As long as we've had recorded audio, there's been equipment used to make it - obviously! And although many recording setups are based on interfaces and software these days, there's still a lot to be said for hardware audio recorders. For starters, they work without having to rely on other hardware or software components, which makes them reliable. As well, they record directly onto your chosen media, which means a shorter signal path and less risk of signal degradation. Finally, and maybe best of all, these audio recorders come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, so you can customize your setup by choosing the perfect one to meet your recording needs.
For studio work, your best bet will be one of the many options in desktop and rack-mounted audio recorders. Some of the headliners of that category include Tascam's Portastudio series, with models like the DP-24SD 24-Track Digital Portastudio and the SP-32SD Digital 32-Track Portastudio. The name says it all with these: featuring a range of built-in editing and mixing functions, they go above and beyond simple recording to become miniature studios you can take anywhere.
Of course, if portability is your first priority, you might find a handheld recorder more fitting. The tiniest of all hardware recorders, these models usually come with a pair of built-in directional microphones to record native stereo sound. Feature sets and recording quality range from basic models like the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder to ultra-high-end units such as the Olympus LS-100 Linear PCM Recorder, which is capable enough to give even full-sized audio recorders a run for their money.
If you're looking for an all-in-one, self-contained recording solution, the audio recorders in this section are definitely going to hit the spot. You have your choice of rack-mounted or desktop recorders to use in the studio, and handheld or compact mobile units for recording live sound, jam sessions and impromptu music videos. Finding the best recorder is as easy as making yourself a list of all the features you want, narrowing down your options based on that, and then picking out your favorite.