Cheap SD memory – Don’t Do It!

Cheap memory - Don't Do It!We’ve recently had an horrific experience. Having recorded a few great interviews using the excellent Zoom H4 digital audio recorder, gone to download them to the Mac for processing, only to find that some of them were zero length – apparently completely inaccessible.

The sinking of the heart that occurs and the sheer blind panic shouldn’t be experienced by anyone, so we’re going to pass on our experience to you in the hope that you don’t ever have to live through the same.

The Zoom H4 has always performed well for us. it produces excellent quality stereo recordings with no hint of data lost.

We recently bought a number of items from a cheap online electronics site, and to maximise the value we were going to get from having to pay the delivery charge, we trawled through the site to identify any other bits and bobs that we might need.

One we hit on was more SD memory for the Zoom. We had a couple of SanDisk 4Gb SD’s, but the Zoom didn’t acknowledge them. We knew that 2Gb SD’s worked in the Zoom, so tacked it onto the order.

First bad experience
First trip out for the new memory was to record a live gig at FreeQuay by Ergo Phizmiz and James Nye.

On getting the recordings back, we were amazed to see that they were both of zero length, when they should have been a couple of hours long each.

Huge disappointment. The gig was a live jam, so the recordings lost were repeatable.

Being sensible, balanced-types we thought we’d reformat the cheap SD memory in the Zoom and carry out a couple of test recordings. These appeared to go well and were listen-able.

Cheap memory - Don't Do It!Oh, the horror!
Off we trot to a hugely important, exclusive interview that we’d worked hard to secure. The people were in the UK for a short period, and the interview slot couldn’t be repeated.The conversation flowed easily and the interview couldn’t have gone better.

I then went on to do another interview elsewhere – again it flowed really well.

Getting to transfer the recordings to the computer for massaging I was horrified to see that the last ones looked blank! Shocked, my palms went clammy as I realised that the first interview couldn’t be repeated.

As the blood returned to my face, I started looking at all of the recordings. Relief – two of the unrepeatable recordings where there, but I’d lost the middle one and the second interview wasn’t recallable at all. They all remain like that too.

My recommendation
I for one will never buy any memory apart from SanDisk. They’ve proved to be totally reliable and trustworthy.

If tempted by cheap memory, I would suggest that you don’t do it, go with one that’s prove its reliability.

2 thoughts on “Cheap SD memory – Don’t Do It!”

  1. How wonderfully old fashioned! – I’m kidding, I know you’re tech-tastic.

    I know a lot of people still trust their interviewing lives to Minidisc, and I’ve used them with no hitches previously. Having said that I’ve also heard of people that _have_ had problems.

    As the old hackneyed phrase goes, “You pays your money, and you takes your choice.” – In the case of memory, that appears to be pretty spot on.

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