These devices can help you create studio-quality tracks on the fly—anywhere.

They’re small, but create WAV-file, studio-quality sounds. I’m talking about portable field recorders—a valuable and affordable tool for location recordings, live music, podcasts, and videographers and filmmakers. They come in a wide range of prices and offer a variety of functions, like interchangeable microphone capsules, multi-tracking, and USB interface capability. Plus, the noise issues associated with earlier iterations of these recorders is nonexistent. Here’s five, in the $199 to $499 price range, worth investigating. And note that Sony, Tascam, and Zoom have more models at lower and higher pricing.

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Illustration by Kate Koenig

Nashville producer James Cody examines plugins from IK Multimedia, Native Instruments, Line 6, Waves, Neural DSP, STL Tones, Positive Grid, and Universal Audio that can help you take your guitar-recording to pro levels.

There are more audio plugins at our fingertips than ever before. Whenever new products or software hit the market, I always ask myself, “Will I actually use this and will it serve my needs?” On the topic of guitar amplifiers and simulation, I take a “best of both worlds” approach. When performing live, I use solid-state Quilter amplifiers because they sound great to me, and they’re lightweight and easy to transport to gigs. If something isn’t broken, why fix it?

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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 4th Generation.

These easy-plug-and-play boxes from Focusrite, PreSonus, IK Multimedia, TASCAM, and Audient offer a lot of recording power—and a variety of options—at affordable prices.

From a guitarist’s perspective, an audio interface is the box that lets you easily record studio-like tones on your laptop or desktop computer. Essentially, interfaces provide the inputs and outputs you need to do this efficiently, help you record at a higher bit rate to achieve a richer sound, and allow you to adjust gain to achieve the tones you desire.

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