Portable Audio Recorders?

What would you guys recommend for a portable audio recorder? I’m looking for something in the ball park of $200 or less. It would be great if I could also connect my mixer outputs to it to record directly as well.


I use the Tascam Dr-40. It has XLR/1/4" ins that would connect to your mixer and comes in right at $200.

Looks pretty good but I have a few questions.

From the specs I see:

“Record with the built-in microphones and XLR mic or line inputs for 4-track recording”

So if I read this right I can record direct from the mixer and at the same time have additional tracks being recorded from the microphones? I’m thinking in a live situation I would have a good base recording of the performance and then I can over dub the audience later.

Can it handle all four tracks being recorded as a WAV simultaneously or does it force you into something like MP3 when using more than two tracks?

Yes. you can use the ins and the external mics at the same time. Only can record at 24/48 doing both tracks, you cannot do 24/96 on both at the same time. It will leave you with 2 sets of Wavs.

Very interesting. I would initially be using this for feeding samples to my Octatrack. Does it have a 24 bit 44 kHz option?

Thank you for the help.

Be sure to take a look at the Zoom H5 as well. It’s a little over budget, but has interchangeable input capsules which means you can get a line input module and use it as a four-track line mixer and recorder as well.

Yes, you can choose many including BWF, which is a Broadcast Wav format.

I’ve had my DR40 for a couple of years now - rock solid, never had a problem.
battery life seems good too.

I use a Zoom H6 and is extremely happy with it. I use it with OT+A4+AR. Mostly I record only two channels from the octatrack, but if I need there is up to 6 separate channels that can be recorded att the same time. It can also be used as an audio interface to the computer.

Only issue is to make sure you use balanced cables on the mic inputs or the unit will introduce a “helicopter” noise during any quite parts.

Yes, these Zooms are great. The H5 is basically a slightly smaller H6 with 4 instead of 6 channels.

I have a Sony PCM M10 - nice lightweight stereo recorder with amazing battery life

Line-in (stereo minijack) and excellent built-in stereo mics

Wide range of mp3/wav recording options up to 24bit/96khz

Expandable with micro SD /Sony memory stick micro cards

Only downside might be the ext input is stereo minijack

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I’ve been listening to Youth Code a lot lately. I had never heard of them but they will be playing with Haujobb, Front Line Assembly, and Skinny Puppy in a show I will be going to soon. I found out that they sample a lot of construction sounds and use them as percussion. I’m not sure I would want to do the same thing but it did trigger in my head that I needed to generate more of my own samples.

Youth Code for anyone interested:

I also use the The DR 40. Its Rock solid I keep it on standby plugged into my mackie Onyx mixer incase I want to capture something without setting up the DAW. Super impressed with the sound quality considering the price.
Great to have if you running an out of the box setup. Often comes in handy.

Looks like the DR 40 has a $25 rebate going on right now which might make this the winner for me.
I am very much using an OTB setup and currently record to Audacity using my mixer’s USB interface to either my Linux netbook or my work issued Macbook which I just don’t have space for and a portable recorder would fit great on the right side space of my AK. I have clipping issues a lot using this method and I can never seem to get it to record loud enough without clipping. Do any of these recorders show if there is clipping and any other sound details?

the Dr 40 has good gain readout shows you how much headroom is left.
There are some other features for setting up levels.
I always keep tons of headroom. There is a PEAK light on the right of the screen, guess that answers your question.
Perhaps download the manual and take a quick look see if the unit does what you want.