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Microphone Month

Edirol R-09 Reviews

4.5 stars based on 19 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Kenny Bergle

    I have an R-01 and it's great! This R-09 has even better mics (with very nice phase relationships and wide stereo soundfield) in a smaller case with a bigger screen. Ugh! I want one!!!

    ed. note - Kenny finally broke down and bought an R09. Now he's using that to record his vintage Steinway.

  • from Ebensburg, PA USA May 7, 2008Music Background:
    Indie record label owner, deejay, recording eng

    Wow, simply amazing

    I needed a hand held portable recorder to take to the NAMM convention in January to record a band on my label that was being featured by Fender/Gretsch. My criteria was simple - lightweight, long battery life, easy to operate, 16 & 24 bit recording in either mp3 or wave mode and yes, has a great sound.

    Well, the edirol fit perfect for my needs and I was amazed at the sound this gizmo captured, clean mic reproduction - no pops or crackles plus ease of playback and downloading of files to computer for editing. The short of it - this recorder does everything and more just as sweetwater reps said it would.

  • from Bronxville, NY February 15, 2008Music Background:
    folk singer/songwriter guitarist

    Great sound for a great price!

    I purchased the Edirol R09 after being impressed with various podcasts I heard. I am totally blind, so my criteria for this unit was probably different than most people’s. I wanted a machine that was portable, had built in stereo mikes, an SD card, and an easy to navigate interface. The edirol R09 fit the bill perfectly. This machine is so intuitive and easy to use, it is truly a Godsend to those of us who are blind. It is laid out like a traditional tape recorder, with the play, stop, record, rewind and fastforward buttons in the shape of a square.

    I’m a singer/songwriter guitarist and I love the portability of this unit. The field recordings with the built-in stereo mikes are superb, made more effortless by the AGC control, low cut filter, and one of my favorite features the mike preamp volume. This volume control is independent of the recorder’s volume control, making for cleaner recordings. The built-in mikes give field recordings a beautiful spacious stereo sound.

    The recordings that I’ve done in my home studio using my Audio-technica microphone are flawless. There is no discernable noise or hiss that I can detect, and doing multiple takes with this unit is effortless.

    One of the greatest features of the Edirol R09 is user replaceable AAA batteries, and the AC adapter. This is great if your batteries run out, you can still continue your recording session. The plug in power microphone jack is an added benefit, I use an audio-technica microphone and it performed flawlessly with the Edirol. The ability to monitor the recordings via the headphone jack, the line in jack, and mono/stereo control are added perks. The ability to record in multiple formats is brilliant! You can record in mp3 with different bit rates, the 16 bit wav and 24 bit wav recordings are amazing! I use the 24 bit wav primarily and it is fantastic!

    If you are looking for a small portable unit at an outstanding price with outstanding quality, buy this one. It will not disappoint! As always the customer support and hands on service at Sweetwater is unparalleled. Keep up the great work!

  • from Elkhart, IN November 7, 2007Music Background:
    Recording engineer, live sound engineer, pro musician, mic engineer

    Edirol R-09 can help nervous recording clients

    I've been recording a singer-songwriter for months in my studio, and he always gets so nervous that he is seldom happy with his performance.

    Finally I suggested that he buy an Edirol R-09 portable stereo recorder. He records himself at home, doing as many takes as he wants to record his voice and guitar. Then he brings his recordings to my studio for EQ, compression, reverb, editing, overdubs and mastering.

    It's worked out great. By giving up some control over the recording process, I can help the guy capture fine performances with good sound. He loves the R-09's sound and ease-of-use. This hybrid method of home recording and studio mixdown has a lot to recommend it.

  • from Joplin, MO September 18, 2007Music Background:
    Electronica, Custom Soundtracks

    This thing packs a PUNCH!

    I didn't know what to expect when I opened up the package to my R-09, but all it took was the playback of one sample to change my mind for good! The on board mics sound INCREDIBLE. Now, I use this thing everywhere that I go, and thanks to its high storage capacity, it'll last as long as my recording sessions need to (even in uncompressed 24 bit WAV/48,000 mode)! Whether I'm at the beach, the racetrack, the studio, or in class, the R09 has revolutionized the way that I think about audio. This is one purchase that I'll NEVER regret.

