I brought along an M-Audio Micro Track II portable audio recorder to record conversations for reference in my blogging and to capture environmental sounds. The sound quality is quite good, considering the cheap stereo mic that comes with the Micro Track II ($20 for a replacement). The recorder can be configured for auto-limiting, but I've been using manual levels. You can also save the audio in various formats. I'm using 160kbps MP3. I can get about fifty-five hours on a 4GB CF card at that quality setting. The battery life is a bit of a disappointment, at around five hours. A portable USB batter pack can fix that, but I chose not to bring one as I'm already carrying over fifty pounds and I can recharge the audio recorder from the wall or from my laptop.
- Bloco in Botafogo — This was a bloco (street party with lots of locals singing and dancing, a drum band, and a big truck pretty much made of speakers with an MC/announcer and some other people on top) in the neighborhood where I'm staying. It started in Botafogo and, over the course of three hours, inched its way to Copacabana. It took about three days for my hearing to return to near-normal in my left ear, which was near the drummers.
- Bloco in Santa Teresa — This was a much smaller bloco which played in place—i.e., no marching. It had just a director and drummers, with locals standing around dancing, watching, and listening. This is my favorite clip. If you can, use good headphones or a good stereo to listen. You'll want the bass drums to come through.
- Sambodromo — This is some audio from one of the parades in the Sambodromo.