Audio recorders are devices that can be put to a whole lot of different uses. They can be used for field recording which is why you will find many journalists using one. They can also be used to record live events, from concerts, parties to campaigns, protests and pretty much anything. You can also find them used on some movie sets. You can practically use it anywhere you need a level of professional audio recording.
While many different devices (some of which are no longer in production) will qualify to be called portable audio recorders, this name now purely refers to what can be called digital audio recorders. You can learn more about digital audio recording here.
To help you understand the products we are about to quickly review, we will first look at some important consideration factors that can help ensure you make the right choice.
Factors to Consider When Choosing
The following are some of the factors you need to consider when making your choice.
The build of the device you choose will to a large extent determine its durability. Metal casings will certainly be stronger than plastic ones. Look for any signs that will indicate the device’s structural strength or weakness.
Quality of Microphone
This is the heart of the recorder. The quality of the microphones included will determine the quality of the recordings you will get. Some things to consider when checking the microphone include: frequency response range, sampling rate, max SPL handling, single or mono microphone structure, and presence of phantom power.
Audio File Format
This is another very important factor to consider. The file format in which the recordings are saved will tell you the quality you have to work with. The file can either be compressed or uncompressed. You want uncompressed files like wave and uncompressed WMA. Other workable compressed alternatives include AIFF. Formats such as mp3 and AAC are largely files that lose quality during compression.
To learn more about audio file formats, read this article: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/audio-file-format-right-needs/.
How much storage space it has will determine how long you can record for. The larger the storage capacity, the longer you can record for.
Though these devices come with their own microphones, you may want to add a higher quality or specialized microphone for a specific task. For this, you will need the appropriate input. You should therefore check to know the kinds of inputs available. It is always better to have more options than you need rather than having fewer options than you need.
These portable audio recorders are usually battery powered. Check how long a battery charge lasts. You should also check to see if the battery is removable. A removable battery is easier to service or replace should it get faulty.
After checking everything, you should of course look at how much it will cost you. This is an important factor to consider so be sure that what the device costs is worth the value it is offering. Compare this with others to be doubly sure.
While what you will be seeing will not be a full listing of the best portable audio recorder reviews, we shall do our best to present a few of these for your consideration.
Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder
This portable recorder offers some interesting features. These include: multi-track recording (4 channels), 24bit/96kHz resolution, low noise preamp, 32 GB of storage and about four hours of battery life. Aside from the included stereo microphones, it also includes two XLR and TRS combo mic inputs.
This is more than most users require of their device.
Tascam DR-05 Stereo Portable Digital Audio Recorder
This Tascam model comes with stereo microphones that record at 24 bits/96kHz. These microphones have omnidirectional polar patterns and can therefore pick sound from all around it.
It however has a storage capacity of about 4GB which is quite limited.
Sony ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder
This Sony model is ideal for those who need something very small. This does not offer the best of recording as it records in a compressed mp3 format. It however offers other features like voice activated recording and clear voice technology that deliver some value to the user. It also has a storage capacity that can be expanded to 32Gb. For the battery, it can last for as much as 57 hours.
After reading through the guide and reviews above, you now hopefully know exactly how to go about choosing the portable audio recorder that is right for you.