Audio recording technology spans all the way back to the early 1900’s when various mechanical devices were invented to reproduce sounds. Today’s audio recording technology and digital formats are a superb improvement over the originating technologies- some offering such high fidelity that it is often confused for the actual things that the recordings are reproducing: live instruments, real singers, and other live sounds.

Audio Recorders
Today’s typical MP3 recorder can record many hours worth of audio onto an internal hard disc or other memory module, like a flash card or solid state drive. With a portable recorder, it’s possible to capture just about any sound or song that one pleases without needing a cassette tape, which used to be the only truly affordable audio recording possible for consumers.

Professional Audio Recorders
In the studio, technology has leaped ahead with sound formats like FLAC and other formats that lose much less or nearly no luster from the process of recording to bits and bytes. Although the technology found in a studio is rarely required in the home, musicians take advantage of the convenience of digital recording solutions on a daily basis; the sounds and songs you hear on the radio are the result of years and years of audio recording technology progressing towards more and more clarity in reproduction.

Buying an audio recorder
If you are looking for a recorder to get your voice down into memory so that you can hear how you sound for a speech, or to record a song- there are a variety of solutions: a basic voice recorder from any computer store will get you a very raw and probably poor recording, but it will produce clear enough sound that you’ll know what you sound like.

As for the musician, an audio recorder that functions well for the job may best be sought out in a special musician’s store where condenser mics and other helpful hardware will make each recording session a success. A condenser mic is a high quality audio recording device that will make each song sound crisp, clear and often very warm-sounding, which is a quality much-needed in songs of many genres.

Cost of audio recorders and devices
Some high quality recorders will rarely drop in price over time, except on special sale dates. Their value is strong and they provide very good results for anyone who chooses to invest in them. The cheaper, mp3 players with audio recording capability are the better deal for anyone needing to jot down voice-notes after class or for a book.

Audio recorders for professionals: Anywhere from $150 to thousands of dollars, especially with different mics and other hardware that may be required for a good audio recording.

Audio recorders for on-the-go students: Anywhere from $30 to $100 maximum. MP3 Players like the Ipod have voice recording capabilities.

Recording using the PC and a USB device
The final option is the one most common to home users: the USB device. Simply connecting the plug-and-play mic into an open USB port, a home user can turn on the software of their choice, click REC or Record, and after the recording is finished…click play!

The audio recording is complete: save and play back the sound at any time. Now it may not be the highest quality of sound, but it takes far less time, less physical space and requires no rewinding! That’s something that couldn’t be done in the past due to the constraints of mechanical players and all those parts that had to move…

If there are enough recordings, a musician can store the files in a folder, back them up for safe-keeping or record them onto a CD-ROM or DVD to share with friends.

Conclusion
Audio recordings have changed over the years. Today we no longer use cassette tapes or records as often as we used to- but many of their live-characteristics have held strong over the years, adapted and integrated into electronic hardware and software. The audio recorders of today may be integrated into an MP3 player, a tiny USB device that connects to your PC and uses simple software to record, or a heavy-duty professional mic may be used to make great quality song recordings.