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Field Recorders

Read our Portable Recorders buying guide

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Portable Recorders: Audio On the Go

Portable recorders - or field recorders - offer a convenient, mobile way to record and store audio. A lot of professional audio is recorded in studio settings, with large mixing consoles and sensitive gear. But when sound engineers have to record on location - film sets, public events, impromptu jam sessions - they rely on the mobility of field recorders. These durable recorders can be hand-held, and larger units weigh up to a few pounds. Compact, clutter-free, and ruggedly built portable recorders are invaluable for musicians, journalists, filmmakers, professors, and more.

A typical field recorder is battery-powered, so you can use it anywhere. Many models feature a pair of built-in microphones that record to SD cards, flash cards, or built-in memory. Most field recorders also have multiple inputs, meaning you can plug in additional mics or line-level signals. More advanced models even have timecode, and some option for onboard mixing, with low-cut filters, EQ's, limiters, etc. Don't be fooled by their small size: today's machines are extremely sophisticated, and capable of superb audio quality.

Today's Variety: A Few Notable Models

Sweetwater carries a broad selection of portable recorders; we've got something for every project and any budget. The Zoom H1 Handy Recorder is one example; this hand-held model can record in XY stereo for up to 10 hours. Weighing only 2 ounces, it's perfect for recording lectures, interviews, music demos, etc. Tascam's DR-40 is another hand-held model, with 15-hour AA battery life and up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution. The DR-40 comes with 2 built-in condenser mics; 2 additional XLR jacks allow for simultaneous 4-track recording. The Zoom H6 Handy Recorder goes even further - with 2 built-in condensers, 4 XLR jacks, 20 hour battery life, and a small LCD screen. A built-in USB port allows for fast data transfer, and USB bus power offers an alternative to battery power.

Not all field recorders can fit in your pocket; Roland's R-44-E is a larger model perfect for film sets, public events, or recording a live set. The R-44 has 2 built-in condensers, 4 combo input jacks, built-in speakers, and an LED display. But what really sets the R-44 apart is its variety of onboard effects: 3-band EQ, low-cut filter, a DeEsser, limiter, etc. The Sound Devices 688 is a powerful recorder built with film production in mind; at less than five pounds, it boasts 12 inputs and 16-channel recording. The 688 also features timecode, metadata, and PowerSafe - a circuitry system that protects against sudden losses in power. The Zoom F8 is another popular choice, with 8 XLR inputs, timecode, and built-in Bluetooth. To learn more about our selection of portable recorders, call your Sweetwater Sales Engineer today. Learn More

Questions about Field Recorders?

Questions about Field Recorders?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

Questions about Field Recorders?

Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.

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