I'm gonna buy my sister a standard cassette recorder with a built-in mic for her graduation.
Now, I'd really like it if it had an external mic jack and good sound quality as well, since I'm planning on "borrowing" it from time to time.
So I'm asking you guys...do you know of any standard cassette walkman with recording feature that's extra good in terms of sound quality? Preferably with a built-in mic but if it doesn't have one it's cool anyway, I could add one of those clip-on mics that you snap on the side of the unit too.
I've thought about MD but those are a bit too sensitive to vibrations, bumps in the road etc. It is to be used as a dictaphone primarily so compression doesn't matter though. I just thought since I'm buying her one anyway, I could get her one that I could snatch now and then and use as a backup recorder on tha road. (I make copies of my performances via the console for my own personal archives) I asked about pro cassette recorders earlier on and I've now got one of those but having a backup would be nice anyway since no machine is unbreakable.
The advantage of cassette is that they're available everywhere (I've even knocked on the doors of strangers and asked them for a used tape sometimes, when I've run out), the tapes are cheap, the units are easy to handle, they can handle abuse and they sound pretty good too. Probably way better than my digital Sony B26 which has a super-annoying amount of noise all the time. Plus the units now sell for close to nothing which is good for me. I love my sis but I'm not gonna spend tons of cash on her.
Weirdly, cassettes aren't as easy to find as they once were. I usually have to mail-order to be sure of availability. The only chain I know of is Radio Shack, and they only stock their house brand. I did see a large package of cassettes at Best Buy recently, but they were in one big package of 100 or something (they do have a standard cassette dictation recorder on the shelf, though.)
If I was going to bestow a recording device on someone who needed it to record dictation, I might consider a format that can be easily downloaded to most computers and written to a CD (in case a copy needs to be made for someone without cassette playback capability...lots of people...also a CD may be made without the need for a soundcard.)
I'm a great fan of cassettes; I had a Walkman Pro back in the day and made some excellent recordings with it. It seems sad to finally see the cassette begin to go away.