I am currently using the Iriver IFP 899 as my digital audio recorder primarily for podcasting. Despite its use of defaulting menus, I am extremely frustrated with its lack of accessibility resulting in a frequent need to obtain sighted assistance to resolve serious problems. I have come up with the specifications for an ideal digital audio recorder for blindcasters:
- All functions are usable by a blind person without need of sighted assistance at any time.
- Stereo line in connection with option to activate amplification for external microphones.
- Ability to adjust recording levels in an accessible manner!
- Records in at least MP3 format at a sampling rate of 44.1 KHz, 128 Kbps bit rate at at least 16 bit stereo.
- Unlimited recording time provided by CompactFlash card slots.
- Allows live monitoring of recordings through headphones.
- Can be connected to the PC using a standard mini-USB cable.
- Operates as a USB mass storage drive for transferring files to and from the device without need of any proprietary software.
If anything close to a machine like this exists, please let me know. I’m getting very serious about this blind podcasting thing and want to be able to do it right! As always, all feedback is appreciated.
The ones that jump to mind most quickly are the Archos and Plextalk PTR1. If you can put up with its short battery life, I think the Plextalk meets all your specs except the last which doesn’t really matter as you can use a compact flash reader available for $10-30 to handle it.