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Best Handheld Digital Audio Recorders

Breaking free from the restraints of the studio can be a fantastic way to keep each episode of your podcast new and exciting.

Getting out and about allows you to record from some exciting places and welcome guests from all over the world onto your show too.

However, one thing that is often sacrificed when you’re recording outdoors is sound quality.

And, when it comes to podcasting, this isn’t something you can afford to compromise on.

So, what’s the solution? How can you record remotely and still achieve fantastic audio-quality?

Zoom H5 VS Zoom H6 As A Digital Recorder

Investing in a handheld digital audio recorder is the perfect place to start!

These clever little devices are highly portable, lightweight, and can be stored in your bag without taking up any space. They also offer you a powerful recording performance and will ensure that your podcast retains its professional finish.

There is a ton to choose from, though, which can make the selection process a little more difficult. So, to make things easier, we’ve compiled a collection of the five best handheld digital audio recorders available.

We’ve also put together a super handy buying guide that will make finding the perfect handheld digital audio recorder for your needs a more pleasant, simple experience.

If you’re in a hurry and need a handheld digital recorder as soon as possible, we’d recommend checking out our top pick below.

1. EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder

EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder
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When it comes to recording on the go, you want a digital recorder that offers you excellent audio quality without having to spend a load of time setting it up.

This is one of the reasons the EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder is such a good choice. The simple to use, clearly marked buttons allow you to start and stop recording quickly and easily.

The 16GB memory gives you loads of space to store your recording. And, when you’re ready to upload your files to your editing suite, you can connect the recorder to your computer with the included micro-USB cable.

This digital recorder also features a 3.5mm headphone jack that allows you to listen to your recordings directly from the device.

One of the most remarkable features this digital recorder has to offer is voice-activated recording. Select the AVR function, and it will only record when somebody is speaking. This helps you save space on your memory card and also makes it ideal for making voice-notes.

A rechargeable battery is included, too, so you won’t need to worry about keeping a stash of disposable batteries readily available.

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Pros:

  • Is super simple to use and features clear, directive buttons for quick and easy recording
  • Offers you loads of storage space with 16GB of memory
  • Allows you to transfer files to your computer through the included micro-USB cable
  • Features voice-activated recording that helps save space and is ideal for making voice notes
  • Comes with a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery

Cons:

  • Doesn’t give you the option to attach any external or additional microphones

2. Aomago Digital Voice Recorder

Aomago Digital Voice Recorder
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This Digital Voice Recorder from Aomago is another easy-to-use device that is perfect for recording on-the-go.

It also features highly sensitive, integrated microphones that can produce high-quality sound across a range of vocal frequencies. Meanwhile, the 8GB of memory gives you a good amount of space to store your recordings.

Transferring your recordings to your computer is quick and simple with the included micro-USB cable.

It’s also compatible with all operating systems, so you won’t have to worry about your files not being detected by your computer. You can even listen to your recordings before transferring them through the built-in headphone jack.

The voice-activated recording option is great for saving space on storage, as it will only record when somebody is speaking.

There is also an A-B repeat function, which is especially useful for listening back to a certain part of your recording, and this can be played out loud through the built-in speakers.

To top it all off, this digital recorder comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that gives you 20 hours of continuous use from a single charge.

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Pros:

  • Features highly-sensitive microphones that can clearly pick up a range of vocal tones
  • It is effortless to use and features clear simple buttons.
  • Gives you 8GB of storage space
  • Allows you to transfer files to any operating system with the included micro-USB cable
  • It also features voice-activated recording and comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Cons:

  • Although 8GB is a good amount of storage, you may be able to find a digital recorder that offers your more storage for a similar price.

3. Sony Digital Voice Recorder

Sony ICDUX560BLK Digital Voice Recorder 1" Black
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Sony is regarded as one of the world’s best brands for producing high-quality audio, and this Digital Voice Recorder is no exception to this rule.

