Roland’s new audio recorder works with iPhone and Apple Watch

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roland r-07
Tiny, and made to work with the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
Photo: Roland

CES 2018 bugYou iPhone is pretty handy for making quick audio recordings. Many musicians use the Voice Memos app, and some have upgraded to Music Memos. Unfortunately, the quality of the recordings from those apps isn’t good enough for actual music making.

For a start, it’s not stereo. Second, the iPhone’s mics are fine, but nowhere near as good as even a cheap external microphone. But using your iPhone to record is so convenient. Roland’s R-07 is a pocket audio recorder that works either alone or in tandem with your iPhone. It gives you the quality of a proper recorder with stereo mics — and the convenience of an iPhone app.

Roland R-07

Recording-wise, the R-07 packs a few neat tricks. One is iOS “scene settings,” essentially one-touch presets you can configure yourself. You could set up a press for voices, one for recording your guitar amp, and others for, say, quickly grabbing a sound you hear when out walking. Then you can access them with one touch.

The Roland R-07 recorder even looks super-cool.
It even looks super-cool.
Photo: Roland

The headline feature, though, is what Roland calls high-resolution audio. The unit makes two recordings of everything, one with as high a signal as possible and one a little quieter. The idea is that the Roland R-07 can max out the recording level to get the best-quality recording, but if something loud happens that overloads it and causes distortion, the device can sub in the quieter version, which will hopefully have the optimum levels for just that snippet.

It’s ingenious: kind of like HDR photography, only with sound.

The Roland R-07 iPhone app

The Roland R-07 can be controlled from your Apple Watch.
The R-07 can be controlled from your wrist.
Photo: Roland

The R-07 also works with an iPhone app that allows remote control. You can, then, drop the R-07 unit near whatever you want to record, and trigger it from a more comfortable or convenient location. A guitarist could place it next to her amp speaker, sit down on the other side of the room, and record interesting ideas at will using the remote.

The Roland recorder will also stream Bluetooth audio to your iPhone, although getting the actual recorded files onto your iOS device will be trickier, as the unit records to a microSD card, making transfer tricky.

But perhaps the best part is that you can control the recorder from your Apple Watch. That’s right — you can lay the recorder wherever you like, and trigger it from your wrist.

The R-07 will cost $230 when it goes on sale in April.