PapaTom... are you still considering this? From what I've read (and this is a generalization), the recorders in the "under $100" price range all record about the same... the more you pay the more you get as far as file size, overall recording time, different file types, ease to connect to a computer, battery life etc. Once you get close to $100 you're getting better mics and such. I was looking at these, and at recording interfaces... this is for music but I wasn't looking for anything overly special. In the end however, I thought about what I might want down the road. The H4 looks like it's quite the recording powerhouse, and priced as such. In fact, I'd say it's priced like what it actually is, a computer interface with built in mics... more than just a personal recorder. I told my husband what I was looking at, and I think he's planning on "surprising" me with an H2. Compared to other recorders at it's price range... it's got a LOT of other features that make it really stand out. The H2 has 4 mics where all the others at this price range (that I found) have 2 ... it can hook directly to the computer and double as a USB recording interface (or rather, like a USB microphone). It comes with a lot of accessories that the others in this $$ don't come with (an AC adapter is a biggie as buying these for other units cost between $25 and $50). I'd say... for what you're looking to do the H2 would be more than enough (it's more than enough for what I want to do... but has the ability to go further if I so choose). In the end, if you want uber awesome sound you're still looking at making all those connections with ANY hand held recorder that I've seen (except the H4 with those xlr inputs... I think that's the ONLY thing that really stands out to me for my needs as well as your needs, especially with what you say about not wanting to chain adapters).
Anyhow... let me know if you're still looking, if I do get the H2 I'll do a little voice recording for you to hear the quality for yourself. I think listening to "real" people do tests on these makes a big difference rather than just what you hear on the company's websites. I don't have a mic, so I won't be able to show the sound compares once you put a mic in ... but I think the idea here with the H2 is that you won't HAVE to.