Portable Music Recorder

Author: Mark at Instrument Geek

If you travel around a lot, go on regular hikes with your guitar, or just generally find yourself in situations where you wish you could record some music but can’t cause you’re not at your home studio, then investing in a portable music recorder is a must. The technology for portable recording has advanced so far and conveniences musicians in many ways. Back in the day at best you’d have a clunky tape recorder with lots of lo-fi distortion. You’d have to be able to record everything in one take. You’d have to carry around a ton of tapes and there were lots of other annoyances.

But now we live in the digital era and everything so much more compact and clean. We have the privilege of being able to own a portable music recorder and use it to put down our own sounds on SD cards. That’s right, with this device all you have to do is put an SD card in it and you’re able to record a ton of music. SD cards are really small too, so carrying a few isn’t nearly comparable to lugging around a bunch of sizable tapes.

Here are the 3 best portable music recorders on the market right now:

TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder

The Tascam DR-40 is the first portable music recorder on this list because it’s the most affordable. But it’s probably the most common model used by individuals who record music on the go. The battery should last you around 17 hours, but this can be extended with the external battery pack released by the same company specifically for this model (though it works with many other models as well, including ones from different brands). If you plan on using this model to record music when you’re near an outlet such as when you’re in a hotel room, then getting this power adapter will convenience you immensely.

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Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder

The Zoom H4N is within the same price range as the previous TASCAM, only a little pricier. It’s a tad bit sturdier too which makes it a better model to own if you plan on going out and about into rough environmental conditions. Otherwise the previous model is slightly preferred over this one. However if you do decide to go with this model, then be sure to pick up a 32gb SD card. Other cards aren’t guaranteed to work, so be wary.

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Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

The Zoom H6 is at the top of the line. This versatile device records high quality professional level audio. The other models are great too, but with this you have so much more. The amount of increased nuanced control you have over the music you record is enough to make it worth it. This portable music recorder is even used in the professional film industry. So to be honest, it might be overkill for most individuals.

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Which portable music recorder to get

If money is no object then it should go without saying that the Zoom H6 is the way to go. It’s the highest quality portable music recorder on the market right now. But if you’re afraid you might get into situations where you might damage the music recorder, then the Zoom H4N is the better option as it’s very sturdy and more affordable. Finally, the Tascam DR-40 is probably the safest bet on this list. It’s budget-friendly, high quality, popular, and Tascam is a known Japanese company that specializes in engineering music recording equipment.

Remember there are also some accessories that can help you get the most out of your portable music recorder. This inexpensive case is pretty much a necessity and fits all of the models in this list.