First Portable Audio Recorder from JuicedLink

JuicedLink Portable Audio Recorder LAV belt Pack little DARling

I don't know about you, but for me this is very exciting news. Robert from JuicedLink has made an announcement showcasing their first 'Portable Audio Recorder' belt pack. Here's a quote from the JL Blog Article:

Imagine, making these filmmaker-friendly alterations to the Zoom H1 for use with a lav:
Chop the top internal mic off, to make it belt-pack sized (a little smaller than the Sennheiser G3 belt-pack transmitter)
Make the connectors locking, so the lav can't pop out
Add "Audio Bracketing", so you have a backup recording in post if you blow out the main track
Make key buttons recessed, so a user can not accidentally stop the recording or change settings as they are active and moving around ... no "butt dialing"
In addition to headphones, provide a "thru" connection, so the Little DARling can be a front end recorder, then drive a wireless transmitter like the Sennheiser G3 system

When it comes to recording audio from a remote subject, wireless options can be expensive and also prone to interference. One inexpensive solution was to throw a Zoom H1 portable audio recorder into your subject's pocket and setup a LAV mic. For me this worked great, but you have to worry about audio levels since you can't monitor this remotely. With the new JuicedLink 'Little DARling', the audio is recorded in two separate tracks at different audio levels (as a safety). It's also easier to pocket than a Zoom H1 since it lacks internal microphones.

JuicedLink Audio  Recorder vs Sennheiser G3 Wireless
JuicedLink Audio Recorder Belt Pack 'Little DARling vs Sennheiser G3 Wireless Belt Pack

You can read more about the product over at the JuicedLink article (found here). Right now it's in an early development phase and Robert is looking for some feedback about how you would use an item like this, what features you think should be included, or other questions. For me i'd like to know how Pricing? How long I can record? How long does the battery last? Plug in power? Headphone monitoring and line out? If you have any other comments, make sure to leave them here.





37 thoughts on “First Portable Audio Recorder from JuicedLink

  1. DirectMeBaby

    Sorry, but the price around 250$ is way, way to high for EU guys. Shipping cost, taxes and it seems that Zoom H6 is cheaper than this sweet Little DARling. Think about it Robert, USA is very big market, but not only in the world ;).

  2. Al Funch

    This is absolutely brilliant and if there is anyone to make a device like this, that we can actually trust, it would be JuicedLink... I've been thinking about doing the H1 trick, so I'm really stocked seeing this and I will wait for it. This is just what I need for documentary work and 7-8 hours of battery that's really important and amazing!

    To Robert:

    - If there is anyway to use this with, say a Videomic Pro, that would be so great?! Would add great versatility to the camera bag and give a chance to have a very small setup. Would go great with a GH4... pretty please!!

    - 3 for $500 would be sweet! Otherwise it looks like I'll get 2 for $400... But I will be buying!

    Thanks for all the great gear and knowledge!

  3. daniel

    To be honest what this product really need is way to sync multi recorders at the same time like what the go pro app has where you can hit record monitor from an iPad. I'm not trying to be negative a good recorder is awesome but if i have two or three of these out there and i'm shooting a scene that is a lot to sync together. the actors wouldn't be holding the slate so that sound could almost be useless. but if the recorders can see each other and start and stop at the same time, that is a different story.

    Here is great prolost article that Stu wrote and i've been thinking about for a long time.
    http://prolost.com/blog/2012/9/10/production-audio-is-ripe-for-revolution.html

    please bring back your slider, i would appreciate that. - God bless

  4. Tron

    Could be used with a Rode VideoMic on the end of a boom pole? I think that would be convenient for run 'n gun stuff when mic'ing up the subject isn't an option.

  5. Mustafa

    Dave Grant:
    "I love the idea, I hate the name."

    Little DARling has the same charm and sophistication as the names Riggy-Micro and Riggy-Assist.

  6. Adam

    Robert,

    You rock! Already have one of your products and I couldn't be happier. I currently use the H1 zooms with lavs for wedding video and what you're describing is exactly what I have been waiting for. I would be take 3 of them if they come in under $200.

  7. Adam Jeal

    @ Robert - I've wanted someone to come up with this for a very long time. I would be up for at least four of them.

  8. stanperry

    All i want to say is Robert your amazing ... I wish the industry had more people like you creating products for film makers ... Cheesy Cam is great but this might be the best post and comment discussion i have ever seen so far ... Now with that said ...

    Battery life
    maybe put a bright light on it so that you know its running out of life

    dont know if you could but putting some type of wifi signal for remote start stop or battery indicator ... that would make this thing even more amazing ...

