lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2008

1st Gen iPod Nano Line-In Recording

So I managed to get my 1st Generation iPod Nano to record audio... yeeepe!!!

This probably does not sound very exciting these days of iPhones, iTouchs and 5th, 6th or whatever Nano generation we are at now, but it is definately exciting to me and probably to many other proud owners of (so far) the last "hackable" iPod (and by hackable I mean the last one that allows changing the operating system).

I got the Nano as a birthday present when it came out 3 years ago. Since then, I have been looking at the iPod Linux project status every now and then, hoping they will start supporting audio recording through the iPod Connector line input. But that never happened. One day, while browsing through the iPodLinux forums, I found the RockBox project, a multiplatform and open source firmware for mp3 players. Some people in the RockBox forum claimed that they got their 1st Gen iPod Nanos to record from line in, so I got a PodBreakout from SparkFun Electronics and eventually tried it. After some failiures, mainly due to my hurry and usual lack of time, I managed to find some spare time, did some decent soldering and got it to work.

The steps I followed were the following (follow them at your own risk):
  1. Install RockBox in my Nano (follow the instructions for that in the RockBox web page, it is very simple). You get some cool games for your iPod as a bonus.
  2. Solder a jack connector to the PodBreakout. The pinout is the following (full pinout is here):
    • Pin 2 in the PodBreakout goes to the ground in the jack (the jack sleeve)
    • Pin 5 in the PodBreakout goes to the right channel in the jack (the jack ring)
    • Pin 6 in the PodBreakout goes to the left channel in the jack (the jack tip)
  3. Configure RockBox for input through the Line In.
  4. Start recording.
  5. Stop recording.
  6. Reboot iPod. There is a bug in RockBox that makes it necessary to reboot the iPod after each recording if you want to listen to it. UPDATE: RockBox version 3.0 does not require rebooting the iPod after recording, so don't be lazy and update your RockBox. Thanks to guys in the RockBox forum for letting me know and sorry again for blogging about a bug that was already fixed.
  7. Listen to your recording.

More info here.

And that's it. You get a 44.1kHz recording, which I think it is better than what you get with the "official" accessories in other generations of iPod Nanos. There is an option to do realtime mp3 encoding while recording, but I have not tried it yet. ANOTHER UPDATE: I have tried the realtime mp3 encoding and works as it should (cool!!!).

5 comentarios:

Jan Sundström dijo...

Thanks a lot for testing this! Did you ever try other recording extensions over the dock connector with Rockbox, like Belkin Tunetalk, Alesis Protrack or similar?

desordenado dijo...

I am using the line in pin in the dock connector for the audio input, however most iPods use the headphones jack as mic input. I do not know what exactly are the commercially available products using, if they happen to be using the line in connector, they most likely work with rockbox.

Let me know if you find out and I will post it here. Thanks and good luck.

Dan dijo...

I also want to thank you for testing this!

I'm curious to know:
1. How is the audio quality of the recording?
2. Which recording sources did you try?

desordenado dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
desordenado dijo...

1. The audio quality is excellent
2. Line out output from Laptop and line out from guitar amplifier