Yamaha Pocketrak 2G review: Yamaha Pocketrak 2G

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The Good The Yamaha Pocketrak 2G is one of the smallest high-quality portable audio recorders we've seen, and includes a built-in USB stick, rechargeable AAA battery, and professional recording software.

The Bad The Yamaha Pocketrak 2G's maximum recording quality is the minimum standard for professional use; its memory can't be expanded, and there are few advanced settings.

The Bottom Line The Yamaha Pocketrak 2G's design is ideal for stealth recordings, but its high price and scarce features make it hard to recommend over the competition.

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6.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6

The Yamaha Pocketrak 2G is one of the smallest and lightest high-end portable audio recorders available today. There's nothing small about the Pocketrak 2G's $450 price, however, and its limited features and recording capacity will have demanding users heading toward Yamaha's bulkier competition.

The Pocketrak 2G is marketed toward recording musicians, but its lightweight, low-profile design is just dying to be used for covert spy missions and concert bootlegging. Clad in a glossy black plastic and measuring 4.75 inches by 1.25 inches by 0.25 inch (HWD), the Pocketrak 2G is easily concealed in your pocket, or tucked away in some dark corner. The Pocketrak 2G's built-in stereo microphone takes up the last half inch of the top of the device, and can be angled up on its hinge to prevent it from picking up vibrations when laid on a table.

The front of the Pocketrak 2G is surprisingly spare, and includes a small 1-inch backlit LCD, and a central record button flanked by smaller delete and stop keys. Just like the micro-cassette recorders of days past, the majority of the Pocketrak 2G's controls are located on the right edge of the player. Unfortunately, because of the Pocketrak 2G's slender design, the play and skip buttons (which double as menu controls) located on the edge of the player are tiny as Tic Tacs and awkward to use while keeping an eye on the screen.

One of the Pocketrak 2G's most unique features is a built-in USB stick, hidden behind a trap door at the bottom of the player, allowing cable-free transfers of your recordings to your computer and a chance to recharge the included battery.
Compared with competitors such as the Zoom H2, Edirol R-09, and Olympus LS-10, the features of the Yamaha Pocketrak 2G are relatively few. You won't find microphone compressor settings, low-cut filters, or 24-bit recording modes on the Pocketrak 2G, and the inability to expand its memory beyond the built-in 2GB is certainly a drawback. That said, the practical advantages of the Pocketrak 2G's compact size may have you overlooking its modest technical features.

The Pocketrak 2G includes five recording quality modes: PCM (16-bit, 44.1kHz, stereo WAV); XHQ (128kbps stereo MP3); HQ (64kbps stereo MP3), SP (32kbps stereo MP3); and LP (16kbps mono MP3). We found the PCM and XHQ settings work well for recording live music, but the lower-resolution settings are useful only for interviews and voice memos.

The Yamaha Pocketrak 2G includes a leather case, earbuds, a tripod mount adapter, and a USB extension cable.

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