14 June 2010

6 Portable Guitar Recorders

Recording your guitar playing and practice is a great way to identify strong points and weaknesses to improve and keep a record of your progress. Modern digital audio recorders make this easier than ever before to do.

A few years ago the most common recording solution was a tape recorder. But this meant lots of winding backwards and forwards and recordings were difficult to store and find again.

Digital recording devices now make it easy to record, playback, mix and manage your guitar tracks. Pocket sized recorders can store many hours of recordings and there's no more rewinding. Here is a selection of six portable devices that make excellent guitar practice companions.

Zoom H2

Zoom's H2 digital recorder is well suited for both acoustic and electric guitar players. It has 4 built-in directional microphones for stereo acoustic recording or 1/8" mic or line input jacks for instrument or mixer outputs.

Audio is stored on an SD card of up to 32Gb which can store up to 50 hours of recordings. You can easily transfer your music to a computer via the SD memory card or USB connector. It also offers a built-in metronome and chromatic tuner.

Zoom H4n

A more recent upgrade to the H2 the Zoom H4 has onboard X/Y condenser mics to allow stereo recording patterns at either 90 or 120 degrees. It also adds a high-quality pre-amplifier for more precise audio recording.

For guitar players, the H4 is an improvement on the H2. It has a phrase trainer with tempo control from 50% to 150% without altering pitch, 50 onboard DSP effects and guitar amp models and a 1/4" guitar jack so you can plug straight in. It also offers a powered XLR input.

The H4 can record up to 4 channels from the two internal microphones plus external microphones. You can also use it for 4 track overdubbing and mixing.

Tascam DR-07, GT-R1

Tascam is a long time player in the music recording department and offers two interesting digital recorders for guitar players.

The DR-07 is an all-purpose portable digital recorder with internal stereo microphones. You can plug in an external instrument or microphone via stereo 1/8" jacks.

The DR-07 has useful playback features that allow you to loop mp3 files or sections of them. You can also adjust the tempo without changing pitch or change the key.

The GT-R1 is more clearly targeted as a guitar practice tool. As well as the usual recording features via the internal microphones or 1/4" instrument jack it also offers amp simulation and a guitar multi-effects unit.

For guitar practice there are 80 rhythm tracks and an overdub function so you can record over backing tracks or your own backing recordings.

Audio is stored on a 2GB SD card and a USB connection allows it to be stored to computer.

Boss Micro BR
A strong point of the Micro BR from Boss is its size, only slightly bigger than an iPod and weighing 130g it offers maximum portability.

Despite the tiny size the Micro BR is a four track recording studio with 32 virtual tracks to create mixes. It offers a 1/4" jack input for guitar or bass as well as internal mic and stereo line-in/mic jack.

Useful features include a drum machine with 300 rhythm patterns and a multi-effects processor with amp-modelling. You can also adjust tempo without changing pitch and remove lead guitar or vocal from pre-recorded songs with center cancel.

The Micro BR records to SD cards up to 1GB for up to 755 minutes recording time and has a USB computer connector.

Line 6 Back Track

The Back Track from Line 6 introduces an interesting concept, once switched on it records any audio signal it detects through its microphone or 1/4" jack input. No more stopping and starting, the idea is to simply switch on and forget it.

A "Mark" button can be used to mark the audio just recorded as special, separating it for easy review later. Audio is retrieved via a built-in USB interface for storage or editing on a computer.

The Back Track has 2GB of memory that can store up to 24 hours of audio and claims a battery life of 8 hours.

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