Basic guide to the Edirol R-09HR

This is a very basic introduction to the core functions of the Edirol R-09HR. Most of what you read here should also be applicable to the older Edirol R-09. If you’d like a more advanced guide, Roland have made the manual available online here.

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WHERE ARE THE BUTTONS AND WHAT DO THEY DO

The main control panel is fairly self explanatory. Play/pause, fast forward, rewind and stop double up as up, down, left and right, and the record button doubles up as enter/accept. Think of it as being the same as almost every TV remote you’ve used. Above that, you have the finder button, the menu button, the peak warning light, the split button and speed and reverb – two buttons you will almost certainly never press on purpose.

On the right hand side we find the volume control (not the input control!!) and the power button. At the bottom there is a DC in, which can be useful for long recording sessions. Remember to switch the plug in-power switch on if you use a DC power supply.

On the left hand side the only controls are the input level controls (not the volume control!!). Below that you have the mic in and line in inputs. The headphone output is on the top of the device.

On the rear of the device there are a number of switches. You can find the hold switch, which locks every other input allowing you to carry the device in a pocket without fear of pocketdialling some weird settings, the limiter/AGC switch, the plug-in power switch which switches from battery to DC in power, the low cut switch and the mic gain selector switch. The device only provides two gain options – high and low, which you can basically think of as on and off. An important note about the battery cover – one of the failings of the r-09hr is that the battery cover is not held in by particularly strong clips. I managed to lose mine within about a week of buying the device. Covers are available which can prevent this irritating flaw. While we’re on the subject of batteries, the battery life of the device is surprisingly good. You can expect about 3.5 to 4.5 hours out of a good pair of batteries, or even longer if you play about with some settings (discussed later). The small rubber feet on the back of the device are surprisingly good at dampening contact noise on flat surfaces.

Finally, on the bottom of the device you will find a small rubber flap covering the spring loaded SD card slot and the USB input. The device can be used as a card reader through this input if you don’t have a dedicated reader. A small note about the rubber flap – be sure to always close it properly when you’re finished using the USB input or the card slot. The hinges which attach it to the device are not particularly strong and if left open the flap may break off, permanently exposing the SD card. This isn’t very likely but it’s worth considering.

HOW TO RECORD WITH THE ONBOARD MIC

  1. Make sure you have a card with enough space and a pair of good batteries inserted.
  2. Make sure the hold switch is turned off.
  3. Turn the device on by holding down the power button on the right hand side.
  4. Prime to record by pressing the record button once. The red lights around the record button and on the top of the device will begin flashing to indicate that the device is primed. You are not recording yet!
  5. If you want to use Automatic Gain Control, make sure the limiter/AGC switch is turned on and that the limiter/AGC setting in the input set up menu is set to AGC. The menu settings are discussed later in this guide. If you don’t want to use AGC…
  6. Set your levels by adjusting the input level controls on the left of the device. You can do this visually by watching the monitor levels on the screen move. They should never touch the far right end of the bar – this is called peaking or clipping and will result in distortion to your recording. You can tell if you are clipping if the peak warning light flashes red. You can also set your levels by monitoring the sound through your headphones. When doing this make sure to set the monitoring volume with the volume controls to a level you are comfortable with. It is very important to remember that the volume controls do NOT effect the recording! Even though the audio may sound good through your headphones, if the input level is too low you will have a very quiet recording.
  7. Press the record button once more. The red lights will now change from flashing to solid light. The screen will now show you the amount of time you have been recording for.
  8. If you want to split your recording into two or more files without stopping, press the split button. If you can’t think of a reason that you’d want to do this, just ignore the button.
  9. You can pause and restart your recording with the play/pause button, and when you are finished you can press the stop button to end the recording.

PLAYING YOUR RECORDINGS BACK

  1. Make sure you have the card with your recordings on it and a pair of good batteries inserted.
  2. Make sure the hold switch is turned off.
  3. Turn the device on by holding down the power button on the right hand side.
  4. Press left or right to scroll through the files on the card. You will see the names scroll past at the very top of the screen. Alternatively, if you have a lot of files…
  5. Press the finder button to open the edirol’s file explorer.
  6. Navigate through the list of files with the up and down keys and select the file you would like to play with the enter key.
  7. Another menu will open*. Highlight “select” and press the enter key again.
  8. Press play to play your file. You can pause by pressing the same key again.
  9. Hold down fast foward to skip through the track or rewind to skip backwards.
  10. press stop to stop your playback.

*The edirol’s finder has a surprisingly robust set of file management tools, but they are far beyond the scope of this guide. Every function in the finder is probably better done once you’ve uploaded the files to your computer. If you do want to find out more about the finder’s functionality, the documentation is very thorough in Roland’s manual (I think they’re quite proud of it).

SOME USEFUL MENU SETTINGS AND HOW TO FIND THEM

Before we begin, here’s how to get into the main menu screen.

