If you want to record interviews with subject matter experts or capture sound effects and atmosphere, you’ll need a digital audio recorder.
You have several options here. Use your cell phone, download an app and buy a microphone that attaches to it. We have some mics recommended below.
Or you can use a traditional digital audio recorder. The digital audio recorders available today are so cheap and so good, it is incredible.
A Sony professional cassette recorder for journalists was about $1200 in the early nineties. The Zoom H2n is about a hundred and fifty bucks. The Tascam DR 40 about the same.
And their audio quality, plus the inbuilt mics leaves the old technology for dead. They’re also small and easy to transport.
Buying a Digital Audio Recorder
When you get an audio recorder, make sure it records in WAV so you get the best quality audio.
And resist the temptation to buy the expensive audio recorders. Most of them are designed for musicians and offer way more features than you need when interviewing subject matter experts.
Anyway, here are my recommendations. I used to use the Zoom H2n until one of my students dropped it. I now use the Tascam DR 40. Both are great devices.