The Best Podcasting Recorders For Every Need and Budget

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Last updated:
August 15, 2021
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Why do you need a digital recorder?

Digital recorders are portable and allow you to take podcasting outside your studio or office and other places. A laptop is great for podcasting, of course, but sometimes, you may need an easy-to-carry digital recorder with an external microphone to record your sessions.

Novice podcasters who just want to get started may find an affordable digital recorder with rudimentary features enough for them. Others may want more advanced features and professional-level audio quality. Some devices are also better-suited for roundtable discussions. Others are better suited for field recordings (i.e. recordings that happen outside the studio).


What to consider?

Memory - Some entry-level devices have built-in memory, but most of the time, expect to buy a separate 32GB MicroSD card to store your data.

Convenience -  Entry-level ones tend to be the smallest and can fit into your pocket. Mid-tier ones tend to be bulkier, so you'll need a bag to transport them.

Recording time - Recording quality eats up a lot of space. Therefore, you may want to invest in a 32GB MicroSD card when doing field recordings. This lets you ensure you have recording time left.

Device compatibility - You may want your digital recorder to be modular if you're going to include extra microphones for group discussions. In this case, you might want to invest in a more mid-tier recorder that has many XLR inputs. 

Battery life - As a best practice, don’t assume that the battery life goes beyond 10 hours of recording time, and change batteries before then. Always have a spare!


Quick Summary: Which Recorder Fits Your Purpose?

#1. Olympus WS-853 Voice Recorder - Best for newbie podcasters who want to see how podcasting works with a no-frills device. 110 recording hours of battery life.

#2. Zoom H1n -  Best for one-on-one, face-to-face discussions.

#3. TASCAM DR-05X - A great entry-level recorder for roundtable discussions, thanks to its omnidirectional microphones.

#4. Zoom H4N Pro - Perfect for loud and field recordings.

#5. Zoom H5 - A very intuitive and versatile podcasting recorder for podcasters for roundtable discussions. It is also perfect for on-the-road recordings, thanks to its robust build.

#6 Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder - Perfect for experienced podcasters who know their way around digital recorders and want a slightly better recording quality than the H5. 

#7. Rode RODECaster Pro - It essentially serves as a portable podcasting studio that works well for live sessions. You need to invest in quality equipment and microphones for this device.

Affordable and easy to use

#1. Olympus WS-853 Voice Recorder

Olympus WS-853 Voice Recorder

Perfect For

This affordable, pocket-sized digital recorder is excellent for absolute beginners who want to dip their toes into podcasting with a trusty device that gets the job done. It has a Simple Mode function that removes anything else but what's necessary to record your podcast. 

Specs

  • Size (Length x Width x Height): 20 x 50 x 120 mm (smaller than an iPhone 4)
  • Sound Quality: It has 2-directional microphones at a 90-degree layout, so expect an adequate stereo experience. Its microphones can detect the distance and the speakers' position, giving the audio recordings a depth of sound.
  • Bitrate options: 128kpbs, 64 kbps mono (recommended), or 128 kbps stereo
  • Storage: 8GB internal memory, supports up to 32GB MicroSD (>15 hours recording time) - card not included
  • Battery type and life: Rechargeable NiMH 3x AAA batteries, around 110 hours recording time
  • Recording format options: MP3. 
  • Inputs: 1x 3.5mm jack for headphones and 1x for external mic; USB key

Performance 

The 2-directional built-in stereo mics offer adequate sound. But it can detect shuffling sounds, so make sure not to make too much movement when handling your recorder.

It only records MP3 files. While a 96 kbps mono is enough for one-on-one interviews, more advanced podcasters may find value in getting higher-quality WAV recordings.

Price 

Amazon US: $70  
Amazon UK:
£80

Pros

  • It is the perfect podcast recorder for beginners.
  • Pocket-sized
  • 110 recording hours of battery life (the highest in this article by far)
  • It features a Noise Cancel feature to make ambient noise quieter in your recordings.
  • You can change the playback speed without changing the pitch in the recording.
  • Built-in 8GB memory that can store up to 2080 hours of recording time.

