iTalk Pro Review
The iTalk Pro works with 5G iPods and 2G iPod nanos. At its front it offers a single circular button with the word ‘iTalk’ emblazoned at its middle. This button is surrounded by a red circle that glows red when connected to the iPod. The button can be used to activate and stop recordings, and to set low and high gain levels for different recording situations. The low gain level is best for recording conversation at close range, while the high gain is good for recording at a distance and for music. The device can automatically decide which setting is appropriate to use when you are recording, though you can override this feature if you want.
iTalk Pro connects to the player’s dock, but lacks a pass-through port so users can connect other devices when using it. This could cause problems when recording lengthy sessions, as iTalk draws power from the music player – not including a pass-through adaptor makes it more difficult to use a second device, specifically a battery recharger (unless your recharger carries its own pass-through adaptor). At either side of the front button sits a small circular indent with three small holes punched through behind which the stereo microphones hide. At the bottom there’s a 3.5mm stereo input jack, which allows you to employ any microphone or connect to any sound source (such as a record player) that’s equipped with a 3.5mm output. The device is capable of capturing 6-bit stereo audio at 44.1kHz and 8-bit mono at 22kHz.
When you plug iTalk into your iPod the music player will automatically invoke the Voice Memo menu, which lets you set low- and high-quality recording, (high takes more storage space than low). Apple software drives the Voice Memo menu so if you’ve recorded using an iPod before it will look familiar. We found low quality very clear for conversation, even at a distance. We found few audible artefacts when recording: we have experienced situations where the microphone picks-up the sound of the iPod’s whirring hard drive, but iTalk showed no such behaviour in tests. Testing high-quality setting we recorded music directly from vinyl to the iPod’s drive, and found this an effective solution for digitising music. Unlike previous models, this one is unable to play back your recording, but we have found playback on other devices insufficient, so it’s possible the omission will make little real difference. We like that iTalk has just one controller, the button. This simplified usability makes for a unified user experience.
Simple to learn and use and the cheapest such solution for 5G iPods available, iTalk records high-quality audio even at a distance. We would like to see a pass-through adaptor, and some may bemoan the lack of playback facility, but overall this is a solid and dependable tool.