Cain, Joe

Head of Department, and
Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology

Prof Cain's research interests include the history of evolutionary studies (especially the synthesis period in evolutionary studies), Darwin and Darwinism, history of science in London, and history of natural history.

Publications via UCL's IRIS service (link)

0207 679 3041 (UK)
+442076793041 (intl)
Twitter: @profjoecain

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equipment specifications and notes

Obama interview

Voices Project. This page describes equipment useful for recording oral history. See Dr Joe Cain for more information. 

Note: there's a great deal of kit out there, things change quickly. These are my individual notes, drawn from real use. I do not aim to keep perfectly up-to-date or to consider all possibilities. Do your consumer research before buying.


Marantz PMD620

(datasheet | manual | Web site) Highly portable. Easy to use. Excellent sound quality. Useful for casual recording in the field.


Marantz PMD660

(datasheet | manual | audio samples)
Highly portable. Easy to use. Excellent sound quality. Ideal for all environments, including broadcast quality.

This model has been updated with the Marantz PMD661 (datasheet | Web)


Olympus WS320M

(datasheet | audio samples | Web)
A bit fiddlely; use takes a bit of training. Sound quality is fair to good. Microphone sensitively good but not great. Plug and play technology works best with Olympus transcription tools. Useful for casual recording in the field. File formats (WMA) not ideal. Good as a lower cost option, but preference is for the PMD620.

This model has been updated with the Olympus WS331M (Web), key upgrade is 2Gb memory, rather than 1Gb in WS320. Highly portable. Self-contained.


SoundDesign USBPre

(brochure | Web)
Recording direct to PC via USB. Requires recording software, such as Audacity or RecordPad, and microphones. Good for mixing two microphones or one microphone and other audio inputs. A bit fiddley. Not portable. Expensive, too. This does not run on Windows 64-bit operating systems. Review.

This piece of equipment has been superceded by other, far less expensive, USB podcast starter kits, such as the Behringer Podcastudio. For a in-studio project, non-demanding project, these alternatives seem better.


Marantz PMD222 cassette

(brochure | manual | audio samples)

Page last modified on 19 feb 14 19:14 by Joe Cain

Professor Joe Cain
UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies