iKey-Audio RM3 Digital Recorder Review
DJ Blaze takes the iKey-Audio RM3 Digital Rack Mounted recorder through it’s paces to give us this full written review…If you need an external digital recording device that you can easily record your set on and take it with you in a USB drive or SD card then the RM3 is going to be the right choice for you! (full written review inside).
The iKey-Audio RM3 Digital Rack mount recorder is a standalone audio capture device that allows DJ’s to record their set or gig in many different audio formats directly onto SD memory cards or USB flash/hard drives.
In the box:
(1) AC/DC Power Adapter
(1) User Manual
(1) 1GB SD Memory Card
(2) RCA Cables
(1) Cable to PC USB cable
The iKey-Audio RM3 is made of a full metal construction and is 19-inches wide; making it perfect for any standard rack that other DJ gear resides in. All of the buttons on the front of the unit are made of a rubbery-type material that has an audible “click” when pressed. There is also a Jog Wheel present for file searching and volume recording level control. There are a plethora of inputs and outputs on the RM3 which makes it easy to integrate into just about any DJ system. There are Balanced ¼-inch inputs on the front along with a ¼-inch MIC input. Around the back, there are two Balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) outputs for pass through ability. There are also RCA and Microphone inputs located on the back panel. You can also monitor your media thru the 1/4” phono/line output provided on the front of the RM3, which has its own dedicated plastic knob for volume adjustment. There is also a USB-B slot on the rear of the RM3 so that a user can plug a computer directly into the RM3 for file extraction.
As listed above, there are many different ways to connect your gear to the RM3 for recording. I chose to use the RCA input method by running an RCA cable from my mixer’s Booth output over to the rear RCA inputs of the iKey-Audio RM3. I also tried connecting it using the Master output on my mixer and going directly through the RM3 then to my amplifier by using the XLR balanced outputs. This method worked just as good as the previous method. Although I thought the sound was fuller when using the Booth output on my mixer instead of using the RM3 as a pass through system.
The main and only function of the RM3 is to record the output in a digital media format onto a USB drive or SD memory card. In this regard, the iKey-Audio does exactly as it is advertised. The recording of audio files can be done in MP3 of 128, 256, or 320 kbps and it can be switched to WAV files as well. All of this is controlled by the push of the format button at any time. The recordings can be done on SD cards of up to 4GB and USB drives of ANY capacity. Every time I recorded using the SD card, the setup worked flawlessly for any file type selected. I ran into a few troubles with the USB flash drive recordings while using my Sandisk Cruzer flash drives of 4GB and 16GB. Sometimes the flash drive would record and other times the files would be corrupt. I would say it worked about 50% of the time. Almost every time I managed to record a file to USB (whether it actually recorded or not), I had to reset the RM3 as it would lose communication to the flash drive and display an error message. These errors still occurred with my Sandisk Cruzer drives even after reformatting. I’m not sure if this is just an issue with that brand of drive or if my RM3 USB port may have simply been defective.
In order to start a recording, all you have to do is slip in the SD card and press the format button until the proper format is highlighted. Then the user presses the record button to enter into record mode. The small LCD screen on the RM3 will then display the time of the recording along with the Left and Right recording level. Before recording has begun, the user can use the big Jog Wheel to change the recording volume so that the levels aren’t clipping, but are loud enough for the sound to be rich and clean. After getting the recording level just right, all that needs to be done is to press record. You can start and stop a recording at any time by pressing the record button. Once a recording is finished, simply press the stop button and the recorded track will save onto the device. The LCD screen will then display the newly recorded tracks found on the device. The user can use the jog wheel to highlight and select any recorded file so that it can be played back on the headphone/Line output found on the front of the RM3. In order to start a new recording, simply repeat the process. The recordings all came out nice, clear, and crisp. Just like with all things audio, the higher the kbps; the higher the sound quality.
Conclusion (Recommended For):
In conclusion, I would say the iKey-Audio RM3 is a suitable rack-mount digital recorder that most DJ’s will find more than satisfactory. The sound quality was very good and the recording options and countless numbers of ways to integrate the RM3 into any DJ system make this a versatile digital recording unit. The USB drive recording was hit or miss, as I had issues here and there, but when it worked; it did so very well. When recording with the SD card option (1GB included) the RM3 was more than adequate enough for my needs and it was easy to transfer the files from the RM3 to the computer using the supplied USB cable. I had no issues whatsoever when it came to SD card recordings. Overall, I would recommend the RM3 to any DJ who needs an external digital audio recorder with many different input/output options for system connectivity.
-Record in MP3 and Wav files
-Many different Inputs and Output options
-Decent Price Point
-Great Sound quality
-USB drive recording was Hit or Miss with Sandisk Flash Drives
Features & Specs
* 19” 1U Rack Mount
* Full color LCD screen
* Records from any MONO or STEREO line source
* Records 128, 256 and 320 kbps MP3 files and WAV files (16-bit/44.1kHz)
* Record direct to the included SD card right out of the box (1 GB)
* SD (up to 4GB) or SDHC (up to 32GB) compatible
* Record direct to USB flash drive, any capacity (not included)*
* Combo XLR and ¼” Microphone inputs with Mic/Line switch
* Front and rear RCA inputs
* 1/4-inch (6.3mm Jack) line input
* 1/4-inch (6.3mm Jack) headphone/line output
* Balanced XLR outputs
* RCA outputs
* Rotary Headphone volume control
* Input gain switch with 3 input gain levels – 20 db, 0 db and +10 db
* Adjustable record level with digital input VU
* Easily playback previously recorded media
* Easily download to a computer with the included USB cable
* AC adaptor included
* Compatible with FAT and FAT32 format only
Channels: 2 (stereo)
Recording Format: MP3: 128, 256, 320 Kbps;
WAV: 44.1 kHz
Recording Media: SD (64 MB-4GB)
Any supported FAT-USB drive
USB compatibility: USB 1.0, 1.1, 2.0
Sampling Rate: 44.1kHz, 16 Bit
Dynamic Range: 98 dB
THD+N: -91 dB
Freq Response: 20Hz – 20KHz
Input Impedance: Line: 10K ?
Mic: 1K ?
Nominal Input Levels: Low Gain: 1V RMS (0 dBV)
Mid Gain: .5V RMS (-6 dBV)
High Gain: .13V RMS (-17 dBV)
Maximum Input Levels: Low Gain: 2.5V RMS (+8 dBV)
Mid Gain: .68V RMS (-3 dBV)
High Gain: .25V RMS (-12 dBV)
Output Impedance: 30 ?
Maximum Output: Line (10K ?): 0.7V RMS (-3 dBV)
Phono (32 ?): 0.35V RMS (-9 dBV)
Power Source 1000mA DC adaptor
* Weight: 5.29 lbs./2.4kgs
* Dimensions (W x H x D): 19” x 1.75” x 9.96”
* Dimensions (W x H x D): 483 x 45 x 253 mm
Best Price for the iKey-Audio RM3 Digital Recorder