It's hard to miss the Edirol R-09HR's prominent record button and large, backlit LCD. Once recording is in progress, the plastic ring around the Edirol R-09HR's record button glows red and the onscreen meter monitors levels.
From the side, you can see that the Edirol R-09HR is slightly thicker than its predecessor, the R-09. The thickness is attributed to the relocated battery compartment and the addition of a built-in speaker. Buttons lining the right edge include power and volume, located above the optional DC power input.
The back of the Edirol R-09HR offers nearly as many features as its front, including a compartment for two AA batteries, a central built-in speaker, and a series of five switches. The functions of the switches include: hold; limiter/auto gain control; phantom power; low cut filter; and mic gain.
The Edirol R-09HR comes bundled with an acrylic stand, remote control (a rare accessory), 512Mb SD memory card, USB cable, and a power supply. Not shown in this photo is a CD of bundled Cakewalk recording software.
The Edirol R-09HR faces fierce competition from the Zoom H2 (right), which offers many similar features at around half the price. When quality counts, however, the Edirol R-09HR's construction quality and microphone fidelity runs circles around the Zoom H2.
The Edirol R-09HR isn't the smallest high-quality portable recorder we've tested, but it's still small enough to fit in your pocket and use with one hand. The slightly bulky width of the R-09HR also helps to maintain a decent spacing between the built-in stereo microphones, adding to the realism of its recordings.
For better or worse, the left side of the Edirol R-09Hr is practically indistinguishable from its right side. Fortunately, white lettering above each feature help to clue you in on the purpose of each button and plug. On this side, we have buttons for input level adjustment, and 3.5mm jacks for external microphones or line-input.