I’m not much of a musician. But if you are, or a sound guy, or journalist, or anything really, a reliable and simple system for getting sound waves from the world to your computer is essential. I had a nice little minidisc recorder a while back, but after a while the digital/analog confusion started to bug me. What I really needed was something like this. It records directly to CompactFlash cards in mp3 or WAV/BWF format, allowing for hours of excellent-quality recording on a 1GB card. After that, it’s just drag and drop, since it appears as a USB storage device on your PC or Mac. What’s more, it’s got two 1/4in. jacks to plug in your pro mics, and it provides phantom power as well. It’ll run for 5 hours, long enough for your most extended, drug-induced droning guitar solos. The problem is the thing costs $400. It’s expensive, but it’s also the only field recorder you’ll ever need. I wish I had one. I wish I needed one!