This past weekend I danced my heart and legs off at the Contra Carnivale dance festival held in San Luis Obispo, California. An estimated 225 contradancers from the United States and Canada met for the fun-filled event.
While I left my computers at home, I did bring my iPhone. On Friday night, I conducted my one and only test of Griffin Technology’s iTalk for iPhone to record one of the dance numbers.
iTalk records in mono, only. For testing purposes, I chose the 22 kHz (Better) setting. I stood at a sharp angle to the stage about 15-20 feet from the musicians and caller. The original length of my master recording was 7:37 which I transferred to my hard drive as an uncompressed AIF file weighing in at 19.2 mb. I reduced the length of the track to 4:53 and used iTunes to save it as an MP3 that reduced the filesize to 1.2 mb.
Quality-wise, I would rate my test track as acceptable, given the circumstances. The current release of the software does not offer any kind of volume input control. Some of the music was recorded at levels that were on the verge of clipping (0 db). Had I stood closer to the stage, I would have exceeded the clipping threshold throughout the recording. I used EQ settings and filters in Soundtrack Pro to maximize the dynamic range and improve the overall quality.
I felt that the iTalk/iPhone combination captured the energy and essence of the dance music. On the other hand, I was disappointed that iTalk refused to launch when I tried to use the software to record other dance numbers. I don’t know if this is a bug or a limitation with the free version of iTalk.
Contra dance (also contradance, contra-dance and other variant spellings) refers to several folk dance styles in which couples dance in two facing lines of indefinite length. Contra dances can be found around the world, though they are especially popular in the United States.