Doom Squad Music is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. -> Full Disclosure

Voices and Music Brings Life To Images, 

Being a musician, journalist or from any such associated fields its necessary for one to own a decent portable audio recorders which offers crystal clear recording with basic functionalities.

Somehow, they turned out to be indispensable for ones in need of quality recordings of be it lectures, debates, meetings or interviews.

In 1970’s these scruffy miniature radios were launched in the market that made use of the cassette tapes.

At that time the quality of sound was just justifiable and nearly after an hour one had to without forgetting, flip over the tape to continue the recording on the back side of the cassette tape.

With advent of time and advancement of technology these portable recorders have taken a digital makeover.

The quality of the sound has increased more than hundreds folds and so does the recording capacity.

Now, here comes the question to any buyer’s mind that which portable recorder is best and which is a perfect fit for your need. For complete buyers guide click here.

So lets check which are best portable audio recorder under your budget. (Note : All of the audio recorders are tested by me, my wife and my colleagues)

Best Audio Recorder Under $200

TASCAM DR-07MKII Portable Digital Recorder

TASCAM DR-07MKII Portable Digital Recorder

The DR-07 MK II is a strong and durable audio recorder that has great aesthetic appeal and professional touch.

It delivers superb recording functionalities, for musicians aspiring for more from their portable audio recorders. 

There are 4 built-in adjustable condenser microphones present in it, along with 2 omnidirectional and 2 cardioid.

There is even a S/PDIF digital input for direct insertion of a digital signal, which in turn locks the connectors and ensures that everything is intact in its place.

The body of the model is composed of anodized aluminium due to which it is easy to use under any conditions.

It has 2 batteries so that the users can record audio for prolonged period of time as compared to the recording time of single battery ones. 

The other accessories that it comprises of are- soft case, windsock, wireless remote control, power li-ion battery, USB connection cable, and coin cell battery for accessing remote control operation and many other features. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Its RFI resistant
  • Multiple connections
  • Powerful construction

Reasons To Avoid

  • Poor Battery Life

Zoom H1n Handy Recorder

Zoom H1n Handy Recorder best recorder under 200

The H1n is the elementary model from Zoom, which gets its escalated portability from its aerodynamic body featuring elegant stylish finish and innovative new structure of the preventive mic enclosure.

A major portion of the credit is dedicated to its solid and sturdy design, which is beneficial in recording top notch quality recording anytime and anywhere.

The device is highly compact and you can easily put it in your pocket, or backpack or wherever else you want quality recording without any compromise.

Its multiple features such as the LCD display, single touch buttons and the localized menus makes the H1n apt for entry-level as well as professional users. 

There are multiple usages of the portable recorder such as for recording songs, audio in film projects, recording down lectures, interviews and much more.

The advanced onboard limiter feature of the H1n, facilitates the user to record without any defaults to a sound pressure level of 120dB.

The practical and best use of this feature is when you need to record concerts, band practices and similar stuffs without any compromise in the quality of the sound.

Next, there is the playback speed control option permitting you to swiftly transcribe complex interviews. Incase of musicians also, the A-B repeat is handy while learning and rehearsing the songs.

Its overdub feature provides scope to add in new songs to the previous recordings.

This model even has settings for functions like auto-record, pre-record, and self-timer.

The in-built X/Y stereo microphones of it encloses a wide area while laying great emphasis at the central sound field. So, the users are able to record absolutely clear audio at any point.

Then there are the tone and slate generators making the marking of start and stop points an easy task while audio and video sync is being done.

Reasons To Buy

  • Easily portable due to its concise design.
  • Runs on one battery.
  • Interface is simplistic and easy to use.
  • Price range is easy to afford.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Since it has plastic body, durability is a question.
  • Audio quality is not up to the ark for professional purposes.

TASCAM DR-40 4- track portable digital recorder

Tascam DR-40 4-Track Portable

The next great recorder in line is also from TASCAM.

