5G iPod. Menus are the same as the 5G iPod’s: a Voice Memos option is available from Extras, and transforms the nano’s screen into a large recording clock with pause and stop/save options. Recordings are stored on the nano in a list that can be previewed immediately through headphones or speakers; the MicroMemo continues to have a major advantage here because of its built-in speaker, while TuneTalk Stereo lacks a speaker and blocks off the nano’s headphone port, besides.


Additionally, the nano has no hard drive to drain its battery during frequent accesses or create occasional loading noises that the microphone can pick up. Recording times are not yet known, but will in some ways depend upon the size of your nano - Apple forces the recorders to create large WAV files that suck up storage space at a surprising rate, so owners of 2GB nanos probably won’t have room for both their music and recordings. That aside, we’re already doing further tests to see how the recorders perform with the nano, but so far, so good.


The only bummer: cosmetically, the nanos don’t even slightly resemble the look of the recorders, which have been made to fit and color-match full-sized iPods. Will companies release nano-specific recorder add-ons? We’ll have to wait and see, but our hope is obviously “yes.”

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Will I be able to update the firmware on my older nano(4GB) and make use of these recorders to record audio/voice memos?Please advice.

Posted by ipodlvr in East Amherst, NY, USA on September 13, 2006 at 6:39 PM (CDT)


They will match my 8 gig nano at least as far as color goes.

Thanks for finding this feature.  I had almost decided to buy an 80 gig 5G partly to record.

Obviously a tenth of the storage capacity won’t allow for long recordings, but it will be fine for short interviews.

Posted by Steve Rhodes in East Amherst, NY, USA on September 14, 2006 at 5:39 PM (CDT)


It would be interesting to test the new nanos or 5Gs with external powered microphones to see if that makes a difference to the battery life or the “noise issue” on the 5G since the mic could be a lot further away from the hard drive.

Posted by Harbour Boy in East Amherst, NY, USA on September 25, 2006 at 7:58 PM (CDT)


I have a question for someone who has recorded Voice Memos on an iPod 5G or an iPod nano 2G:

When you play back the file from the Voice Memos menu, is it possible to adjust the playback speed (in the way that you can with an audiobook, for example).

I often need to transcribe recordings of spoken audio, and I’d love to be able to (temporarily) adjust speed on playback as I need to rather than have to open up the file in an audio editor on my Mac and change the speed (permanently) there.

Anyone know if I would have that option? Or does the iPod treat the files in Voice Memo just like music files?

Posted by frindley in East Amherst, NY, USA on January 30, 2007 at 5:47 AM (CST)


There are very few options available. Once you have recorded a memo, you can play or delete it, and that’s it.

There also appears to be a 2 hour limit on any single recording, so recording for more than 2 hours will result in more than one WAV file (not sure if the transition is gapless)

Posted by intepid in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 6, 2007 at 1:33 AM (CDT)



44KHz stereo uses 620MB / hour

22KHz mono uses 155MB / hour

With the tunetalk I get more than 3 hours recording time from a fully charged nano.

Posted by intepid in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 6, 2007 at 1:41 AM (CDT)


I take voice lessons and am considering buying an ipod to record them.  Please let me know your thoughts on the best one to choose.  I have been thinking about getting the 8g Nano.  Is there a better alternative?  What about a mic?  I understand that there are mics with speakers built in.  Is this correct?

I understand that the Belkin Tune Talk Stereo and the Griffin italk would be good options.

  Would I be able to edit the lessons after transferring the files to my HP PC Computer?

Finally, is there an upgrade model coming out soon that I should consider waiting for before buying one now.  It would be convenient if the ipod were to come with a built in mic and speaker capable of playing back what has been recorded.



Posted by radesi in East Amherst, NY, USA on August 18, 2007 at 8:25 PM (CDT)


I have recently purchased an iPod Nano 18GB silver. I would like to use a Belkin Tune Talk Stereofor iPod with Video Part #F8Z082eaBLK to record voice & music. I am led to believe the this Belkin product is not compatible with my iPod. Can you please confirm this and if so is there any such recorder available that I can use. Thank you.
Jim Guinnessy

Posted by Jim Guinnessy in East Amherst, NY, USA on January 28, 2009 at 7:07 PM (CST)


i need to know how many voice recordings the ipod nano can hold

Posted by amber in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 26, 2009 at 2:16 PM (CST)


I want an earpiece with an external mike to allow me to record with such programs as Dragon Dictation with my 3rd generation Ipod Touch, (I don’t want to walk around looking like a flight controller). I’m going nuts buying & returning single ear bluetooths that are supposed to work.

Posted by jack in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 18, 2010 at 10:39 AM (CST)

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