We can all use another set of ears in the practice room to keep us honest. But picking the best device for our particular needs is a tricky task, with so many feature-packed devices to choose from. Do we go for convenience? Or sound quality? A mix of both? Or something else entirely?
Earlier this week I asked which portable studio recorders you thought were the best, and you nominated 14 of your favorites. Based on your feedback, here are your top five:
iPhone / iPod / iPad
It’s been said that the best camera is the one you have with you. Similarly, the best practice room companion may be the device you carry around with you 24/7. You probably won’t record your next album on an iDevice, but the sound quality is better than you might expect.The built-in voice recorder app is super easy to use, and if you want to upgrade to a paid app like iTalk Recorder Premium ($1.99) or StudioMini ($5.99) it’ll only set you back a few dollars.
For those using an Android device, Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder (Lite) seems to get the job done at a price that can’t be beat (free).
iPhone/iPod + external mic
If you like the convenience and portability of your iPhone/iPod, but want to kick the recording quality up a few notches, you can buy external microphones that plug into the dock connector on the bottom of your iDevice.The TASCAM iM2 (~$60) utilizes a pair of high-quality mics which are comparable to those used in their DR-series of portable studio recorders.
Blue Microphones makes a similar device called the MIKEY (~$100) that is a bit pricier but similarly easy to use.
And if you want to make some higher-quality recordings and are willing to do a tiny bit more setup, the Apogee MiC ($199) comes highly recommended and has gotten rave reviews from folks at Engadget and Wired.
Zoom H2 / H2n
Zoom H4 / H4n
And the winner is…
Voting was exceedingly tight, but coming out in first place by a hair (i.e. only two votes) was the iPhone / iPod / iPad. Presumably, the undeniable convenience of an iPhone outweighed the mediocre sound quality for the purposes of practice-room recording.
In third place, with 11% of the vote was the iPhone/iPod with external mic attachment.
And bringing up the rear with 7% was the Roland R-05.
Aside from the comment below, I’ve been hearing great things about the Sony PCM-M10 lately (currently ~$210, depending on where you look), and had a chance to play with it a tiny bit. It is compact, has great build quality, sounds pretty great, and for what it’s worth, if I were buying a portable recorder in this price range, it’d be at the top of my list.
What's the Best Recording Device?
- iPhone / iPod / iPad (30%, 17 Votes)
- iPhone / iPod + external mic (11%, 6 Votes)
- Zoom H2n (26%, 15 Votes)
- Zoom H4n (26%, 15 Votes)
- Roland R-05 (7%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 57