The amazingly affordable 4-track recorder surprises its user with all that is required to record a best-quality audio, at any time and any place under any circumstances.

To start recording you just need to connect the main feed from the mixing board to the DR-40 and then utilizing the microphones to record.

In case you desire to record along with the video, connect the shotgun microphone to an input and simply activate the phantom power if it’s a condenser shotgun mic.

After you complete these process, superior quality audio and video recordings guaranteed take place virtually.

A built-in limiter, dual mode recording and automatic level adjustments make sure that the recordings done by you are professional and crystal clear without any complexities.

For budding musicians, there also the built-in tuner and a reverb present, that set apart the DR-40 as an excellent recorder as well as a songwriting tool.

Reasons To Buy

  • There are multiple modes present in it.
  • You get the in-built tuner and reverb functions.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Some OS compatibility issues tend to persist.

Zoom H2n handy recorder

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder

The H2n has a simplistic design as compared to the various other recorders discussed here, like it features the instant boot up.

This is really useful while making news recordings as and when required without waiting for your recorder to boot, as there are chances that you may miss upon the initial 30 seconds of any vital announcements.

Discussing the layout, at the bottom panel there is the LCD screen used to select settings such as Auto gain and Lo-cut.

The LCD screen also has supplementary features like the metronome, playback speed adjustment and set loop ends.

Its such features that set high standards for the H2n declaring it a must have for musicians.

Another set of exciting features also includes the onboard effects, compression and low-cut filtering in addition to a chromatic tuner.

There are 5 built-in microphones in it besides 4 recording modes that also includes the stereo mid-side, stereo X/Y and both the 2-channel as well as 4-channel surround.

You can now easily make adjustments to the gain setting of the recorder with the aid of the analog-type microphone gain.

When it comes to size and design of the recorder, it beats all features here and has such compact design of palm size.

It’s the features such as the auto gain, auto-record and pre-record plus the data recovery function, that adds the uniqueness to this recorder.

So, if you are the one who is in search of a recorder that is best in features, then this portable recorder is a perfect match for you.

The recorder sustains on 2 AA alkaline rechargeable batteries that provides it up to 20 hours of battery life for longer recording periods, and which most of its competitors does not.

The USB port present in it permits the files to be easily imported to your editing software in the PC, like the WaveLab LE, so that you can perform advanced functions such as cut on the noise and enriching the audio quality.

The Zoom H2n is the sole recorder that is perfectly apt for creating the 360-degree dimensional audio VR audio files. Being native to the Google JUMP virtual reality, they are utterly coherent with YouTube. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Superb audio quality.
  • Completely a masterpiece in terms of features.
  • Compact in design and thus handy.
  • Longer battery life.
  • In-built features to support audio refinement.

Reasons To Avoid

  • The price range for the product is quite high and seem pinching to your pocket.

Best Portable Audio Recorder Under $400

Zoom H5 four track portable recorder

Zoom H5 Four-Track Best Portable Recorder Under $400

This is another wonder audio recorder from the brand Zoom. Zoom actually dominates the market segment of portable recorder.

Initially we shall discuss about the user interface, the backlit LCD screen is the top panel of the H5’s.

This screen contains the settings related to the audio recordings.

Most of the buttons are present on the bottom part of the recorder. 

On the whole you will get a resilient feel, the product has great finish, which in turn gives good grip over it, even in humid environment.

The metal bars safe-guards the level controls from any unwanted adjustments.

The shock absorber upon which the microphones of H5 are resting, helps in vibration and noise reduction.

Usually we see that variety of recordings require distinct type of microphones, and H5 permits this. It’s up to your will to opt for the most suitable microphone as per the need of the hour.

The H5 model is all in one audio recorder and serves every kind of recording purposes whether you want to record podcast, lectures, interviews, news, or wherever you need a crystal clear audio recording.

H5 has the storage capacity of 128 GB which it saves directly to the SD card or SDHC. So memory is no more a issue.

