Edirol R-09HR review: Edirol R-09HR

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The Good The Edirol R-09HR audio recorder is built with a top-notch stereo microphone, a wide range of recording resolutions, SDHC memory support, a remote control, and an intuitive user interface.

The Bad The Edirol R-09HR is slightly larger than its predecessor, difficult to use in the dark, and lacks a tripod mount.

The Bottom Line If you want a high-quality audio recorder that fits in your pocket, the Edirol R-09HR can't be beat.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8

When Edirol introduced the original R-09 in 2006, it was one of the smallest, lightest, high-quality stereo audio recorders made with swappable SD flash memory. In the wake of the R-09 came many handheld audio recorders boasting slimmer designs, enhanced features, and lower prices. To keep pace, Edirol has come back swinging with the impressive R-09HR ($450), which boasts an improved design, higher-resolution recording modes, and a larger memory capacity.

The R-09HR isn't the slimmest or lightest high-end recorder on the market these days. In fact, it's slightly longer and thicker than the original R-09. The R-09HR is still small enough to fit in your pocket, however, which is a major advantage over its closest competitor in sound quality: the Sony PCM-D50.

At first glance it's hard to see the differences between the R-09HR and its predecessor, but plenty of little improvements have been made. For instance, an upgraded rubberized exterior now allows the R-09HR improved sound isolation when placed down on its front or back. Also, the once indistinguishable black buttons lining the sides of the R-09 have now been labeled in white lettering, and a few buttons, switches, and ports have been rearranged for better ergonomics. Two of the most notable changes since the original R-09 are a larger screen and a more easily accessible battery compartment.

One thing that hasn't changed on the Edirol R-09HR, is its straightforward interface and large, illuminated record button. If a bright red record button attracts more attention than you'd like, however, you can set the button's backlight to automatically switch off during recording. The Edirol R-09HR's onscreen interface is intuitive and uncluttered, with a responsive meter and a legible indications of playback time, remaining recording time, and battery life. We still feel that the small black buttons used for volume and microphone levels make the R-09HR difficult to operate in a dark club or at night, but the new larger screen helps considerably.

Though similar in size and features, the Edirol R-09HR is nearly twice the price as the Zoom H2 (right). When quality matters, however, the R-09HR's superior construction, fidelity, microphones, and storage capacity are worth every penny.

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