Orban Sountainer portable targets live MP3 recording.

By Robert Menta - 01/25/02

Here is an interesting new digital music player. Actually it's a player/recorder targeted to professionals or anyone else who wants to record voice and music on the fly digitally.

Developed by DIALOG4/ORBAN the unit is called the Sountainer, a fliptop portable about the dimensions of a cell phone. Emphasized as an audio field recorder, the unit was designed for broadcasters, journalists, and artists who wish to record a live feed of their performance off the mixing board.

The Sountainer comes with both a Mic and Line-in jack that can be used simultaneously and whose signals can be mixed during recording. The unit also includes a Line-out jack for monitoring or transferring the music to analog sources. Recordings can be made in either mono or stereo.

Sountainer player/recorder

Multimedia (MMC) flash cards are used to store recordings. The unit has MMC two slots, which gives the player a top end of 256MB of memory. As higher capacity MMC cards are released this summer, that top end will increase.

The best new about this unit is that it is not SDMI compliant. All music, whether recorded on this portable or downloaded on the Net, can be freely swapped between PC and player. The Sountainer uses the standard USB connection to facilitate uploads and downloads.

The Sountainer runs on two rechargeable NiMH AA batteries, allowing 8 hours of playback time and 4 hours of recording time.

The Sountainer is capable of recording at the 32, 64, 96, 128 kbps data rate. We find it a little curious why - as a professional player - this unit doesn't record at higher bit rates. For example, the Archos Recorder Jukebox records up to 160kbps on the fly. Those using the unit for voice recording certainly don't need any more than 64kbps, but the recording of music is another matter. 128kbps is the standard for most music files traded on the Net and is more than adequate for the job. Still, some users prefer the better sound that comes with higher bit rates. Also, since recordings made on the Sountainer are the master, one would expect many will want to record the archive copy at as high a quality setting as possible.

We have no pricing information on this player yet or when it will be available for purchase. For more info you can check the company's website here. Below are the specifications for the player:

ISO/MPEG1 Audio Layer III (MP3)

32, 64, 96, 128 kbps

Mono, Stereo

16, 32, 44.1, 48 kHz

Input Level: Adjustable -60 to -40 dBu
Impedance: unbalanced 600 ohms
A/D Conversion: 18-bit.
Connector: 3.5mm Stereo Mini-Jack

Input Level: Adjustable -20 to 0 dBu
Impedance: >10k ohms
A/D Conversion: 18-bit.
Connector: 3.5mm Stereo Mini-Jack

Output Level: Adjustable -4 to +21 dBu
Source Impedance:
10 ohms, ±5%, unbalanced
Load Impedance: 50 ohms or greater, unbalanced. Capable of Headphone drive. Termination not required.
D/A Conversion: 20-bit.
Connector: 3.5mm Stereo Mini-Jack

24-Bit, 100 MHz Motorola Symphony DSP.

Medium: MMC (MultimediaCards) - 2 Slots.
Capacity: 16 - 256 MB

Display: Graphical LC-Display, 100 x 64 dots.
Keypad: Multifunctional touch keypad.

USB 1.0

Batteries: 2 x 1.5V AA.
Operating Time:
Recording Mode: approx. 4 hours*
Playback Mode: approx. 8 hours*
* When using 1.600 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries.
Safety Standards: UL, CE

Operating Temperature Range: 32°-122° F/0°-50° C at nominal operating voltages.
Humidity: 0-95% RH, non-condensing.
Size: (W x D x H): 62 x 110 x 24 mm
Weight: 140 g (incl. Batteries).
Shipping Weight: 0.0lb/0.0kg

The Orban Sountainer is designed according to protection class 1 (EN 60950/VDE 0805/IEC 950). The Declaration of Conformity constitutes the conformity with the EG Regulations: EMC 89/336/EWG and 72/23/EWG. The Orban Sountainer corresponds to the EMC harmonized standards DIN EN 55103-1 (June 97) -interference radiation, ambience E1 and DIN EN 55103-2 (June 97) - resistance to jamming, ambience E5. The Orban Sountainer is a telecommunication unit and has the following National approval for EURO-ISDN: A 120371F.
The Orban Sountainer is manufactured by a subcontracted company certified according to ISO 9000 and ISO 9001.


This Nike PSA[Play 120 comes with 64MB of memory and an external remote control unit and is available for purchase on Amazon

Other Stories:
Creative's Nomad 3 Goes FireWire
Review: The New Pay Napster
Rio's New 20GB Jukebox Player
Clean LimeWire - All the flavor without all the SpyWare


Back to