If you’re on the hunt for the ultimate handheld portable digital recorder, the new Roland R-26 should be on your radar. It’s capable of recording up to six channels of high-resolution audio and supplies you with an army of high quality, built-in microphones and audio inputs to get the job done. An array of stereo omnidirectional and directional X-Y microphones adorns the top of the R-26. The bottom of the unit features two combo XLR/TRS mic/line inputs; a stereo mini-plug mic input is found on its starboard side. The R-26 can be set up to record using different combinations of these microphones and inputs to suit your needs.
You control the R-26 with its touch screen LCD interface and carry out other mission-critical commands with hardware controls (such as its large input-level dials). It also doesn’t hurt that the designers at Roland are well known for creating intuitive user interfaces—and speaking of interfaces, the R-26 doubles as a computer audio interface (Mac and Windows compatible) when connected to a computer via its high-speed USB port. It comes with a free copy of Sonar LE audio-production software (Windows only).
There’s a lot to like about this recorder. It’s capable of making excellent-quality recordings; the preamps are high quality; it can accept professional line-level inputs; the XLR inputs supply phantom power and the mini-plug input supplies plug-in power; it’s compatible with up to 32GB SDHC cards; it runs on four AA batteries and gets up to 10 hours of use; it can be mounted to a tripod or to an HDSLR camera with a ¼”-20 shoe adapter; it has a built-in speaker; low-pass filters; limiters; and Roland’s new auto-sensing technology that can set your gain structure automatically. It’s available for pre-order now from B&H, and should be shipping in October 2011.