Digital recorder to use with a separate microphone - recommendations?
August 27, 2018 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for a digital recorder to use with an external mic (which requires phantom power) in a home studio situation.

I've been using a Marantz PMD670/U1B digital recorder to do spoken word recordings, but it has been unexpectedly failing (nothing like discovering that there's nothing but three 4k files on the storage card after doing an hour-long recording...)

I don't really need one of those portable jobs that has the built-in mics, but if it can connect to an external mic and supply it with phantom power I guess it would work. Really looking for a box the size of a paperback book that does nothing but record from a microphone... I prefer to record to a device and then edit on a computer after transferring the sound file. I know it is a typical solution, but I'm not fond of recording directly to a laptop, for instance.

Any suggestions? I'd like to get away with spending no more than a couple hundred dollars, but that seems unlikely... thanks.
posted by BillMcMurdo to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Look at the Tascam product line. They have a nice long history of doing this stuff pretty well, at price points $100-1000. Many models can do phantom power and weigh less than paper copy of a famous modern fantasy novel.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:28 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I bought a Tascam at about $100 and it was hard to use - really - I wanted to leave it with a friend and I left instructions and he had a hard time.

Then, in the last two years I have been recording my father over the phone with my Samsung Android phone - S7 Edge - and it sounds fine! My father passed away and I used the same S7 Edge to record his memorial, and it sounds fine!

YMMV but try a smartphone.
posted by cda at 7:38 PM on August 27, 2018

I’ve been very happy with my zoom H5 portable recorder but it’s a bit over your price range. The H4n is similar for around $200.
posted by doctord at 8:12 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Zoom H4N might fit the bill for cost and external mic capabilities - it has dual XLR inputs with phantom power and a 1/8" jack. Or you could just use the built-in mics that are decent-ish. Criticisms are the interface - which is a little clunky - and if you use phantom power the thing eats batteries like crazy.
posted by theory at 8:27 PM on August 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

Zoom makes good inexpensive products, in addition the built in mics are halfway decent. Thirding the H4n
posted by q*ben at 9:41 PM on August 27, 2018

I like my Zoom H4N PRO! For power, it can kinda take USB - I mean, it takes 5V, so I use a cable that's USB on one end, barrel on the other, and I've used an external battery pack for all-day recording with no problem.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:55 AM on August 28, 2018

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