Sound recording

It’s a lot easier now.

When the hero of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s 1981 movie, Diva, sets to making his bootleg recording of the operatic soprano who never records, he is hiding the best portable analog tape recorder ever made, under his coat. Simply stated, the Nagra was the Leica of its time.


Actor Frédéric Andréi starts the Nagra

Seconds later, soprano Wilhelmina Wiggins Fernandez lights into Ebben ne andro lontana from Alfredo Catalani’s opera La Wally – you know the tune even if you have never heard of Catalani.


Wilhelmina Wiggins Fernandez – mediocre voice, non-mediocre looks

The movie is a splendid example of the very best in French film, which means it’s awfully good. Quirky, avant garde, beautifully filmed and a great plot.

I was reminded of the movie when asked for a recommendation for a really good digital voice recorder the other day. Naturally, I mentioned the Edirol R-09 which I am delighted to see Edirol has improved, enhancing the finish and redesigning the fragile battery door. We have been using ours for more than two years – with external microphones to mostly record my wife and son’s piano playing – and remain delighted with the fine sound quality this device offers. Unlike our protagonist’s beautiful Nagra, it can fit in any pocket.

For anyone interested in just how good French movie making can be, Diva is highly recommended. For anyone liking great photography, it’s a must have movie.

Here’s a track of my wife playing Misty Blues, recorded on the Edirol, using nothing but its internal microphones. Editing was done using Audacity with the LAME MP3 plug-in to permit MP3 output generation. This is a wonderful, and free, sound editor which I recommend for easy editing of sound tracks.


Misty Blues – recorded on the Edirol R-09

One thought on “Sound recording

  1. Thank you, Thomas, for bringing back to the forefront of my mind a film that I first fell in love with over 25 years ago.

    So many films have been viewed since, but this one will always be remembered as perhaps the first ‘foreign’ film that captured my imagination totally.

    I’ve just downloaded an excellent copy to watch after such a long gap. I need reminding of the colours, the lighting, the mise en scène – the plot will always be remembered but the visual treat I have in store this weekend is one I look forward to immensely.

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