is there a 4 channel recorder that can accept two different mini-plugs as sources??.... so I can run both tinybox rigs into one recorder rather than having to use two r-05's....
Tascam DR2d natively accepts two stereo mini plug inputs. Most importantly it is basically same size as an R-05. It similarly replaced the use of two R-09s for me.
I would not call it the best 4ch deck by any stretch of the imagination. However it is the smallest recorder capable of 4 channels, the only one I can comfortably fit into a pant pocket, and the IR remote allows for transport control with the recorder stashed away and on hold, two features which make make it uniquely suited to what I use it for. It's gain control is very limited, but the external preamps take care of that, it's metering is good featuring a numerical readout as well as a bar-graph, and it's ADC is improved significantly over the R-09's to the point where I'm completely satisfied with the quality of it for whatever music I'm recording.
Since I'm always recording 4 or more channels, the move from using two separate 2-channel recorders to using a single four (or more) channel recorder was perhaps the single most important change in ease of recording of any I've made. Less important overall but an important subsequent step of that evolution was getting Chris Church to build me a 4ch CA-UGLY so that I could move from using two separate preamps to a single pre, greatly simplifying all associated wiring and pocket bulk. That rig is now simplified and compact enough that a few times I have carried two Dr2ds in the same pant pocket to enable recording of more than 4 channels, along with a second preamp. A single IR remote will control both recorders simultaneously.
In that way although DR2d is certainly not the best 4ch recorder in a general sense, it is the only solution I've found which works for this application, and thus ranks defacto best by default.
For open recording I switch to using an OCM R-44 or DR-680, both of which provide balanced inputs and phantom power.