Recording OTB on the cheap-ish

Not going for pro-studio quality here, spent years chasing that and even at the very best desk my $$ could afford me, what’s the point? Work hard, spend $$, sounds good, almost quasi professional, but not, never going to get THERE with mixing, mastering, audio conversion, etc. No big-knob big-board 500 series sparkle and sheen.
Granted, would be a lot easier with any DAW but I like hardware a lot & I can’t afford a computer that isn’t an obsolete brick if all I need it for is to record audio & word processing.
Just want to record for fun, sync up a couple of synths, program on the fly, capture what comes out. No editing, no multitracking, just quick & dirty.
Considering the Reloop TAPE, it’s intended to record DJ sets but might suit me. Just want to be able to hit the red button with no fuss when I got something good going. Anybody have any experience with this, or similar circumstances, motivations, modus operandi?

I’m looking at this space at the moment. I prefer the look of the Zoom H2n. It has mics built in. Overall more useful, I think. It’s about the same price.

I use a H1n and it’s great, easy to use.

+1 for 2–4-channel Zoom recorders.
great bang for the buck, no known major problems.

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I use a zoom h4n pro.


Also check out Tascam as an alternative to Zoom recorders. I use the super simple DR-05X which doubles up as a great field recorder with stereo mics. I found its build quality to be a step up from the Zoom H1n


Pawnshop mixer and a cassette recorder.
Or go even cheaper and DIY a passive mixer.


Another Zoom vote here (H5). I’ve got several other options, most of which have more features, but the H5 appears to be the path of least resistance for me. Not sure whether it meets the title’s definition of cheap-ish, but you do get a solid mic recorder and an audio interface into the bargain (and there are cheaper Zooms / Tascams, of course). If you want to go multi-channel there’ll be no shortage of retired digital multitrack models to choose from, and they tend to be affordable. I expect the Boss Micro BR is at the cheap end of the spectrum these days, for example.

But as per my original point, the best recorder is the one you use, and the H5 is the current winner for me there.

Another vote for the Tascam DR series. Excellent recorders. I didnt like the zoom H4 I had for a while. Much preferred the Tascam. Easier / quicker to use, sounds better, more control over eqs etc.

If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can get usb audio interfaces for around 20 bucks. This way you have your recordings ready for posting or listening on the go… might need an usb host adapter for your device… there is a ton of info about this on this forum already.

Also if you have an elektron device which is class compliant usb and has an audio input, you dont even need an audio interface…

…some little mixer and some zoomish handheldrecorder…

or a little digital mixer that also worx as an interface and stand alone recorder…
like the tascam model series…