Recording equipment

Summary of available recording devices

(This material was originally going to be part of the book but was removed to save space and because it dates quickly.) As of 2011, my impression is that almost everyone is using compact flash recorders from various companies. The Edirol R-09 and Handy Zoom H2, H4 and H6 are commonly recommended as being good value for money, easy to operate, reliable, and produce excellent recordings. They have been well tested in the field for the last 10 years. Various Marantz solid state recorders are also used but are more expensive.

  • Compact Flash recorders – current best technology
  • (Analogue) Cassette – obsolete, but still popular in some areas and amongst older fieldworkers.
    • MP3/MP4 recorders and Ipods (now mostly obsolete)
    • DAT – now totally obsolete
  • Minidisc – now totally obsolete
  • CD recorder – now largely obsolete


I do not recommend recording directly to computer. Despite gains in computing sound card quality, it still seems to me to produce worse recording than a dedicated recorder. (This advice was from 2008; I still believe it, but now, mostly because typing and recording at the same time is impossible.)

Summary of microphones