    I also would like another one with phantom power for condenser mics ...

    I would like to have bluetooth audio out ... that would be amazing balls ...

    mind you you should conceder making different models ...

    also some type of sync device .... see the way i would love to use it is have ... like 5 or 6 lavs using 5-6 of these ... on people during a interview or event ... press one button when i want to record and BAM SUPER AMAZING BALLS ... they are all recording ... mind blown

  9. DirectMeBaby

    Good idea! Price about 90-95 euro including VAT sounds fair for me.

    I have one suggestion. Headphone jack should be placed on side. With wirless headphones like TKD WR-700 it would be very nice set, but transmiter on the top is ergonomic suicide.

  10. MN

    This Roger guy is goofy, nerdy, and great. A true engineer making stuff on his own that has a niche market. This device is a great idea that we've all had along the way, I'm sure, but he's actually doing it.

    That alone is worth the $$ investment.

    Now, if he'd hire some of us to make his marketing videos... 😉

  11. John

    Keep it as microSD Robert! I know people are complaining about microSD, but that is their own fault!

    It is a really good card to use on smaller devices such as these (e.g. GoPro 3+, smart phones, zoom H1).

    If they are the type of people to abuse their tools, they shouldnt be buying this in the first place!

  12. plugin power is a must. sound quality really should be much better than the equivalent cost portable recorder with built-in mics, then it makes sense

  13. T Hinkle

    @ Robert Rozak Do you have any idea how long I've waiting for something like this to come out??? - (pretty much since the day I got my H1's) $200 sounds fair to me! I'll take two on the pre-order! I'm surprised it's taken so long for someone to figure out this is exactly what we need for events/weddings.

    One thought - When I was first deciding to switch from wireless lavs to a hardwired solution like this, I was trying to figure out how i could run a high-end lav like countryman b3 or a b6 to the H1, but the H1 doesn't provide the power needed to be able to use one of these lavs, so it would be awesome if the little DARling did... Or is that too much to ask?

  14. Thanks Robert,

    Your products, community engagement and educational videos should be considered a industry benchmark.

    This looks good, $150 to $200 sounds about right to me IMO.

    Keep us posted.

  15. This is Robert from juicedLink.

    Thank you for taking the time to watch the video about the little DARling !

    Let me start out with a question:

    1) BATTERY LIFE VS SIZE: For my purposes, I want to keep it as small as possible, and 7-8hrs (rought estimate, currently) of battery life is fine. But, I get others who want longer battery life, even if it makes it bigger (AA size bigger). How much battery life is sufficient? Is it really terrible to have to change a battery for the occasions when you have a super-long event?

    Let me address some Q's:

    1) Are these the same locking connectors as the Sennheiser G3 kits?
    - Yes.

    2) How about AGC?
    - You'll have the option to select manual, AGC, limiter

    3) I would want to manually level one track and auto level my safety track.
    - Could probably do that.

    4) Also, make sure this has 48khz @ 16bit sample rate.
    - Yes. Even though it's completely unnecessary and just marketing fluff, may do higher sampling rates, just to say it has them.

    5) so much radio wave garbage
    - Shielded Al enclosure. Not plastic.

    6) Maybe, it could interface wirelessly to an iPhone just to monitor it’s sound.
    - I understand we're coming from. I've got some crazy ideas of things that might be able to accomplish something similar to what you are talking about, sometime down the road. But those features are beyond the scope of the Little DARling ... make sure you're subscribed to the juicedLink Blog ...

    7) I want it! But for less than an H1, $50 would be perfect.
    - I'm a ways off from even looking at the spreadsheet. Filmmaking is not a very big market. I had been guessing that this would come in somewhere around a LS-14 / PCM10. Sorry, I don't see your suggestion happening ...

    8) I wonder if it has recording options to last longer on smaller cards and if it’s a line or mic out …or switchable.
    - The output is a locking stereo 3.5mm. One channel is a headhone driver. The other channel is a buffered direct thru, for driving wireless transmitters.

    9) I think the key to this being a wireless killer is the ability to somehow monitor audio wirelessly.
    - See 6

    10) it’d need to record up to three or fours hours
    - No problem

    11) As for levels… As long as the adjusting doesn’t make it bigger or conspicuous, fine.
    - Are you talking about adjusting the gain? Done through button control. No increase in size.

    12) Oh, one suggestion. Round over the corners. Makes it more comfortable for the actor’s wearing them.
    - I'm showing the very first proto enclosure at NAB. Working on this.

