Portable (Field) Digital Audio Recorder Reviews (for sound professionals)

Digital RecorderPortable Digital Audio Recorder buying guide: If you want to record on the go, a hand-held portable or field recorder is an invaluable piece of equipment to own. You have the option to choose from basic voice recorders or high-end handheld stereo recorders that can record high-quality audio/music. We will take a look at the more portable models here. These are useful as they can be used on the go, and also easily transfer your digital files onto your computer via USB. Skip to the best portable digital recorder on Amazon.

Best Portable Digital Audio Recorders

Here we take a look at some of the best portable digital audio recorders, that most musicians/audiophiles while love to use. Use these top quality recorders for recording music ideas, music lessons, practice session, and band rehearsals

TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder

This is a portable recorder but offers a lot more. Comes with high-end recording features. Comes with four built-in microphones (2 cardioid and 2 omnidirectional), a pair of XLR mic inputs with phantom power, line ins / outs, S/PDIF digital inputs, locking connectors and more.

TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder

TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder
List Price: $179.99
Price: $179.99
Price Disclaimer

For the serious musicians, you now get a portable 4-Track recorder that comes with XLR inputs. The sound quality is great, especially when used with external microphones. A cool feature is the DUAL mode where it records a copy of the stereo signal at a lower level, which can be used as a backup in case the main recording is distorted.

Zoom H5 Four-Track Portable Recorder

Zoom H5 Four-Track Portable Recorder
List Price: $269.99
Price: $269.99
Price Disclaimer

A very popular digital audio recorder. It is ideal for recording interviews, band rehearsals, lectures, meetings, and more. A top quality field recorder with 4 track portable studio, as well as a PC audio interface. Comes with a high-quality mic preamp, you can use it as a live audio interface. Excellent field recorder for video, can be used for recording your band practice / rehearsal sessions.

Basic Audio Recorders

Looking for basic audio recorders, useful for generic use (recording lectures, meetings, etc)?

Read: Best digital voice recorders

Checkout more digital recording options here.

Portable Digital Audio Recorders: Buying Guide

Introduction to Digital Audio Recorders

Portable Audio Recorder As the name suggests, this is a device used to record audio, but unlike other equipment these are compact and portable. There’s a lot of variety out there, and so its important to choose one that is adequate for your needs, the more important factor being the quality of the built-in microphone. Besides, you also have to consider the battery life, and whether it offers adequate storage for your recorded files.

  • Students, journalists, and other non-musicians will find it particularly useful, to record unplanned events, take notes, meeting minutes, and to record any ideas.
  • Whereas non-musicians may be happy with a decent audio recording, musicians will definitely expect a better vocal recording.

So depending on the use, you’ll have to pick one that comes with the adequate mic quality.

Voice vs Digital Recorders

Basic Voice Recorders record audio through low-quality microphones, and create smaller sized audio files.

The better portable Digital Recorders, on the other hand, usually have better quality built-in microphones, they allow you to record in high-resolution files types. The better ones also have the ability to accept from other sound sources (such as external microphones or line-level signals).

Some recorders come with dual microphone assembly that delivers outstanding stereo sound quality, perfect for the serious recording enthusiast. These are also perfect for recording music lessons, practice session, and band rehearsals.

All these Digital Recorder devices can easily be plugged into a computer to transfer the recorded audio files.

More Useful Features

Portable Audio Recorders

Here are some useful features of these devices:

  • Compact and portable design
  • Integrated stereo mics and speakers (no need of additional equipment)
  • Headphone jack to connect earphones and listen without disturbing others
  • Repeat Function
  • Choose between stereo or mono recording
  • Record in WAV or MP3 formats
  • Some models also allow the audio to be recorded at rates up to 24-bit/96kHz for top-quality results
  • Files can be stored in internal flash memory, or stored on external pen drives
  • If you are a musician, you’ll find the standard 3.5mm mic and line inputs useful, as it lets you connect a variety of microphones, instruments, and other audio sources (including Earphones).



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