The world is a very busy place. Anything that doesn’t deliver the utmost convenience is of little use to most modern populations and the fast paced lives they live. For this reason, it is easy to understand why portable recorders are so popular, small handheld devices that provide individuals the ability to record all sorts of audio.
Of course finding the right portable recorder is easier said than done. Anyone purchasing a portable recorder for the very first time will find the process rather difficult. With so many models and brands on the market, selecting a singular device can present a number of challenges.
Best Portable Recorders in 2018
When you take into account all the factors one must consider before making their choice of portable recorder, from budgetary factors to attributes like memory and the presence of an internal or external Mic, it is easy to see why some people simply leave this choice up to chance, selecting the first device that catches their fancy rather than doing the hard work of analyzing the different devices on the market. If you must take this approach, you are better off making your choice from a list of the top 10 best portable recorder reviews on the market today, which will include the following:
10. Olympus WS 823
An excellent device for recording notes and taping lectures, the Olympus WS 823 is an impressive option with high-quality linear PCM audio. Boasting a simple dual-microphone design and features like the zoom microphone mode (with which you can increase and decrease the sensitivity of the microphone), a great voice balancer mode for recording multiple voices and 8GB of internal memory, the primary failing of the WS 823 is the fact that you can only record a single stereo track at a time.
The device also lacks the majority of features better portable recorders use for recording high-quality audio in all situations.
9. Sony ICD-SX 1000
You will not find another portable device capable of recording for such a long time without an external storage card. One of the best digital recorders Sony has to offer, the SX 1000 delivers 16 or 24-bit linear PCM recordings via the dual 3-element microphones it provides.
With a straightforward yet intuitive design, this recorder is very easy to operate, boasting features like a zoom microphone, pre-record capabilities and 16GB of internal memory (which is a lot). Along with its rechargeable battery, the device’s primary failing is its lack of multi-track recording, this and the lackluster audio quality.
8. Olympus DM 901
Because of their ability to record lectures and take notes, smartphones have been threatening to overwhelm the portable recording arena for some time now. The Olympus DM was designed to remedy this problem, becoming one of the first Wi-Fi compatible digital recorders on the market.
While not quite as versatile as a smartphone, the Olympus DM 901 is, none the less, an impressive advancement in the portable recorder arena, allowing users to share and transfer audio files with ease, its average audio quality and the fact that it doesn’t have the multi-track recording ability of better portable recorders doing little to dull its shine.
7. Yamaha Pocketrak PR 7
While you can use it for dictations and lectures, this Yamaha Recorder is best suited for musicians, it’s crossed XY microphone purposed towards recording audio whose quality is comparable to the very best digital voice recorders you will find on the market. Featuring WaveLab LE audio-editing software, an onboard tuner and a metronome, the device’s only serious failing is the fact that it can only record a maximum of two tracks. Additionally, there are no XLE/TRS inputs.
It gains points because of its small and versatile size, making it perfect for traveling. It doesn’t take up much space.
6. Zoom H4n
This is what most people would call an all-around digital voice recorder. Boasting some of the highest-quality audio recording capabilities on the market for music and film, the device delivers Pre-record and voice activation features.
Along with 4-track recording (with high-fidelity XY Crossed Unidirectional microphones), the recorder was designed with film producers and musicians in mind. The only downsides are the short battery life, bulky size and unimpressive storage (2GB). Some people will shy away from this recorder because of its considerably hefty price tag.
5. Tascam DR 44WL
A 4-track portable recorder with two unidirectional microphones (which swivel on hinges), Wi-Fi compatibility and a mobile app, this device is manufactured by a company that has made a reputation for producing high-quality professional audio equipment.
The absence of features like dead air removal and voice activation is balanced by the presence of adjustable microphones, EQ controls, Post-effects and other abilities designed to work with complex recordings.
4. Roland R 26
The Roland R 26 provides high-fidelity microphones, 6-track recording capabilities, XLR/TRS inputs and Sonar LE software (for additional editing and mixing purpose), all for less than $500, which is quite impressive.
Effective for students, journalists, musicians, pretty much any individual with a digital recording need, this is one of the best portable recorders on the market. The fact that it has such a low internal storage and battery life might irk some people, though you can always add extra storage.
The comprehensive playback options are ruined by the fact that the recorder doesn’t accept SDXC storage cards.
3. Zoom H 6
The Zoom H 6 recorder is amazing. It provides a lot the features common in the Roland R 26, this including four XLR/TRS inputs, 6-track recording capabilities, interchangeable microphones, pre-record, auto-record and backup record features and more, all at a price far lower than what you will spend on the Roland R 26.
Precluding similar failings like the 2GB internal storage (though the H 6 is compatible with SDXC storage cards) the recorder is a far superior device, boasting a 20-hour battery life. Admittedly, the recorder might prove a little too complex for some users, bringing too many features to the table.
2. Olympus LS 100
This recorder provides the highest quality audio in every situation. Whether you are a student recording a lecture or a musician capturing the sound of your voice, the LS 100 excels everywhere, capable of recording 8-tracks at a time and allowing users to plug in additional instruments and microphones.
Boasting all those features common in the best portable recorders, this including voice activation and pre-record, the fact that the device is so affordable is particularly advantageous.
1. Sony ICD-UX 533
This Sony device thrives when it comes to capturing lectures and other simple recording applications. However, it fails to avail the high-end audio quality that superior recorders deliver.
Very attractive in its appearance, the Sony recorder features a two-dimensional microphone (with stereo recording) and an intuitive design. Due to a lack of versatility and lack of high-end features, though, this is not a very effective recorder for recording audio from a film or singing rehearsals. With 4GB of internal memory, a thirty-hour battery life and four playback file formats, what sets this portable recorder apart is the fact that it is so cheap for its features, making it the ideal device for students and journalists.
Portable recorders come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A lot of them a very difficult to distinguish from one another. If you are looking for the best the market has to offer, though, the items above will satisfy your desires, no matter how unique and comprehensive your needs might be.