Belkin TuneTalk Stereo for iPod with video | iLounge



It's about time someone has a mic. So now the question is whose is better? Wait who knows how much longer for the griffin or go with the belkin?

Posted by linedpaper on June 27, 2006 at 11:32 AM (PDT)


this of belkin seems be good...but a little pricey 4 me...
so i'm waiting 4 griffini italk pro.

Posted by iNandoX on June 27, 2006 at 2:30 PM (PDT)


My local Apple Store just got them in and I bought it right away. It works great and the sound is very good. It also lets you charge as you record which seems to be a plus over the Griffin product. Hopefully they will follow Belkin's lead and provide a way to charge while you record. Regardless, I am happy with my Belkin product.

Posted by fruitopa on July 16, 2006 at 12:01 PM (PDT)


".. a USB charging cable that connects to TuneTalk Stereo’s bottom and either a computer or power adapter."

Does this mean that you're supposed to use an iPod usb power adapter (the cordless wall wart thing sold separately by Apple) if you're not keen to lugging your computer around, or an adapter you have to order from Belkin? Because I'm assuming there is no adapter that comes with the product, just the cable, right?

I'm basically imagining a situation where I want to record a lecture in a hall that has power outlets in the seats, and I'd hate to drag a laptop along just for the purpose of charging the iPod.

BTW: There is no mention of max recording duration for the Belkin product when using battery power (for both iPod models, thank you!), even though there are durations for the two other recorders.

Thanks in advance! Sorry if my English sucks!

Posted by mikko on July 27, 2006 at 8:35 AM (PDT)


hmm, actually I now believe it _has_ to be the Apple iPod USB power adapter one has to use, because it says in the review that it's possible to synchronize the iPod as well as charge it while the USB cable is attached .. so it's a pass-through signal for the dock connector. Am I right?

Oh, and one more thing: is it possible to record, charge *and* prop the Belkin + iPod combo up using the plastic stand, all at the same time? I'm can't really tell, just by looking at the pictures, if you can plug the mini-USB into the bottom part and still keep the whole thing somehow balanced ...


Posted by mikko on July 27, 2006 at 10:22 AM (PDT)


Mr. Horwitz, thank you as always for the most useful reviews around. (FYI, this review should but doesn't contain a link to your 6.02.06 review of the Micromemo.)

It looks like I won't get the Belkin or the Griffin because built-in stereo microphones are pointless and result in hard disk noise on the recording. Also the Belkin and Griffin lack speakers, and the Belkin has too many buttons and is just bug-eyed ugly.

For me the best feature of the Belkin is that it can be used when the iPod is in a case. I have the clear plastic Agent 18 case and this looks like it will be a problem with the MicroMemo.

The only other advantage of the Belkin appears to be the USB power port, which for me doesn't matter because I am not about to carry around an electric adaptor anyway.

I don't quite understand the power consumption / recording time issue. Does the iPod use as much power recording at 352 kbps as at 1.4 mbps? How can that be? Also, why is 'Low' quality set at 352 kpbs mono when iTunes quality is 128 kbps stereo (i.e. 64 kbps mono)? (Does this mean that Apple is planning to raise iTunes quality?) While high quality recording is great for some uses, couldn't Apple have left in a small-file, low-power recording option for those of us who just want to record lectures or conversations?

(By the way, using WAV format for CD quality is reasonable. The uncompressed lossless formats are all the same except for the ID tags, and WAV is the most popular format.)

The Micromemo is clearly best for me both because it has a separate microphone and because it has a speaker. I wish it did not have a button in the middle of the speaker, however, which has to mean a lower-quality speaker -- any anyway, why can't everything be controlled through the buttons on the iPod itself? The ideal iPod voice recorder would have only a microphone input, a speaker, and a pass-through iPod dock connector.

One other use of a speaker -- although this isn't mentioned in the reviews -- is as a speaker. If the speaker was of reasonably good quality (without a button in the middle...) even for its tiny size, I would think that the Xtrememac could find another market for the Micromemo in people who would like to play their iPod (e.g. for lectures or podcasts or to play songs for friends) without using headphones or dragging along powered speakers. Is there any reason that you can't use the Micromemo to play songs or podcasts as well as voice memos?

Posted by jafdc on July 27, 2006 at 6:38 PM (PDT)


I have a problem with my TuneTalk voice recorder.

I have a podcast, and have been using the TuneTalk to record voice and music through a mixing board using the line-in plug. Sound quality for both is fine, but after exactly two hours, the TuneTalk automatically stops recording. It will automatically start recording again as a new voice memo, but inevitably a minute of audio is lost in between. Does anyone know how to fix this? I'd like to be able to record straight through on the same voice memo for at least 2.5 hours.

Posted by Dissonance on August 16, 2006 at 8:54 AM (PDT)


When recording with the Belkin TuneTalk stereo, with the autogain off (Line level), recordings have a DC offset of -45 dBFS in the positive direction.

It appears that the recording will have a discontinuity (some audio will be lost) if you switch voltage from an external battery pack on or off during the recording. So, if you're going to use an external battery, use it from the start -- do not connect it during the recording. (This requires further testing.)

Posted by LenMinNJ on August 31, 2006 at 8:46 AM (PDT)


Can someone recommend a case (preferably aluminum) that will fit the 5G Video iPod with the TuneTalk Stereo installed?

Posted by LenMinNJ on August 31, 2006 at 10:06 AM (PDT)


We were wrong. After further testing we've found that the problem noted in comment 8 (discontinuity when connect or disconnecting an external battery pack) was really the result of running the iPod with the 1.1.1 software load. Once we updated to 1.1.2 the problem went away.