    13) Intriguing, but I’m going to have to see positive reviews on the preamps before I invest in this…
    - juicedLink low-noise preamps.

    14) If these Juiced Link devices are under $200 each ill be buying at least 4 of them.
    - Hasn't been through a real manufacutring flow to determine test/assembly time. But, I think we're close to being on your mark.

    15) I couldn’t tell how you could play back the audio to review a recording.
    - You can play back through the headphones.

    16) Maybe he can create an XLR adapter. That way in a “man on the street” style interview with a reporter, you could plug in a handheld mic then clip this to the reporter.
    - More DARs slated for development. Make sure you're subscribed to the juicedLink Blog ...

    17) Also, he should have some 1/4-20 mounting points and possibly a hot shoe mount. But with 1/4-20 we could just add a hot shoe mount. A belt is one place to put this. We might want to mount it in all kinds of different places since it is so small.
    - Nothing like this will be on the Little DARling enclosure itself. But, there will be adapter plates that can be mounted to the DAR for 1/4-20 and stuff.

    18) Also, maybe he could add a crappy little microphone on there. Sort of like the ones they have on a camera. Sometimes, in a pinch, you just need to hear something. On his blog, he gave an example of mounting this to a skier’s boots to get that sound.
    - Sorry. This feature is beyond the scope of the Little DARling.

    19) I love the idea, I hate the name.
    - Love the name ...

    20) No screen so how do I know if something has recorded.
    - The UI is through 2 7-segment LED displays.

    Thank you,

    -Robert

  16. $50? Are you guys serious? C'mon based on the video its worth more than $50 (provided the sound quality is good).

    Its smaller than the H1, has built in belt clip, hidden controls (hold switch), and audio bracketing. I have no doubt we will have the ability to adjust the audio recording level. That would be a must as not all mic's are created equal.

    For me the two things I did not see mentioned that would be important would be 1) 24 bit, 48hz recording setting and 2) a screen to display settings and lvls. Because this is being developed with filmmakers in mind, I suspect the proper recording settings to avoid drift will be present. There appears to be some sort of display, but it looks simple as if to only display numbers but I could be wrong.

    My least favorite "feature" of this device is that it records to a microSD card. I personally hate those things but I could live with it.

    If the audio quality is at least as good as the H1 it should be priced at a minimum of $100. Frankly I would pay $150 for it provided my two wish list items were present.

  17. I love the idea, I hate the name.
    The other thing I dont like is the clip, it looks sturdy but also uncomfortable also it should be black/grey. The overall box also looks sharp and uncomfortable, it might need rounder edges. The unit should have a threaded hole or two.
    I cant see how you would do it but it should cost around $80.

    No screen so how do I know if something has recorded.

    Could I clip that onto a Rode Shotgun Mic and leave it recording the band, that would be cool.

    This could be a cool little mic, great idea and i hope it work out.

  18. Steve M.

    @Raymond, I agree, the Roland-05 is the best of the smaller audio recorders, but it's still to big for certain situations. I'm tell ya, if he can figure out how to interface with a smart phone to not only monitor the audio, but also adjust it, game over, providing the pre-amps are decent.

  19. Jcg

    Price will determine if this is embraced. Otherwise offering from Rode that can use an apple itouch might be more attractive. It also needs the ability to use different types like sanken, countryman and tram connectors. Please don't use those min sd cards...really hate those things.

  20. Also, maybe he could add a crappy little microphone on there. Sort of like the ones they have on a camera. Sometimes, in a pinch, you just need to hear something. On his blog, he gave an example of mounting this to a skier's boots to get that sound.

    If it had a little microphone on there, that might be good enough to capture that type of sound.

  21. This looks promising at $50 or so. Otherwise, I already have the H1, H4n, Tascam 40, and 4 wireless sets. Plus, I'm looking to get the H6n with the 2 channel module. But at $50 or so, I would buy a few of them. 2 of my wireless sets are not that great. But once it get's closer to the H1's price, it doesn't make sense. If it's $100, I'll just get the H1 because it has a built in mic. The H1 is small enough to hide in a suit jacket inside pocket. The H1 is also small enough to fit in many people's pant pockets, on their lap during an interview, or on the seat next to them in an interview.

    I love the bracketing. All recorders should have that built in.

    I couldn't tell from the video how to set the recording level. I am guessing there would be two modes. Manual and auto. Hopefully.

    Also, I couldn't tell how you could play back the audio to review a recording. If we can't monitor during the recording, I want to be able to quickly check parts of the audio file to make sure it was ok before moving on. It would be could to quickly play through the whole file to hear if there was clothes noise, missing audio, static, etc. Plus, regular play mode as well.