As with most digital recorders, it features built-in microphones and voice-activated recording. However, there is one special feature that really makes it stand out from the crowd…It has three different recording options!

You can choose to record in either ‘Wide/Stereo,’ ‘Narrow/Focus,’ or ‘Normal.’ By offering you these three options, you’re able to get the best vocal quality possible for your recording situation.

Interviewing a panel of guests? Choose ‘Wide/Stereo.’ Solo-podcasting from a busy environment? Narrow/Focus will pick up your vocals and drown out background noise.

It also has phenomenal charging performance on the included AAA batteries, and 3 minutes of charging will give you up to 1 hour of recording time.

The user-friendly interface and simplistic buttons make it really easy to operate too. And, to top it off, it comes with 4GB of storage as well as the option to add a MicroSD card.

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Pros:

  • Features built-in microphones and a voice-activated recording function
  • Offers you the choice of three different recording modes – ‘Wide/Stereo,’ ‘Narrow/Focus,’ and ‘Normal.’
  • Includes 4GB of internal storage that can be expanded through a MicroSD card
  • Has a user-friendly interface and clear, simplistic buttons
  • Gives you up to one hour of recording time from just 3 minutes of charging

Cons:

  • It sits at the higher end of the price scale, so it isn’t the best choice for anybody with a smaller budget.

4. Zoom H2N Portable Recorder

Zoom H2n Stereo Portable Recorder
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The Zoom H2N Portable Recorder is packed full of features that offer you some of the best audio quality you’ll ever find in something so travel-friendly.

It features five built-in microphones that can produce smooth results across a wide range of vocal tones, as well as four recording modes.

The choice of ‘Mid-Side Stereo,’ ‘X/Y Stereo,’ ‘2-Channel Surround’, and ‘4-Channel Surround’ ensure that you get the best quality sound regardless of your recording environment.

It also has auto-gain, auto-record, and pre-record features that further enhance the quality of your recording.

A discreet slot located on the bottom of the digital recorder gives you a place to insert SD and SDHC cards up to 32GB. Transferring files to your computer is easy, too, with the included micro-USB cable.

You also won’t need to worry about accidentally deleting your files either, thanks to the data-recovery function.

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Pros:

  • Features five built-in microphones that can pick up a wide range of vocal tones
  • Gives you the choice of four recording modes – ‘Mid-Side Stereo,’ ‘X/Y Stereo,’ ‘2-Channel Surround’, and ‘4-
  • Channel Surround’
  • It also features auto-gain, auto-record, and pre-record functions.
  • Has a discreet and easy-access SD / SDHC port that can hold cards up to 32GB
  • Offers easy file transfer to your computer and has a data-recovery function

Cons:

  • Although it can take both SD and SDHC memory cards up to 32GB, it doesn’t offer any built-in storage.

5. Tascam DR-05X Handheld Digital Recorder

Tascam DR-05X Stereo Handheld Digital Recorder
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Featuring two internal condenser microphones, the Tascam DR-05X Handheld Digital Recorder can record clear, concise vocals in a variety of environments.

It’s also super simple to use and features a redesigned layout that makes recording, pausing, and adjusting your levels quick and easy.

The auto-recording function makes things even easier and, when selected, it will begin recording as soon as a voice is detected. This allows you to hold a more natural-feeling conversation without having to worry about whether or not you’ve hit the record button!

Once you’ve finished recording, transferring your files to your computer for editing is also really simple. Just attach a micro-USB cable, and it will automatically begin moving your files across.

This digital recorder can also be used as an audio interface for live streaming or podcasting. It has fantastic battery life too, and will give you 17.5 hours of recording time from just two AA batteries.

See the Latest Pricing on Amazon

Pros:

  • Features two internal condenser microphones that clearly pick up vocals regardless of the surrounding environment’s noise levels
  • Has a user-friendly interface and clearly marked simplistic buttons
  • It also has an auto-recording function that takes any stress out of remembering to hit the record button.
  • Allows you to transfer files to your computer using a micro-USB cable easily.
  • Gives you 17.5 hours of recording time from just two AA batteries

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include a micro-USB cable for file transfer

Buyer’s Guide

While size and portability are essential factors to look for in any handheld digital recorder, it’s also important to think about the quality of your recordings.

