I just picked up a new toy (the H4 or Handy Recorder from Zoom).
I am happy to have found something like this. It brings together a number of wishes I have entertained into one small package.
I can use it to connect microphones or musical instruments into computers with different operating systems via USB. It has two combo plugs (XLR and 1/4 inch) as well as a set of built-in stereo mics.
The thing gets power either from an included wall wort, 2AA batteries (not included), or through a USB connection.
It will record in either mp3 (up to 320) or wav (up to 96).
I should be able to make use of this to do any number of field recording projects I have in mind, but I can also make pretty good use of it in the studio until I am able to afford something better.
So now I can take this little guy, my laptop, a couple of microphones, and some cables in a small bag to some club and do a fair approximation of a professional live recording. Or just the device, clandestinely, and do a stellar if unprofessional live recording.
Ok, back to my ultra portable studio.