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on July 8, 2012
I have an R-09 and now a R-05. I like them both. I think the R-05 had some excellent improvements.
1. The battery compartment is a much better design, easier to access and change batteries.
2. mini usb jack and sd card slot now on outside of unit not within battery compartment.
3. SD capacity supported is now 32GB rather than 4GB
4. input level and volume controls are now on front of unit rather than the sides.
5. Power on/hold switch better design, easier to feel.
6. Smaller, stronger more attractive form factor.
7. 'Set'/Record button is no longer labeled 'Rec'. Was confusing.
Operation and software is logical, a good carryover. Record quality is outstanding.
My wife has the R-09 now. I have the R-05. I find it to be an elegant recorder.
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on December 6, 2010
This is one of the simplest, most reliable, most versatile machines I've ever used. Fancy displays, lots of lights, pop ups, features, options? Nope - almost none, in fact.

But if you want durable, reliable, simple, high quality recording in a variety of wav & mp3 formats, this machine is for you. It does what it does, easily, every time.

I've recorded music in concert halls and living rooms. I regularly record 2 hour lectures - it all fits into a $10 SD card and txfers to computer immediately via the card or cable.

I suppose someday there will be a better machine.
55 comments|59 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 22, 2010
This is my first MP3 recorder, so I don't have much of a comparison but for what it's worth - this is a great product. I wanted something of good quality and easy to use, and this product definitely fits the bill. The microphones are high quality and very sensitive. You can also hook up an external microphone but I have not tried that yet. Transferring to computer via USB is super easy and convenient. I also like the fact that you can edit the recordings on the unit itself and add reverb. I have Cakewalk Home studio so I can import the files and add other effects if desired. The unit is very portable and can be attached to a tripod which is a nice feature. The batteries last a long time. Would highly recommend this product.
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on November 29, 2012
I am not much for an audio technical genius so, I will keep this simple.

This is a great little recording unit. My wife and I use it to record our weekly podcast. We put it on the table, hit the center button once, check the levels and hit record. The unit can record in both WAV and MP3 formats at multiple levels of quality.

The on-board condenser microphones pick up more than you might imagine and are great for on-site recordings in order to pick up the ambiance of the recording location.

The unit is also great as a recorder for productions with an audio mixer. Simply connect the line-in to the main out of a mixer and adjust the recording level. It is great for that because, unlike a hard drive, there are no moving parts to "crash". You might need to replace a SD card after extensive use but, other than that, the solid-state recording almost never fails except due to user error.

There are 2 minor gripes that I have. The windscreen that came with the unit is a bit small and flimsy. I don't use it anyway but, it was disappointing to see.

The other issue is that the AC adapter for this unit is only available in a few places and is pricey. The fact is, I use this mostly at home and would prefer not to waste the AA batteries.

Speaking of which, the battery life in this unit is outstanding. Depending on your frequency of use, one set of AAs will last you a LONG time, especially if they are the lithium ones, designed for digital devices.

This a great recorder at a great price and I highly recommend it.
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on October 5, 2012
I've had this product for 24 hours now and used it at a live Karaoke session last night. I was sitting closest to the speakers and the recording was amazing. I know the first thing anyone is going to think about this is.. But it is $200.00.. As I told others, you get what you pay for. At first, I bought a different unit for 1/2 the price and it had major problems for live band and Mixer recording. The split feature works well so I can split the recording without having to hit stop and record again... It is so small, It fits in my shirt pocket..

Pro's for me:
Amazing Sound: nuf said.. The recordings seems true and clear. No detectable hormonic distortion, compression noise or anything that I've heard from cheaper recorders.
Battery Life: 16 hours recording, confirmed with power saving turned on. (peak and red recording lights turn off)
Immediate Recording (Setup and Start): The cheaper units go through an "Initialization phase" when you hit the record button. The R-05 is immediate. When you press the REC button, it automatically pauses for level adjustments and start of song queueing.
Options: Too many to list; Very well done and well thought out for recording live instruments / voice / etc.
Sensitivity and Direction I noticed pattern that I could use to dampen back group (audience) sounds. This is useful when your primary interest is the music.
Power Saving Features: Lights can be turned off automatically when you want to conserve power.
Ease of Use: Very simple and easy to use.. Well thought out interface.

Cons:
V1.03 is required to use NI-MH batteries.. If you have V1.02, it will show the battery is dead within an hour of use. After the update, I have tested it so far for 3 hours recording with 1 bar drop..
The aluminum case is only a shell, it is mostly plastic with what amounts to a phone case around it. If it is dropped, it will respond like plastic so don't drop it.

