Why every musician or songwriter needs a portable recorder
Updated: Jul 9
We're surrounded by inspirational sounds everyday! How to make the most of those sounds? RECORD THEM!
Why do you need a portable recorder?
It's simple, to capture that inspirational sound, whether it's in the studio, rehearsal or on your way to your day job before it's too late with a good enough quality that you can work with later you need to be able to record it immediately. Sure, you could use your phone to record as a voice memo or you could use a portable recorder to capture the sound as a WAV file that you can use later to make a sick beat.
This is where audio quality comes into the decision. Think of it like watching a movie, while you could watch movies on your phone that small screen won't give you the same experience as a large TV can provide.
Which portable recorders do you recommend? I definitely recommend the Zoom models if you're on a budget because they're the ones I have the most experience with. There are plenty of options for all sorts of budgets to suit your needs, check out your favourite pro audio or video gear shop website to see what they have on offer.
Below are a few examples of how you can use a portable recorder to your advantage?
Option 1: Recording a rehearsal For many musicians, rehearsals tend to go better than the actual gig due to any of a number of reasons so why not make a recording of your music where it sounds best in a live setting?
Option 2: Record your gig Similar to the rehearsal recording, you can ask the sound person for a stereo mix of the board to record with your portable recorder (most sound people will accommodate this in my experience), if not, ask a friend to setup the recording device and record the gig.
Option 3: In the streets Do you ever get inspiration from sounds you hear while doing groceries or on the train? Maybe a busker really surprises you with their talent - why not offer to record them (and send them a copy)? A portable recorder is a great tool when for making connections locally or in a new city, with people you may never have had the chance to meet.
Option 4: Make a video You can make a video of you playing your music live with a camera or a phone using the line out (most portable recorders have this output) to make syncing with the video footage much easier. Not only will this increase the audio quality but it gives the viewers a completely different experience.
Option 5: Record band discussions. Recording discussions with your band or other musicians can be a great way to give your fans more personal content and show them that you're real people just like them. Although I haven't done this yet, I stumbled across the idea in a music business forum and it's been floating around in the back of my mind.
So there you have it! 5 great uses for a portable recorder and recommendations! How do you use a portable recorder? Has anything extraordinary happened to you because you've had a portable recorder with you? Share your experiences in the comments below!