The large top panel of the recorder has a highly detailed multifunction LCD display, which can be briefly backlit by pressing the LIGHT button to the right. This display shows everything from record time (in hours, minutes, and seconds of course), to remaining record time, file name, and battery condition. It also displays input levels via a pair of meters with an overload indicator (you’ll only see one meter in mono mode), along with all the important Setup parameters including settings for the compressor/limiter, the high pass filter, phantom, and current input source. To the right of the display are all the transport buttons and buttons to engage the various menus. A Shift button allows access to secondary functions.
The front panel is home to the card slot on the left, which is covered by a flip-up door and seems well protected. Below the door are two small mic trim knobs and the headphone level knob. These protrude very slightly from the panel and could be bumped, so take care if you’re out slogging through the fields. The right side has a pair of bright LED mic level meters, which are calibrated at -48, -24, -12, -6, -3, and overload (OL). I’d like more LEDs, but I suppose that’s partly a battery-life issue. They’ve worked well enough for me so far. Below the meters are the Record Standby and Record buttons, and the latter is actually a spring-loaded slider which one moves to the right to engage record. Next to this is a pair of concentric knobs for input level, and these also seem easy to bump by mistake.
On the left side are the two Neutrik combo input jacks for microphones and line inputs, along with the jack for the 12V wall-wart adapter and another jack for the wired remote. The XLR jacks lock the mic connector with a click so the cables don’t fall out while you’re slogging. On the right side you’ll find the USB connector, an eighth-inch headphone jack, and a pair of RCA output jacks that allow confidence monitoring while recording as well as playback. You’ll also find the power switch, which is a spring-loaded toggle that must be held up to turn the recorder on or off. Both operations take a few seconds to engage, as the recorder mounts or un-mounts the memory card.
The battery compartment occupies the entire bottom of the FR2-LE, and is covered with a snap-on door. This means that if you have the recorder in a bag while recording, you’ll have to remove it to change batteries.