    Also, my involvement with scoring films requires me to sometimes gather audio for "ADR" (Automated dialog replacement), and the R09 has allowed me to go into places to capture audio that other recorders and devices could never allow me to do...if you need something to make life easier, get one of these things!

  • from Madison, WI August 4, 2007Music Background:
    Musician, Producer, Composer

    Awesome little recorder

    I have has this recorder for about two weeks now and it is really cool! I bought it to have a easy way to record band rehearsals to give the members something to practice with in between group practices. With a 4 gig SDHC card (yes, it supports that much:)), I have PLENTY of room to record practices start to finish. Sound quality it very nice. I bought the Audio Technica stereo mike with it and set it in the middle of the group, set the levels and hit record. There was no hiss in the recording and all I had to do was add some limiting and compression and it was good to go. All in all, very nice recorder. I do agree with using a card reader instead of transferring file directly from the unit as it is much faster with a card reader.

  • from Princeton NJ September 21, 2006Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Recording Engineer, Live Sound.

    Love this little thing

    Wow I cant belive how easy this thing is to get up and going. I was able to record right away. The update came with the unit 1.3 I took the demos off using a DS reader to my mac os 10.4.7 and was up and running. For recording on location and getting ideas down this thing is wonderfull. This is a take it and go unit. Cool it does come with a power supply thanks Roland. and used 2 aa bat. It the size of the Palm Treo 650 phone. You can drop it in your pocket take your guitar or what ever you play go record get your ideas down bring then back to you computer transfer with usb or a sd card reader and you have wav. or mp3 files to use in your DAW and software. This is nice. I like that the unit is all in one I dont need to carry anything else just this and my guitar. I will be using this to record weddings, my gigs and as sketch pad. I hope to use this to also record natures sounds and bring them back to the computer. For the size and what it is get it if you want to capture your ideas with out haveing to carry your computer, latptop, monior, pre amps, mics, cables, hard drive. Leave it home and just hit record to capure your ideas. Thanks Sweetwater. V

  • from Elkhart, IN June 8, 2006Music Background:
    Recording engineer, live sound engineer, pro musician, mic engineer

    Easy way to record gigs

    I used the R-09 to record a gig with great results. The recorder was on a stool on stage so that its mics picked up the monitor speakers. I simply set the recording level and tapped Record.

    Back in the studio, I used the supplied USB cable to copy the WAV file to my computer's hard drive for editing. The transfer rate was about 2.22 MB/sec. A one-hour 24-bit file took about 7 minutes to copy.

    I imported the file into my recording software and normalized the file. After applying some EQ (with Harmonic Balancer) to reduce the boominess of the monitor speakers, the recording sounded clean and well balanced. In a few more minutes I burned a CD of the gig.

    This is too cool. What a convenient way to record.

    Thanks to my Sweetwater sales engineer, Dave Gardner, for help with the purchase.

  • from Elkhart, IN June 5, 2006Music Background:
    Recording engineer, live sound engineer, pro musician, mic engineer

    Very glad I chose the R-09

    I'm delighted with this product.

    The R-09 is very easy to use. Although the manual is several pages long because it is so thorough, you could write a simplifed instruction sheet on one page.

    Once you have set the recording format (16/24-bit WAV or various bitrates of MP3), just tap Record once to set levels, and tap it again to record. You also could use the included AGC, which works surprisingly well and does not sound overly compressed.

    The clip light is helpful because sometimes the small meters are hard to read. They have excellent contrast, however.

    The built-in mics are omni rather than cardioid. I think this was a good choice because the frequency response is generally flatter than with cardioids, and the handling noise and wind noise are much lower. Although the stereo stage width is less than you would get with cardioids, the direct-to-reverb ratio is actually better with omnis than with back-to-back cardioids picking up the source at 90 degrees off-axis.

    I think that the built-in mics sound very good tonally. They have some audible hiss when recording a quiet instrument like a solo acoustic guitar, but it's not bad. I recorded the signals of some studio mics through a mic preamp into the R-09 line input, and the recording was very clean and quiet.

    The mic input has two unbalanced channels with plug-in power. As such, it is not usable with phantom-powered microphones unless you use an external phantom supply and a dual-XLR-to-stereo-mini-phone adapter. I did not test the internal mic preamp.

    The transfer rate of copying files to my computer's hard drive was about 2.2 MB/sec. A one-hour 24-bit file took about 5 minutes to copy.

