Digital audio recorders are portable and easy to carry. They are used by content creators to record interviews, speeches, meetings, and live sessions with ease. Even the videographers can make use of these audio recorders to record the audio separately. These audio files are later embedded in the video. Carrying a handy recorder is more convenient than to walk around with the entire setup of mic, shock mount, mic stand, and much more.
In this article, we will look at some of the best digital audio recorders in the market for your convenience. Let’s review each option in detail.
Before that, digital audio recorders are often paired with an audio interface. If you’re looking to get one for your audio recorder, check out our guide on the best audio interfaces here.
Also Read: – Best USB Audio Interface
Zoom H6: The Best Digital Audio Recorder
- Comes with advance features
- Six line inputs
- XLR and TRS combo jet
Zoom is one of the most popular brands when it comes to digital audio recorders. They have a good range of audio recorders that are true performers.
The Zoom H6 is the ultimate digital recorder with advanced features. It allows you to record out in the field, at remote places, in a studio, or any location of your choice. The digital recorder makes it convenient to start a podcast from practically anywhere.
The recorder provides six line inputs for handling several mics at a time. You can record complete scenes with multiple mics. It features interchangeable microphone capsules, four combo inputs along with six lines.
The recorder has both XLR and TRS combo jackets. Each switch has its pad switch, so no confusion in handling the different cables.
The H6 also comes with a USB port for recording stereo or multi-channel audio. 4 AA batteries power the digital recorder. The batteries can last for up to 20 hours of recording. All the recordings are saved in the SD card.
Overall, it’s a premium digital recorder that is designed for professionals. The portable size and hassle-free functioning enable you to record audio anywhere with ease.
Tascam DR-40X: Midrange Digital Audio Recorder
- Versatile audio recorder
- Wide frequency range
- Features both XY and AB patterns
- Affordable price
The Tascam DR-40X is a versatile audio recorder and a USB audio interface. The device is easy to use and very affordable, as well. It is priced less than the Zoom H6, and we can call it a midrange audio recorder.
The audio recorder has both XLR/TRS inputs to support both mic-levels. The DR-40X allows a wide range of audio recordings. It captures any sound from a whisper to jet noise. The audio recorder saves the sound with all its subtle details.
The recorder features unidirectional microphones that can be adjusted to suit the pick-up pattern you need. It offers two patterns, X-Y pattern for stereo imaging and an A-B pattern for ambient recording.
The DR-40X has a very easy layout. All options like adjusting the pattern, recording, deleting, or adding markers are readily available with well-marked buttons. All you need to do is to press the right button.
The digital recorder can be connected with the PC. It is perfect for voice-overs with its simple USB connection. You can use it as a quality microphone and start podcasting, live streaming, gaming, or anything you want to record in the studio.
Overall, it is a budget-friendly option. The quality of audio it provides, the affordable price, and the different audio patterns make it a very popular tool for content creation.
Zoom H4n Pro 4: Handy Digital Audio Recorder
- Reasonable price
- High-performance mic preamps
- Handles loud sounds well
- Ergonomic body
The Zoom H4n Pro is a popular digital audio recorder. It is priced reasonably and performs brilliantly as a handy recorder. This one is a pro version of already popular Zoom H4n, and everything is taken to the next level.
The digital recorder has high-performance mic preamps. The mic preamps have no self-noise, and audio recording remains clear and smooth. Its mics can capture the low-frequency audio without any noise and reproduces it well.
The integrated microphones in this recorder have improved quality that can handle 120dB SPL. The wide frequency range allows you to record anything from a drum to bass-heavy EDM.
The H4n Pro comes with a wide LCD screen. The widescreen makes the handling of recorder and audio adjustment very easy and convenient.
The recorder supports both XLR and TRS cables. The connectors can be locked to prevent any mishap or accidental pull of cable that may ruin your scene.
The recorder has an ergonomic body that is easy to hold. The rubberized lining on sides gives a comfortable grip. Its portable size, lightweight, and different rich features make it an excellent choice for recording any type of audio outside the studio.
SONY ICD PX333: Good Quality Digital Audio Recorder
- Simple setup
- Features internal memory and an SD card slot
- USB connection
The Sony ICD PX333 is a handy audio recorder. It is a very basic audio recorder with easy to press buttons.
The PX333 comes with a 4GB flash memory. Besides that, it also has a memory card slot so you can record the audio directly in a memory card. The simple recorder is powered by 2 AA batteries.
The sound recorder captures clear audio. It features a special intelligent noise cut function that eliminates the noise from audio, making it sound better and smooth.
The recorder can be connected to any laptop or PC through a USB cable. Audio files can be transferred to your system smoothly.
Overall, PX333 is a basic audio recorder with plenty to offer. The price is a bit high, but it gives exceptional sound quality that you need for professional audio.
Olympus LS-12: The Affordable Digital Audio Recorder
- Low price
- Good sound quality
- Sturdy build
- Easy setup
Olympus LS-12 is an affordable digital audio recorder for those on budget. It captures high-quality sound and reproduces it with clarity.
The digital recorder has a sturdy build. It is quite portable and very handy in size. You can carry it along conveniently as it fits in a pocket or handbag easily.