Also, we've confirmed that the iPod starts a new WAV file every two hours, losing a fraction of a second of audio in the process. So the longest continuous audio recording the iPod can currently do is two hours. That's both at the High and Low quality settings, so it's probably not a file size limit but rather a design decision by the folks doing the iPod software.

Posted by LenMinNJ on September 1, 2006 at 3:41 PM (PDT)


With a fresh pack of four AA batteries in a USB external battery pack, the iPod G5 Video/Belkin TuneTalk Stereo combination will record continuously for more than six hours.

Posted by LenMinNJ on September 2, 2006 at 7:19 PM (PDT)


We've measured the amount of audio lost when the iPod starts a new file after two hours of recording. It comes to roughly 4.6 seconds.

Posted by LenMinNJ on September 2, 2006 at 7:39 PM (PDT)


Can anyone recommend a good external USB battery pack that uses AA batteries that will work with the TuneTalk? I've been looking at iPod external battery packs, such as Belkin's backup battey pack, but the ones I've seen are designed to connect directly to an iPod with a dock connector and would not work with the TuneTalk's USB connector.

Posted by jonagold on September 10, 2006 at 9:51 AM (PDT)


One further question on USB battery packs: the other option for powering the TuneTalk would be to use one of the dock-connecting battery packs (from Belkin, BTI, etc.) with a dock connector-to-USB adapter. Is there such a thing?

Posted by jonagold on September 10, 2006 at 9:59 AM (PDT)


I'm interested in using the IPod Nano or perhaps the new $250 IPod 30-gig machine to replace my current MiniDisc setup for live stealth recording of concerts. I have a nice set of Core-Sound binaural mics which I'd use rather than any built in mic. I paid $300 for the mics several years ago, they come with a built in battery pack with low pass filter which both powers the mics and removes boomy sound from the recordings I make.

I'm interested in the Belkin because of the mic pass through feature. I figure since the binaural mics wll be some distance from the IPod, it should do clean recordings. Can anyone tell me about using external mics with the Belkin or other higher than voice quality recording accessory?

Arizona Bill

Posted by Arizona Bill on September 15, 2006 at 9:30 PM (PDT)


Purchased the Belkin TuneTalk Sterio and would not even think of using the other two. The fact that it is the only one that allows you to supply external power while recording makes it the only clear choice by far. Ipod batteries drain extremely fast when using the recording function. I've had my I pod for 8 months and on a full charge it went completely dead after approximately 30 minutes of recording. So I plugged the usb into a power output in the wall with my adapter and recorded a musician with no further stops. The downfall of the Tunetalk is that the mic is not really all that great. So I use Sony's sterio mic and the recordings sound excellent. No need for a preamp when using the external mic. Just flip the gain switch and it works like a charm. The quality and tone is strikingly similar to what hear on a Bob Dylan record from the late sixties. Great vintage sound! Goodbye minidisc recorder. I now love my Ipod recorder!!

Posted by Songwriter on September 16, 2006 at 5:37 PM (PDT)


Hello, I urgently need to know which external battery pack or which USB adapter I can use with the TuneTalk. What Belkin presently offers would not connect to the mic but to the Ipod itself only - and so it's useless!
I record for long times so I need to find a way to recharge my Ipod (60 GB) while it's recording and to do this I need something that can connect directly to the mic's USB. Any ideas? HELP! Thanks a lot!

Posted by Dreammy on September 19, 2006 at 4:55 AM (PDT)


the decision is becoming easier: it is $42.50 shipped online

I tried the xtrememac micromemo and returned it: it does not record in stereo with the included mic or with any external mic.

I have been using the Belkin for about a month now to great success. Only bad move I made was to record a loud rock concert with autogain on - MISTAKE! autogain works great for acoustic sessions. The recordings are wav files, and I have only recorded in "high" mode.

I highly recommend this unit.

I do not record lectures. I use an external stereo mic I made. I have also used the built in mics, and in a quiet session, you do pick up some hard drive clicking. Not a real problem.

I have also recorded direct line in to the Belkin off a soundboard and it came out great.

with an 80gb ipod video, you can record up to 3 hrs, but just barely.
An external battery would be great, haven't bought one yet, there are some options out there.

I bought this for retail at Circuit City, but it was less than 30 days ago, so I am going to ask for a credit due to the low price, or just return it and order one from - $24 in my pocket would be nice!

Posted by idivorceyou on November 20, 2006 at 11:48 AM (PDT)


Do you think that this would do a serviceable job on recording things like rock band rehearsals (which are obviously a bit louder than a rock show) without autogain? I'm interested in making some clear, full-sounding recordings with this.

Also, can one easily record on an iPod with an external mic preamp, such as the M-Audio Audio Buddy or something smaller?


Posted by elevenshadows on November 21, 2006 at 7:40 AM (PDT)


I was using my iRiver H320 (20gb hard drive mp3player/recorder) to record my band rehearsals (and live shows) with external mic/mics. I still have the unit and will likely continue to use it to record.

I bought the 80gb ipod video and then found the Belkin, hoping to be able to use the ipod for everything. Very likely, you can. the autogain mistake I made on live loud recording caused the music volume to shift moment to moment when clipping was sensed, which ruined the recording. Music of a volume sufficient to not need the boost of autogain, such as live amplified rock, should work fine - I'll be testing that and checking in.

I don't know about the preamps you mention.

The biggest issue I have with recording on the ipod is no meters or monitoring of levels, so you have to hit record and cross your fingers.

My experience with my iRiver is that you can do all kinds of "postproduction" equalization and gain boosting on the recording, and I have used audacity and mp3gain (both freeware) with great success.

Posted by idivorceyou on November 21, 2006 at 10:12 AM (PDT)

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