Musical sketchpad
September 19, 2008 4:19 PM   Subscribe

I've heard a font about digital recording devices and how they obsolete tapes. I've considered getting a portable digital recorder to record song ideas, like a sketchpad.

The catch: I want to record multiple parts. Are there any small, portable, cheap four-track recorders? It doesn't need to have the full functionality offered by a real four-track.
posted by LSK to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
Some google-fu led me to this:
posted by nickerbocker at 4:38 PM on September 19, 2008

The Zoom H4 is a stereo recorder with built-in mics that allows you to record up to 4 tracks. A nice little recorder, fairly easy to use once you understand the ackward menus. Built-in mics are surprisingly good, and you can also use 2 external microphones (XLR and 1/4" inputs).
It is a 2-in 4-out; you can record two tracks (basically a stereo source) while listening to another track. With the help of the menu, you can play around with your session, to record multiple takes for instance. USB 2.0 connection to transfer your files irectly to mac or pc. I'd say it's a good choice for about 250$.
I played around with this unit quite a bit. Feel free to mefimail me.
posted by ddaavviidd at 4:40 PM on September 19, 2008

Boss Micro-BR?
posted by scruss at 5:05 PM on September 19, 2008

All of these are a bit outside my price range. I don't want a full studio; just a cheap device to get ideas with.
posted by LSK at 4:53 AM on September 20, 2008

Call Sweetwater Sound. This online musical equipment dealer is widely regarded as having some of the best sales support customer service. They will help you find what you need.
posted by kenliu at 7:14 AM on September 20, 2008

Also, why don't you just use your computer? Decent multitrack recording software is cheap (GarageBand on the Mac is great), and you can get USB mics these days that just plug right in.
posted by kenliu at 7:17 AM on September 20, 2008

There's also the Zoom H2.
posted by tmcw at 9:45 AM on September 20, 2008

The H2 is what you want if cheap really matters. The H4 gives you 4 tracks and phantom powered inputs, otherwise it's the same, pretty much. Both have godawful little displays, however, that I find annoying.

Tascam has just come out with one that looks like a winner (DR-1). I've used an Edirol R09 extensively and really like its tiny size and sound quality, but it's as much a piece of crap for build quality as the Zooms are. Sony has a more expensive WAV recorder that's quite a bit more nicely made for around $700.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:05 PM on September 20, 2008

Also seconding Sweetwater. I do a lot of business with them for recording gear and they are great folks.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:08 PM on September 20, 2008

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