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Old 09-16-2009, 10:12 AM
MattMc3 MattMc3 is offline
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Default S545 FM & Voice Recording Features

I've had my new S545 for a few days now so I figured I should write something about it since there have not been too many reviews yet. This post will focus on the FM recording and Voice recording features.

FM RECORDING

General Info: The S545 allows you to record from the built-in FM radio. The recorded files are saved as MP3's and are stored in a directory called RECORD/FM. You can listen to the FM radio (through headphones or internal speaker) while recording.

Steps to record FM:
1) Select your MP3 bitrate quality setting
2) Select your radio station on the FM Radio page
3) Press the OPTION button, select RECORD
4) Press the PLAY/PAUSE button to start/pause/resume recording
5) Press the BACK button to stop recording or go back to the FM radio page

Operation: FM Recording is started by selecting RECORD from the OPTIONS menu while on the FM Radio page. Selecting RECORD will bring up a new FM recording screen. Once on the FM recording screen you can either start recording by pressing the PLAY/PAUSE button, or to exit the FM recording screen by pressing the BACK button. Once you start recording, you can pause the recording by pressing the PLAY/PAUSE button or stop the recording by pressing the BACK button. If your recording is paused, pressing the PLAY/PAUSE button again will resume recording. As far as I can tell, you can pause/resume a recording as many times as you want and the player will still only record a single MP3 file. Because the BACK putton stops the recording and exits the FM recording mode, you can't do anything else with your player while it is recording (the OPTION button and the four directional buttons are locked out during recording.) Recorded FM files can be selected for playback through the FM Radio's OPTION menu, or through the MUSIC page main menu.

Options: There are three "quality" options for FM recording: 96kbps, 128kbps, and 160kbps (all 44khz, Stereo).

Recording Length: So far I've only tested a long recording using the battery. With a fully charged battery, all sound enhancements off, heaphones selected and at a volume of "0", and a bitrate of 128kbps, I was able to record a 6h 48m MP3 (373MB) before the player powered itself off. In theory a 96kbps setting should allow for a little longer recording and a 160kbps setting should be a little shorter.

Other Info: The FM recording must be manually started/stopped. There is no way to schedule a recording or to set a recording's duration (the Sleep Timer will not function during Record mode.) Or you can let the player record until the battery dies. When this happens the player will save the recorded MP3 file and then power off. The screen stays on during the entire recording process but is dimmed to the brightness level "1" after 30 seconds (the only screensaver time available on the S545.) Remember that you must have either heaphones or an audio-out cable plugged in to act as the FM antenna, even if you are listening through the internal speakers.


VOICE RECORDING

Voice recording is almost identical to FM recording. Files are saved as MP3's in the RECORD/VOICE directory and the same three MP3 bitrate choices are available (except they are recorded in mono - not stereo). Voice recording has it's own dedicated icon on the home page which takes you directly to the Voice Recording page. Operation of the voice recorder is identical to the FM recording page. The recorded files can be played back through the Voice Recording's OPTION menu or through the MUSIC page main menu. Like the FM recorder, there are no options to schedule a recording or to set the duration of a recording. There are not any options to select the sensitivity/gain of the microphone. There isn't a line/mic input, just the built-in mic which is located on the bottom of the player (not the back), next to the WM-Port connector.

Matt
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2009, 05:24 PM
IanW IanW is offline
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Nice write-up - thanks. I've had my S545 for a few days as well, and have been comparing it to my old A728. It's hard to get used to the new buttons - they seem cheap and clumsy. I loved the ergonomics on the A728. But it does compare favorably in sound quality to the A728 - slightly better in some ways, and slightly worse in others. It actually seems to have a slightly larger soundstage and slightly better imaging and details, but the tonal quality seems colder and more processed. It doesn't seem to have that sweet magic tone of the A728. But then again, I modified the A728 tone on the service menu when I first got it.

Does anyone know if there is a service menu on the S545, and how to get to it? The S-series code doesn't seem to be working on mine.

(BTW, the S545 did require a 2-day break-in to bring it up to the level the A728. It sounded horrible at first)
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:50 PM
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fhantazm fhantazm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanW View Post
(BTW, the S545 did require a 2-day break-in to bring it up to the level the A728. It sounded horrible at first)
And I thought I had heard it all...
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:04 PM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanW View Post

(BTW, the S545 did require a 2-day break-in to bring it up to the level the A728. It sounded horrible at first)
I didn't think it sounded horrible at first....I was quite pleased with it, and I remain so.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:05 PM
IanW IanW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fhantazm View Post
And I thought I had heard it all...
What I can I say? I call 'em like I hear 'em. I have a set of CD3000 headphones, so I can hear all these fine differences. It was very processed sounding at first. Strings sounded very synthetic, and the soundstage was narrower than the A728. I was about to return it, but thought I'd give it a chance. I'm glad I did - it is much better now, but still a bit on the cold side, compared to the A728.
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Old 09-19-2009, 01:20 PM
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fhantazm fhantazm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanW View Post
What I can I say? I call 'em like I hear 'em. I have a set of CD3000 headphones, so I can hear all these fine differences. It was very processed sounding at first. Strings sounded very synthetic, and the soundstage was narrower than the A728. I was about to return it, but thought I'd give it a chance. I'm glad I did - it is much better now, but still a bit on the cold side, compared to the A728.
It's all good, my friend. We all hear things differently. I've just never heard someone say their source unit sounded better after breaking in.

On another note, I picked up an S545 yesterday and I agree with Marvin, to me, it sounds great straight out of the box!
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