It has XLR./TRS combined connectors with each power of -20dB pad.

H5 is specifically designed to be compatible of handling utmost loud sounds, because of which it is even the most desirable choice for ones willing to capture live rock concerts.

Reasons To Buy

  • Shock mounter absorbs and reduces noise and vibrations.
  • The interface is easy to use.
  • Well-known for its versatility.
  • Equipped with Cubase for refined audio quality.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Isn’t that lightweight.
  • Fits in higher price range.

Zoom H4N Pro Digital Multitrack Recorder

Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder

Zoom H4N Pro is one of the best portable recorder and provides best bang for your buck for sure.

In this model initially, we shall figure out the layout of the recorder. At the top panel of the H4N’s there is the 1.9- inch LCD wherein the selected recording options are displayed.

Then there are 3 buttons to choose among the 3 input modes, those are the MTR, stereo, and the 4CH. The control buttons for recording, play, fast forward and reverse are present on the panel.

For superior quality sound recording, you can mount it either on a tripod or even on a camera too.

With a weight of just 300 grams, the recorder is easy to carry anywhere. Its new flexible and ductile body makes it worthy of use in the field also.

It has the capacity to manage sound levels up to 140 dB, so its recording range varies right form ear-splitting heavy metal to bass-heavy EDM.

Similar to the previously mentioned Zoom models, in this also the angles of the stereo microphones can be adjusted, whereas the boot time is a bit longer with 30 seconds.

Pristine stereo or 4-channel recording is permissible in it at sampling rates up to 24-bit/96 kHz.

If your DSLR camera has an external microphone input, you can without any complexities connect your Zoom H4n pro to it, with its 0.125-inch stereo line out. 

This as a result gives you best-quality audio which is time coded too. The recorder also possesses a port to plug in your headphones into it. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Notable audio-quality.
  • Is absolutely light-weighted.
  • The Cubase ensures audio refinement.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Comparatively longer booting period.
  • May face inline signal handling issues and problems.

Zoom H6 Six-track portable recorder

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

This again is a surprise and superb audio recorder from Zoom, and this time we have the H6.

This model comes packed with all that stuff that one requires to produce high quality recordings.

Alike the H5 model of Zoom, H6 too makes use of system of transposable input capsules for you to opt for the best option as per your ongoing need.

Th best part I like about the zoom H6 is the freedom it allows you to choose the angle from which you want to record the audio.

The weight of H6 is approx 10 pounds, this recorder is easy to carry wherever required.

If you search the market you will find most of the portable recorders offers only stereo recording function but Zoom H6 offers 6 tracks of multi recording which is quite cool.

The 6 track recording makes it perfect for layering multiple sounds or for generating quick snaps of song inspirations.

It has 4 XLR./TRS combined connectors with each power of -20dB pad.

Another noteworthy feature of the model that was missing on the earlier version of Zoom, is its ability to reduce the handling noise.

Reasons To Buy

  • Amazing audio quality.
  • Is light weight and hence easily portable.
  • Multiple storage operations.
  • The Cubase ensures audio refining.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Complex to use due to presence of several buttons.

Best Portable High Priced Audio Recorder - Above $500

Roland R-05 studio WAVE/MP3 recorder

Roland R-05 Studio WAVE-MP3 Recorder

Roland R 05 is a wonderful portable audio recorder with excellent sound performances.

It is one of the most preferred recorder by professionals of music industries and journalist 

The basic and simple reason behind is the fondness regarding the product is because its functions are easy-peasy to use.

Roland R-05 is a ideal choice for those who requires to drop a memo while being away or in case wishes to capture any favorite song idea instantly.

From a musician’s point of view, the device is equipped with lots of features which comes handy for regular practitioner.

You can say that it is an all in one awesome portable recorder. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Simple User Interface
  • Excellent battery backup.
  • Sleek and light weight.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Takes a bit time to start.

