Not only has music technology gotten better at making high-quality recordings, it’s also gotten smaller. Nowadays you can carry in your pocket technology that surpasses what some of the best studios were using just a couple of decades ago.
If you like to be able to record on the go, or want something that’s simple for laying down tracks, a portable digital recorder is an excellent tool to have. But don’t be deceived by the small size, many of the latest recorders are capable of producing incredibly robust, detailed tracks.
Here are the three best portable audio recorders on the market right now:
The Tascam DR-05 seems too good to be true. It costs just $100 it comes with a stereo pair of high-quality omnidirectional microphones and records up to 24bit/96k in Linear PCM, which is better than what most professional studios record at. It also features a few built in tools, like playback EQ and pitch-neutral slow/fast motion. And of course, it sounds great. For a recorder that can easily fit in your pocket, the DR-05 simply kills it.
For $160, the Zoom H2n is equally a steal. It features two internal sets of stereo cardioid mics that can be used simultaneously for a four channel surround sound recording. It can also record up to 24bit/96k in WAV format. Most importantly though, with the right placement, it’s capable of producing a rich, clear recording in a less than ideal environment.
If you like the H2n but want a few extra features, the H4n is its tricked out $200 big brother. With two phantom-powered XLR/TRS ports you can record using any mic you wish. Though, the mounted XY pair on the top of the H4n are excellent, and can be adjusted to expand their pickup pattern. Like with the H2n, the H4n supports up to 24bit/96k, but in Linear PCM. And like with the H2n, it’s capable of producing a solid recording.
It’s not short of amazing at how great of recording you can produce today with a handheld recorder that costs you $200 or less. If you’re ever inclined to try some recording outside the studio, try picking up one of these portable recorders. Even if you just use it to capture ideas, you won’t regret it.