Cons

  • You can't record in WAV format.
  • Very entry-level. The sound quality isn't bad. Podcast recorders #2 and #3 just have a better recording quality.
  • The microphones aren't insulated from the case, so any movement in your handheld recordings may translate into shuffling noise.

#2. Zoom H1n

Zoom H1n

Perfect For

This pocket-sized podcaster recorder is great for beginner podcasters who do many face-to-face or location-based recordings in places with a lot of noise. You can directly mount them on mic stands, tripods, and DSLR cameras through the recorder's threaded hole in the back. 

It can easily fit in your pocket, and it has some noise leveling features. These make the device very useful for journalists and other types of content creators that need to record audio on the go regularly and in noisy settings. 

Specs

  • Size (LxWxH): 32× 50 × 137.5 mm (slightly bigger than an iPhone 4)
  • Sound Quality: Good audio quality. It has an excellent dynamic range and can minimize background noise. However, it can record sound effects better than dialogue.
  • Recording Format Options: MP3 or WAV
  • Bitrate recommended: 128kbps in MP3 for interviews in quiet places, 24-bit WAV when there is more noise.
  • Battery type and life: Rechargeable 2x AA batteries, around 10 hours recording time at 64 kbps
  • Storage: Up to 32GB MicroSD (>15 hours recording time)
  • Inputs: 1x 3.5mm jack for headphones with volume control; 1x for an external mic; screw hole

Performance

Zoom does not disappoint with its most affordable and portable digital recorder. The Zoom H1N can fit in your pocket, has around 10 hours of recording time, and has noise-leveling features that make it the perfect device to capture voice in moderately noisy settings (e.g., conventions, press conferences, etc.). We still advise you to buy a foam windscreen to prevent wind noises.

We also recommend mounting the device to a tripod or a mic stand to help prevent shuffling noises.

Price

Amazon US: $100  
Amazon UK:
£80

Pros

  • Cheapest in the Zoom product line
  • It can be mounted on many different devices to improve portability
  • It has features to minimize unwanted sounds, making it perfect for recording audio in places with background noise.

Cons

  • No internal memory
  • It's made from plastic, which does not make it very sturdy
  • It can drain too much battery even on standby
  • The plastic casing also means that it suffers from handling noises, but you can prevent this by mounting the device to a tripod.

#3. TASCAM DR-05X

TASCAM DR-05X

Perfect For

TASCAM's DR-05X is affordable, simple, and easy to use but has many different functionalities for more advanced podcasters. The omnidirectional microphones have an excellent recording quality, especially for the price tag.

It doesn't have XLR/TRS jacks that higher-end digital recorders have, making this a more premium alternative to the first two mentioned, rather than a viable mid-tier option. 

Specs

  • Size: 26 × 61 × 141 mm (size of a walkie talkie)
  • Sound Quality: This device has a stereo omnidirectional condenser microphone, which can record lows and highs quite well. 
  • Recording format: MP3 or WAV
  • Recommended bitrates: 96 kbps (MP3) or 24-bit (WAV)
  • Storage: Up to 132GB MicroSD (>15 hours recording time)
  • Recording option recommendation: WAV 24bit
  • Battery type and life:  2x AA batteries, around 10 hours recording time at 96 kbps (MP3) or 24-bit (WAV).
  • Input: 1 3.5mm jack for headphones with volume control and 1 for an external mic; screw hole

Performance

TASCAM DR-05X is excellent for recording clean and clear audio. It's perfect for a mobile setup with Lavalier microphones attached to improve audio quality. But if you're strapped for cash, the internal condenser microphones are good enough for interviews and can handle a wide variety of noises. 

Its omnidirectional microphones can have a patchy time distinguishing volume levels between different speakers. That said, it can be an adequate budget device for roundtable discussions.

Price 

Amazon US: $99  
Amazon UK:
£79


Pros

  • It is effortless to work with and has an intuitive interface
  • It records high-quality audio at a fraction of the price of other recorders
  • Its two omnidirectional microphones provide ample audible separation between voices in a quiet environment.
  • It supports up to 132GB MicroSD
  • Adequate for roundtable discussions in quiet spaces
  • It can stabilize uneven volumes.

Cons

  • The omnidirectional mics aren't great for noisy environments if you want to locate a specific person.
  • If you regularly do onsite roundtable discussions, you may want to invest in something higher-tier in the long run.


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For Podcasters Ready To Invest A Bit

#4. Zoom H4N Pro

Zoom H4N Pro

Perfect for

The Zoom H4N Pro is a portable multitrack audio device that offers multitrack recording and comes with 2 professional-grade microphones with an X/Y pattern, meaning that loud sounds won't get distorted.

This is perfect as a field recorder, especially when mounted on a tripod or a mic stand, making it a favorite by journalists and podcasters who may want to have broadcast-quality audio for their shows.

Many podcasters use the Zoom H4N Pro as an audio interface by connecting the device to their laptop on one side and plugging the microphones into its XLR inputs. You can even use this as an audio interface for your iPhone and use it for your Clubhouse sessions.

Specs

  • Size: 37mm x 73mm x 157.2mm (Slightly bigger than a walkie talkie)
  • Sound Quality: If you want to record quiet podcasting sessions with the internal mics, invest in a foam windscreen to prevent air noises.
  • File formats: WAV and MP3
  • Recommended bitrates: 96 kbps (MP3); 24-bit (WAV)
  • Storage: MicroSD, up to 32GB
  • Battery type and life:  2x AA batteries, around 7 hours recording time at 96 kbps (MP3) or 24-bit (WAV).
  • Inputs: 2x XLR/TRS inputs, and a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack; screw hole

Performance

This device is particularly excellent at recording loud noises. Don't use this if you want to record quiet ambient sounds because there's always a slight hiss in the sound file later on. If you're using the built-in mics, you may want to invest in a foam windscreen, or you'll hear some shuffling sounds. You may also want to mount this onto a tripod to avoid movement noise.

Price 

Amazon US: $220  
Amazon UK:
£221

Pros

  • Great as an audio interface
  • Brighter, easier to read, back-lit LCD Screen.
  • New locking XLR/TRS connectors ensure your mic cables stay secure. 

Cons

  • Batteries may drain too quickly even on standby, especially with external microphones
  • The stamina mode to save energy results in subpar-quality audio
  • There's floor noise if you want to record quiet sessions or interviews with its built-in microphones.


#5. Zoom H5

Zoom H5

Perfect for

With its intuitive design, the Zoom H5 is one of the best mid-tier options and is excellent for novice and experienced podcasters alike, although the latter may find more value in using it. It's perfect for those who do roundtable discussions and serves well as a portable podcasting studio, thanks to its robust build, for those who do interviews on the road.

As it can get quite pricey, those who do online interviews or solo podcasting content may prefer to use the cheaper alternatives mentioned before or even opt for a Blue Yeti microphone setup plugged into your laptop.

Specs

  • Size: 42mm x 67mm x 135mm
  • Sound Quality:  Its 2 matched unidirectional condenser microphones set at a 90-degree angle are housed in a shock mount. This isolates them from movement on the actual device and minimizes vibration and handling noises. 
  • File formats: WAV and MP3
  • Storage: MicroSD up to 32GB
  • Battery type and life: 2x AA batteries, around 8 hours recording time
  • Inputs: 2x XLR inputs; 1x 3.5mm mic jack; 1x 3.5mm earbud jack ; screw hole
     

Performance

The internal microphones are fantastic. The shock mount isolates them from vibrations and shuffling noises. They can also handle loud sounds better than the other handheld recorders mentioned.

The main innovation of this and the H6 is that you can remove the unit housing the microphones and replace it with other specialist mics, such as a stereo pair of X-Y mics and a mini stereo shotgun mic.

The Zoom H5 can also function as a portable podcasting studio. Its robust, lightweight build makes it ideal for traveling and recording audio on the go.

You can turn it into an audio interface by connecting the device to external XLR microphones and your computer. 

That said, Zoom H6 is just slightly more expensive and offers a better recording quality. If you're an advanced podcaster who isn't scared of a few more features, go for the H6.

Price 

Amazon US: $249
Amazon UK:
£225

Pros

  • Robust and ergonomic build
  • User-friendly
  • High-quality audio recording with great preamps

Cons

  • Experienced podcasters may find the H6 to be more customizable.
  • Pricey for online podcasters

For podcasters who know their way around digital recorders 

#6 Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

Perfect for

Just slightly more expensive than the H5, the Zoom H6 is a versatile choice for experienced podcasters and content creators who do group recordings and roundtable discussions with around 3-6 people. It works well as an audio interface, with many XL microphones attached to it. 

Like the H5, solo podcasters, remote interviewers, or remote podcasters may find the H5 excessive as a recording device. 

Specs

  • Size: 48mm x 78mm x 153 mm
  • Sound quality: The detachable X/Y microphones that accompany the recorder works well for recording dialogue and quiet sounds. Voice recordings on the H6 sound crisper on H6 than on the H5.
  • Recording formats: MP3 or WAV
  • Battery type and Life: 4x AA batteries, around 8 hours
  • 2GB SD card
  • Inputs: 4x XLR inputs; 1x 3.5mm mic jack; 1x 3.5mm earbud jack; screw hole 

Performance

While the H5 has a 4-track recording, the Zoom H6 offers 6 tracks that can be used with its 6 different XLR inputs (4 inputs for external mics and 2 more with the dual XLR capsule on top).It is highly versatile for group podcasting sessions and can be used for different microphone setups, from bidirectional one-on-ones to 6-person roundtables.

This is the perfect device for people doing dialogue-rich audiobooks (e.g., theater plays and drama productions). The entire cast can be recorded independently using one single device, saving the editor a lot of time in the post-production process.

Price 

Amazon US: $330
Thomann DE (Not available on Amazon UK):
£222

Pros

  • It's very modular
  • Solid build
  • 6-track audio recording
  • Crystal clear audio, especially for dialogue
  • Easy to control mic volumes

Cons

  • Not for solo monologue podcasters
  • Not for beginners. There are so many features that it can be easy to get overwhelming.


#7. Rode RODECaster Pro

Perfect for

Used as an all-in-one solution by many podcasters, the Rode RODECaster Pro is perfect for those who know a fair bit about podcasting and audio interfaces. It includes onboard recording, has playback features through a MicroSD card, has 4 microphone inputs, records Bluetooth and phone audios, and can function as a 2-channel, bi-directional audio interface. 

This device is essentially a podcasting studio that you can put in your backpack, making it a great recording device for podcasters who are ready to invest in their sound system and move around a lot.

Due to its hefty price tag and extensive features, the Rode RODECaster Pro isn't for novices, and you need external mics on top of that. 

This is perfect for live shows, where you want to add various sound effects to make your content more dynamic.

Specs

  • Multitrack recording to record on separate tracks
  • Individual control center for every microphone
  • 8 sound pads with various settings and configurations to play pre-recorded audio and other sound effects
  • Storage: Up to 256GB MicroSD card
  • Bluetooth capabilities to connect the device to your phone 
  • Inputs: 4 XLR inputs, USB connection for online calls with Riverside, 1x 3.5 mm TRS jack

Performance

The Rodecaste Pro simplifies podcast production without sacrificing audio quality. It allows up to 4 presenters and has 8 programmable pads with features such as instant playback of sound effects. 

If you're doing live radio/podcast shows, you can also preview (to make sure the recording is all right) and play pre-recorded tracks, such as the introduction, jingles, and so on. 

Each headphone jack has volume panels. Other devices would require you to include additional equipment to have this feature.

Price

Amazon US: $606
Amazon UK
: £544

Pros

  • Easy-to-use podcast production studio
  • 8 faders to control audio levels
  • Great for live podcasting sessions or radio shows
  • Great features for adding sound effects

Cons

  • The 4-track recording option does not allow 4 independent mono tracks, only 2 stereo pairs 
  • The device and necessary external equipment can make this setup quite pricey


Take Your Podcasting To The Next Level

We hope that this guide made the task of looking for a podcasting recorder for your needs less daunting. 

If you're in the process of launching your podcast, make sure to read our guide on the topic.  We also have comprehensive guides on remote podcasting and choosing your podcast recording software.

Ready to start recording? Get started with Riverside.fm. Record 60 minutes for free, no credit card required.

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The Best Podcasting Recorders For Every Need and Budget

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What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Podcasting is in its golden age, and if you're new to this, we understand how it can be quite challenging to choose the best equipment for your needs.

Chief among the needs of every podcaster is investing in a great digital recorder. But what should you consider when looking for your podcasting recorder? At Riverside, we will discuss the following:

  • What to consider when looking for your digital recorder
  • Go through the best digital recorders for your price point and experience level. 
  • A quick summary for each device

Let's go!


Why do you need a digital recorder?

Digital recorders are portable and allow you to take podcasting outside your studio or office and other places. A laptop is great for podcasting, of course, but sometimes, you may need an easy-to-carry digital recorder with an external microphone to record your sessions.

Novice podcasters who just want to get started may find an affordable digital recorder with rudimentary features enough for them. Others may want more advanced features and professional-level audio quality. Some devices are also better-suited for roundtable discussions. Others are better suited for field recordings (i.e. recordings that happen outside the studio).


What to consider?

Memory - Some entry-level devices have built-in memory, but most of the time, expect to buy a separate 32GB MicroSD card to store your data.

Convenience -  Entry-level ones tend to be the smallest and can fit into your pocket. Mid-tier ones tend to be bulkier, so you'll need a bag to transport them.

Recording time - Recording quality eats up a lot of space. Therefore, you may want to invest in a 32GB MicroSD card when doing field recordings. This lets you ensure you have recording time left.

Device compatibility - You may want your digital recorder to be modular if you're going to include extra microphones for group discussions. In this case, you might want to invest in a more mid-tier recorder that has many XLR inputs. 

Battery life - As a best practice, don’t assume that the battery life goes beyond 10 hours of recording time, and change batteries before then. Always have a spare!


Quick Summary: Which Recorder Fits Your Purpose?

#1. Olympus WS-853 Voice Recorder - Best for newbie podcasters who want to see how podcasting works with a no-frills device. 110 recording hours of battery life.

#2. Zoom H1n -  Best for one-on-one, face-to-face discussions.

#3. TASCAM DR-05X - A great entry-level recorder for roundtable discussions, thanks to its omnidirectional microphones.

#4. Zoom H4N Pro - Perfect for loud and field recordings.

#5. Zoom H5 - A very intuitive and versatile podcasting recorder for podcasters for roundtable discussions. It is also perfect for on-the-road recordings, thanks to its robust build.

#6 Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder - Perfect for experienced podcasters who know their way around digital recorders and want a slightly better recording quality than the H5. 

#7. Rode RODECaster Pro - It essentially serves as a portable podcasting studio that works well for live sessions. You need to invest in quality equipment and microphones for this device.

Affordable and easy to use

#1. Olympus WS-853 Voice Recorder

Olympus WS-853 Voice Recorder

Perfect For

This affordable, pocket-sized digital recorder is excellent for absolute beginners who want to dip their toes into podcasting with a trusty device that gets the job done. It has a Simple Mode function that removes anything else but what's necessary to record your podcast. 

Specs

  • Size (Length x Width x Height): 20 x 50 x 120 mm (smaller than an iPhone 4)
  • Sound Quality: It has 2-directional microphones at a 90-degree layout, so expect an adequate stereo experience. Its microphones can detect the distance and the speakers' position, giving the audio recordings a depth of sound.
  • Bitrate options: 128kpbs, 64 kbps mono (recommended), or 128 kbps stereo
  • Storage: 8GB internal memory, supports up to 32GB MicroSD (>15 hours recording time) - card not included
  • Battery type and life: Rechargeable NiMH 3x AAA batteries, around 110 hours recording time
  • Recording format options: MP3. 
  • Inputs: 1x 3.5mm jack for headphones and 1x for external mic; USB key

Performance 

The 2-directional built-in stereo mics offer adequate sound. But it can detect shuffling sounds, so make sure not to make too much movement when handling your recorder.

It only records MP3 files. While a 96 kbps mono is enough for one-on-one interviews, more advanced podcasters may find value in getting higher-quality WAV recordings.

Price 

Amazon US: $70  
Amazon UK:
£80

Pros

  • It is the perfect podcast recorder for beginners.
  • Pocket-sized
  • 110 recording hours of battery life (the highest in this article by far)
  • It features a Noise Cancel feature to make ambient noise quieter in your recordings.
  • You can change the playback speed without changing the pitch in the recording.
  • Built-in 8GB memory that can store up to 2080 hours of recording time.

Cons

  • You can't record in WAV format.
  • Very entry-level. The sound quality isn't bad. Podcast recorders #2 and #3 just have a better recording quality.
  • The microphones aren't insulated from the case, so any movement in your handheld recordings may translate into shuffling noise.

#2. Zoom H1n

Zoom H1n

Perfect For

This pocket-sized podcaster recorder is great for beginner podcasters who do many face-to-face or location-based recordings in places with a lot of noise. You can directly mount them on mic stands, tripods, and DSLR cameras through the recorder's threaded hole in the back. 

It can easily fit in your pocket, and it has some noise leveling features. These make the device very useful for journalists and other types of content creators that need to record audio on the go regularly and in noisy settings. 

Specs

  • Size (LxWxH): 32× 50 × 137.5 mm (slightly bigger than an iPhone 4)
  • Sound Quality: Good audio quality. It has an excellent dynamic range and can minimize background noise. However, it can record sound effects better than dialogue.
  • Recording Format Options: MP3 or WAV
  • Bitrate recommended: 128kbps in MP3 for interviews in quiet places, 24-bit WAV when there is more noise.
  • Battery type and life: Rechargeable 2x AA batteries, around 10 hours recording time at 64 kbps
  • Storage: Up to 32GB MicroSD (>15 hours recording time)
  • Inputs: 1x 3.5mm jack for headphones with volume control; 1x for an external mic; screw hole

Performance

Zoom does not disappoint with its most affordable and portable digital recorder. The Zoom H1N can fit in your pocket, has around 10 hours of recording time, and has noise-leveling features that make it the perfect device to capture voice in moderately noisy settings (e.g., conventions, press conferences, etc.). We still advise you to buy a foam windscreen to prevent wind noises.

We also recommend mounting the device to a tripod or a mic stand to help prevent shuffling noises.

Price

Amazon US: $100  
Amazon UK:
£80

Pros

  • Cheapest in the Zoom product line
  • It can be mounted on many different devices to improve portability
  • It has features to minimize unwanted sounds, making it perfect for recording audio in places with background noise.

Cons

  • No internal memory
  • It's made from plastic, which does not make it very sturdy
  • It can drain too much battery even on standby
  • The plastic casing also means that it suffers from handling noises, but you can prevent this by mounting the device to a tripod.

#3. TASCAM DR-05X

TASCAM DR-05X

Perfect For

TASCAM's DR-05X is affordable, simple, and easy to use but has many different functionalities for more advanced podcasters. The omnidirectional microphones have an excellent recording quality, especially for the price tag.

It doesn't have XLR/TRS jacks that higher-end digital recorders have, making this a more premium alternative to the first two mentioned, rather than a viable mid-tier option. 

Specs

  • Size: 26 × 61 × 141 mm (size of a walkie talkie)
  • Sound Quality: This device has a stereo omnidirectional condenser microphone, which can record lows and highs quite well. 
  • Recording format: MP3 or WAV
  • Recommended bitrates: 96 kbps (MP3) or 24-bit (WAV)
  • Storage: Up to 132GB MicroSD (>15 hours recording time)
  • Recording option recommendation: WAV 24bit
  • Battery type and life:  2x AA batteries, around 10 hours recording time at 96 kbps (MP3) or 24-bit (WAV).
  • Input: 1 3.5mm jack for headphones with volume control and 1 for an external mic; screw hole

Performance

TASCAM DR-05X is excellent for recording clean and clear audio. It's perfect for a mobile setup with Lavalier microphones attached to improve audio quality. But if you're strapped for cash, the internal condenser microphones are good enough for interviews and can handle a wide variety of noises. 

Its omnidirectional microphones can have a patchy time distinguishing volume levels between different speakers. That said, it can be an adequate budget device for roundtable discussions.

Price 

Amazon US: $99  
Amazon UK:
£79


Pros

  • It is effortless to work with and has an intuitive interface
  • It records high-quality audio at a fraction of the price of other recorders
  • Its two omnidirectional microphones provide ample audible separation between voices in a quiet environment.
  • It supports up to 132GB MicroSD
  • Adequate for roundtable discussions in quiet spaces
  • It can stabilize uneven volumes.

Cons

  • The omnidirectional mics aren't great for noisy environments if you want to locate a specific person.
  • If you regularly do onsite roundtable discussions, you may want to invest in something higher-tier in the long run.


For Podcasters Ready To Invest A Bit

#4. Zoom H4N Pro

Zoom H4N Pro

Perfect for

The Zoom H4N Pro is a portable multitrack audio device that offers multitrack recording and comes with 2 professional-grade microphones with an X/Y pattern, meaning that loud sounds won't get distorted.

This is perfect as a field recorder, especially when mounted on a tripod or a mic stand, making it a favorite by journalists and podcasters who may want to have broadcast-quality audio for their shows.

Many podcasters use the Zoom H4N Pro as an audio interface by connecting the device to their laptop on one side and plugging the microphones into its XLR inputs. You can even use this as an audio interface for your iPhone and use it for your Clubhouse sessions.

Specs

  • Size: 37mm x 73mm x 157.2mm (Slightly bigger than a walkie talkie)
  • Sound Quality: If you want to record quiet podcasting sessions with the internal mics, invest in a foam windscreen to prevent air noises.
  • File formats: WAV and MP3
  • Recommended bitrates: 96 kbps (MP3); 24-bit (WAV)
  • Storage: MicroSD, up to 32GB
  • Battery type and life:  2x AA batteries, around 7 hours recording time at 96 kbps (MP3) or 24-bit (WAV).
  • Inputs: 2x XLR/TRS inputs, and a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack; screw hole

Performance

This device is particularly excellent at recording loud noises. Don't use this if you want to record quiet ambient sounds because there's always a slight hiss in the sound file later on. If you're using the built-in mics, you may want to invest in a foam windscreen, or you'll hear some shuffling sounds. You may also want to mount this onto a tripod to avoid movement noise.

Price 

Amazon US: $220  
Amazon UK:
£221

Pros

  • Great as an audio interface
  • Brighter, easier to read, back-lit LCD Screen.
  • New locking XLR/TRS connectors ensure your mic cables stay secure. 

Cons

  • Batteries may drain too quickly even on standby, especially with external microphones
  • The stamina mode to save energy results in subpar-quality audio
  • There's floor noise if you want to record quiet sessions or interviews with its built-in microphones.


#5. Zoom H5

Zoom H5

Perfect for

With its intuitive design, the Zoom H5 is one of the best mid-tier options and is excellent for novice and experienced podcasters alike, although the latter may find more value in using it. It's perfect for those who do roundtable discussions and serves well as a portable podcasting studio, thanks to its robust build, for those who do interviews on the road.

As it can get quite pricey, those who do online interviews or solo podcasting content may prefer to use the cheaper alternatives mentioned before or even opt for a Blue Yeti microphone setup plugged into your laptop.

Specs

  • Size: 42mm x 67mm x 135mm
  • Sound Quality:  Its 2 matched unidirectional condenser microphones set at a 90-degree angle are housed in a shock mount. This isolates them from movement on the actual device and minimizes vibration and handling noises. 
  • File formats: WAV and MP3
  • Storage: MicroSD up to 32GB
  • Battery type and life: 2x AA batteries, around 8 hours recording time
  • Inputs: 2x XLR inputs; 1x 3.5mm mic jack; 1x 3.5mm earbud jack ; screw hole
     

Performance

The internal microphones are fantastic. The shock mount isolates them from vibrations and shuffling noises. They can also handle loud sounds better than the other handheld recorders mentioned.

The main innovation of this and the H6 is that you can remove the unit housing the microphones and replace it with other specialist mics, such as a stereo pair of X-Y mics and a mini stereo shotgun mic.

The Zoom H5 can also function as a portable podcasting studio. Its robust, lightweight build makes it ideal for traveling and recording audio on the go.

You can turn it into an audio interface by connecting the device to external XLR microphones and your computer. 

That said, Zoom H6 is just slightly more expensive and offers a better recording quality. If you're an advanced podcaster who isn't scared of a few more features, go for the H6.

Price 

Amazon US: $249
Amazon UK:
£225

Pros

  • Robust and ergonomic build
  • User-friendly
  • High-quality audio recording with great preamps

Cons

  • Experienced podcasters may find the H6 to be more customizable.
  • Pricey for online podcasters

For podcasters who know their way around digital recorders 

#6 Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

Perfect for

Just slightly more expensive than the H5, the Zoom H6 is a versatile choice for experienced podcasters and content creators who do group recordings and roundtable discussions with around 3-6 people. It works well as an audio interface, with many XL microphones attached to it. 

Like the H5, solo podcasters, remote interviewers, or remote podcasters may find the H5 excessive as a recording device. 

Specs

  • Size: 48mm x 78mm x 153 mm
  • Sound quality: The detachable X/Y microphones that accompany the recorder works well for recording dialogue and quiet sounds. Voice recordings on the H6 sound crisper on H6 than on the H5.
  • Recording formats: MP3 or WAV
  • Battery type and Life: 4x AA batteries, around 8 hours
  • 2GB SD card
  • Inputs: 4x XLR inputs; 1x 3.5mm mic jack; 1x 3.5mm earbud jack; screw hole 

Performance

While the H5 has a 4-track recording, the Zoom H6 offers 6 tracks that can be used with its 6 different XLR inputs (4 inputs for external mics and 2 more with the dual XLR capsule on top).It is highly versatile for group podcasting sessions and can be used for different microphone setups, from bidirectional one-on-ones to 6-person roundtables.

This is the perfect device for people doing dialogue-rich audiobooks (e.g., theater plays and drama productions). The entire cast can be recorded independently using one single device, saving the editor a lot of time in the post-production process.

Price 

Amazon US: $330
Thomann DE (Not available on Amazon UK):
£222

Pros

  • It's very modular
  • Solid build
  • 6-track audio recording
  • Crystal clear audio, especially for dialogue
  • Easy to control mic volumes

Cons

  • Not for solo monologue podcasters
  • Not for beginners. There are so many features that it can be easy to get overwhelming.


#7. Rode RODECaster Pro

Perfect for

Used as an all-in-one solution by many podcasters, the Rode RODECaster Pro is perfect for those who know a fair bit about podcasting and audio interfaces. It includes onboard recording, has playback features through a MicroSD card, has 4 microphone inputs, records Bluetooth and phone audios, and can function as a 2-channel, bi-directional audio interface. 

This device is essentially a podcasting studio that you can put in your backpack, making it a great recording device for podcasters who are ready to invest in their sound system and move around a lot.

Due to its hefty price tag and extensive features, the Rode RODECaster Pro isn't for novices, and you need external mics on top of that. 

This is perfect for live shows, where you want to add various sound effects to make your content more dynamic.

Specs

  • Multitrack recording to record on separate tracks
  • Individual control center for every microphone
  • 8 sound pads with various settings and configurations to play pre-recorded audio and other sound effects
  • Storage: Up to 256GB MicroSD card
  • Bluetooth capabilities to connect the device to your phone 
  • Inputs: 4 XLR inputs, USB connection for online calls with Riverside, 1x 3.5 mm TRS jack

Performance

The Rodecaste Pro simplifies podcast production without sacrificing audio quality. It allows up to 4 presenters and has 8 programmable pads with features such as instant playback of sound effects. 

If you're doing live radio/podcast shows, you can also preview (to make sure the recording is all right) and play pre-recorded tracks, such as the introduction, jingles, and so on. 

Each headphone jack has volume panels. Other devices would require you to include additional equipment to have this feature.

Price

Amazon US: $606
Amazon UK
: £544

Pros

  • Easy-to-use podcast production studio
  • 8 faders to control audio levels
  • Great for live podcasting sessions or radio shows
  • Great features for adding sound effects

Cons

  • The 4-track recording option does not allow 4 independent mono tracks, only 2 stereo pairs 
  • The device and necessary external equipment can make this setup quite pricey


Take Your Podcasting To The Next Level

We hope that this guide made the task of looking for a podcasting recorder for your needs less daunting. 

If you're in the process of launching your podcast, make sure to read our guide on the topic.  We also have comprehensive guides on remote podcasting and choosing your podcast recording software.

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