my bandmate works for a sports website, & his journalists needed a field recorder better able to withstand their hamfistedness than the old sony mz500 minidisc machines. he tried the zoom & the m-audio before going for the edirol/roland job. now he swears by it. the battery life is excellent, the built-in microphones seem to be pretty good (no mechanical noise even when the thing is resting in y'r lap) & the display is clear & stays illuminated while the thing is on. I know the zoom aswell, but I think the edirol would outlast it. if you're going to a) need phantom power & b) carry the thing in a soft case everywhere, then go for the zoom. otherwise, the edirol is better by far than the m-audio. looks nicer, feels nicer... the zoom seemed a bit plasticky to me, but then I started out using a uher 4200.... d.