This is why a little more research needs to be done before you settle on your final decision.

Take a look at these key points below. Giving in a little bit of thought to each of these when you’re shopping will help steer you in the right direction and find the best handheld digital recorder for your needs.

Ease of Use

Firstly, think about how easy your digital recorder is going to be to use. Are you fairly tech-savvy? Or would too many buttons and knobs become a confusing thing for you to try and navigate?

When you’re recording in a remote location, ease of use is crucial. You need to be able to whip your digital recorder out and hit record quickly. So, with that in mind, we would recommend choosing a recorder with an extremely user-friendly interface.

Clearly marked, directive buttons are the best way forward. You’ll be able to make a lot of level adjustments and alterations in the editing process, after all. For now, keep it as simple as possible.

Microphones & Recording Modes

Although keeping things simple is key, you’ll still want to be able to capture the best audio quality possible. This will come down to the microphones your digital recorder has and the recording modes it offers you.

Most digital recorders use built-in microphones to record sound, although some available will allow you to attach an external microphone. But, for now, we’ll focus on integrated mics.

Condenser microphones are the best type to go for when you’re looking at digital recorders. This is because they are highly sensitive and can clearly pick up vocals, even if you’re recording in a busy environment.

However, a microphone’s recording capabilities can be further enhanced by recording in different modes. If your digital recorder offers you a choice of recording modes, it means that you’ll be able to better match sound quality for your environment and situation.

For example, if you’re recording in an outdoor environment with a lot of ambient noise, selecting a ‘Narrow/Focus’ recording mode will ensure the microphones concentrate more on your vocals and less on sound coming from the background.

Or, if you’re recording several people at the same time, selecting ‘Wide/Stereo’ mode will make sure the integrated microphones clearly pick up every voice it hears without anything getting muddled together.

Memory

When you’re in a studio, your computer is responsible for storing your finished recording.

But, when you’re recording remotely, you need a device that will store your files for you until they are ready to be uploaded to your computer.

This is where your digital audio recorder’s memory comes into play. Generally speaking, the more memory your recorder has, the more files it will be able to hold.

Most digital audio recorders offer you internal memory, and this can range from 16GB to 8GB. Both of these are great for storing hours of recordings; however, the less storage you have, the more at risk you are of running out of space.

With this in mind, it would be worth going for a larger amount of storage.

Some digital recorders also offer you the choice to record onto an external storage card (such as an SD or SDHC card). This is particularly useful if you have concerns over storage space. It can also make transferring your files to your computer much easier.

Battery Life

Another thing you really don’t want to run out of when you’re recording remotely is power! So, it’s worth making sure that your chosen digital recorder can offer you a good amount of recording time inline with its battery life.

A digital audio recorder that has a rechargeable battery is always the best choice to go for. This will give you loads of battery life from a single charge – up to 20 hours in some instances!

Some digital recorders feature quick-charging technology and will give you an hour of recording time from just three minutes of charging. This is ideal if you get to your recording location and realize that you’ve forgotten to charge it!

Price

Finally, we recommend setting yourself a budget before you begin hunting for a digital audio recorder. As you shop around, you’ll notice that prices can vary quite dramatically between brands.

This is why it’s important to consider the key points above and make sure your digital recorder can do everything you want. By doing this, you may find a budget-friendly option capable of doing anything a digital recorder with a more renowned brand can do.

Frequently Asked Questions

What microphone does a digital audio recorder have?

Most handheld digital audio recorders use condenser microphones for recording. This is because they are highly sensitive and can pick up vocals in a variety of environments.

However, their performance can be enhanced by recording modes. So if you’re thinking about purchasing a digital recorder, it’s a good idea to look at what recording modes it offers you.