best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
Post Reply
User avatar
code green
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:58 am
Gear: prophet 600/evolver/juno 6/alpha juno 2/bassst'n/crumar performer/jv1010/suitcase rhodes 73/ '78 gibson l6-s/'73 guild mahogany/'69 fender princeton
Band: thermite zapruder
Location: brooklyn

best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by code green » Wed May 27, 2009 12:43 am

hi all--so i need to buy a hand-held digital recorder asap for interview work (spoken word) i need to do for a book. i have also wanted, for some time now, to get a hand-held digital recorder for quickly recording (sung) melodic ideas, and--more importantly--recording field noises for sampling. not having limitless funds, i would love to find a single recorder that would work nicely for both my interview and music needs...and figure folks here might have some good suggestions.

here are some other things i'm bearing in mind:

-high quality of recording spoken voice a must
-built-in mic a must
-option to line in via XLR or 1/4" a big plus
-stereo a plus but not a must
-general ease of use (at least for basic recording/playback) a plus
-multi-track capability not at all a must, but a plus
-definitely want to keep it under $500 (USD); under $300 even better
-ability to record band rehearsals, etc., not necessary...but would be a plus, i suppose.

many thanks for any info any of you can provide--i'm going ot need to pick something up tomorrow, so any timely advice--even a word or two--especially appreciated.

thanks,
eric

User avatar
tallowwaters
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4998
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 4:11 am
Gear: LC-MS/MS
Location: snake's belly in a wagon rut

Re: best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by tallowwaters » Wed May 27, 2009 2:34 am

I was looking for one of these. I never followed through, but culminated some sites with rundowns/reviews.
http://www.proaudioreview.com/article/17396
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/remote-p ... est-2.html

(I have heard from people whom I trust that Zoom has noisy preamps when using external mics)
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

User avatar
Esus
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 741
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:58 am

Re: best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by Esus » Wed May 27, 2009 3:39 am

I have 2 Zoom H4 recorders. I paid $230 for one new, and $150 for a barely-used one. The H4 has a killer price/performance ratio. There are a couple of kludgy things (plastic case, somewhat flimsy jog wheel), but overall the thing is amazing. As for the preamps, to my ear they're quieter than my $2000 Focusrite mic pre.
Check out the H4N. I understand the case is rubberized (which helps reduce shock and handling noise), and it can record 4 tracks simultaneously (my H4s only record 2 tracks at a time).
You can spend more, a lot more, but so far I've had great luck.

My 2¢

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed May 27, 2009 6:27 am

I have an Edirol R-09HR which I bought after looking around at a few. It costs a little bit more than the Zoom but feels nicer in your hand. It doesn't have the multitrack abilities of the Zoom but that wasn't really a big deal for me. I've used it for 50+ live recordings just using the internal mics for shows I've been mixing and to be honest it sounds a lot better than I expected it to.

I don't often have enough time to set levels accurately during soundcheck so I usually leave a lot of headroom (20dB or more) and then gain it up in post, and still the noise floor of the electronics is lower than the noise floor of room. They are noisy rooms though, I haven't tried recording quiet sounds in quiet environments.

You can record mic or line in on 3.5mm jacks. I've used the line ins to record off the desk a couple of times and the results were satisfactory. Haven't used an external mic yet because I've been happy enough with the internal ones and I couldn't be bothered bringing my NT3 and a stand along to shows.

There are a few more units from different brands that have been released since I bought this 5 or 6 months ago which might be worth looking at. I think if I were buying a new one now I'd go for the Zoom H4n, just because I could record stereo off the desk at the same time as stereo from the internal mics, but that's fairly application-specific for me.

Bottom line is I'm very happy with my R-09HR, I would totally recommend it.

User avatar
meatballfulton
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5982
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:29 pm
Gear: Logic Pro X

Re: best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by meatballfulton » Wed May 27, 2009 12:14 pm

Yamaha Pocketrak 2G, $199 new. Smallest recorder on the market, fits into your shirt pocket so you can always have it with you. Better battery life than the competition. Built in speaker so you can quickly check recording without headphones.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

User avatar
premieklovn
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 521
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:50 pm
Gear: T.O.N.T.O
Band: Monomen
Location: Oslo
Contact:

Re: best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by premieklovn » Wed May 27, 2009 12:46 pm

I can recommend the Zoom H2/4-recorders. I have the H2 and the sound is very good IMO.

User avatar
code green
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:58 am
Gear: prophet 600/evolver/juno 6/alpha juno 2/bassst'n/crumar performer/jv1010/suitcase rhodes 73/ '78 gibson l6-s/'73 guild mahogany/'69 fender princeton
Band: thermite zapruder
Location: brooklyn

Re: best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by code green » Wed May 27, 2009 4:07 pm

MANY THANKS for the good (and quick) recommendations. you guys :headbang: !!! heading out today to buy, will strongly consider the zoom H4n, with an eye also to edirol's latest.

User avatar
Shreddie
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Tue May 12, 2009 7:50 pm
Gear: Alesis Andromeda, Fusion 8HD: ART SGX Nightbass SE: Kawai K5000s: Yamaha A3000 V2, EX7, FS1R, PSS-480 (Don't laugh, it rocks!) and 4 planks.
Location: UK

Re: best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by Shreddie » Wed May 27, 2009 7:38 pm

+1 for the H4, a brilliant little machine on the whole, though the menu system takes a little getting used to. The H4n is supposed to be much improved in that respect. And as previously mentioned, as far as bang for you buck goes, it's unbeatable AFAIK.

I was considering trading in my H4 for a H4n sometime soon but I'm now thinking of getting a more up-market field recorder. I'll keep my H4 if I do that though.

I know of some people who swear by the Olympus LS-10 though.

User avatar
snsr
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:45 pm

Re: best mini digital recorder for my needs?

Post by snsr » Wed May 27, 2009 7:55 pm

I've been in the market for a while, and have listened to most contenders in the sub $500 price range. IMO the best is the Sony PCM-D50, followed closely by the Olympus LS-10.

Post Reply