For years I’ve used a Sony Minidisc machine to record stereo audio “in the field”, while hoping and praying some company would make an 'iPod that records”. Yes, I know there are gadgets you can attach to your iPod to turn it into an ersatz recorder - but I’ve heard these add-ons are not really up to the task. I’m looking for something “purpose-built” and it seems my prayers have been answered: two companies – Edirol (formerly Roland) and Marantz - have just introduced Compact Flash-based handhelds that can record in .wav or MP3 format, at different rates, for direct USB transfer to your computer.
The Edirol R-1 is the smaller of the two but the Marantz PMD660 has XLR microphone inputs and seems a little more “professional”. Both of these machines should begin shipping in March and can be had for around $450 each.