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A Gizmo update: Belkin's TuneTalk Stereo for iPod

Glaskowsky provides some additional information about Belkin's TuneTalk Stereo.

I'd like to provide some additional information provided by Belkin as a followup to my review of the TuneTalk Stereo earlier in the week.

Belkin public relations coordinator Jacqueline Romulo wrote to me after the review appeared to confirm that the TuneTalk Stereo is not currently compatible with the iPod classic, and said it was listed as compatible on the Belkin Web site by mistake. (Indeed, it's no longer listed on Belkin's page for the iPod classic.)

In a subsequent e-mail, Romulo provided this statement, published here with Belkin's permission:

Our product managers conducted tests to define compatibility/incompatibility issues between the TuneTalk Stereo and the iPod classic.

Here is what we have concluded:

• When pressed, the "Quick Memo" button does fail to bring the iPod to the recording screen as stated in the manual.

• The LED does fail to indicate that recording is in progress.

• The mini-USB cable does charge the iPod, but it fails to sync your iPod with your computer. It also fails to be automatically recognized by your computer when connected.

• TuneTalk Stereo does allow recordings through the external input jack and microphone. However in order to start a new recording session, you have to navigate through the iPod menu using the iPod's interface.

With any new iPod release there will inevitably be compatibility issues. Since your review, we have removed the TuneTalk Stereo from our iPod classic compatibility list. We are also working to update this product so that it is compatible with all the new iPod platforms.

Interestingly, I was testing the TuneTalk Stereo the other night with the USB cable connected, and suddenly it did start syncing with my MacBook Pro. I waited for it to finish, ejected the iPod from the Mac, reconnected everything again, and it re-synced. Also, sometimes the red LED does indicate that recording is in progress. So whatever's wrong with these features on the TuneTalk Stereo when used with the iPod classic, sometimes they fail to, well, fail.

Although the TuneTalk doesn't work perfectly, it works well enough, and I'm planning to use it a lot next week at the Intel Developer Forum. Much of my testing lately has been designed to prove the unit will work there; if not, there's still the Belkin Voice Recorder for iPod I've been using on my fourth-generation iPod. I think the audio quality of the new unit is better than that of the old one, but the volume level is a bit lower, even with the TuneTalk's "Autogain" switch turned on. I hope to pick up a good external microphone over the weekend and see what that's like, too.

The most recent test was for recording duration without recourse to wall power. It involved a little 3.4-ounce accessory I just purchased and produced a continuous recording time of about nine hours...but I'll save the details for my next post.