    I plan to use the R-09 to record orchestra concerts (with external mics and a mic pre), long radio programs (in mp3 mode), band practice sessions, band gigs (either with the internal mics or off the mixing board) and folk jams. I highly recommend the R-09.

  • from New YOrk June 4, 2006Music Background:
    Working musician (Bassist)

    Edirol R-09 Worth the Wait!

    Just received my Edirol R-09 from Jeff at Sweetwater after a 3-month wait. VERY nice and perfect for recording ideas, rehearsals, or gigs.
    It has a built-in stereo mic, or you can plug in your own.
    Uses up to a 2 Gig SD card. It's 24 bit, with a variety of choices as far as kbps on the mp3's.

    I received the unit on Thursday, and within a few minutes, I was already making my first test recordings. The first real trial was on Friday night, recording my band, "The Tremors" at a local pub in Ramsey, NJ.

    I mounted the Edirol right onto my mic stand with some velcro, and used the built-in stereo mic. At the start of each set, all I did was hit "record", and the Edirol did the rest. It set the levels automatically, and there were no tapes to change or discs to swap out. All three sets easily fit on one SD card at mp3 160 kpbs quality. When I got home, I removed the SD card and popped into my card reader, and moved the three files onto the computer where I could listen to them instantly with my Mp3 player. Then I was able to edit them using Goldwave into smaller, more manageable files. There was no extra step required to convert the files from ATRAC, as they were already in mp3 format and ready to be burned to cd.

    This little unit packs quite a recording punch! I was not disappointed at all with the quality. I had considered going with a mini-disc unit, but I'm so glad I waited for the Edirol R-09 to come out.

    Now that I'm familiar with the unit, here are some of the "pro's" and "Con's" for anyone considering one:


    Records in .Wav or .mp3 format (various quality settings)

    Uses easy to find "AA" batteries (2) or rechargeables, or the included AC adaptor

    Uses very tiny removable media (SD card - up to 2GB)

    USB synch cable is included, but if you have a card reader you can just pop the SD card into the computer and transfer the files. Can't do that with a mini-disc, plus the files are already in a format the computer can work with.

    It's VERY light; only a few ounces (According to my postal scale it's 5.2 ounces with batteries)

    Fits in a shirt pocket

    Easy to stick it almost anywhere for mic placement

    Built-in mic is good enough to record with, or you could plug in any stereo mic of your choosing

    You can record with AGC (Auto Gain Control) if you wish, or set the levels yourself. I used AGC so that I didn't have to worry about the levels peaking (There is also a PEAK indicator and level bars on the display)


    Some kind of adaptor to mount the unit on a mic stand would have been handy (I slapped a small piece of velcro on the back of the unit and stuck it on the mic stand that way)

    If you are playing back an mp3 or .wav file on the Edirol, you can't pause it and power down to resume later. It automatically goes back to the beginning.

    The display gives a lot of information and is very handy, however, my slightly "older" eyes would have appreciated if it were just a tad bit larger! There is room on the front to make it bigger.

    There is no way to edit a large file while it's on the Edirol. (IE; break up an hour-long recording into seperate song files) This would have been extremely handy.

    Renaming files on the Edirol is a bit tedious. It's much easier to rename them on the computer after they've been transfered. Not a big deal, really.

    In any case, I'd say the "Pro's" far outweight the "Con's"

  • from usa June 4, 2006Music Background:
    musician/school teacher

    First impression of the Edirol R-09

    Finally a no nonsense recorder. Very intuitive and straightforward. Easy to navigate thru all the functions. Killer sound. Very quick bootup/shutdown and USB functions. Auto gain works great and manual input gain goes all the way to ZERO. Thank you very much. Also a killer display. I was wondering if it had as much contrast as what I was seeing in the ad pictures. It has MORE! Thank you Edirol.