Yamaha PR7 Pocket Recorder with Overdub Functions

Yamaha PR7 Pocket Recorder with Overdub Functions

The Yamaha’s line of ultra-linear portable PCM recorder has a latest entrant in the name of POCKETRAK PR7 that seamlessly facilitates standard quality recordings, whenever and wherever you wish to do.

It makes use of the newly developed XY stereo microphone, that is the PR7 which apprehends audio recordings with best resolutions with minimum efforts, simultaneously attaining harmonious audio-quality.

It is of great value and use for a musician, presenting important and the much- needed practice functions, that is the overdubbing and marker editing.

You are at liberty to access these amazing functions via the interface, and it also has five presets which have been optimized for distinctive applications.

There are many other features along with these main ones, that make recording a rehearsal, songwriting sessions or a field recording task easier than before with its best quality out comings and results.

Reasons To Buy

  • High quality sound.
  • Well-built product.
  • Has metronome and tuner functions too.

Reasons To Avoid

  • One may run short of storage space.

Portable Audio Recorder Buying Guide


Factors such as where and for what purpose you intend to use your portable recorder plays a vital role in easy determination of the correct recorder for you.

All the models of the recorders that we have talked about over here, will for sure deliver excellent sound quality, but what makes them distinct from each other is the features you require and letting go off of the ones you do not require.

This will even give you a customized short and to the point list of best and most suitable portable recorders for you.

Microphones polar patterns

In this list, we have discussed upon two polar patterns that is the cardioid, and the omnidirectional.

The pattern cardioid derived its name from its heart shaped pattern and captures sound directly in front of it.

The feature of the cardioid pattern is that, it captures very less from the sides, and almost nothing from the rear direction.

This is the ideal pattern for recording solo sound, without including the other sounds produced around.

An omnidirectional microphone pattern records everything occurring around it, in a way you can say that it is a 360-degree microphone.

Like if there are multiple people in a room and you place the recorder at the center then it shall record all voices, wherever they might be present in that room.

This can put to best use for recording band rehearsals and meetings by just placing the recorder at the center point.

Microphone configurations

There are the 2 commonly used microphone configurations used on the portable recorders that is the XY and MS.

In case of XY configuration 2 cardioid microphones are placed between the angles 90 and 135 degrees opposite in direction to each other and functioning collectively to capture wider images.

The other one is the MS configuration, that has a cardioid mic directly pointing towards the source besides another bidirectional mic facing towards left and right directions.

They too unanimously function producing wide stereo picture, and as a result creating distinct sonic picture compared to the XY configuration.

Storage options

While purchasing a portable recorder, storage capacity is of great concern, that in turn depends on the fact that what and where you are required to record.

For example, let’s consider that you want to record sounds of nature for a week and on the other hand if you need to record only a class once in a week, then here the storage requirements differ by and large.

Battery life

Battery life holds equally importance like the storage capacity, wherein if you need to go off grid and make the recording then it becomes even more essential and meanwhile if you need to record only a podcast or interview being near to the power source, then there is no such concern or worries.


Heading towards the conclusion, I would like to emphasize on the fact that each and every portable recorder covered in this write up are par excellent.

While some of the models costing higher prices than others may be delivering better sound quality and greater sampling rates, but when it comes to practicality there is hardly any noticeable difference.

The thing that sets them apart from each other are the features possessed by each.

The sellers target multiple consumer segments by attractive packing to sell off their products but the fact is that all are not made for everyone.

Some of them are apt for musicians while others being suitable for news reporters.

Here we have made our best efforts by listing all the essential and noteworthy features of every model, so all you need to do is just give it a thorough reading and select the one that best suits all your needs.

Since there has to be the best among the rest, our top three preferences are the Zoom H6, the Roland R-05, and the Zoom H1n, with the first position being conferred upon the Roland R-05, as it is very affordable, user-friendly and delivering awesome quality audio.

Our Reader Score
[Total: 2 Average: 4.5]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *