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Best handheld for recording interviews?

Hi, I'm looking for a decent quality, affordable (~ $100??) handheld digital recorder that I can use with 2 lapel mics to record face-to-face interviews.

Ideally the device will have USB for easy transfer to a Mac.

Any advice on the best setup (including lapel mics, or not, if there are decent mic-less options) is truly appreciated.

Reading Amazon reviews is proving more confusing than helpful. Thanks very much!


Boswell Wed, 10/03/2012 - 08:20

If you can stretch for it, get a Zoom H4N. Most of the cheaper hand-held recorders in the $100 bracket simply don't cut it for serious recording. Even if you can find a cheap one that has external mic inputs with plug-in power, getting good audio recordings without the pumping effect that auto gain control produces is not easy.

Not immediately apparent from the H4N sales information is a 3.5mm stereo jack socket on the underside that you can plug external lav mics into as it has the plug-in power that they need. Assuming your lav mics come with mono 6.3mm plugs, you could get a splitter cable to go from a single stereo plug to two mono in-line sockets and use the two separate mics to record on to two tracks as though they were stereo. Take care with choosing a Y-cable as most sorts are meant for driving two sets of earbuds and just parallel up the stereo wires. [[url=http://[/URL]="…"]This [/]="…"]This [/]is the type you would need, if you can find the equivalent in the US.