2 AA batteries operate the LS-12. The recorder features a stereo directional mic for picking up audio. The built-in amplifier enhances the quality of audio.
Using the LS-12 is very easy. It does not involve any complicated setup. All options are clearly marked on the recorder. You can choose the recording mode right from the face of the recorder without going through the menu settings.
Philips DPM-8000: The Premium Digital Audio Recorder
- Premium option
- 3D Mic technology
- Advance features
- Two microphones with different pick-up patterns
The Philips DPM is a premium option for professional voice recordings. It takes the audio recording to the next level with its breakthrough 3D Mic technology.
The audio recorder has a slim and portable design that is easy to carry. It has a lightweight body that is made of high-quality stainless steel. The sturdy metal build makes it very durable as it can bear the rough and tough of your day. The recorder also has an ergonomic design that gives an easy grip. The comfortable grip helps when you have to work long hours with the recorder.
The digital recorder makes use of superior technology to enhance audio quality. Its 3D Mic system uses a built-in microphone to deliver excellent audio quality. The recorder features an omnidirectional microphone that picks up sound from all sides.
It also contains another unidirectional mic that optimizes the audio coming from one source. The mic is excellent for recording speeches, podcasts, videos, or any situation where one person is speaking.
The premium microphone comes with a docking station that provides a perfect home to the recorder when you are not using it or when you are on your desk. It offers hands-free recording experience, simply place it in front of you and start recording.
The recorder is smart enough to sense whether it is in a docking station or hand. The embedded motion sensors select the right microphone while recording. These motion sensors also automatically switch into standby mode when the device is idle.
Overall, it’s the best option for recording audio. A rechargeable battery operates the digital recorder. It comes with a memory card as well.
Buying Guide for Digital Audio Recorders
Here are some of the things that you should consider when selecting a digital audio recorder.
• Purpose of Buying
The reason why you need an audio recorder determines what type of recorder you need. You can be a student, a YouTuber, podcaster, videographer, or a journalist. So the buying decision and budget should depend on what you are planning to achieve with a digital audio recorder.
• Type of microphone
Professional recorders have built-in microphones for capturing the audio. The premium recorders allow you to adjust the microphone setting so you can optimize the position to pick-up from the source.
All recorders have different microphones. Mostly they use stereo mics. Good recorders offer more than one microphone with different pick-up patterns.
For example, the Zoom recorders feature stereo mics, so they are more suitable when you are recording a single person, speech, or podcasting. The Tascam recorders have omnidirectional mics to pick up sound from all around; they work better when you need to record the ambient noise or meetings.
These recorders either have AB mic configuration or XY. AB mics have more pick-up sound from all around. They are better suited if you want to capture ambient audio as well.
The XY configuration works like a stereo microphone. It works like a directional mic. These are suitable for recording the audio of a single person.
It is important to know where the audio will be stored. Some audio recorders have internal memory. It is good to have that space, but internal memory is normally limited. Most of the recorders have an SD card slot. That is very convenient as you don’t have to worry about the space. You can carry additional SD cards if space is an issue.
• Playback Option
It is important to have a playback option in a digital audio recorder. So make sure the recorder has the playback option and a line input for the headphones.
The audio recorders are available in a wide variety. You can choose a cheap one if you need to record some notes, occasional ramblings, or any meeting. If you are a content creator and need the perfect audio for online sharing, then it has to be of supreme quality.
Professional audio recorders cost more than the cheap ones. They come with better features and high-quality microphones.
Also, build quality decides the durability of your device as well. Cheap recorders are made of plastic, but the premium ones have metal construction and fine finish. These premium recorders keep on performing for many years.
• Input Lines
Preamp lines are important for professional recorders. It should have enough inputs to support the microphones, headphones, instruments, or mixers.
The common inputs to look for are:
- XLR: An XLR input allows you to record the audio direct from your XLR mic. The recorder should also provide a phantom power switch for condenser microphones.
- TRS: The TRS input allows you to connect the line-level signals from direct instruments like keyboard, drum, or electric guitars.
- DSLR: If you intend to send the sound file into your DSLR camera, make sure the audio recorder has a spate line input or the camera as well.
- USB: Needless to say, the recorder should be able to connect with your computer with a USB connection.
• Time Stamping
If you are recording the audio that you need to later sink into your video, make sure the recorder has a time stamping. Time stamping makes audio processing very easy afterwards. The audio recorder saves the sound files as BWF(Broadcast Wave Format). BWF files automatically timestamp the file that you can later synchronize with video perfectly.
Digital audio recorders are perfect for recording audio when you are out in the field. These are handy and easy to use. Some of them come with multiple microphones to enhance audio quality.
All options in our list of the best digital audio recorders are carefully selected. We choose Zoom H6 as our best pick. Philip DPM-8000 is our premium option. Though a little expensive, these audio recorders provide the best features for journalists, content creators, and other professionals who don’t want to compromise the quality of audio.
Looking to complete your podcasting or content creation setup? Check out our in-depth guide on podcasting equipment to know exactly what you need for a complete setup.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.