Also see the page on Memory Cards.
Digital Audio Recorders
There is no best choice, especially for someone like me who has so many different needs to record audio:
- DX – keep an accurate record of reception heard;
- Digital Remastering – preserve an analogue recording
- Aircheck – broadcast quality recordings of radio stations, usually made by over the air (OTA) reception:
- Historical events – initial signon, format change, announcer’s first or last show, a Special or other unusual programming
- Specific announcer
- Typical day
- Produce Music Programming – two tracks for the music in stereo and one track for each announcer
- Voice Memo – record reminders in my own voice
Recording DX, #1 above, has been on hold until my planned DX receiver, the Sangean HDR-16, arrives and can be tested. Previous attempts to record DX with a CCRadio-EP and TERK Advantage external unamplified loop failed because of excessive RFI from both digital audio recorders available for testing.
My current favourite.
My previous favourite.
In May 2016, I did a quick review of available recorders under $170 U.S. dollars, based on then current pricing at B&H in New York City.
Everything here can do WAV files in stereo on to either microSD or SD removable memory cards, and their higher capacity brothers, like microSDHC, SDHC, etc. All of them can work on AC power, but: unless otherwise indicated, each has a USB port that can be used to both power the unit (to save batteries) AND to transfer files off the recorder to avoid pulling the memory card in and out.
- Technical Pro UREC7 – $64.95 – a rack-mount (rest are portables) unit weighing less than 4lb.; flash drive or SD card; not a brand that I am familiar with.
- TASCAM DR-05 – $79.99 (new; used open box available for $69.95) – microSD memory card
- TASCAM DR-22WL – $91.52 – microSD with Wi-Fi control and file transfer from your computers
- Zoom H1 – $99.99 – microSD
- Tascam DP-006 Pocketstudio – $116.89 – regular SD cards, 2 track recording (6 track mixing), USB BUT MUST use AC Adaptor (not included at this price) for Power if you don’t want to use the batteries
- TASCAM DR-40 – $146 – regular SD cards
- Zoom H2n – $159.99 – SD – I have one of these and like it
- Zoom H4nSP – $159.99 (new; used for $129.99) – SD with XLR; USB port, but separate (non-USB) AC adaptor, which is not included for this price (some confusion as B&H says you can use USB for power while recording, but on-line Zoom manual says “No”); a four track recorder, but only with the built-in microphones; in theory, you could record three non-mic tracks at once by using the external mic input as a LINE IN, but you would have to be careful not to overload the input.
- Tascam DR-60DmkII – $167 (new; used for $139.95) – SD with XLR – my current favourite, mainly for the ability to record 4 tracks at the same time (e.g. – two FM stations at the same time, in stereo; but also for potential use recording two announcers plus a stereo music piece with the ability to later fix the volume levels of any component), but also for the design, which looks and feels like a “shrunken” rack mount, but it was “in the shop” (warranty, no charge) for over 6 months when an XLR jack got stuck in it.