If you're lucky, your portable audio player has some lousy
recording capabilities. Or it may have none at all. So many people
resort to MiniDisc recorders, which are decent, but employ lossy
compression — and do you really want to be swapping tapes and manually
copying to your computer in the year 2005?

Edirol's R1 is the answer to all this nonsense:

  • Portable 24-bit recorder
  • Use built-in mic (sounds surprisingly good, actually), or mic or line input
  • Built-in effects, tuner, metronome, and mic simulation
  • Record to CompactFlash
  • Connect via USB 2.0 (or S/PDIF out)

The only bad news is recording time on the battery is 2.5 hours, but
for CompactFlash recording taht should be fine — and reduced CF prices
mean you can actually use this for recording music, interviews,
whatever, without shelling out $1600 for the R1's pro sibling, the R4.
Throw in goodies like a microphone simulator (who would've expected
that on a cheap portable recorder?), and this is a must-have. I've been
in love with it ever since I got hands-on at AES in the fall. Check the
recording samples on the Edirol site; they're amazing.

With a street of around US$400 and 1GB of CF under US$70 (no, really!),
forget the iPod photo and get something you can actually use for music.