Medeli DR2 24-Bit WAV/MP3 Recorder

Edit: 13 April 10 – SD supports up to 2Gb.

What do you want when you need to record affirmations, suggestions, nature sounds or other content for your AVS sessions?

Simplicity? Clean, crisp stereo or mono recordings? Portability? Ease of access to recordings?

The Medeli DR2 is all of this and more. I’ve been looking at digital recorders for a while now. I thought I was all set with the iPod Touch/Blue Mikey/Fire combo, but alas, there we do not have a winner. Music/rock shops are the place to look for cool audio equipment, and I regularly lurk at a couple of local stores. The Medeli came to my attention when one of my clients, Musical Import Co., asked me to do an ad layout for the Medeli range. It had all the features I wanted, and the NZ$399.00 recommended retail fitted the budget. Musico kindly lent me a unit for evaluation – a week later I paid without hesitation.

So, what is the DR2? It’s exactly what it says it is – a 24-bit WAV/MP3 recorder. Really it’s just a glorified MP3 player/recorder, but it has a feature set orientated towards the semi-professional musician or audio engineer.

The black grille at the top of the unit conceals four microphones (2 or 4 selectable from the menu), providing wide-field stereo input. There’s automatic level control with hi/lo switching, or an input level rocker switch on the right hand side. Herein is probably the one unfortunate thing about the DR2 – the switches are all click-action and the case has a noticeable creak when the switches are operated – all caught beautifully on the inbuilt microphones. The key is to set everything up, check a test recording, and then put the DR2 down and leave it alone for the duration of the recording. Or use an external microphone, plugged into the 3.5mm socket on the right hand side. There’s also a 3.5mm stereo line input socket – works beautifully with my Behringer mixer.

The brilliant, sharp blue OLED display provides level, time, filename and feature information. I think I’m in love with OLED – it’s the first display I’ve been able to use easily in full sunlight.

Controls are all obvious and clearly labelled. A monitor switch allows input to be monitored via headphones, or silenced. The effect button activates the effect selected via the menu – reverb (room or hall), chorus, pitch shift or delay (echo). Personally I can’t see myself using effects on the master recording, preferring to do such things on the PC later, but who knows.

The DR2 records to SD card – 1 or 2GB with a 1GB supplied. A 3V power adapter is also included (otherwise 2x AA batteries).

Accessing recordings is a breeze – plug in the USB and there they are, appearing as a standard removable disk, no drivers required.

There’s many little features that please me – little touches like the tripod socket on the bottom and a “real” on off switch.

Probably the thing I like most is the 24-bit quality and the fact that I can use it away from my PCs – it’s better than any of my sound cards, and I don’t have to get rid of background PC noise (it’s amazing just how much noise a typical PC makes in a smallish space!). I expect that I will be using it for most of my recordings, even when there is a PC at hand.

So there it is – a real need met without fuss.

Cheers,
Craig

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Comments

  • John Reynolds  On April 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Dear Craig could you please help me yo achieve the full satisfaction of using the Medeli DR2 by helping to find the way to connect it to my Macbook. It doesn’t seem to work.

    • CraigT  On April 28, 2010 at 7:14 am

      Hi John,
      What exactly doesn’t work? On PCs it acts just like a USB media device – no fuss at all.
      Cheers,
      Craig

  • Massimo Grieco  On May 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I wonder if the 24bit mode wave sampling rate can be set to 96 KHz

    Thanks

    • CraigT  On May 27, 2011 at 4:24 am

      Specifications are 16/24 bit at 44.1/48k sample rates.

      Cheers,
      Craig

  • Darko  On November 25, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Hello Craig, thanks for your review. I am considering DR2 or DR3 model at the moment, but I have a question since there is no information on the web or in the specs.

    1. What do you think of a A/D convertor quality built into this unit and about 4 microphones? Can you tell me is this unit noisy, what noise margin this unit has for line input?

    What is Signal-to-Noise ratio or S/N for short on a Line input? (you can test this by recording a blank file from a line input and checking it in Wavosaur or SoundForge for a noise floor). If you need my assistance let me know.

    2. I found a comparison test on a german blog DR2 against ZOOM H2 and I have to say according to that test ZOOM H2 built-in mics have a much better bass response. What is your opinion on this, because that test might not be a professional one, because this unit has a bass-compensation or something, there is no detailed info about the test itself.

    3. Do you have some info or opinion about newer DR3 model? It is slightly more expensive. Simply looking at it this DR3 unit might have better microphones (only 2, but that is not important).

    Thanks
    Darko

    • CraigT  On November 25, 2011 at 9:26 am

      Hi Darko,

      I have found the DR2 completely satisfactory for general field recording. The microphone arrngement has worked well for both voice and ambient recording. Noise hasn’t been an issue. My demands haven’t been all that great. Apart from the iPod with the Blue Mikey I haven’t used any other devices – I prefer the DR2 over the iPod solution. It’s a while since I’ve had reason use either, more recently using the FastTrack and AKG microphones with a laptop. There’s nothing more that I really add.

      Cheers,
      Craig

  • Darko  On November 25, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Thanks Craig for your reply, your blog certanly helped. I already made an agreement with the seller to personally test both DR2 and DR3 and pick a better device (I have to pick one, that was the agreement). Will bookmark this place and later put my findings for both devices for all people interested.

    • CraigT  On November 26, 2011 at 7:32 am

      Excellent – I shall look forward to your impressions. I always appreciate feedback and especially the opinions of others on the equipment I’ve reviewed or methods I’ve described.

      Cheers,
      Craig

  • Darko  On November 30, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Today I got DR3 (Firmware revision 1.2)

    After 2 hours of testing, I picked DR3 simply because of small features that were not available in DR2 Firmware revision 1.7 (I could not upgrade to latest 3.4 for obvious reasons). From a amateur point of view, this two recorders are virtually the same. Same sonic characteristics from implemented excellent microphones, same recording quality and similar options – one can’t make huge mistake choosing any of them. There are some minor differences in the controls (analog pots in DR3 for playback volume and recording levels vs. digital buttons) but that is not important. Also, DR2 feels more “plastic” than DR3, also built from plastic, but much sturdier without crackings wich exist in DR2. Also, buttons are of much higher quality in DR3. All this is not so important in my opinion, given the very low price and great sound quality.

    Important differences: DR3 connected with Sansa Clip via Line-In (this the best source I had at the moment) gives -79 dB peak Noise level, while DR2 gives -72 dB (SoundForge checked). 6 dB differnece is good thing, but for amateur/semi-pro recording either is really enough, noise is really low.

    I already said sound was virtually the same, but DR3 gives much “focused” stereo image then DR2, because of 90 degrees placement of the microphones. I also beleive microphones are slightly more sensitive in DR3, from the same distance sound is luder.

    In the next couple of days I will post detailed review with test files for download on my homepage http://www.darkoangeleski.co.cc

    Hope this helps.
    Cheers!

    • CraigT  On December 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Darko,

      Much appreciated. Pleased to hear that the DR3 deals with the creaky case – that really was my only significant objection to the DR2.

      Happy recording!

      Cheers,
      Craig

  • Darko  On December 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks Craig, the more I play with DR3 the more I realise I’ve made a right choice. Stereo image is really superb. I will also reveal a secret feature of DR3 (there is a remote possibility it’s also present on DR2), hopefully for the weekend when I find some time to write a detail test. There are also 2 things I wrote about to Medeli and got acknowledgment they will be considered for a change in the future firmware release.

  • giuseppe scavo  On May 31, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Come faccio a escludere il microfono per registrare a filo diretto con il mixer?
    Giuseppe

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