By Andrew Liszewski
When I went to school the only options we had for recording audio in the field were portable DAT and Minidisc recorders. They worked well enough but while they were both digital formats there was no way to simply dump the recorded audio files onto a computer for editing. Everything had to be run through a mixer then captured into a computer in real-time and besides being a pain it also resulted in one generation less of quality.
I would have far preferred to wander the streets with the Roland Edirol R-09 Wav/MP3 Recorder instead. As the successor to the company’s already popular R-1 model the R-09 doesn’t have the extensive lineup of internal effects as the original but it makes up for it in being half the size. The R-09 has a built-in stereo mic (plus mic and line audio inputs) and can record directly to uncompressed 24-bit wav files at 48kHz (or 44.1kHz) or directly to MP3 files at up to 320kbps. The R-09 uses SD cards for storage and most importantly will transfer audio files to a computer over USB 2.0.
The Roland Edirol R-09 is available from various online music equipment retailers for about $399.