    Maybe he can create an XLR adapter. That way in a "man on the street" style interview with a reporter, you could plug in a handheld mic then clip this to the reporter. In a pinch, I have seen the H1 used in this way and it looks odd. Or the H1 could be shaped more like a microphone.

    Basically, this is a poor man's wireless set up. To have wireless monitoring from a smart phone, I think is too much to expect. If you want wireless monitoring, you might just want to use an actual wireless lav.

    Or he can make that the premium version that has the smart phone monitoring.

    In the poor man's wireless set up, like using an H1, reviewing audio after is important.

    Also, he should have some 1/4-20 mounting points and possibly a hot shoe mount. But with 1/4-20 we could just add a hot shoe mount. A belt is one place to put this. We might want to mount it in all kinds of different places since it is so small.

    He should make the holes that hold the current belt clip, 1/4-20 size also. This should be in addition to another 1/4-20 hole somewhere else.

    He should sell those 1/4-20 mountable belt clips. I would buy those for $1-$5 each. Then I could put that on my H4n, H1, and Tascam 40.

    I have a Panasonic LX7 as my camera in my backpack at all times. It does not have any mic inputs. It shoots decent video but for audio I keep an Olympus VN-8100PC with a cheap Azden lav mic. It works in a pinch. BTW, I would not recommend this recorder. I bought it to see if it could do this type of thing.

  22. John

    ~$50-60. Good preamps w/ the mentioned audio bracketing. Stupid simple to use (ideally just a record button and a gain button).
    Videographers are the target market, so as long as it is geared specifically towards us, this should be a hit!

  23. J Toha

    I really like the fact that Robert is the kind of guy who takes time to answer emails with clear explanations on some audio questions I had. His product design may be a little barebone, but the functionality is excellent. I own the DS214 and it was a big help back when Canon 7D didn't have manual audio control.

    Looking forward to see what this little DARling will bring once it's finalised.

  24. This my be a tough market unless they come out really cheap. The best mini audio recorder is the Roland 05. The pre-amps on this recorder are incredible and it also has plug in power. It sells for 199.00. It blows away the H1 and will record dual tracks. I use the ME-2 with the recorder and it outperforms my DR-40 and H4. Not even close. I think it would be hard to beat that recorder for the money.

  25. We use ME-2 lavs plugs into Zoom H1s. We dremel off the the screw mount and it woks great. However, the H1 is the the best device, cheap, bad preamps, not made to be a body pack. If these Juiced Link devices are under $200 each ill be buying at least 4 of them.

  26. Scot Goldberg

    Intriguing, but I’m going to have to see positive reviews on the preamps before I invest in this…

  27. Brian Siano

    Oh, one suggestion. Round over the corners. Makes it more comfortable for the actor's wearing them.

  28. Brian Siano

    I shoot theatre events, and having a bunch of these would be terrific. So it'd need to record up to three or fours hours a Ty a go. A price in the fifty to sixty range would be perfect, too.

    I'm thinking of how to facilitate fast costume changes, and the tiny size is great for that. The alternative is to plant them around the set; small, black, and concealable is the guide here.

    As for levels... As long as the adjusting doesn't make it bigger or conspicuous, fine.

  29. Steve M.

    It's definitely a cool idea! I did send him a direct email. I think the key to this being a wireless killer is the ability to somehow monitor audio wirelessly. I'm thinking this might be able to somehow use what the DJI Phantom uses to interface to a smartphone.

  30. I want it! But for less than an H1, $50 would be perfect.

    I assume it has manual controls and is sounds like the second channel is just always 16db lower, which should be fine for not monitoring.

    I wonder if it has recording options to last longer on smaller cards and if it's a line or mic out ...or switchable! 😀

  31. Steve M.

    Finally, someone coming out with a sound device I've been waiting for.
    I like the features it will potentially have with the second backup audio having safety features that would protect against peaking. Also, make sure this has 48khz @ 16bit sample rate, to guard against audio drift in the edit. With so much radio wave garbage in the atmosphere, I never use a wireless mic, so it would be nice to see this device as a viable option to basically eliminate a wireless altogether. Maybe, it could interface wirelessly to an iPhone just to monitor it's sound.

  32. Are these the same locking connectors as the Sennheiser G3 kits? I've got extra Rode Lavs that I would love to use with something like this. How about AGC? I would want to manually level one track and auto level my safety track. It's the only way I would feel comfortble without the ability to monitor it while shooting.

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