Audio Recorders

Portable digital audio recorders are designed to be compact, rugged, and super portable so you can reliably capture sound no matter where your next project takes you.

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For creatives on the move, the ideal audio recorder can transform regular moments in time, say the zoom of a New York City Subway or the gush of a Yellowstone waterfall, into a perfect sound bite for your next vlog, documentary, or music track.

Needless to say, audio recorders are crucial devices for filmmakers, musicians, journalists, podcasters, vloggers, and anyone who needs to capture and transfer high-quality audio to include in their gear bags.

But what exactly is an audio recorder, and which one do you need? We’ll answer both those questions for you right now.

What Is an Audio Recorder?

To put it as succinctly as possible, an audio recorder is a device that records high-quality sound, stores it in a digital format (like an MP3), then allows you to effortlessly move it to another device (like a computer).

If you want a slightly more detailed version, audio recorders can be compared to audio interfaces in the sense that they capture analog signals and transform them into digital ones. They move audio from your mouth, instrument, or surroundings, cut out unwanted feedback, and cleanly transfers it to your computer.

They can achieve this at a much higher level than your computer’s native mic or speaker and, unlike audio interfaces, are ultra-portable.

Long story short, you need an audio/sound recorder if you plan on creating audio content in the key of high-quality.

Now that you’ve been acquainted with this neat little contraption, it’s time to talk about use-cases and choosing the best one for your needs.

Best Device For Audio Recording

There are a few things to pay attention to before investing in an audio recorder.

First are portability & durability. You want a device that easily goes everywhere you do. Your recorder should be rugged but light, with a long-lasting battery so that you’re never caught lacking when it’s time for action. Btw get one that runs on standard AA or AAA batteries so that you don’t need to go out of your way when the time comes to re-up on them.

Your audio recorder should be advanced enough to handle any (mic) test thrown at it. This means paying attention to features like input capsules (the more, the merrier if you have multiple speakers/voices), preamps, resolution capacity, etc.

Often overlooked, ease of use can be as essential as what you have connected. An audio recorder with a full display and simple controls is worth its weight in gold.

Uses for audio recorders include recording songs, interviews, lectures, recording podcasts, documentaries, or important thoughts (all at full sound quality potential).

Whether you’re just getting started or want to hone in on your audio-polishing abilities, enroll in our Audio Basics with Caleb Wojcik class for just $99!

At Moment, we strive to help creatives stay prepared, no matter when inspiration (or deadlines) comes a-knockin’ (or, in the case of sound, a-hollerin'), so our experts have curated only the best products. Here are the top picks.

H6 Handy Recorder

The Zoom H6 Handy Recorder is our tool of choice and ultimate portable recorder. It offers award-winning audio quality, advanced preamps, and a ton of versatility, like up to six interchangeable line-level/mic-level input capsules, multiple built-in effects, a full-color LCD, and over 20 hours of operation! The H6 Handy is a filmmaker’s dream and works better than the best audio interface most folks have sitting in their studios.

H4n Pro Handy Recorder

Next up is the Zoom H4n Handy Pro Recorder. Like its big brother, the Zoom H6, this recorder comes equipped with advanced features like an LCD screen and high-performance, low-noise mic preamps. The H4n Pro is built to record four tracks concurrently with resolutions of 24-bit/96 kHz. It’s a perfect fit for musicians, whether recording live performances or studio sessions. It’s a more portable, more affordable option over the H6 for those serious about sound.

H1n Handy Recorder

Last on our list of best audio recorders (hand-selected by Moment’s expert team) is the H1n Handy Recorder by Zoom. Not to be confused with the Swine flu, this is a powerful mic/recorder used by pros to capture sound and sample audio at unbelievably high quality with stereo X/Y 90-degree microphones that handle distortion-free signal up to 120 dB SPL. Equipped with a 1.25” LCD, user-friendly controls, and up to 10 hours of operation time, this is an elite-level yet wallet-friendly audio recorder that’s tough to beat.

We hope we’ve made it clear & simple to find the right fit by narrowing the options down to our three favorite Zoom recorder options. Let’s answer some frequently asked questions before you make a final decision.

FAQ

What is the best audio recorder?

The best audio recorder is durable and captures high-quality audio. By our rigorous standards, Zoom makes the best audio recorder. We recommend the Zoom H6 Handy Recorder to record your next sound-bite, talk, or show.

Can I use my Zoom recorder as a microphone?

Yes. You can use your Zoom recorder, such as the H1n Handy Recorder, as a microphone directly, or you can connect an external mic via audio jack or USB for capturing the highest quality sound possible.

Is there a voice recorder on my phone?

Most phones have voice recorders. However, if you want to capture focused, exceptional quality audio, you should invest in an audio recorder. At Moment, we offer multiple creator-tested options, with the H1n Handy Recorder being our favorite low-cost yet pro-level selection.

What is the best way to record audio?

The best way to record audio is with a digital audio recorder, a mic, and your favorite Digital Audio Workstation or video editing software. These are the tools pros use to capture, transfer, and edit the purest quality audio for their podcasts, vlogs, music, films, and more. Our elite lineup of audio recorders by Zoom (including the H6 Handy Recorder, the H4n Pro Handy Recorder, and H1n Handy Recorder) work directly with your DAW/video editing software to help you sound your absolute best.

Learn to create sound like a pro in Adobe Premiere with our Moment Lesson.

Wrap Up

As we just learned, audio recorders aren’t just an ideal solution for capturing sound, they’re necessary studio gear for creatives who record high-fidelity audio, anywhere, anytime. With their portability, ease of use, and versatile features that cover any possible scenario, Moment’s selection of audio recorders passes the strictest standards for newbies and industry veterans alike. Grab one of our Zoom recorders on your way out, and hear for yourself how the quality of your audio tracks changes like musical magic.