  1. Make sure you have the card with your recordings on it and a pair of good batteries inserted.
  2. Make sure the hold switch is turned off.
  3. Turn the device on by holding down the power button on the right hand side.
  4. Press the menu button.

While you are in the menu, you can navigate up and down with the up and down keys, scroll between options with the left and right keys, select options with enter(record) and go back or cancel with the menu key. It’s fairly intuitive once you have a go.

The menu has 14 options. The ones that we’re going to look at in this guide are recorder setup, display setup, power manage, input setup, remote control, date & time, SD card, and factory reset. We won’t be covering settings which have little practical use, or which are too advanced for this entry level guide.

Recorder Setup
In this menu you can change your sample rate, recording mode, and max file size. You can see in the picture above that I have my sample rate and recording mode at the maximum settings because I am a purist who loves filling entire hard drives with old recordings. Changing these settings can be useful if you’re recording a meeting or something like that – you need a long record time and don’t care about quality. The maximum file size setting should be left on 2gb unless you have an ancient, tiny SD card.

Display Setup
In this menu you can change the brightness and display timer. You can see in the photo that I have the brightness at 10 – this is far too bright for normal use and was for photographic purposes only. The screen brightness can have a considerable affect on the battery life of the device, so if you’re starting to worry that your batteries won’t make it you could turn this down. The display timer sets how long the screen should stay awake. The default 5 seconds is good for battery life but is extremely irritating.

Power Management
This menu only has two options but they’re both very important. Auto power off determines how long the device will stay on without any button presses. This doesn’t mean it will cut off your recording – during playback and recording this time is ignored. It does mean that if you accidentally switch the device on and leave it that it won’t completely drain your batteries (you should have had the hold switch on!). The battery type selection is more useful than you might think – for arcane chemical reasons you must select the right type of battery for the battery indicator to show the correct amount of time remaining. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have half a charge left when you only have 2 minutes.

Input Setup
Four useful options in this one. The mysteriously named “rec monitor sw” actually determines whether or not you can monitor audio through headphones while recording. If you’re not hearing anything, this might be set to “off”. EXT mic type switches between mono and stereo on the mic input, saving you a bit of hassle in the edit later on. Limiter/AGC is an important setting. It switches the mode of the limiter/AGC switch on the back of the device between the two settings. The limiter option is a simple peak guard – it stops your recording from peaking (but you shouldn’t be peaking anyway). AGC stands for Automatic Gain Control, which (theoretically) sets your levels automatically. It can be good when you’re in a rush but can’t compete with a skilled human. Finally, the edirol allows you to select the low cut frequency, a surprisingly advanced feature for an entry level device. If you don’t know what this means just leave it at 200Hz and move on – it’s not that important.

Remote Control
This one is extremely simple – enable or disable your optional remote control. The only reason I bother to mention this one is in case you ever end up in a scenario with more than one edirol in the same room – this is how to stop one remote controlling them all.

Date & Time
Scroll through the year, month etc with left and right, changing them with up and down. Again this is fairly simple, but I only mention it because it’s often overlooked and can make your life a lot easier when you are logging or editing.

SD Card
The information option in here is useful to show how much space is left on the card. Format allows you to wipe the card completely – you may hear people refer to this as “initialising” the card as well as “formatting”. Only do this once you’re absolutely, completely sure you have backed up all the files on the card that you will need! The only way to retrieve files from a formatted card is with time consuming and very fiddly data recovery software.

Factory Reset
This final menu is the nuclear option if you have a problem and you can’t figure out how to fix it. Factory reset will reset every option on the edirol (except the physical switches on the back) to the default. Importantly, it won’t format your card.

Miscellaneous information (some general tips which don’t fit anywhere else)

  • ECO Mode claims to extend the battery life to 7.5 hours(!) but has absolutely no documentation. Experimentation has been inconclusive so it’s up to you if you want to select this potentially placebo option. No reason not to, I suppose!
  • A major problem with the device is handling noise. The rubberised surface is good for grip and stops the squeaky plastic noises you get with a lot of devices, but the edirol is seriously let down by the volume and input control buttons. The buttons don’t fit snugly into the frame and are given to rattling. If you know the device will face a lot of vibration it might be worth taping these buttons down. Through experience I have found that during use the best technique is to hold the device in such a way that your hand does not touch either of these suspect sets of buttons.
  • It’s worth mentioning some basic recording principles – make sure the stereo mic is pointing in the direction of the thing you’re recording. For the edirol, that means point the device at the audio source. This is especially important if you’re recording an interview and you’re speaking to the person you’re interviewing – make sure you point it at your mouth then their mouth!

Robert Ruthven wrote this guide, with thanks to Sadie Woods who kindly lent her edirol for the photographs. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below, especially if you think I’ve missed something out! The best way to get some experience with the edirol is around other people – we run a weekly workshop in Ayr, Scotland which you can find out about on our facebook.

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