There is no doubt there is something different a live performance when compared to a studio recording. The raw emotion, the adrenaline, the pitch of the artist as they dance or move about the stage and the audience feedback is something that simply cannot be duplicated in a studio environment. However, acquiring a good quality copy of such a performance demands carrying around a good portable recording device.

Best Portable Recording Devices For Live Music

When looking for portable recordings for live performances, you need to consider the size of the device– something that is small enough to easily carry— the quality of the built-in microphone, how much storage it has, the sound quality of the device, the battery life, and how compatible it is with other devices and computers. The following 10 recorders all scored high in these categories:

1. Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder

Zoom H4n Pro

Offering four channels for digital recordings with built-in stereo and X/Y microphones, which can handle everything up to 140 dB SPL, this device is considered the “gold standard” in field recording. The Zoom portable recording H4N device is superior to other devices thanks to its natural sounding preamps and X/Y microphones. This means you can record something as soft as the flutter of a hummingbird’s wing and something as loud as the Indy 500 with equal clarity and overall quality. It also features an RC4 wired remote control that gives you easier playback and recording, a reconfigured FX Processor that provides ultra-realistic bass/guitar amp emulation, compression, which reduces the delay/reverb, along with low noise preamps (less than 120 dBu EIN) and a 4 in/2 out USB audio interface.

2. Sony ICDUX560BLK Stereo Digital Voice Recorder

Sony UX560 Digital Voice Recorder

This impressive portable recorder features a built-in USB and boasts up to 4 GB of built-in, expandable storage. It also allows you to record in either LPCM/MP3 with an ultra-sensitive s-microphone.

3. EVISTR Voice Recorder L53

L53 EVISTR Voice Recorder

The L53 EVISTR model is an 8 GB portable recording device, featuring adjustable, HD microphones that are highly sensitive and effective. It also has built-in noise reduction that ensures flawless recordings from up to 40 feet away. The rechargeable battery means you can recorder longer than ever before, up to an impressive 15 hours. The 8BG of storage, already mentioned, ensures you can keep up to 300 hours of recording files.  When you add an Aux port, you can record music flawlessly.


4. Tascam DR-22WL Portable Handheld Recorder

Tascam DR-22WL

This groundbreaking handheld recorder is the first portable recorder by TASCAM to feature Wi-Fi for audio streaming, file transfer and transport control to your PC or smartphone. It also has a scene dial, which makes the process of capturing and then sharing phenomenal sound recordings effortless. It also features condenser microphones in an XY pattern that is ideal for stereo imaging.


5. Yamaha PR7 Pocket Recorder


The Yamaha PR7 recorder features overdub capabilities, line/mic input, easy overdubbing, 95kHz/24-bit recording, crossed XY stereo microphones. In addition to the fact that this model will allow you to record your music flawlessly, it also comes complete with WaveLab LE, which is audio editing software that will make the process of editing your audio much easier. You can record in either 24-bit linear PCM or high-fidelity 16 format. The crossed microphones help you achieve excellent accuracy in terms of depth and localization of the audio.

6. Yemenren Sound Audio Recorder

YEMENREN Digital Voice Recorder R10 Audio Recorder

This recording device is particularly appealing due to its long battery life, ample internal storage of 8GB and compact design. It also has a single button that performs several functions, which is a difference in design. With a single button, you can fast forward, play, stop, record, etc. The built-in stereo mic is perfect for voice recordings, and the jack allows you to plug in an external microphone for audio recorders. Easily record in various formats, including MP3 or WAV formats via an SD card.

7. Olympus VN-7200

Olympus VN-7200 Digital Voice Recorder

The digital voice recorder by Olympus features an LCD backlit screen, is affordable, has a long-lasting battery, and boasts a user-friendly interface. It also has a power button with dual functions. The mini speaker that is situated at the bottom of the device allows you to listen to your recorded audio. It is ideal for recording live events and produces realistic recordings.

8. Zoom H2n Handy Recorder

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder Portable Digital Audio Recorder

This recorder, which features four recording modes, and supports up to 32GB of SDHC or SD card as well as boasting five built-in microphones is the “beast of the recording league” for obvious reasons. With the H2n, the second appearance a Zoom recorder finds its way on the list. With the H2n, you can just as easily record a lecture as a live concert. This amazing device gives you over 20 hours of operation when you use the standard batteries. You also have access to functions such as variable speed playback, metronome, tuner, auto-rec, pre-rec, auto gain, compressor/limiter, and lo-cut filter just to name a few. It also supports MP3 and MAV files.


9. Tascam DR05

Tascam DR-05 Stereo Portable Digital Recorder

If you thought you had seen another Tascam on the list, you would be correct. However, this one, the DR05 model, boasts a unique feature, the omnidirectional microphone. It is the opposite of a X/Y model. This omnidirectional design is basically created to record surround sound. That’s not all this Tascam model has, though. It also features speed playback, allowing you to repeat or loop sounds and a chromatic tuner and allows you to connect an AC adapter or USB. It comes with a micro SD card for 2 GB of storage, and this particular model comes complete with a handy stand that allows you to stand it up and leave in some settings.

10. Roland R-05

Roland R-05

This studio WAVE/MP3 recorder by Roland is the last on our list of the best portable recording devices for live music. This model features a built-in stereo mic or external input, allows you to loop playback, and change the tempo and even comes complete with reverb. You can split songs and use the auto level adjust among other notable features.

We trust the above information has given you an idea of some good products to investigate for recording live music performances.

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