While corners were cut to bring a very good recorder to be affordable at this price point, I would highly recommend the R-05 to anyone who wants a recorder that works exactly as advertised.
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on November 19, 2013
It does exactly what it says to be : excellent quality, simple, reliable and easy to operate. I am using it professionally for interviews on the run. I record on 32 G card, in Wave and mix with
Reaper. Sometimes I use a dynamic microphone with a 15 feet cord. There is no attenuation nor rumble with power induction. Batteries last many hours. Very good product and pricing affordable.
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on December 30, 2014
Perfect size. I wanted a recorder that was smaller than the newer mammoth portable recorders that seem to pervade the marketplace nowadays. I don't need XLR inputs, and I don't need multi-track recording. I just need a recorder that I can fit in my suit-coat pocket, or at least that doesn't require a large case, yet has 24/96 capability for recording everything from speeches to live music. This one fits the bill.

It also gives the best sound for its price range--I listened to many, many YouTube samples comparing this recorder to others, and this recorder gives extremely clean (noise-free) sound with just the right balance between treble and bass. (Some more expensive recorders give way too much bass.) I am extremely pleased with the sound quality and low S-N ratio.

Caveats:
-- The rocker switch (L, R, up, down) is extremely sensitive. If you press down too hard, the recorder will lose its mind. For example, if you want to FF a recording, just press very, very lightly on the FF button (right edge of the rocker switch). If you press down too hard, it won't FF at all. I thought this was a bad rocker switch and was going to send it in for repair, but then I found that it's just way too sensitive.

-- I nearly always have to set the mics on High, because I nearly always record at a distance and in that situation the mics just won't pick up anything without that setting.

-- The SD card is difficult to access, because the flap that covers the slot is not easily opened. (It is floppy, and positioned under a metal ridge, so that you have to use your fingernail to open it and you may be afraid to rip it off.) This is a problem because if you want to transfer the files from the recorder to your computer, you need to remove the SD card and plug the SD card directly into your computer (via a USB adapter, etc.)--or else you will spend 20 times as long getting the information transferred. That is, transferring data through the recorder to your computer is extremely slow, taking over 45 minutes to transfer a 1-hour, 2-GB recording; if you remove the SD card and use a USB adapter to your computer, it takes only a couple of minutes.
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on December 26, 2013
I am a pastor and I bought the Roland R-05 to do live recordings of sermons and interviews for a podcast. Just putting the R-05 on the pulpit and recording while I'm preaching provides an even fuller sound than recording from the house mic into the sound board. It picks up the crowd response beautifully and the recording is crystal clear. Transfer to the computer for Garage Band is smooth. Roland has made a great product here at a great price.
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on February 10, 2015
This accurately captures binaural sound just as your own hearing would. The controls are lain out in a way that is easy to comprehend. The sound is top notch. It sounds like you're in a 3d sound environment. There is a mic input as well as a line-in. Battery consumption is quite low considering it's operative capability. If you are hoping to capture important moments realistically, something that comes to mind is a child's first speech, or wedding vows, this will accurately record and provide high quality directional sound in various environments and formats. It comes with a wind screen, batteries, as well as a USB cord. It does accept SDHC cards, in other words, chips that use more than 16GB. You cannot go wrong with this purchase. I was at first put off by the price, but accurately capturing certain moments goes beyond price. I do believe the price is average, but it is no "steal". You could try Best Buy, but knowing them they'd end up talking you into a surround system and a DirectTV lease! But it is what it says. It is a moderate investment that will definitely capture high quality sound.
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on March 14, 2014
This machine would be great if it worked like the manual says it should. First off, the controls are not, NOT intuitive, the labels notwithstanding. After owning it for a few months, I just got past the "Basic Playback" after fiddling and experimenting with the controls. This was necessary because the manual is wrong. Here is EXACTLY what it says:

Basic Playback Operation:

1. Access the main screen.

2. Use Left/right double arrow to select the file you want to play

3. Press [play/pause] to play the file.

This procedure does NOT work. After a lot of fiddling with the buttons, I finally figured out what does work, just to play a song:

1. Access main screen

2. Press Finder

3. Press Page up/down to find folder

4. Press Confirm [Red button]

5. Press Stop

6. Press Finder [again]

7. Press Page up/down to find song

8. Press Select [Confirm]

9. Press Play/pause to play file

If you can remember all this, you are better than I am.

Buyers should also be aware that the R-05 Update Readme.pdf states: "* Be sure to power the unit using the AC adaptor. Executing the update while running on only battery power may cause the update to fail and result in incorrect operation if the batteries go dead before the update finishes."

The AC adapter is a $22 optional extra.
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