There are so many reasons to own a portable audio recorder. Standard computer sound cards, particularly those in laptops, are far from ideal, subject to all sorts of hums and whines from electronic interference, and are useless at capturing sounds in the field, at a gig or recording interviews on location. A decent portable recorder, such as the Edirol R-09, will out-perform a basic PC or Mac every time.

Hardy and pocketable

The R-09 passes the portability test with ease. Easily pocketable, it’s very light and benefits from a solid-state build that, in the absence of moving parts, eliminates concerns of hard-disk noise and volatility.

The R-09 likes to record from its built-in stereo mics direct to SD cards (a 64MB card comes in the box), which is a far more convenient option than the hard disk-based Korg MR-1 (£400) which relies on a fiddly external mic arrangement.

Choose your compression

For optimum sound quality you can record uncompressed in 24-bit WAV format, while MP3 recording at 128, 224 or 320 kbps will pack much more into the space available.

An external mic (phantom-powered or not) or a line-in can be used in place of the built-in mics, and low-cut and high/low input gain switches on the back allow for quick adjustments to be made according to the situation. Audio output is via a 3.5mm headphone jack that doubles as an optical digital output.

Where the R-09 really excels is recording the sounds of the big wide world, where its mics capture an incredible amount of detail, aided by an (optional) auto gain control to keep levels in check. Take your pick from three colour schemes: black, white or red.

Stuff says... 

Edirol R-09 review

A brilliantly portable recorder, ideal for podcasters, musicians and DJs