  • from North Texas, USA January 23, 2008

    Terrrrrific In-Field and Studio recording with the Edirol R-09

    I own one and have found it has AMAZING sound for such a small package. The mics deliver clear, accurate audio that is predictable, yet transparent, yet without a noticeable noise floor. The unit is one of the best for in-field news gathering (radio/tv sound-bites & actualities). The lack of external speakers is sometimes inconvenient but only a minor drawback in view of its' other assets. I have used it in the studio for simultaneous recording of music/vocals although the mics pick up a little 'handling' noise so give it a little lead before starting to input audio, (again, a minor flaw). In the field I have used mine as a 'simulcast' repeating device to record live video camera (audio track) by feeding the board to the input side and repeating the putput side to the camera and dvr. There is a 6ms audio delay that is un-noticeable to all but a professional broadcast engineer, and is instantly correctable on non-linear editing systems. I'd really like to see the unit have XLR connections but they would make the unit bulkier. I'd also like an on-case, mic stand attachment fitting. Using the case is a little cumbersome. By the way, if you're an old guy like me, and need 'cheaters' (reading glasses), it has about the best display I've seen in a long time. I can read the display without my cheaters', on a good day. I looked at all the different units before buying mine and found the R-09 in the Broadcast 'Gold Standard' for audio/video recording.

  • from CA October 22, 2006

    Is R-09 truly professional?

    Overall, I love the unit. Despite it being a bit overpriced, there's nothing out on the market quite like it. I have tried a number of flash-based recorders and the R-09 excelled over others in one respect: Recording on AGC in high volume situations. Pretty much all of the other units clipped and distorted when recording in auto-gain mode in loud situations.

    The sound quality using the built-in mic was okay. It's quite colored, in my opinion. Good for on-the-go recording but not for professional applications. I got much better transparent sounding recording using a good external stereo mic.

    To see if the R-09 could be used for truly professional application, I used the R-09 with an external stereo mic to record a harpist in a studio environment. Compared to the mic going into a preamp and DAW, the recording lacked "body" and the noise floor was unacceptably high.

    The R-09 is clearly aimed at the pro market and while can't beat its size and convenience, it doesn't quite make the pro circuit in terms of sound quality specs. My two cents.

  • from New Haven, CT October 9, 2006Music Background:
    Hobbyist, digital videos, musical recording.

    Great Value

    I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with a unit like this… I just used mine for the first time to record a 2.5 hour college musical my son was in. It worked GREAT!! I previously used a minidisc recorder which I didn't like for a lot of reasons... but that's another story.

    One of the nice features is the size. I put it into my shirt pocket - with the mics sticking out and the auto gain turned on - and let it run. The sound quality is fantastic - and that was in one of the mid-grade mp3 settings. The .wav recording would rival/surpass CDs. I heard no background noise as someone else mentioned. Being digital, the unit is completely silent.

    Some points:

    I love that it uses a standard SD card, the same ones I use in my digital cameras (be prepared to buy a couple if you don’t have any at home… the included 64 MB card only holds 8 minutes at the highest quality setting.) Also great is the way it connects to your computer and shows up as a hard drive, also like a digital camera. Just drag & drop to your internal HD.

    At $400, it seems expensive, but I was happy to pay it for what it allows me to do, which is field recording with a small digital portable unit with built-in quality mics and excellent results. At $400, it should come with SOME type of cover or case, even a cheap vinyl one. There's not even a strap, so in the field it's kind of naked and vulnerable to dropping, dings, dents, etc. I know they sell an after-market one, but come on... for a portable unit it should come with some type of protective covering.

    I’m using lithium batteries (2 aaa). There is a setting for either alkalines or ni-cads, but nothing for lithiums which I found surprising given most portable devices recommend lithiums these days. I left it set on 'alkaline'. So far I've recorded for 3 hours and played back for about 45 minutes, and the battery meter still reads full.

    There is a bright red tally light that comes on when recording. And stays on. Since I was trying to record this musical with the least amount of attention from other audience members, I'd appreciate the ability to switch off the tally light.

    Having said that, I definitely recommend buying this and am 99% happy with mine.

  • from Macon GA July 1, 2006Music Background:
    30 years recording and playing

    terrific class room recorder

    After 30 years as a part time musician and
    full time professor, I have recorded in both
    the lecture hall and the concert hall. This
    recorder is without doubt the best lecture
    hall recorder I have ever used. In the concert
    hall, I let the big mic's and boards do the
    work but I take it home in the R09.

  • from Augusta,Me. December 26, 2007Music Background:
    Performing musician -- Studio engineer - International Man of Mystery


    The need for quality field/gig recording was ever growing in my musical universe. Taken back by the sheer immensity and coverage of the ad-campaign blitz by ZOOM for the H-4 I was looking at only that unit for some time and it did end up on my counter in a Sweetwater box but---- never to be opened!

    I got wind of the Edirol from a good friend who is a trusted sound engineer and he told me how nice the recordings were from his R-09. This conversation sprouted as a result of me telling him I had ordered the Zoom H-4 and he just said look - you get a lot for your money with the ZOOM but what do you want? Features or sound quality??? The H-4 has been called a bit noisy and a bit bright by some who have used it while the R-09 is always touted as stellar and professional grade. For me it had to be the latter so back went the H-4.
    When I listen to the playback of the R-09 I smile and feel satisfied and that to me is the hallmark of a wise decision. It really is very representative of what it is to "be there".

    The reverb function, though interesting at first, proves to be somewhat of a mute feature as I probably would never actually use it for real and there are no parameter controls for each patch. (and they are dense verbs!)

    But you can't really complain about anything else - the layout of the R-09 is very intuitive and very fast. For what this is meant to do it does it very, very well.

  • from Portland, OR August 14, 2007Music Background:
    professional songwriter

    R-09 a solid choice

    A really simple unit that serves songwriters and field recordists well without breaking the bank.

    The options are easy to navigate and you'll be recording in minutes.

    The mic levels are pretty low, making for very quiet recordings at first, but some time invested will help you dial in the correct volume.

    Granted, I'd rather have levels that are too low than that nasty digital distortion.

    If you are comparing this unit to the microtrack, I would say to go with the r-09.

    It is more solid, the mics are MUCH better and the interface is a lot less frustrating.

    It is also a snap to connect to your computer and access your tracks. Amazing.

  • from June 6, 2006

    this thing sounds amazing

    This little machine sounds amazing and the internal mics record very well .. Alot of bang for the buck

  • from Los Angeles, CA, USA June 19, 2006

    SD disk and usb access a problem

    PROS -

    Sound quality - to my ears - is excellent with the built in mic. You won’t need much more for voice/interviews. I haven’t noticed the electrical noise mentioned in a previous comment. Playing music MP3s on the unit reveals outstanding playback sound. I have not tried an external mic yet.

    Terrific screen and well organized.

    Menus to change recording settings are easy to access and change.

    Includes AC adapter. Thanks Edirol for not charging us extra for this.

    Ipod-ish controls are very easy to use and its clear when you are engaging record functions. Easy to read time and level monitor.

    Unit is very light although thicker than an Ipod.

    Updating the firmware is a breeze. Good engineering here. Edirol has v. 1.03 online.


    1) Getting audio into and out of the unit is unnecessarily cumbersome. For some reason, Edirol chose to put the SD Card and the USB cable plug under the same door as the batteries AT THE BOTTOM of the unit. In order to transfer audio to a computer you have NO CHOICE but open the bottom of the unit. If you have the leather case Edirol is selling for the unit, you will have to remove the R-9 from the case every single time you want to move its files to a computer. EITHER the usb cable plug or the SD slot should have been accessible from the side or top of the unit. Putting them both in the same place and covering it with a hinged door is just inconsiderate when the engineers know that the R-9 is not the final destination of the audio files. This is a significant design flaw because it affects the user every time s/he captures audio and is ready to send it to the computer.

    2) Also annoying, when you connect via USB the unit does not lie flat on a table surface because the plastic cover juts out and raises the bottom of the unit a half-inch off the table. I have a sinking feeling this cover is going to be among the most common mechanical failures on this unit because it will be used so often and needless stress is exerted on it by design.

    3) No lossless compression offered. It would be great if at least one lossless compression format was offered. Conserve diskspace while preserving quality. Just a suggestion.

    4) R-9 experiences freezing during mp3 playback. This may be a minor problem as I haven’t used this unit long enough to see if its persistent. But playing variable bit rate mp3s on this unit, the unit frequently freezes. 2 or 3 songs may play properly and then the unit freezes. No way to reboot the unit except to open that damned battery/usb plug/sd disk cover at the bottom of the unit. Now VBR compression is not an offered recording format so it may be a compatibility issue. It just happens to be the format I rip to. I’d be interested to see if anyone else has the same problem.

  • from las vegas April 29, 2008Music Background:

    Great but it freezes

    It freezes for me too. A great sounding recorder though. Very Versitile, I use it in the to playback in the car, record from PCs, record remotely, record from mixers & tvs.

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